Yesterday was my wonderful friend Amy’s Birthday, and as usual, I made her chocolate cake because it’s her absolute favorite. You can check out last year’s chocolate cake here! I wanted to jazz things up with something a bit more fun. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I’d been online shopping during every spare moment of my time—in bed on my phone, during class, when I’m supposed to be doing my homework. Gotta get my hands on those deals! I’m one of those slightly neurotic people that can’t say no to a good deal. Or, must be forcibly removed from the vicinity of my computer screen.
“You already have a Kitchenaid.”
“BUT IT’S 40% OFF.”
^ Yes, that’s a legitimate conversation I had with myself in my head.
But good things can come out of a much lighter wallet! My online shopping escapades are what led me to Sugarpills Bedding. Most of their sets are all super graphic and pastelly, like a unicorn threw up everywhere. But I fell in love with the Pizza Bedding, and it’s what inspired Amy’s birthday cake! My reasons were as follows:
1) look it’s PIZZA
2) Amy loves pizza
c) remember that time she texted you at 1AM asking if you’d judge her for ordering a large veggie supreme?
54) this is so hilarious.
This was my first time working with fondant, and it was both easier and more challenging that I had anticipated. I thought the most difficult part would be covering the cake with it smoothly, but was actually quite quick and painless. The cake isn’t very tall, which gave me more than enough leeway when it came to draping and smoothing the fondant over it. The hard part was dying the fondant light blue, red, and yellow. I used the gel food coloring I had on hand and a lot a lot a lot of elbow grease to get the fondant evenly colored. Please excuse my splotchy red hands in some of the photos. If you can find colored fondant that matches what you’re looking for, get it!!
Warning: I’m about to get a little sappy now. I always do when I get to write about someone dear to me on the blog! I’ve been very lucky to have met wonderful friends throughout my life. Two wonderful girls who I consider sisters, have been there for me since we were 2. In high school, I met Steph who is kinda my soulmate and has always been so supportive of this blog. College is where I met Amy.
Amy is that once in a blue moon friend, a friend who you know you’re beyond lucky to have in your life. We weren’t instant best friends. We met in college, as roommates, and for the first few months, our interactions were daily “hey’s” and “hi’s” and spending all of Sundays in our beds watching Netflix and saying not a single word to each other.
But friendships can sneak up on you, and somehow a year later I realized Amy was one of my very best friends. At times, I actually wonder if we’ve been separated at birth because how can two people be so similar? Seriously. She’s the first person I text when something absolutely embarrassing happens to me, who I exclusively send all my Justin Bieber and Adele radio karaoke snapchats to, and to whom you can admit you thought The Danish Girl was starring Jessica Chastain (is Eddie Redmayne a chameleon???). She’s the kind of friend that just gets you, and not the you that you show everyone else, but the weird and totally uncensored you. So cheers to my twinsie and to another year of double-chin snapchats, laughing so hard I almost pee my pants, and my favorite person to watch sappy (and overly dramatic) Lifetime movies with. Wishing you the best year yet, boo!
PIZZA > BOYS CAKE
Adapted from the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook. Makes a double layered 8-inch cake.
for the chocolate cake:
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp full-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Grease and line two 8 in. round cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the water to a boil. Once it begins boiling, turn off the heat and add in the cocoa powder. Whisk until completely dissolved. Set the pan aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Using a hand mixer, beat in the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until fully combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the cooled cocoa mixture and mix for another 30 seconds.
4. Split the batter evenly into two cake pans. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Now preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. After 30 minutes, bake the cake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set the cakes on a wire rack and let cool inside their pans for 30 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the cake and carefully remove them from the pans. Let it cool for another hour at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to cool for one more hour.
for the vanilla buttercream:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for a few minutes until it turns pale and fluffy.
7. Add in half of the powdered sugar. Starting on a low speed and increasing to high, mix until well combined and the consistency of frosting. Add in the last half and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and mix on high for another 30 seconds.
24 oz. of fondant
red, yellow, orange, and blue gel food coloring
8. Remove the cakes from the fridge. Remove the dome from each cake. Use the buttercream to fill and crumb coat the two layers. Transfer to the fridge for 10-15 minutes for the buttercream to set. Put a final layer of frosting on the cake using the rest of the buttercream. Try to keep the edges and sides as smooth as possible. Put the frosted cake back in the fridge to set again.
9. Split the fondant into thirds. Add a small amount of blue gel food coloring to 2/3 of the fondant. Use your hands to knead the color into the fondant. You can also use food-grade gloves or saran wrap to avoid color-stained hands (thanks, Lyndsay!).
10. Roll out the light blue fondant into a circle about 1/8 inch thick and about 15 inches in diameter. Remove the cake from the fridge. Carefully center and drape the fondant around the cake. Smooth down the top and the sides, adhering the fondant to the cake. Check out this tutorial for more help on covering a cake with fondant. Cut off the excess fondant.
10. Split the remaining white fondant into thirds again. Dye 2/3 an orange/yellow color and 1/3 red. Roll both colors to 1/8 inch thickness. I cut a 2-in. strip out of the yellow fondant and separated it into triangles for the pizza. I used a round icing tip to cut the pepperoni out of the red fondant. Don’t forget to cut a bunch of pepperonis in half for the edges of the pizza. Use a small brush and a little water to stick the pepperonis onto the pizza slice, then to adhere the slices to the cake.
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