Chocolate Bamboo Cake | IronWhisk
Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Bamboo Cake

Written by Ilan // 6 comments

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All my friends are getting their driver’s licenses. I’m not. You could say that I’m a rebel of sorts. I’m a bit strange like that… although a lot of my friends are rushing to do their driving tests I stay at home sleeping, baking, eating. You know, living.

Chocolate bamboo cake

My parents though are pushing me to start the process of getting a driver’s license (here, in Ontario, there is a graduated licensing program). Why would anyone want to drive though when they can get chauffeured?

Chocolate bamboo cake topOn reflection though, maybe that’s why my parents want me to start driving. If I start driving though, I feel like my dream (being chauffeured in a fancy limousine to the grocery store) will never come true.

I really want a chauffeur with a fancy top hat and a mustache to open the door for me. “Greetings Monsieur Ilan,” he’d say, opening the door to the limousine for me. “Thanks Jeeves!” I would exclaim as I sat down on a comfy leather chair and handed him a cake as payment for his work that week.

So, how do you go about making this delicious, rich, smooth chocolate bamboo cake with Swiss meringue buttercream? The hardest part of this cake is shaping the bamboo and the bamboo tops. Now, before you say that all bamboo is green and therefore my cake looks nothing like a bushel of bamboo, I’d like to point out that’s not true (although, to be honest, it took some searching for some non-green bamboo).

Colourful bambooAlright, now that your faith with me has been restored, this is how you make the fondant bamboo! If you’d like a recipe for delicious marshmallow fondant, you can read mine here (I used three batches of my marshmallow fondant for the bamboo for this cake). Your first step is to acquire room-temperature fondant. Leave your fondant on the counter for a bit to let it warm up, or warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds (10 seconds) at a time (since anymore microwaving at once may cause it to melt or become sticky).

Ball of fondant

Take a piece of the fondant and roll it out into a log/strip on a surface covered with icing sugar or cornstarch. I used icing sugar this time.

Rolling fondant for bamboo

Cut the log into pieces and then take two small pieces of fondant and roll them with your fingers into balls.

Shaping fondant bamboo

Place the two balls of fondant between three bamboo sections. At first I made three-sectioned bamboo, but when I realized my cake wasn’t that tall I had to take one piece off. You might have to use some water as glue to hold the fondant together. You can apply the water using a paintbrush. Then, using a paintbrush or a pencil, poke a hole into the two ends of the bamboo and let them sit on your counter uncovered overnight (this will make them easier to paint).

Unpainted bamboo fondant

I also made bamboo tops for the top of the cake by taking little pieces of fondant (cut from a log) and poking holes in one of their ends. Let these rest overnight as well.

Bamboo topsTo paint your bamboo and bamboo tops mix a combination of green, yellow, brown, and teal food colouring (I used a combination of liquid, gel, and powdered food colouring) and pour a little bit of vodka into the container. Water doesn’t work as well for me for some reason, but if it works for you please let me know!

Making food colouring paint

You can then use your paint to paint your bamboo and bamboo tops with a paintbrush.

Unpainted bamboo fondant

Painting green on the bamboo fondant

Let your bamboo dry overnight before sticking it onto your frosted cake.

Painting brown onto the fondant bamboo

I painted my bamboo with lots of different colours because I felt like it. Sue me. Then, I found colourful bamboo on the internet as an excuse. Luckily, the internet has everything. You can always just stick to standard colours but I don’t think that’s as interesting.

Chocolate Bamboo Cake
Serves 10 (makes one 9” three layer cake)
Swiss meringue buttercream adapted from Rosie at Sweetapolita

For the chocolate cake:
1 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups (400g) sugar
3/4 cups (65g) good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk, shaken (or a scant cup of milk and one tbsp of lemon juice)
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
5 egg whites
1 1/3 cups (260g) sugar
1 2/3 cups (385g) softened unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the bamboo:
About 60 bamboo spears and about 300 bamboo tops

Prepare the chocolate cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9” cake pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (might go all the way to 40 minutes), until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Prepare the Swiss meringue buttercream:
In a clean (meaning completely grease free – like all your tools for this buttercream should me) pot combine egg whites and sugar and whisk continuously (but not forcefully) over a pot of simmering water until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 145°F or until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are hot. Place into a bowl and whip until the bowl is no longer warm (this will take about ten minutes and you will see your egg whites approaching stiff peak stage). With your (hand)mixer on low speed, add the butter one cube at a time until you get a silky smooth texture. Add vanilla and salt and mix well. If your mixture curdles keep on mixing on low speed and it should hopefully correct itself. If your mixture is too runny, place in the refrigerator for twenty minutes and beat again, possibly with some more butter.

Assembly:
Place one layer of the chocolate cake onto a plate. Spread frosting onto the layer. Place the second layer of cake onto the frosting and frost it as well. Place the third layer of cake on top and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake (you should have frosting left in your bowl – you just made a crumb coat). Place cake in the freezer for ten minutes and then frost with the remaining frosting. Press the bamboo spears around the cake and the bamboo tops onto the top of the cake.

 

Chocolate Bamboo Cake
 

Learn how to make a delicious chocolate cake that looks like a bushel of tropical multi-coloured bamboo!
Ingredients
For the chocolate cake:
  • 1¾ cups (220g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • ¾ cups (65g) good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk, shaken (or a scant cup of milk and one tbsp of lemon juice)
  • ½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250ml) freshly brewed hot coffee
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1⅓ cups (260g) sugar
  • 1⅔ cups (385g) softened unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
For the bamboo:
  • About 60 bamboo spears and about 300 bamboo tops

Method
Prepare the chocolate cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9” cake pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (might go all the way to 40 minutes), until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Prepare the Swiss meringue buttercream:
  1. In a clean (meaning completely grease free – like all your tools for this buttercream should me) pot combine egg whites and sugar and whisk continuously (but not forcefully) over a pot of simmering water until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 145°F or until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are hot. Place into a bowl and whip until the bowl is no longer warm (this will take about ten minutes and you will see your egg whites approaching stiff peak stage). With your (hand)mixer on low speed, add the butter one cube at a time until you get a silky smooth texture. Add vanilla and salt and mix well. If your mixture curdles keep on mixing on low speed and it should hopefully correct itself. If your mixture is too runny, place in the refrigerator for twenty minutes and beat again, possibly with some more butter.
Assembly:
  1. Place one layer of the chocolate cake onto a plate. Spread frosting onto the layer. Place the second layer of cake onto the frosting and frost it as well. Place the third layer of cake on top and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake (you should have frosting left in your bowl – you just made a crumb coat). Place cake in the freezer for ten minutes and then frost with the remaining frosting. Press the bamboo spears around the cake and the bamboo tops onto the top of the cake.

 



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