Make Ahead

Chocolate-Wrapped Chocolate Cake

December 11, 2014
1 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one 8-inch cake
Author Notes

This is a deceptively easy (albeit a bit messy) way to decorate a cake by wrapping it with chocolate. It's great for folks who don't love frosting: The chocolate doesn't need to be tempered, which makes it easy to do and easy to slice. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • For the chocolate cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup very dark cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cocoa nibs (optional)
  • To finish:
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a deep 8-inch cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, water, eggs, butter, and vanilla to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour, and whisk just until the mixture is fully combined. If using, fold in the cocoa nibs.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  5. Prepare a wrap of acetate, parchment, or wax paper that is long enough to wrap fully around the cake, and is about 1 inch taller than the cake. Using a pastry bag or a hacked ziplock, pipe small dots of melted milk chocolate all across the paper, and let sit until firm to the touch.
  6. Pour a ribbon of melted dark chocolate down the center of the paper, and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer across the paper. Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes until it cools slightly but is still glossy.
  7. Wrap the paper around the cake, starting by pressing the center of the paper to the cake, then working your way around. Secure one end of the chocolate wrap directly to the cake, and place the other end on top of that piece.
  8. Transfer the cake to the fridge and chill until the chocolate is completely set, 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. While the cake is chilling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla to soft peaks and make about 1/2 cup of chocolate shavings. To make the chocolate shavings, use a bench scraper to shave off shards of chocolate from a large block. Reserve.
  10. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the edge of the work surface/cake turntable. The excess chocolate around the base of the cake should just fall away. Find the edge of the paper wrap and loosen it with the paring knife -- some chocolate may fall away, but it’s excess, so it’s okay. Unwrap the cake fully, discarding the paper.
  11. Transfer the cake to a cake stand, and pour the whipped cream into the center. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle Boyd
    Michelle Boyd
  • Regine
  • NV
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

6 Reviews

Michelle B. April 27, 2016
It's going to bake up over 2" tall.
NV July 7, 2015
How 'deep' must the 8" cake pan be...? I want to try this as a birthday cake this coming weekend. Thanks
Regine January 2, 2015
Just had a slice of the cake. I loved the wrapping. Tasted so good. However, I have to respectfully say that the cake itself was dry and the cacao nibs were too much. I did not know the nibs have no sugar do they made the cake taste like it lacked sugar. I think replacing the butter wlth oil and maybe using a combination of choc chips and nibs would improve cake. This being said though, it is indeed an impressive looking cake but next time I will use a different cake recipe like the one bowl chocolate cake recipe in food52.
Regine January 1, 2015
Wow I can't believe my cake does look as nice as the picture. Deceptively easy indeed. Can't wait to try it when my friends come over. For those that want to make it, I recommend u carefully put the paper and milk chocolate dots in fridge to firm them up faster prior to putting the dark chocolates. Also melt more than 5 oz dark chocolate just in case you need more to fully cover the parchment paper.
Regine December 31, 2014
Cake is now in oven. I hope it turns out looking as good as yours and as Michelle's. I had to google cacao nibs thinking it was chocolate chips. LOL. Finally, a nice employee at Whole Foods (in Maryland) helped me find it. I was going to skip the nibs but after reading Michelle's comments about how they took cake over the top made me change my mind.
Michelle B. December 26, 2014
I was in the mood to attempt a 'wow' dessert and this fit the bill. It was dense and moist, delicious and not too sweet. It made such a dramatic presentation. Loved the cacao nibs, I've never used them before and I think it was just one of the things that put this over the top. One guest said it tasted like dessert in a 5-star restaurant. Thank you for this recipe. I followed it exactly and it will be my go-to choice if I want to really impress.