Two years ago, when I started Sprinkle & Dot, I made this Chocolate Drip Cake for Easter:
It was my first attempt at a drip cake, and though it was pretty impressive to me at the time, you can see that a few things need work. First of all, I used plain chocolate for my drip – that is a terrible idea when it comes to cutting the cake! And second, my piping skills left something to be desired. I knew this was a cake I would want to revisit some day, to update using the skills I’ve developed over the last two years.
This year, I was asked to make an Easter cake, with a lot of free reign on the design. I love getting projects with some design room, which gives me a chance to try out new things, or, in this case, to work on perfecting something I have tried before.
I went with a vanilla cake, to keep this nice and light. I shaved off the caramelization on the sides and bottom, flattened the layers, and then filled the centre with a vanilla buttercream. I left a little room at the edge, and placed some chocolate eggs all the way around the edge of the buttercream. I made sure to add some extra buttercream to the middle so the top cake layer would stick.
This gave a pretty healthy dose of buttercream in the middle, but I thought it would make for a nice surprise when they cut into the cake!
After crumb coating, I let this chill in the fridge while I made my coloured icing for the watercolour effect. I chose blue, pink, and yellow to match the chocolate eggs, and also made a little purple because I felt like I needed a fourth colour to round things out a little bit. I also prepared my white chocolate ganache, with a 3:1 chocolate – to – cream ratio.
I used to ice my cakes by just dropping a big blob of icing on the top, then smoothing down over the sides. But I’ve realized lately that this makes it really difficult to assess how even the frosting is on the sides of the cake, so now I make sure to pipe or dab onto the sides first, get the icing nice and even along the sides, then ice the top before I finish smoothing everything out. This makes it a lot easier to see what’s going on!
I tried to get the sides and top mostly smooth before adding the colours. I took a small spoonful of each colour and dabbed onto the cake at different heights along the sides, then smoothed everything together. It took a few cycles of this – dabbing both colours and more white icing – to get the look that I wanted.
To finish it off, I piped on some white chocolate around the edge and spread it over the top. I actually am not a huge fan of the look when the drips go all the way to the bottom of the cake and pool on the cake board, but I underestimated how runny my ganache was so that’s the look I got.
I tried to space out my drips so enough of the watercolour was peeking through – otherwise, what was the point of spending so much time getting the colours right? I tried to use the drips to cover any little imperfections in the buttercream, which is a great way to make use of the chocolate drip – no one has to know about the blemishes in your buttercream!
To take this cake over the top, I used a variety of open and closed star tips to pipe on the remaining colours. I had yellow, blue, white, purple, pink, and a bit of multicoloured frosting leftover from smoothing the cake. I like to pipe dabs of each colour in a crescent shape on top of the cake. I really love the asymmetric look, but it also gives people the choice of taking a piece of cake with a lot of extra frosting, or no extra frosting, so it works for people with a sweet tooth, and people without as much of a sweet tooth.
To finish off the look, I included some chocolate eggs nestled into the frosting on top, and sprinked some colourful star-shaped sprinkles here and there overtop.
This is definitely a more vibrant cake than my first attempt, and I think the coverage is better on top. Not to mention the ganache will be much easier to cut than pure white chocolate!
I had a lot of fun making this cake, and it was great to revisit an older design. I love the mix of colours and shapes on top of the cake – it’s eclectic and cheerful, and just makes you want to dig in!