Move over donuts, circus cookies are getting ready to take over!! This week marks the shop’s 6th birthday (wow, did that ever go by fast!) We thought we would celebrate by creating an over the top, sugary delight, using our favorite chocolate cake recipe and this year’s trending treat.
Circus Cookie Birthday Cake
OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
You are going to love this one bowl chocolate cake recipe. It is rich in chocolate flavor, but also one of the moistest cakes you will ever taste. Mark our words, this will become your go-to chocolate cake recipe.
- 1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 cups Cocoa Powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Egg, room temperature
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 cup Canola Oil
- 2 teaspoons Real Vanilla Extracts
- 1 cup Water, Very Hot
- Preheat over to 350 F and place rack in the middle of the oven
- Line the bottoms of 2 – 8″ pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, if you have one) sift together Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Sugar & Salt.
- Mix dry ingredients with a spoon to make sure all ingredients are well combined.
- Starting your mixer on the slowest speed, begin adding the eggs one at a time to your dry ingredients.
- Once all the eggs have been added, mix on medium speed just until they are incorporated.
- Drop your mixing speed back down to low, and slowly begin to add the milk. Once all the milk has been added, raise the speed to medium, and mix just until all the milk has been incorporated.
- Again on low speed, slowly add the oil. Once combined add the vanilla extracts and raise speed to medium, mixing again until all the ingredients are combined.
- Once again, lower the speed to low and start adding the hot water 1/4 cup at a time (this will prevent the batter from splattering all over the place and will make it easier to incorporate the water into the batter.)
- Once the water has all been added, turn the speed up to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour batter in prepared cake pans. Make sure not to over fill them. We suggest filling them 2/3 the way full.
- Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. When checked for doneness, the knife should not have any liquid batter on it, but should have some crumbs.
Notes & Tips:
- Why room temperature eggs? Eggs also aid in leavening (just like baking soda & baking powder). When eggs are at room temperature, they whip up better, trapping air. This yields a baked product with finer crumb and more delicate texture.
- Good quality cocoa powder and real vanilla extracts make a HUGE difference in this recipe. We promise the splurge of buying high end ingredients will be worth it. We suggest using Callebaut Baking Cocoa and Neilsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extracts
- Typically when testing a cake, you want your knife to come out clean. With chocolate cake, you want it a little less done. Baking a chocolate cake until the tester comes out completely clean, will result in a burnt taste & drier cake — and NOBODY wants that. When testing a chocolate cake for doneness, the knife should not have any liquid batter on it, but should have some crumbs.
- This batter is very liquidy. Because of that, there tendency is to want to overfill the pans. Be sure to only fill the pans 2/3 the way full. If using the this recipe for cupcakes, the same rule applies. Overfilled cupcake cells will result in flat topped cakes.
MARSHMALLOW CREAM FILLING
My sweet friend Nikki turned me on to this recipe. It is simple, quick & DELICIOUS
- 16 ounces Cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 – 16 ounce container Marshmallow Fluff.
- 2 teaspoons Real vanilla extract
- 1/2 Powdered sugar, sifted
- Put softened cream cheese into a large mixing bowl or into the bowl of an electric mixer. If using a block of cream cheese, the filling will come together easier if you cut it up into chunks before putting it in the bowl.
- On medium speed cream the cream cheese so there are no visible lumps & it is nice and smooth.
- Turn the speed down to low and slowly add your sifter powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, turn up the speed to medium. Mix until the ingredients have been well combined.
- Add vanilla extracts and continue to mix.
- Add in your marshmallow cream a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Once all the ingredients have been added, mix together until smooth.
Notes & Tips:
- It may seem like a frivolous step, but sifting the powdered sugar is a must. It will keep your filling form getting lumpy and gross. Trust us, do not skip this step.
- Yes, the cream cheese really does need to be room temp. It makes all the ingredients blend together better, as well allow more air to get into the mixture, resulting in a fluffier end product.
- Make sure this cake is completely cool before trying to frost. We usually make this cake a day ahead of time. Just be sure to wrap it good if you are waiting a day to frost, so it doesn’t taste stale.
CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING
This spreadable ganache tastes like the inside of a truffle. You are going to love how easy it is to make and how absolutely delicious it is to eat!
- 24 oz Good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- 16 oz (1 pint) Heavy whipping cream
- Chop chocolate up into medium-sized chunks and place into a heat-proof bowl. If using chocolate chips, please see the notes below.
- Place the heavy cream in a saucepan and place over medium high heat.
- When cream begins to simmer (small bubbles, but not a full rolling boil), pull from heat and pour over chopped chocolate.
- Using a spatula, gently stir the mixture until combined. It should be dark in color and runny.
- Cover with plastic wrap (placing the wrap directly onto the surface of the mixture) and put in the fridge.
- Let chill until chocolate can be scooped. This will be between 3-5 hours.
Notes & Tips:
- This is a recipe when quality counts. Since it is only a two ingredient recipe, you are really going to taste the chocolate. Your best bet it to buy a chunk of good quality chocolate, as many chocolate chips have wax in them — creating a ganache that is gummy and has a weird mouth feel.
- We suggest Callebaut, Guittard or Valrhona chocolate. Trader Joe’s does sell bars of Valrhona if you don’t have chocolate by the pound at your grocery store.
- If you are going to use chocolate chips, our favorite brand is Guittard (not to be confused with Ghirardelli, which is one I would NOT recommend for this application). I have been able to find these chocolate chips at our regular grocery store.
- If chopping your own chocolate, using a serrated knife is the best way to go.
- Be sure not to boil your cream. It will scald it and make it taste funny. The only reason you are heating the cream is so that it is hot enough to melt the chocolate. Just keep that in mind.
- If you sub semi-sweet chocolate for milk or white chocolate, the above ratio will be off. Stick to dark chocolate for this recipe.
- It will be really running at first. DO NOT PANIC. It will need time to set up. You are best to make this recipe a day ahead.
- Let the ganache come to room temp before trying to frost your cake — or you will rip your cake apart. If you are in a hurry, you can place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to help soften it up faster, just be sure not to melt too much!
DECORATING THE CAKE
- 1 – Bag Circus Animal Cookies
- 1- Jar Sweetapolita Sprinkles in Circus Cookie
- Press circus cookies around the base of the cake. We found spreading a little bit of the chocolate frosting on the back of each cookie, helped it stick to the cake better.
- Next, take a handful of sprinkles and press them into the sides of the cake. We found it helpful to do this over a rimmed baking sheet. This way, the tray would catch the excess sprinkles and you can reuse that same handful of sprinkles without wasting any.
Concept, Styling & Photography: Stevie Pattyn
Cake Stand (Shown in 9″ Pink), Candles (shown in 6″Petal Pink & Hot Pink ), Sprinkles (shown in Circus Cookie) Striped Plate (Shown in Small), Square Plate (Shown in Hot pink), Napkin & Fork (shown in Hot Pink & Candy Apple ) available at Shop Sweet Lulu