Chocolate Cakes: Devil's Food Cake

The classic American layer cake is dressed up with geraniums for an informal wedding. Use your favorite devil's food cake recipe combined with our favorite old-fashioned chocolate frosting for this delicious cake. The soft frosting is made of semisweet chocolate chips, heavy cream, and corn syrup. It is spread on the cake in broad strokes that require no special decorating skills. The fanciful, broad playfully echo the frills of the edges of the flowers. Vibrant geraniums are secured in floral foam in trays around the tiers. The number of geranium blossoms that you need will vary, depending on the size and variety of plants. Use flowers with no chemicals or pesticides, and remove them before serving.

  • Servings: 170

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2001

Ingredients

  • 1 each 8- and 12-inch-diameter round cake layers, trimmed, split, and filled to a 3 1/2-inch height, each set on a corresponding-size 3/16-inch thick foam-board round
  • 1 16-inch-diameter round cake layer, trimmed, split, and filled to a 3 1/2- inch height, set on a corresponding-size 1/4-inch-thick Masonite round
  • 7 recipes Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting
  • 9 4 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels
  • 1 each 4- , 6-, and 14-inch-diameter round plastic drip trays, each 1/2 inch deep
  • 3 designer blocks (12 by 9 by 6 inches) floral foam
  • 1 9-inch-diameter round piece of 3-inch-thick Styrofoam
  • 2 packages Wilton clear plastic spiked pillars, 7 inches high
  • 1 each 7- and 11-inch-diameter round Wilton clear plastic separator plates
  • 60 large chemical- and pesticide-free geranium blossoms

Directions

  1. Frost the tiers: Set each on a cardboard round at least 2 inches wider in diameter. Use an offset spatula to frost generously with frosting, creating a swoopy finish.

  2. Place the dowels: Place 1 dowel in center of largest tier, then 4 dowels in a circle 2 inches from center. In center of midsize tier, place remaining 4 dowels 1 1/2 inches apart in a square. These dowels will support the plastic drip trays.

  3. Prepare trays for geraniums: In center of 14-inch plastic tray, glue 9-inch Styrofoam round. Cut floral foam blocks to measure 3 inches high, then cut 2 blocks into pieces to fit in the space between the Styrofoam round and the edge of 14-inch plastic tray. Cut remaining 2 blocks of foam into pieces to fill 6- and 4-inch trays.

  4. Stack the tiers: At the reception site, place floral foam in sink filled with cool water. Once foam absorbs enough water to sink, return it to its drip tray. Place the prepared 14-inch drip tray on the cake table. Center prepared 6-inch drip tray on foam on the 16-inch tier and 4-inch drip tray on the 12-inch tier. Firmly attach 7-inch pillars to the 11- and 7-inch clear plastic separator plates. Center 11- inch separator plate, pillars pointing down, on the 16-inch tier, and push it straight down into tier until it can go no further. You may need to adjust drip tray slightly for pillars to fit around it. Place 7-inch separator plate on the 12-inch tier in the same way. Remove 16-inch tier from round and center on Styrofoam. Remove 12-inch tier from round and center on 11-inch separator plate; similarly place 8-inch tier on 7-inch plate.

  5. Decorate with geraniums: Cut geranium stems long enough to reach floral foam so blossom extends just beyond tier above it. Use wooden skewer to create holes in foam for stems; gently push stems into foam.

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