Chocolate Groom’s Cake


One of my best friends got married last night. About two weeks ago, she asked me to make the groom’s cake. She wanted something rich and chocolatey – nothing fancy. This was good, because it was a busy week, and I didn’t have a ton of time to put something together.

Things got off to a rough start. Wednesday night, I baked the cakes. Two batches ended up looking like this.

I ended up switching from 12″ cake pans to 10″ cake pans, which seemed to help. Thursday night, I stacked the layers with a chocolate filling, and covered the cake with a Bailey’s Irish Cream-spiked ganache.

I ended up carting the cake around town all day Friday while I taught my classes. Luckily, it was cold and rainy out, which meant the cake would be okay in the car. We cheated and my friend ordered the strawberries from a local chocolate shop.

By the time I got home, I had 20 minutes to get ready for the wedding. We made it in time, and partied it up at the reception.

from Taste of Home
Feb/Mar 2000

Chocolate Groom’s Cake

Chocolate Groom’s Cake


1 c butter, softened
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 c baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. In a mixing bow, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour into baking pans.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.


Irish Cream Ganache


3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c Bailey's Irish Cream


  1. Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl.
  2. Pour the heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat until scalding. Pour cream over the chocolate chips, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until chips are melted and the cream is mixed in. Stir in the Irish cream.
  3. Let cool to desired consistency.

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Alyssa and Stephen’s wedding cake, with two flavors

Success! What a relief. I couldn’t sleep for most of last night, with worrying about putting this cake together. We very carefully drove to the hotel, arriving at 10:00 a.m. We had an hour to set up before the ceremony started. Luckily, the ceremony site was down the hall, so we didn’t have far to go after finishing.
The cake came together seamlessly, and the ribbon around the base of each layer conveniently covered up a few minor flaws. None of the disastrous scenarios I had been imagining occurred, and we were done in less than half an hour. This gave us plenty of time to change and make it to the ceremony.
Two minor things for me to keep in mind for next time (if there is a next time.) 1) The bottom layer settled a bit overnight, making the dowels in it a little taller than the cake. This was easily covered by the ribbon, but I should have cut the dowels probably about 1/4″ shorter than the top of the cake to allow for sinking. 2) The pearl spray that coated the fondant bow changed the color slightly. It was originally closer to the same color as the ribbon lining the layers, but the ended up a few shades lighter.

The wedding was beautiful; it was the first Jewish wedding I have attended. The reception was fun, and the cake tasted great!
Both flavors came out very well. The cake pictured below left is the lemon cake with a lemon filling. The cake on the right is the almond cake with a chocolate hazelnut filling.

Lemon Layer Cake
adapted from, Gourmet
September 1994

It is best to make two separate batches of this cake, and to split each layer for a total of four layers.

Batter will fit into a 9-inch cake pan that is 2-inches high, but will need to cook for longer.

For each batch of batter:
2 1/2 c cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c milk
1 1/2 Tbs freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Lemon syrup (only one batch required)
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches deep). Line bottom with a round of parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper. Dust pan with flour, knocking out the excess.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar
until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beating until just combined after each addition. Beat in the zest. Be careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes and invert onto a rack. Peel off paper and cool cake

For the syrup:
In a small saucepan combine sugar, water, and zest. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and let syrup cool completely. Strain out the zest, and stir lemon juice into the syrup. Brush the top of each split cake layer with the syrup before spreading the filling on.

Almond Scented White Cake
from Williams-Sonoma, Baking
edited by Chuck Williams

2 c all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 c milk
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With butter, grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour, and shake out excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low, and alternately beat in the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.

In a large bowl, using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (if available), beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just combined. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with a spatula.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto racks, and cool completely.

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Marshmallow fondant and fondant bow

My friends Alyssa and Stephen are getting married this weekend, and as a wedding present, I am making their cake. This is the first wedding cake I’ve made other than my own. I’m very nervous about getting it to the ballroom, and setting it up. I’ll post again with the finished product.
I previously posted a recipe for a small batch of fondant. I made this for Alyssa and Stehpen when they had their cake tasting. The following is for a large batch of fondant. I made two batches of this to cover the three layers of cake, and to make the bow that will be the cake topper.

This time, I mixed in most of the sugar while the melted marshmallows were still in the bowl. It made things much less sticky, and allowed the marshmallows to cool off a bit. Sugar still got everywhere, but a lot less goop ended up on my hands. Once that has been incorporated, then I turned the mixture onto a well greased surface, and continued kneading in the rest of the sugar until the fondant became the right consistency.

If you live in a more humid climate (as I do), you may want to cut back on some of the liquid. I actually use half the amount of water, with fine results.

If you plan on making the fondant only one color, it is easier to add the coloring to the melted marshmallow, before mixing in the sugar. With such a large batch, it would take a lot of kneading (and arm muscle) to add the coloring after the fondant has been kneaded.
Instructions for the fondant bow follows the recipe.
Marshmallow Fondant (large batch)
1 lb marshmallows
2 Tbs water
1 tsp flavoring of your choice (vanilla, almond, lemon…)
2 lbs powdered sugar
shortening for greasing
Place marshmallows and water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat 30 seconds at a time, removing each time to stir. Heat until marshmallows are just melted. Stir in flavoring. Add 3/4 of the powdered sugar, and stir with a spoon. Be careful, as the marshmallow will be very hot. Once the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixture onto a well-greased surface. Grease your hands with shortening, and begin kneading the mixture. Knead in the remaining powdered sugar, until the fondant becomes pliable, slightly elastic, and not too sticky.
To store, grease all sides of the fondant with shortening, and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.

To make the fondant ribbon, roll about 6 oz of fondant out to 1/8″ thickness. Cut into strips that measure 1″x6″. Form strips into loops, using a little bit of vodka to seal the ends. Let sit overnight to dry. To assemble, squeeze a mound of royal icing (in a matching color) onto a sheet of waxed paper. Arrange the loops in a circle, making sure the ends of the loops attach to the mound. Arrange a second layer on top of the first. Place one loop in the center, pushing into the mound. Allow the royal icing to dry, and place on top of cake.

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