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 McDowell
one 8-inch cake
For the chocolate cake
very dark cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups
1 1/4 teaspoons
1 3/4 teaspoons
1 1/2 cups
cocoa nibs (optional)
milk chocolate, melted
dark chocolate, melted
chocolate shavings, for garnish
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a deep 8-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transfer the cake to the fridge and chill until the chocolate is completely set, 20 to 30 minutes.
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.
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.
Transfer the cake to a cake stand, and pour the whipped cream into the center. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.