I made this birthday cake over the past weekend for my 13-year-old Niece who is an animal lover and has a cat whom she is fond of.
I asked my husband, Eric, to sculpt the marshmallow, almond-flavored, fondant cats that topped the cake. Though he does have experience sculpting clay, he had never sculpted with fondant before and I am very proud of him!
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Fondant Felines: Chocolate Cake
The cats bring a unique personality to this cake; they are kind of strange, funny, edgy, cute, creepy, handmade, and playful at the same time.
In trying to be resourceful, I chose to use just what was available in the kitchen, i.e. cinnamon, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cocoa, and mocha ganache, to color and add detail to the cats.
Table of contents
It was my first time attempting fondant and now I know why people chose to purchase it from the store: it is sticky and can be messy.
But you know what?
It is actually pretty simple to do marshmallow fondant and I love the idea of edible, uniquely designed critters – or whatever it may be – decorating the cake, so that makes it worth it!
Mocha Frosting: Two Ways
Chocolate and mocha were the requested flavors for the birthday cake, so I took those and wanted to add some complexity.
Since this cake was intended for a group of adolescents, I didn’t want to blow their hair back with a high concentration of espresso powder, leaving everyone on the ceiling, so I opted for dark roast instant coffee in an easy-going amount and the mocha flavor was there and delivered satisfyingly, even for me, a die-hard, coffee lover.
I love to make ganache every which way since it is so easy to make, smooth in texture, feels decadent when eaten and always looks élégante.
On the technical side, I felt that a whipped frosting would be easier for applying and assembling a double-layer cake, filling in space between layers.
Visually, I wanted a two-tone and textured contrast between both types of frosting, however different they are, they unite through the mocha flavor.
The double-layer cake itself is classic chocolate and very moist.
It’s not overly sweet, so one can easily have more than one piece without overdosing with sweetness on the palate.
I purposefully kept the cake part being chocolate only, verses making it mocha because it would have been too much mocha (not that there’s anything wrong with too much mocha!) and that was not what I was going for.
The recipe utilizes buttermilk to add dimension in flavor, texture, and moisture.
For serving, I did make vanilla-flavored whipped cream but ideally, I could see this cake pairing nicely with vanilla bean ice cream and hot espresso.
A Fun Cake
This was a cake that I will want to make again and again or some iteration of in the future.
It does not take itself too seriously, thanks to the fondant felines but most importantly, delivers a satisfying dose of chocolate and mocha.
- Morton Kosher Salt
- Kate’s Creamery Real Buttermilk
- Frontier Co-op Organic Vanilla Extract
The original recipe that inspired my version is called “One-Bowl Chocolate Cake” p.168 of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
Please note: I follow 1/3 cup of cooking oil in the book version versus the online version where it calls for 1/4 cup of cooking oil.
For the ganache frosting, my version is inspired by the “Ganache” recipe, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, p. 186.
For the whipped mocha frosting, my version is inspired by “Mocha frosting,” Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, p. 176.
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- 2 cups flour (all-pupose or cake flour)
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, , I use Kate’s Creamery Real Buttermilk
- 2/3 cup Canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 recipe Marshmallow Fondant
- 1 recipe Mocha Ganache Frosting
- 1 recipe Whipped Mocha Frosting
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 2-inch cake pans. Using a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, making sure the dry ingredients are well blended. **Sift dry ingredient mixture. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat until just combined. Add the egg and beat for a couple of minutes more, then spread batter into the prepared pans, putting an even amount of batter in both. **Sifting the dry ingredients is not essential but it will give the cake a finer texture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cooling 10 mins. in the pan, then flip out of the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Using a bread knife or long serrated knife, slice the rounded cake top off, to achieve a level surface, if desired.
- *While the cake is baking, make the ganache frosting and leave it out, since it needs to be spread while warm. Make the whipped mocha frosting which can be refrigerated while waiting for the cake to cool if need be.
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Satin Ice White Fondant, Vanilla, 2 Pounds
Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set
Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup Set (3-Piece, Microwave and Oven Safe),Clear
Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls by Finedine (Set of 6) Polished Mirror Finish Nesting Bowl, ¾ - 1.5-3 - 4-5 - 8 Quart - Cooking Supplies
Wilton Easy Flex Silicone Spatula Set, Your Go-To Tools for Mixing, Folding, Scraping, Cooking and Serving., Blue, 3-Piece
Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Glass Measuring Cup
KitchenAid Professional 6-Quart Stand Mixer Satin Polished Metal (Copper Metal) (Renewed)
Homestia Gold Measuring Cups and Spoons Set Stainless Steel 8 PIECE for Dry and Liquid Ingredients Engraved Meaurement Heavy Duty Baking & Cooking Utensils
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 419mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 2gSugar: 46gProtein: 9g
Please note that the Calculated Nutrition is an estimate at best.