It was my friend Chris’ birthday, and I wanted to make something kind of creative. I decided on a beach volleyball cake, since it’s April, which means it’s almost not cold outside. Almost. It was a chocolate cake with salted caramel icing – I figured that if the execution sucked, the cake should at least be delicious. I didn’t really get any good pictures since I assembled it at his house, but you can see kind of what it looked like!
VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE (2 X 8" layers)
- 1.5 cups flour
- 75g cocoa powder
- 1.5 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 340 mL hot coffee
- 1.5 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 240g sugar
- 160 ml oil
- 100 ml applesauce
- 1.5 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 320F. Line and grease cake pans.
- Brew coffee and set aside.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine coffee, apple cider vinegar, sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir until combined.
- Split batter evenly between cake pans.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through. Toothpick should come out clean.
SALTED CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM ICING
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. water
- ¼ whipping cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1.5 cups icing sugar
- Stir granulated sugar and water together in a saucepan (light coloured, not a nonstick) until just dissolved.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat without stirring.
- When mixture turns deep amber, take it off heat and slowly add the vanilla and cream, mixing thoroughly. *
- When mixture is smooth, set aside for ~20 minutes.
- In a stand mixer, beat together butter and salt.
- When caramel has cooled sufficiently, add it to the butter mixture and combine well.
- Add icing sugar and beat at a medium speed.
*The mixture starts to harden immediately, but just keep stirring and you can melt most of it down.
Icing the cake on my new marble turntable!
Once I iced the cake, I covered the top in Graham crumbs (to get the sandy look) and put Guylian seashells on the sides. Seashells kind of go with the beach theme, and they are AMAZING.
I put it in the fridge immediately to try keep the shells in place!
I did the rest of my decorating with fondant. To make the net, I used two Twix bars and attached them by making some caramel. I cut the squares out with a screwdriver – I cleaned it first, but I thought it was safe to assume no one would eat the net anyways – and tried to make it vaguely net-like.
For the volleyball, I just made a sphere and used black food colouring for the lines.
I think it turned out pretty well for my first attempts with fondant building!
Happy birthday Chris!