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

Ingredients

  • 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 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.

Directions

  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.

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