I got left at home alone for about six hours the other day, so what else is there to do but make a cake? And I decided to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, so I did my first bookish recipe on this here new and improved blog.
Eliza and Her Monsters was one of my most anticipated books of 2017, and I loved it. Of course I did. It was a love letter to fandoms and art and fan fiction and all of it. And, it has a very pretty cover.
So, one of the things that we do in school is we find color schemes to use for either cakes or plated desserts, depending on what we have to do that day. A lot of people are boring and just Google something like “blue and green color scheme”, but a lot of us also scroll through artsy instagrams. Which means a few of us (AKA the ones who follow bookstagram accounts) have discovered that book covers? Great way to get color schemes!
I just took it like a step further for this cake.
Now, I used one of my school formulas for Devil’s Food cake, but this is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes, and so is this one, and this 1-2-3-4 cake is also delicious if you want a buttery yellow cake instead of a chocolate cake. I also used a school recipe that I had memorized for the frosting, but it turns out I got the ratio wrong. (I thought it was three cups powdered sugar to one stick of butter, but it’s 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to one stick of butter) which is why the frosting looks a bit…crusty.
Okay, so, you make a cake and frosting.
I also made a bunch of little royal icing stars, which isn’t necessary, exactly, but the cover of the book has little stars on it, so I thought it’d just, y’know, take it up a notch.
Now, get all your stuff together. I don’t have a cake turntable which is why I turned a metal bowl upside down with the cake board on top of it so it’s easier to turn. I also had,
- One small offset spatula
- One long metal spatula.
- Frosting seperated into four bowls (filling, crumb coat, and two bowls that the frosting will be dyed colors)
- Food gel
- Two piping bags fitted with round tips
- A bench knife/bench scraper/dough knife
Ignore Parks and Rec in the background.
Split and fill your cake layers. Set aside more than frosting for the filling than I did. I didn’t make quite enough, so there wasn’t quite enough filling as compared to the cake layers, but it was fine. I’m not a huge fan of frosting, anyways, so it worked out.
Crumb coat your cake. This is basically just a very thin coat of frosting to keep crumbs from getting into the final layer of frosting. If you have any extra frosting from this coat you can add it to the other two bowls.
Set your crumb coated cake in the fridge to chill. You don’t want it to get cold, exactly, you just want to leave it in the fridge long enough that the frosting has set, so to speak. It only takes like fifteen minutes.
Using the colors on the book cover as a guide, dye the last two bowls of frosting. You want more of the light greenish-blue frosting than you do the dark blue. I used about equal amounts of blue and green to get the first color, and then blue and a small drop of black to get the second.
Load the frosting into the piping bags fitted with the round tips.
Use the piping bags to “frost” the sides of the cake. Use more of the light greenish-blue than the navy blue, and leave gaps on the side of the cake. Fill in those gaps using the dark blue. Now, keep in mind that the more of the dark blue you use, the darker the cake will turn out.
Use the flat edge of the bench knife or the straight metal spatula to smooth the size. The more you go over the sides, the more the colors will blend together. I probably went over it a couple of more times than necessary because I accidentally bumped my elbow into the otherwise smooth frosting. Clean off the blade between each swipe.
To create a smooth top, hold the blade of the metal spatula at a slight angle, and start off the edge of the cake and pull toward you. You don’t want to go up the sides and over the top, you only want the blade to touch the frosting at the top of the cake. Clean off the blade between each swipe.
(if I’m doing a horrible job of explaining all this, here’s a video on how to frost a cake)
Place the cake in the fridge. While you’re waiting for the frosting to set, melt one cup of chocolate chips with one tablespoon of coconut oil. You could also use just plain ol’ canola oil, but I find that when I use coconut oil the chocolate both sets faster and it won’t develop the oily pattern on top.
Once melted and smooth, use a spoon to pour the chocolate on top of the chilled cake. Use the spoon or a small offset to gently coax the chocolate to drip over the side of the cake. Place it back in the fridge.
Pipe on a border and “bloops” of frosting on top of the cake. And then, if you made royal icing stars, gently push the small ones into the frosting on the sides of the cake, and then use the medium and large ones to decorate the top.
And ta da! You have a cake. If you don’t eat it all at once because look how pretty and also how delicious, you can store it for three days in the fridge with a bowl over the top to cover it, or you can cut it into slices and freeze it.
So, bloggings, are you a cake person or a frosting person? Have you read ELIZA yet? Did you like it as much as I did?
And, if you decide to make this cake, send me a picture so I can squeal over the gorgeousness.