I got this idea from Cathy from The Noble Pig, who got it from Taste of Home. Since a recipe for the cake and frosting wasn’t included in Cathy’s post, I figured I’d make my own masterpiece and submit it to All Through The Year Cheer’s Easter Recipe Roundup. I’ve been participating in each holiday recipe roundup with them since I found out about it last fall and even won the last one for Valentine’s Day with my cherry cordials recipe. It’s been a lot of fun and I was looking forward to submitting a really great idea & recipe for Easter.
Well, all I have is a really great idea. Because the recipe failed. And that really great idea isn’t even my own! :(
After reading Cathy’s post, I decided I’d make an orange cake because I really like the combination of orange and chocolate and felt that using a citrus cake made it more spring-appropriate. I imagined a light and fluffy cake with a sweet orange flavor that would perfectly balance the intense fudge frosting. I decided upon the Orange Sour Cream Cake from Eating Out Loud. I love how the sour cream in my favorite chocolate cake makes the crumb so incredibly moist and was hoping for a similar result with this recipe. While the cake was very moist, it obviously was not meant for a layer cake–it’s almost more of a coffee cake–a dense cake, almost like pound cake, with a glaze on top instead of frosting. Mistake number 1.
I cut each cake layer in half and before spreading frosting over each layer, I doused them with a couple tablespoons of orange juice that I’d cooked with sugar to intensify the orange flavor and increase the moisture. Mistake number 2. The cake was already moist enough and adding so much liquid made it even more dense and basically saturated it. Mistake number 3 was letting my fudge frosting get too cold and instead of warming it to soften it, I just smashed it on top of the cake and pressed down really hard as I frosted the cake, thus compacting the poor, dense cake even further.
By the time I was done with it, the cake looked more like the center of a cake truffle than the light and fluffy cake I’d imagined.
However, the flavor was very good. I would highly recommend trying this cake, but in a single layer as the recipe indicates and with the orange glaze instead of frosting. This cake was not meant to be frosted.
OK, all is not a total loss. I mean, look at this cake. It’s adorable. Such a great idea for an Easter cake! And the frosting recipe, one of my favorites, is certainly not a failure–it was a success as usual and I’ll include that here with the directions on the cake.
Sunflower Peeps Cake
adapted from The Noble Pig
*Your favorite yellow cake recipe or 1 box mix (I’d recommend orange if you can find it, b/c it’s more spring-timey. Oh, if only they sold orange cake mix in Wichita!)
*Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)
*2 packages yellow chick Peeps candies
Prepare and bake cakes using two 8-inch round baking pans.
After cakes have cooled, make sure to level the tops so the cakes sit evenly on top of each other. If you would like a four-layer cake, cut each layer in half. Spread a thin layer of frosting, about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup, between the four layers. If you are just using two layers, spread about a cup of frosting between them. Reserving 1/2 cup frosting, spread the remaining over the top and sides of the cake. Without pulling the Peeps apart, arrange them around the edge of the cake, curving to fit. Put the remaining frosting in a Ziploc or pastry bag, massaging if it has become too firm. Snip the corner or tip and pipe “sunflower seeds” in the middle of the cake. Alternately, you can use chocolate chips for the sunflower seeds as Cathy did, but I prefer using the frosting because it’s easier to cut through.
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/3 12-oz bags)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat the whipping cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth and shiny, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and pour mixture into a glass or plastic bowl (metal makes the edges set up too quickly). Place in refrigerator and stir every ten minutes for about 50 minutes or until the consistency of thick pudding. The frosting will begin to set up quickly at this point, so begin stirring every five minutes for 5-15 minutes, or until the consistency of fudge. Remove from fridge and use immediately. If the frosting gets too firm, warm for a few seconds in the microwave and stir, repeating as many times as necessary (once or twice should suffice–you don’t want it liquified). Let cake sit at room temperature for a few hours for the frosting to set up. Serve at room temperature.
If you have an Easter recipe you’d like to submit to All Through The Year Cheer, hurry because the deadline is April 1st (no foolin’! :) ). You don’t have to have a blog to submit a recipe–click here for all the details.