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Thursday, December 19, 2013

ice cream cone christmas tree cake.

I think it was a few months back when I saw a cake with ice cream cones stuck to its sides. I couldn't have given it more than a 30 seconds look, and I only saw that picture once, but when I had spare ice cream cones to use up I immediately recalled that cake. I think it was divine intervention. And you don't argue with divine intervention.

It's been a while since I made a chocolate cake so I went with my favorite recipe and once again, I'm reminded of why it's my favorite. In a nutshell, it's super chocolaty and extremely moist, not to mention easy to make. And since I was in a chocolate mood, the only frosting I saw fitting for chocolate cake was deep, dark fudgy ganache. While I was raiding the fridge for chocolate for the ganache, I found my three-quarters-empty jar of pumpkin butter. Chocolate and pumpkin - why not? Before I closed the fridge door I also grabbed my bag of chocolate chips for fun.

So in the end, I had two layers of delicious chocolate cake with a ganache-pumpkin butter-chocolate-chip filling. You can't see them but I filled the cones with M&Ms just because. I think the sprinkles add some life and sparkle into the otherwise monotonously brown cake. The chocolate balls lining the circumference of the bottom of the cake? I still don't know why I decided to add them. Maybe I thought they looked like rocks, which addition would then somewhat make sense because of the christmas tree look I was trying to create. (Something was definitely off with me that day.)

At least I hope the mounds of buttercream swirls resemble christmas trees. If I had to be harsh I would say that the only thing christmas-tree-like about them is the color green. And even the green isn't dark enough. But hey it's just cake.

You might notice that only four out of the six cones have buttercream and the other two just have chocolate chips. Well that's because unfortunately, I ran out of buttercream and I tried to make the best out of the situation by covering the cavities with extra ganache and chocolate chips to imitate barren soil where a christmas tree once stood. I think it's not a bad cover-up.

P.S. This cake is on instagram too!

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Tree Cake
makes a 6 inch cake

For the chocolate cake:
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 cup brown sugar
5/6 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
5/12 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla

For the ganache frosting:
170g bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
200ml heavy cream

For assembly:
swiss meringue buttercream (or your favorite buttercream recipe) tinted green
3 ice cream cones, halved lengthwise
sprinkles (optional)
candy, etc to fill the ice cream cones and decorate the sides of the cake (optional)

Make the ganache frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream to boiling point and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture stand for one minute before stirring gently until the chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Chill until ganache has thickened and reached a spreadable consistency.

Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare a 6 inch cake pan.

Combine chopped chocolate with hot coffee. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.

Whisk the egg until thickened slightly and lemon colored. Slowly stream in oil, buttermilk and vanilla while whisking constantly until combined. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture until incorporated.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting.

Assemble the cake: Slice the cooled cake into half lengthwise. Frost the bottom layer of cake with ganache, top with the second layer and frost the entire cake. Plaster the halved ice cream cones evenly around the sides of the cake. Fill them with candy if desired. Pipe swirls of buttercream on top of the cones to imitate christmas trees. Top with a shower of sprinkles and stud extra candy around the cake if you wish. Chill cake at least until the ganache has firmed up.