How To Make A Mirror Glaze Frog Cake

I made my first mirror glaze frog a couple years ago, but am bringing him back to get some better footage of the cake for the Food Network.

I also realized I’ve never shared the recipe for this lil’ guy, so I’m sharing it this time around. When mirror glazes first took the internet by storm, I wanted to think of another way to use them! I’m still not quite sure how this popped into my head, but I thought it would make the most PERFECT frog slime!! I love how the mirror glaze brings this cute little frog cake to life!

me with frog mirror glaze kissing-3

For this cake, I simply colored my 5 ingredient mirror glaze a few different shades of green, and poured it over a frog shaped layer cake.  I used my go-to vanilla layer cake recipe, and american buttercream to make this cake.

I made a green batch of my vanilla layer cake recipe, by mixing in some leaf green americolor gel food coloring. I baked 5, 7-inch cake layers. Four will be stacked to create the main body of the frog, and the fifth layer will be set, aside, to make the frog’s arms, legs and eyes.

If desired, trim the caramelization from the sides and top of the cake layers using a serrated knife before beginning to decorate.

I like to chill my cake layers in the freezer before stacking them, to make them easier to frost and carve. I usually make my cake layers in advance, freeze them overnight, and let them thaw on the counter for about 20 minutes before I begin to assemble the cake.

Stack and frost four cake layers, setting the fifth layer aside. Add a generous, even layer of buttercream between each layer. Use a serrated knife to carefully trim to edge away from the top layer of cake, creating a rounded edge. This will make it easier to achieve a dome shaped top of the cake.

trimming top layer of frost cake

Next, cover the cake in a thin layer layer of frosting, to trap in any rogue crumbs! Add a bit of extra frosting to the top of the cake, to fully create a small dome. Smooth using a large offset spatula, and then a small acetate sheet (or flexible bowl scrapper) to smooth the rounded top of the cake.crumb coating frog cake

Use the fifth cake layer to cut out the front and back legs of the frog, as well as the eyes. Cut the layer in 4 equal quarter. Two of the quarters will be the hind legs of the frog. Out of the remaining two sections, cut out two long rectangles to be the frogs front legs. With the remaining but of cake, use a circle cutter to create two round cut outs to be the frogs eyes.

Gently press the leg cutouts onto the cake, and carefully cover with frosting using a small offset spatula.

adding legs onto frog cake

Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes, to all the crumb coat to set. Color the remaining frosting green using gel food coloring, and add a second layer of frosting to the cake. Pipe small dollops of green frosting around the frogs legs, to create the frog’s toes. Place the cake back into the freezer, to allow it really firm up.

Cover the cake circles with a thick layer of green frosting, and add black and white fondant cut outs to one side, to create the eyes. Insert then wooden dowels through them, to allow you to stick them to the top of the cake once they’re chilled.piping toes onto frog

Next, prepare the mirror glaze! Heat the water, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and melted white chocolate into a bowl, and then mix in the bloomed gelatin. Once the mixture is fully incorporated and smooth, divide it between three bowls, and color different shades of green using gel food coloring. Once the glaze cools to 95 degree fahrenheit, combine all the mirror glazes into one bowl, by drizzling the colors on top of each other.

taking temps of mirror glazes

Remove the cake from the freezer, and place on top of a cake plan smaller than your cake board. This will allow excess mirror glaze to run off as you pour it onto the cake. Place the cake and cake pan on top of a baking sheet, to collect the runoff glaze.

pouring glaze over frog cake #2

Once the cake has been fully covered in mirror glaze, carefully add the eyes onto the top of the cake. Use a spoon to add a bit more mirror glaze over the back of the eyes, to really give the whole cake a “slimy” shine!adding eyebll to frog cake

Allow the the cake to sit for about 10 minutes, to allow any excess glaze to run off. Since the cake is chilled, the glaze should gradually firm up, and the gelatin will set.

Use a bench scraper or acetate sheet to clean up the cake board, and wipe away the excess glaze.

Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cutting it! Since it was thoroughly chilled before adding the glaze, it will need some time to warm up before you’ll be able to cut into it.

I recommend warming up your knife by running it under some hot water (and drying it), to ensure you’ll be able to get nice, clean slices.

sliced frog cakev1

Below is a full tutorial, if you’re more of a visual learner:

Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vanilla layer cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 seven inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (416 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (13 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1 cup egg whites (or about 7 egg whites) (244 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. 

  5. If desired, add in gel food coloring. Mix the batter on a low speed, scrapping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.

  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife. While these layers bake pretty flat, sometimes I’ll also trim the top of the layers too if I’m working a super special partnership 🙂

Vanilla American Buttercream Recipe

Keyword americal buttercream, vanilla buttercream, Vanilla frosting
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 seven inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (907 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (30 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)
  • gel food coloring, if desired

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 


  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

  4. If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reach the desired colored

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

MICROWAVE Mirror Glaze Recipe

A mirror glaze is a classic french technique that can seem quite intimidating!! I've simplified my mirror glaze recipe to make it super easy to make, and it only uses 5 ingredients!! It also can be made using just a microwave!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets mirror glaze, easy mirror glaze, simple mirror glaze
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 large layer cake

Ingredients

Mirror Glaze Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water, room temp
  • 0.66 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups miniature white chocolate chip (or 12 oz of white chocolate)
  • 2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin (bloomed in 1/4 cup of additional water)

Equipment

  • digital thermometer
  • green gel food coloring
  • microwave

Instructions

  1. Begin by mixing the gelatin in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Set aside to let it bloom while you begin the glaze. Pour the sugar, 3/4 cup of water, and sweetened condensed milk in a heat proof bowl. Heat for 1 minute on high power in the microwave.

  2. Remove the mixture, and stir to incorporate the ingredients. Pour in the bloomed gelatin, and stir until it's fully dissolved. 

  3. Melt the white chocolate chips in microwave by heating and stirring in 30 second intervals. Once the white chocolate is fully melted, pour the chocolate into the warm gelatin mixture. Carefully whisk mixture until fully combined.

  4. Continue to stir occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until the glaze has reached 85 degrees, or is about room temperature.

  5. Divide the glaze evenly between three bowls. Color them different shades of green using gel food coloring.

    Once the glazes have cooled slightly, pour them back into one large bowl, alternating colors and drizzling the colors together as you combine them.

  6. Place fully chilled buttercream cake (chilled in the freezer at least 1 hour) on top of a circular object smaller than the cake board, and set this on top of large baking sheet (to catch the run-off glaze).

  7. Begin pouring the glaze onto the center of the cake, then slowly work out to the edges of the cake in a circular motion. Let the glaze continue to drip for about 10 minutes, then scrape away excess glaze from the bottom of the cake board using a small offset spatula. 

  8. Place the cake in the fridge, to allow the glaze to set, and to slowly thaw the cake.

Tiered Candy Drip Cake

This past weekend I had the pleasure of having Georgia of @georgiascakes over for a collaboration! She was visiting from London, and we were able to spend an afternoon together creating an EPIC drip cake!!

The design of this cake is inspired by Georgia’s gorgeous tiered cakes. Georgia is a trained pastry chef, and has a cake business in London! Her creativity and amazing skill are evident in everything she creates.

We messaged back and forth trying to decide on what type of cake we should make, and decided that an over the top drip cake decorated with loads of candy fit the bill. In the spirit of collaboration, we decided to use both English and American candy.

Once we laid out all of our candy, my counter was COVERED! There was Dolly Mix, and Freddos (chocolate frogs), Paydays, Hershey’s gold bars…and the list goes on!

There were so many different types, we wanted to do a taste test! If you want to watch us try them all, you can see the full taste test below:

We both tried each others favorites, as well as some classic candies. My favorite English candy was a Twirl bar, which is a chocolate bar with a super interesting texture! Georgia’s favorite American candy was the Payday.

I prepped the cake components ahead of time, so that we could have fun assembling and decorating the cake together. I made a large batch of my go-to chocolate cake recipe, to bake 4 chocolate cake layers for each tier.

We wanted to make a 3 tiered cake, so we made an 8 inch, 6 inch, and 4 inch tier. To frost the tiers, I made a double batch of my vanilla american buttercream.

The bottom tier was a nod at a Victorian sponge cake, and is filled with strawberry jam. We made the middle tier the American tier, and filled it with peanut butter and caramel. This flavor combination was inspired by the peanut butter snickers that I had Georgia try.

For the tiny top tier, we sprinkled crushed twirl bars between each layer. I was amazed at how easy they were to crumble just using my fingers!

Once we filled and stacked each tier, we added a crumb coat around the cakes and let them chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes, to allow the frosting to firm up.

We then added a thin second layer of frosting, and covered the cakes in sprinkles!

Georgia likes to use the roll sprinkle method, which involves decorating the cake on a cake board the same size as the cake layers, placing a second cake board the same size on top of the cake, and rolling it in a pan of sprinkles!

The key here is to NOT add much frosting to the top of the cake, or else it will kind of ooze out as you hold the cake to roll it. It also is important to shake the sprinkle plan after each roll, to redistribute the sprinkles and ensure an even coating on your next roll.

I like to use the hand method, which involves gently pressing sprinkles onto the sides of the cake, using your hands! It really comes down to your preference and what you’re most comfortable doing. The roll method still scares me a bit, but it was so awesome getting to see Georgia use it on our bottom tier!

Once the tiers were covered in sprinkles, we added bubble tea straws into the bottom two tiers as supports. This step is incredibly important! While the cake layers are somewhat firm, they are not strong enough to support the weight of the tiers that will be placed on top of them!

Supports (either wooden dowels or thick straws) do just what their name says, they support the upper tiers!  This takes the pressure off of the lower tiers, and allows them to keep their smooth sides and perfect shape.

Next, we added a chocolate ganache drip using a squirt bottle. We let the layers chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow them to firm up, and then stacked them on top of each other!

Once they were stacked, Georgia and I went to town adding candy to the cake! We added as many candies as we possibly could fit, as well as some lollipops to the top.

This cake ended up being 18 inches tall!! It’s definitely the most colorful tiered cake I’ve ever made in my kitchen!

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can watch the full video tutorial on my YouTube channel.

Large Batch Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This recipe is a large batch (1.5x) of go-to chocolate layer cake recipe! It's perfect for making a 10 inch cake with 3 layers, or for a small tiered cake (8 inch, and 6 inch tiers)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword 10 inch chocolate cake recipe, chelsweets, double batch chocolate cake recipe, large batch chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 10 inch acke

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 large eggs. room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter. room temperature (3 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups baking cocoa (unsweetened)

Instructions

Instructions:

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line pans (either 3, 10-inch pans, or 4 8-inch and 6-inch pans for a tiered cake) with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray. 

  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.

  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.

  5. Next, add 1 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.

  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!

  7. Please learn from my mistakes :P. Mix in the 2nd cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.

  8. Add in the last cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.

  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.

  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 10 inch layers, bake for 40 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes. For 6 inch layers, bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.

  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.

  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Recipe Notes

Note #1: This recipe will just barely fit into a 4.5 quart kitchen aid mixing bowl! It's quite a stretch to make it fit, but it is doable. Just be sure to mix your ingredients at a slow speed, to avoid any overflow of ingredients or batter. This is the absolute maximum amount of batter I can make at one time. If I need to make a double batch of cake batter, I make two separate batches.

Note #2: If making 10 inch cake layers, I highly recommend placing a flower nail upside down in the center of your pan! This will help the cake layer bake more quickly and evenly.

Double Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a double batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for larger cakes, small 2-tiered cakes, or cakes with a lot of frosting decorations (buttercream rosettes, buttercream ruffles, etc.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, chelsweets frosting recipe, double batch frosting recipe, large batch frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 tiered cake (8 inch and 6 inch tiers)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (868 grams)
  • 16 cups powdered sugar (1,814 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (60 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract (24 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

How To Paint On A Buttercream Cake

I’ve seen some stunning painted cakes this summer, and it inspired me to try my hand at painting! I have no artistic background (seriously, I majored in accounting!!), but I’ve seen Bob Ross on TV, and decided to try my hand at creating layers of “paint!”

I fell in love with the floral pattern on a sundress I found at H&M, and used it as my inspiration for this cake design.

me painting blue cake-2

Most of the painted cakes out there are done on fondant! As you know, I rarely work with fondant, and have found it’s possible to paint directly onto buttercream, as long as it’s properly chilled. Thank goodness!!!

I frosted a small cake made with ombre blue layers, using a half match of my favorite vanilla layer cake recipe and a half batch of my american buttercream.

cake layers stacked

I allowed the cake to sit in the fridge for an hour, to allow the buttercream to really firm up, and crust!

I know it sounds strange, but because of the frosting’s high sugar content, it crusts as it sits and is exposed to air.

frosting smoothed

Once the frosting crusted, I mixed together some gel food coloring and vodka to create my paint!

The vodka helps the food coloring dry faster, due to it’s high alcohol content. It also helps thin out the food coloring, to help create different shades of blue.

If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can also use lemon extract!

painting cake in the beginning

I started painting the sides of the cake, and lightly outlined my flowers. I ended up using two different shades of blue gel food coloring for this. One was a navy blue, the other was a royal blue.

I was able to get about a quarter of the way around the cake before the frosting began to soften, and started to smear as I was painting. I chilled the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes, and then continued my painting.

painting cake

Taking breaks also allows the paint to dry, to enable you to layer the “paint” to create more depth and shading. It also it good for your back and your hand to take breaks 😛

me skinny with cake-2

While I did my best to use the flowers on my dress as a guide, I definitely went a bit rogue on a few flowers!

I tried to just have fun with it, and not fret over the flowers that turned out a bit different than I planned.

sliced painted cake

This cake ended up taking quite a bit of time to complete, but was such a fun change of pace! It was so fun trying a new technique, and challenging myself in a new way.

I have painted on my cakes in the past, but really just stuck with streaks! I had never attempted a pattern, or anything this detailed. I was lucky this was such a forgiving design 🙂me smiling with painted cake-2

If you do have a section that goes awry or smears, simply chill the cake, then use a warmed bench scraper to carefully remove a thin layer of frosting.

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can also see the full video tutorial below:

Small Batch Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

This recipe is a half batch of my vanilla layer cake recipe! It's perfect for making smaller cakes, and I usually use it to make 3, 6-inch cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword 6 inch cake recipe, small layer cake recipe, vanilla layer cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 six inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (208 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder (7 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 grams)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (122 grams)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp (180 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (13 grams)

Instructions

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 6 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  6. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

If baking a sheet cake using this recipe (one batch makes two 9x13 layers of sheet cake), be sure to place one of two flower nails upside down toward the center of the plan, to help the layer bake more quickly and evenly. Layer cakes take 38-40 minutes to bake, but can vary based on the size of sheet pan you're using.

 

Small Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a smaller batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for a batch of cupcakes, or a smaller cake (6 inches or less).

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword american buttercream recipe, small batch frosting, vanilla frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 6 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugat (454 grams)
  • 1 pinch salt (2 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

How To Make A Drip S’mores Cake

While I may have created a cake in time for National S’mores Day, I sadly didn’t share it in time!

I am a firm believer of the saying “better late than never,” so I’m sharing it anyways.

I originally made this cake back in 2016, but remade it this summer to create video footage of this cake for the Food Network.

It’s funny how differently a cake can turn out the second time you make it. I see quite a few differences! The left is my first, the right is my second version. I decided not to make a s’mores tower this time, to make it easier to cut into.

 

That’s one of the things I love about cakes, each one is unique and beautiful in it’s own way. No two are ever truly identical (or at least none of mine :P).

This cake is made with my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, frosted with  marshmallow fluff and chocolate buttercream, and filled with toasted mini marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, and chocolate ganache.

Did I mention it’s topped with S’MORES?? That’s prob my favorite part of this cake. While it did feel a bit strange to make s’mores alone in my kitchen, it sure was fun to stack them on top of this cake.

For this cake, I chose to use 4, 8-inch chocolate cake layers. Since there are lots of add in’s between the layers, AND we’re piling s’mores on top, this cake ends up being pretty tall. With that in mind, 7 inch layers would’ve made it even taller!! So 8 inch cake layers really are ideal for this design.

Once all the cake components are prepared, frost each layer of cake with an even layer of marshmallow buttercream, using a large offset spatula.

adding toasted marshmallows

Next, sprinkle a generous layer of crushed graham crackers on top of the frosting. Carefully add the mini toasted marshmallows.

smores cake assembly overhead

Add a generous drizzle of warm chocolate ganache. Repeat with two more chocolate cake layers.

smores cake assembly

Flip the fourth cake layer upside down, and gently press on top of the stacked layers.

Applying a bit of pressure with your hands pushes out any air that might be stuck between your layers, and will help them settle before you being to frost the cake. This  will prevent the frosting from bulging between the layers, or cracking later in the process.

Once the layers are filled and stacked, crumb-coat the cake by cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting. This makes the overall frosting process so much easier, and ensures that no crumbs get into your final layer of frosting.

smores cake crumb coat

Place the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. To add the second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, use piping bags to pipe horizontal lines of chocolate and marshmallow frosting.

adding frosting stripes

Alternate lines of chocolate and marshmallow frosting.  Smooth using a bench scrapper. Make long, slow strokes around the cake, removing excess frosting and scraping it into a separate bowl.

smoothing smores stripesIf you want to see a full tutorial showing how to get smooth sides on a cake, click here.

Place the cake in the freezer, to allow the second layer of frosting to firm up. While the cake chills, make the s’mores. Toast marshmallows using either a kitchen torch or a broiler.

Create a sandwich using graham crackers, a chocolate bar, and a toasted marshmallow. Use a bit of chocolate frosting to help keep the s’more together.

smores

Once the cake is chilled, add the chocolate ganache drips.

I prefer to use a bottle, since it makes the process so much easier, but I also like the way drips look when they’re added to a cake using the spoon method.

smores drips

Two factors are critical to getting a perfect drizzle! The first is that your cake is properly chilled. Once frosted, you should allow it sit it your fridge for at least 20 minutes, or in your freezer for 10 minutes, so that the frosting is cold and firm to the touch.

The second important aspect of a drip cake is the temperature of the ganache!! It should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not so hot that it melts your buttercream as you drizzle it!

The best way to ensure your ganache is the right temperature is do a test drip. You can’t tell, but the first drip on my cake above was a test drip. Once I knew i had my ganache at the right temperature, I continued adding my drips.

MAKING A TEST DRIP IS SUCH A CRUCIAL STEP!!! Make one drip on the side of your cake, and let it flow. Allow it to sit for a couple minutes.

See what it looks like, if it’s the length and look you’re after. If not, adjust as needed. Either pop the ganache into the fridge for a couple minutes to allow it to cool off a bit more, or pop the bottle (or bowl) in the microwave and heat for 5-10 seconds.

Next, pipe some buttercream on top of the cake using your favorite piping tip, to help the s’mores stay in place (I used a Wilton 1M). The last step is to cover the top of the cake with the s’mores!!

me placing smores on cake

The s’mores do make it a bit interesting to cut, but I just cut sliced around each s’more. When I cut slices for a crowd, I usually cut a generous slice, then cut it in half! This give each person two layers of cake and filling.

sliced smores cake v2

The full tutorial of this cake, and the recipes can be found below:

 

In addition to the below components, you will also need graham crackers, marshmallows, and some chocolate bars for both the filling of the cake and to create the s’mores!

Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This recipe makes soft, tender, chocolaty cake layers that can handle a splash of simple syrup, yet still hold up while being frosted. I'm obsessed with this recipe, and hope you all will be too!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best chocolate cake layer recipe, best chocolate cake recipe, chelsweets, go to chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 seven or eight inch cake

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 1 cup black cocoa

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four 7 inch or 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
  5. Next, add 1 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!
  7. Please learn from my mistakes :P). Mix in the 2nd cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.
  8. Add in the last cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.
  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans . I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.
  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 7 inch layers, bake for 35-37 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Recipe Notes

I chose to use black cocoa (I love the taste and color it creates), but if you don't have any on hand, you can use regular baking cocoa.

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy marshmallow frosting, marshmallow buttercream, marshmallow frosting
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 7 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (4 sticks)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and marshmallow fluff on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You only need two ingredients, it’s so easy!!! You also can use your favorite chocolate, whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate drip recipe, chocolate ganache drips
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 77 grams.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 88 grams

Instructions

  1. Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling.
  2. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Gently pour chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined, and ganache is silky smooth. Pour into a plastic squirt bottles for easy application. If you don’t have any plastic bottles on hand, you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.
  5. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes (or place in fridge for about 10 minutes). You can also make this in advance, and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Heat the ganache in 3 15 second increments, or until it reaches the right viscosity. It should be slightly warmer than room temp, but to hot enough to melt your the buttercream on your chilled cake.
  6. If it seems to thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate or heavy cream! The type of cream and chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed.

Recipe Notes

Note: if you can’t find heavy cream at your grocery store, heavy whipping cream will work too!

@Cococakeland’s Fox Cake

I have admired Lyndsay Sung’s (aka @cococakeland) adorable cake designs for years! She has such a distinctive style, and her cakes are so iconic.

Coco fox front of book-2

Her designs have gone viral on so many different social avenues over the years (pinterest, tumblr, instagram, and of course her blog!), and I love seeing her creativity.

She just released her first cake book!! It’s filled with the cutest cakes, paired with her charming whit! It’s a great read, and shares how Coco Cake Land came to be.

To celebrate her book, I decided to make her orange fox cake! I used Lyndsay’s vanilla cream cake recipe in her book, paired with her simple buttercream recipe.

coco fox book open-2

It was so fun trying some different recipes, and I loved the way the cake tasted. My review of her book?? 10/10!! If you want to purchase a copy, you can buy her book here: https://amzn.to/2vJUVCK

Her book has amazing step by step instructions and photos, which is so wonderful for all the visual learners out there (like me!!).

I opted to fill the cake with orange buttercream, to create a colorful cross section when I cut into the cake.

I began by stacking my 8 inch cake layers, and frosting an even layer of orange buttercream on top of each cake layer.

stacked fox cake-2

Next, I added thin crumb coat to the outside of the cake using the same orange frosting.

I smoothed it using a bench scrapper, then chilled the cake in the freezer for 5 minutes to help the frosting firm up.

I added a layer of (uncolored) white buttercream onto the top of the cake, then used the only grass tip I had on hand (Wilton 234) to pipe fur around the sides of the cake.

To ensure the frosting in my piping bag didn’t get too warm, I took breaks while doing this.

I also wrapped a few paper towels around my piping bag to minimize the transfer of heat from my hand to the frosting.

If the frosting gets too warm, it won’t hold it’s shape once it’s piped, and can even change color (it will deepen in shade).

if you run into this problem, you can always pop you frosting bag in the fridge for a couple minutes, or just let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Once I had covered the sides of my cake, I followed Lyndsay’s suggestion, and traced the outline of the fox’s face using my offset spatula.

This helps ensure the face is symmetrical, and creates a wonderful guide to pipe around as you pipe the fur onto the fox’s face.

partially made fox face-3

Once I completed piping fur onto the top of the cake, I made my fondant details. I follow the instructions in Lysnday’s book for these too, which share how much fondant to use, and tips for creating her cute facial expressions.

To allow the fondant to dry, I let them sit for about 20 minutes on a piece of parchment paper.

completed fox face-3

I then placed them on top of the cake, and pressed the ears into the side of the cake.

And voila!! I was happy with how this fox cake turned out, and think Lyndsay would be proud of this little guy 🙂

This cake was almost too cute to cut into…ALMOST!

I was actually super eager to cut myself a slice and try a bite! I really enjoy Lyndsay’s buttercream recipe, which is slightly less sweet than my own!! Since it’s less sweet, I feel like I’m able to eat more of it, right??

sliced fox face-3

The vanilla cream cake was also delicious, and was such an interesting recipe!

I highly recommend checking out Lyndsay’s book, Coco Cake Land!! You can also see the full tutorial below:

 

 

 

Rainier Cherry Layer Cake

I grew up in Washington, and every summer the farmers markets were packed with beautiful cherries! Sadly, I was a super picky-eater as a kid, and I didn’t like cherries. Can you believe it?? I think the pits just weirded me out.

me with cherry cake

But once I hit my 20’s, I really grew fond of them! Now I have a hard time resisting them at the grocery store, and love to bake with them. If you also have a thing for cherries, I highly recommend checking out the epic Black Forest cake I made last year!!

I was in Whole Foods last week (my go-to spot for butter), and saw the most stunning Rainier cherries!! AND THEY WERE FROM WASHINGTON!!

Even though I know they’re shipped across the country, and definitely not as fresh as the cherries in Seattle, something about seeing fruit from home gets me every time. I couldn’t resist getting a bag…or three.

I don’t know what it is, but the vibrant hues of yellow and red had me feeling some kind of way. I knew I wanted to make a cake inspired by these cherries, and the streaks of color inspired me to paint some red and yellow brush strokes up the side of my cake.

cherry blog post 11 clsoe up

This cake is made with my go-to layer cake recipe, and is filled with a cherry buttercream! To keep things simple, I used my favorite cherry preserve to flavor it.

The cherry buttercream is thinner than my classic american buttercream, so it’s important to pipe a dam of frosting around each cake layer, to ensure it stays in place, and doesn’t seep out into the out layer of frosting!

Carefully smooth the cherry buttercream to the edge of the vanilla buttercream ring, using a a small offset spatula. Once the layers were filled and stacked, crumb-coat each tier of the cake. This makes the frosting process so much easier, and ensures that no crumbs get into your final layer of frosting.

Place the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scrapper. If you want to see a full tutorial showing how to get smooth sides on a cake, click here.

Once the second layer of frosting on both tiers is smooth, add four supports into the bottom tier, using either bubble tea straws or wooden dowels. I prefer bubble tea straws, because they’re so much easier to cut! I bough a pack of them on amazon, and have been loving using them in my tiered cakes. However, wooden dowels make great supports too!

Chill both tiers of the cake in the fridge. Combine yellow gel food coloring with a bit of vodka in as mall container (I like to use  egg containers). In a separate container, repeat this process with red gel food coloring. Use a large sterile paint brush to make brush strokes along the sides of each tier. Start with the yellow mixture, the go over these streaks with the red coloring.

Use two large offset spatulas to carefully lift your small tier on top of your large tier. Be sure the layers are thoroughly chilled before doing this, to make the process easier. Adjust the top tier as needed to ensure it’s centered.

Pipe a thin line of buttercream around the base of the top tier, and smooth using a small offset spatula to make a seamless transition between the two layers.

Pipe small dabs of frosting around the base of each tier as you add each cherry, to secure them. Add a few cherries to the top of the cake, to complete it!

The full tutorial and recipe can be found below:

Cherry Layer Cake

This cherry cake is the perfect summer cake! It's filled with a delicious cherry buttercream, and decorated with loads of fresh cherries.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cherry Cake, Cherry layer cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 30

Ingredients

Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

  • 4.75 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3.75 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1.5 cups egg whites, room temp (about 11 egg whites)
  • 2.25 cups buttermilk, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.25 cups vegetable oil

American Buttercream Recipe

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, room temp (6 sticks)
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 0.33 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 cups cherry preserves (to be added to only 1/5 of the frosting)

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 drops red gel food coloring
  • 3 drops yellow gel food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp vodka
  • 1.5 lbs cherries

Instructions

Begin by making the vanilla cake layers.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch, and 3 six inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in a couple squirts of yellow gel food coloring, to create a light yellow batter.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. For this cake, you want to make sure the layers in each tier have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  6. Bake the 6 inch cake layers of 30-32 minutes, and the 8 inch layers for 35-37 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

While the layers bake and cool, make the frosting.

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

  4. Place 2 cups of frosting into a separate bowl, and mix in the cherry preserves. 

  5. Fill one large piping bag (18 inch) with some of the remaining white buttercream. This will be used to pipe a dam around the cherry frosting.

Once the layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake.

  1. Begin by building the bottom, 8-inch tier. Secure one 8 inch cake layer to a 10 inch, grease proof cake board using a dab of buttercream.

  2. Pipe a dam of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the 8 inch cake layer, and add a large scoop of cherry buttercream inside this. Smooth the cherry frosting to the edge of the vanilla buttercream.

  3. Repeat with the next 8-inch cake layer, then top with the last 8 inch cake layer. Flip the layer upside down to make it easier to frost.

  4. Cover in a thin crumb coat, then chill in the freezer for 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.

  5. Repeat this process with the 6-inch cake layers, building the tier on a 6 inch cake board.

  6. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to both tiers, and smooth using a bench scrapper.

  7. Insert 4 supports into the bottom tier (I use thick bubble tea straws)

  8. Chill layers in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  9. In two separate, small containers, mix together the gel food coloring with a splash of vodka. If you don't want to use alcohol, you can also use lemon extract or water! The alcohol just helps the paint dry faster.

  10. Once the frosting is thoroughly chilled, paint red and yellow streaks on the side of the cake. Start at the base, and gently pull up, to create fading brush strokes.

  11. Carefully stack the tiers, then add cherries around the base of both tiers, and a few to the very top of the cake.

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to make a tiered cake, you can definitely half the recipe, and make three 7 or 8 inch cake layers.

If you want to, you can cook down fresh cherries with a bit of sugar, but it’s quite a bit of work to pit them all, and cook them down enough to be able to add them to the buttercream! If you try to add fresh cherries or cherry juice, the excess liquid from the fruit can cause the buttercream to break.

You could also add halved cherries between the layers, on top of the buttercream, but it can make it more difficult to slice though! I avoided doing this for that reason, and was really pleased with how my slices turned out 🙂