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.




  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.