Every year for Christmas, my family celebrates the birth of our Savior with a "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus" cake (Baby Jesus cake for short). We do the whole she-bang, there are candles, we sing happy birthday and everything. Some of my family members even put a baby Jesus on their version of the cake - I have yet to find one that is food safe, so if you have any ideas, please let me know.
So the dilemma was on, what do I make. It has to be gluten free, it has to be good so my gluten eating guests will love it and not know the difference but most importantly I had to make it ahead of time since I would be gone the entire day on Christmas Eve. I asked fellow GF bakers what their recommendations would be and finely settled on a devils food cake from Gluten free on a shoestring. This worked for me because I already had all of the ingredients and it would be a cinch to make. I did however bake it in a 9 inch round pan and it took three times as long to bake it. I know it was in the oven for over an hour and then lately because GF baked items can be so finicky, I will shut off the oven and let the baked good sit in there while it cools off, I did this for another 20 - 30 minutes or so. It really is up to you and your oven. If you under bake the cake, it will fall inwards in the middle and no one wants that. So you have to play it by ear and make sure to test it to see if the middle is completely cooked. I do this with a clean toothpick to see if any cake batter is still on it - crumbs are ok because they are baked, but any ooey gooey batter is a definite sign that it needs more time in the oven.
I baked the cake on a Monday and once it was cool, I wrapped it tightly and froze it. In the winter time in MN, that means I put it out in my garage until I needed it. This worked fabulously!
I needed to serve the cake on a Wednesday, so I choose to wait on the frosting until that day, but honestly, in hindsight, I did not need to do that and it caused a lot of extra work for me on Christmas morning. Live and learn.
I took the cake inside so it would start to thaw slightly so I could split the cake in half. I started the cut with a serrated knife and then finished it with a nice long piece of unflavored dental floss. It worked like a charm.
Now that I had my two layers, I knew that I wanted to fill it with Nutella Cloud Frosting. I started with the Nutella Cloud base recipe from Sweetapolita because this gal knows her frosting I tell you and then I changed it a bit because I love Nutella and more of it is always a good thing right? I also love how this recipe turned out. I've tried others that were too airy and hard to pipe and that is not the case with this recipe.
Nutella Cloud Frosting
Adapted from Sweetapolita
1 cup unstaled butter, softened at room temp
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners')
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
125g semi-sweet chocolate chopped, melted, and cooled slightly (I used Ghiradelli.)
1/2 cup of Nutella
pinch of salt
drizzle of milk as needed
1. Weigh out semi-sweet chocolate into a microwave safe bowl ensuring it is broken up. Microwave it on high in 30 second intervals until fully melted. You'll need to stir it often to break up hot spots. Let cool a bit.
2. In your large mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, carefully place the butter and powdered sugar and start to mix on low until fully combined.
3. Add the salt, vanilla, and Nutella to the butter/sugar mixture and beat well.
4. Lastly add the cooled melted semi-sweet chocolate and again beat well.
5. At this time determine the consistency. If it is too thick add a drizzle of milk until it looks like how you want it.
Now that you have made your filling, carefully put about 1/2 of the frosting in the middle of the bottom layer and spread it evenly across. Place the top layer on half and use more frosting to fill in the outside edge. Once complete, cover tightly and place back into your freezer while you make the next layer of frosting.
I wanted this to be festive and oh so yummy. I knew it had to have ganache on top but after filling it, with the nutella frosting, it really needed a crumb coat to hide the filling and the fact that I split the cake open. The answer? A simple stiff buttercream crumb coat. Now butter cream is very basic, but of course, I googled it and settled on this recipe from Savory Sweet Life. This is another gal who knows her frostings. I made this on the thicker side with just a drizzle of milk so that it was spreadable. Making it thicker allowed me to only have one coat of buttercream which was awesome. She also gives tips on how making it thicker is easier to pipe onto cakes and you'll see the design much more easily as well. Good to know!
Now that this is made, retrieve your cake from the freezer and put on a nice thin, even coat of this wonderful buttercream. You'll be so glad that you did and when you are done, back into the freezer you must go!
Lastly, for the ganache, I referenced Savory Sweet Life again with just a slight modification. I took her recipe and added some *GASP* butter! Everything is better with butter and honestly this cake has so much already what is a few more tablespoons really? Again in hindsight, I should have used Sweetapolita's ganache drizzle recipe because this ganache came out a little thick and didn't quite drizzle like I wanted to but man was it still super yummy.
Adapted from Sweet Savory Life
1/2 Cup heavy cream
12 ounces chocolate (I used semi-sweet by Ghiradelli.)
4 Tbs butter
1. Heat heavy cream in microwave until bubbly and frothy.
2. Pour hot heavy cream over chopped up chocolate and mix until melted.
3. Add butter and with a hand whisk, whip until smooth.
Take the ganache and spread a layer over the entire top of the cake after you take it out of the freezer for the final time. As you are spreading have it drizzle down the sides of the cake like shown in the picture above or below.
I know this was a long drawn out deal, but honestly this was worth it. The cake was a huge hit - my Dad even had two pieces. It also holds over super well in the freezer. It's been almost 2 full weeks since I've made the final product and we are still finishing it off. It tastes just as good now as it did the first day we enjoyed it.
If you have any questions, please let me know and ENJOY!
Until next time,