In addition to birthdays, people back home in Slovakia celebrate so called “name days”. Every day of the year, all the people with a certain name have a name day, and get to have a little celebration with a cake and presents, much like a birthday. Last week was the day to celebrate all the Slovak girls and ladies named Veronika, which also happens to be my sister’s name. I’d love to storm into her apartment with balloons, gifts, and flowers right now, but alas, that’s just not possible. So I’ve decided to do the next best thing, and bake a cake in her honor. I know it’s kind of silly, because of course she won’t get to have a bite of it. But it helps me to feel closer to her, and at least this way, all the butter and sugar won’t go straight to her hips and thighs, so I’m actually doing her a favor. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at chocolate piped wraps for a long time. I’m familiar with various chocolate decorations, but this project has always seemed like a little too much. Melted chocolate is much more fluid than royal icing, and I was worried I’d end up with a huge mess and chocolate smeared everywhere, so I kept putting it off. This weekend I finally bit the bullet. Yes, my hands were shaky, but it there is a first time for everything! I decided to bake a simple 6-inch chocolate cake and frost it with white icing, which provided a nice contrast to the dark chocolate lacy wrap. The project was fairly time-consuming (it took me nearly half an hour just to pipe the pattern on the parchment), and with all the baking, frosting, chilling and wrapping it ate away a substantial part of my Sunday. But it was so much fun, and I learned a lot (like, for example, that you shouldn’t forget to flip the parchment paper with your pattern before piping the chocolate, otherwise your pen marks will show up on the wrap :-)) It seems obvious, and I wanted to do it, but then forgot anyway. It is not such a big problem when working with dark chocolate, but it would be much more visible on a white chocolate wrap.)
All in all, a nice little project for a rainy and gloomy Sunday afternoon. I’m already dreaming of all the other things I could try with melted chocolate.
Happy belated name day, Veronika. I wish we could stuff our faces with the cake together ❤
Chocolate-wrapped cake with white chocolate-cream cheese frosting
Cake (for each layer of the 6-inch cake):
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 12 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons of milk
- 12 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons of dark cocoa
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
White chocolate – cream cheese frosting:
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 2 packages (8 oz. each) full-fat cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
+ 3 tablespoons of strong coffee or coffee/cocoa liqueur to moisten the cake layers (optional; I used Crème de Cocoa)
1 bar (4 oz.) semisweet baking chocolate for the wrap (more or less depending on a pattern you choose)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 6-inch cake pan with parchment paper and butter/flour the sides.
- In a bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients for the cake. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Pour the batter into a lined pan, smooth out the top, and bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch. Let cool in a pan for a couple of minutes, and then invert the cake on a cooling rack and let cool completely. (I baked each layer separately, but you could make a higher cake and then cut it into two layers, of course).
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: Microwave white chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at a medium power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave again at 15 seconds intervals until melted. Let cool slightly.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add melted chocolate, combining well. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired spreading consistency. Set aside.
- Place one cooled cake layer on a turntable or a working surface. Sprinkle with coffee/liqueur if using. Mound a portion of the filling in the center, and using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge.
- Place the second layer onto the filling and push it gently into place. Brush the top layer with coffee/liqueur if using.
- Before frosting the cake, make a crumb coating (a thin layer of frosting that helps the crumbs to adhere to the cake, so they don’t mar the finish). Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake; the top should be flat and the sides straight on the finished cake. (The straighter the sides, the easier it will be to wrap the cake with chocolate at the end.) Put the frosted cake on a cake stand you plan to serve it on and place it in a fridge to chill.
- The chocolate wrap: Cut a strip of parchment paper you’ll be piping on. First calculate its length, which should be the diameter of your cake x 3.14, plus couple more inches for overlap. (My cake was 6 inches, multiplied by 3.14 = 18.84; the entire strip was under 22 inches long.) You also need to measure the height of your cake, which will be the width of your paper strip (I added about ½ an inch here as well). In addition, you’ll need to extend the width by about an inch more – that way you’ll have a clear strip of paper at the top to hold the strip without risking that you will ruin the freshly piped pattern.
- You can make a free-hand pattern if you’re feeling brave, or you can draw a pattern on the parchment and trace it with chocolate (if you decide to draw a pattern, don’t forget to flip the paper before piping as I did :-)) Put your paper strip on a large baking sheet to make it easier to move it in and out of the refrigerator as needed.
- In either a microwave or a water bath, melt the chocolate, and fill a decorating bag no more than 2/3 full. After piping the pattern, place the paper strip on the sheet in the refrigerator to partially set (it only takes a couple of minutes, depending on the temperature in your fridge. Watch it, so it doesn’t harden too much, as it will be harder to wrap it around the cake. You need it to still be pliable.)
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Carefully lift the strip with the piped pattern off the baking sheet. Anchoring one end, slowly wrap the paper around your cake, gently pressing it into place. Chill well, and then carefully remove the parchment paper from the back of your chocolate wrap. (Keep the cake in the refrigerator until serving; because you weren’t using tempered chocolate for the wrap, it will soften faster at a room temp.)