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Chocolate Cakes: Chocolate Petal Cake


Hidden beneath a gentle flurry of bittersweet chocolate curls are three tiers of mocha spice cake made tender with sour cream. The cake gets a lift from coffee, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove; each layer is brushed with ginger-infused syrup before it is frosted with chocolate buttercream.

  • Servings: 105

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2001


  • 1 each 6-, 10-, and 14-inch-diameter round contoured layers of Mocha Spice Cake, each 3 inches high, set on corresponding-size 3/16-inch-thick foam board
  • 1 recipe Ginger-Infused Simple Syrup
  • 2 recipes Easy Chocolate Buttercream
  • 16 4-inch-long 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels
  • 1 20-inch-round cake board, 2 inches high
  • 6 feet of 2-inch-wide ribbon
  • 6 feet of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon
  • Chocolate Petals
  • Sugared pansies and johnny jump-ups
  • Filling amounts for chocolate buttercream: 6-inch tier, 1 cup between each split layer; 10-inch tier, 1 3/4 cups between each split layer; 14-inch tier, 3 1/2 cups between each split layer.
  • Icing amounts for chocolate buttercream: 6-inch tier, 2 cups; 10-inch tier, 4 cups; 14-inch tier, 5 1/2 cups.
  • Approximate amounts for ginger-infused simple syrup: 6-inch tier, 1/4 cup; 10-inch tier, 1/3 cup; 14-inch tier, 3/4 cup.


  1. Split each layer of mocha spice cake into thirds. Brush with the ginger-infused simple syrup (amounts above). Fill each layer with chocolate buttercream so tier is 4 inches high (filling amounts above). Thinly coat reassembled layers with buttercream, and allow to set. When set, frost with buttercream. Refrigerate tiers until ready to stack.
  2. Remove 14-inch tier from refrigerator, and place on 20-inch board. Spread board with buttercream; clean edges. Hot glue wide ribbon to sides of cake board; glue narrow ribbon on wide one.
  3. In the center of the 14-inch tier, place 6 dowels in a circle 2 inches from the edge. Place 4 dowels in a square within the circle. Place the 10-inch tier, centered, on top. In the center of the 10-inch tier, place the remaining 6 dowels in a circle 2 1/2 inches from the edge. Place the 6-inch tier, centered, on top.
  4. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Ateco number 5 round tip; fill with buttercream. Attach chocolate petals to cake and cake board by piping a small amount of buttercream on the back of each petal.
  5. Decorate with sugared pansies and johnny-jump-ups.

Cook's Notes

The edible sugared pansies make the cake lovely for a springtime wedding, but the curls are too delicate to be placed outdoors in summertime. The spices are also right for fall and winter. Once this cake is decorated, store and display it in a cool place away from direct heat or sunlight.

Reviews Add a comment

  • lindalehnkerin
    31 JAN, 2019
    I made this for my parents' anniversary. It was a big hit! An excellent chocolate cake with a subtle spice note and lovely crumb texture. 10/10 Would make again.
  • fynbo
    25 NOV, 2011
    When I made this cake it smelled wonderful, I cut the ginger sirup and the frosting to a fourth and that worked well for one 10 " cake recipe. Looked awesome, but the cake was a BIG disappointment, it was very dense & had absolutely no flavor. Next time I will pick something with a review