Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wellseley Fudge Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream (Solar System Cake)

Solar System Cake!

Every year I try to make my older daughter's birthday cake better than the year before.  I knew that wouldn't be too hard this year, since I was not impressed with the princess castle cake I made last year.  I didn't have a good design plan, and was left winging it when guests arrived.  This year, I knew I wanted to celebrate and encourage my daughter's love of the Solar System, and I wanted her cake to be awesome, since she's turned five, and might actually remember this stuff!

I searched around Pinterest for ideas, and found some good ones, but I still decided to design my own instead of copy someone else's.  When dealing with the planets, it seemed people either made cake pop versions of the planets, or suggested them as mounds of raised frosting on the surface of the cake.  I've never made cake pops, and didn't want to start now - too much pressure! - and besides, I wanted the planets to be different sizes.  So I went to Michael's and found the non-edible version in Styrofoam balls, and had them orbit on lollipop sticks.  This made it easier all around, as I didn't have to worry about dyeing frosting, and just used my kids' tempera paint.  I did go dramatic with the cake frosting color, with violet gel coloring.  I think navy or black would look sharp too, or you could make it really easy on yourself and make a dark chocolate frosting!  I used white chocolate chips for stars, but you can pipe those if you are so inclined.

Jupiter, Mars and Earth

As for the cake, I found a wonderful recipe using Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate.  You know, those big blocks of either bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate in the baking aisle?  Fantastic!  The secret to this cake's rich and incredibly moist texture is using a stand mixer.  I whipped the heck out of this batter, and it was amazing.  I really doubt you'd be able to get the same results with a whisk or fork, so if you don't have a stand mixer, maybe an electric hand mixer would do the trick.

The cream cheese buttercream is my own recipe.  It's simple and holds up well in the fridge and on the counter. It's firm enough to frost with and pipe, but not so stiff you'll drag the crumbs off your cake.  It took the dye really well too.

If you need to celebrate a birthday for your favorite future space explorer, try this one.  It's beautiful inside and out!

White Chocolate Chip stars between the layers too!

Wellseley Fudge Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
(Recipe Courtesy Baker's Chocolate)


  • 4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water (I used cold coffee instead - you should too!)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.  (You can use cocoa instead of flour if you have it!)
  2. In a medium bowl, microwave 1/2 cup sugar, coffee (or water) and Baker's Chocolate for 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted.  (Mine took 2 minutes.)  Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together remaining sugar and the softened butter until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition.  Then alternate adding milk and flour mixture, beating well with each addition.  Finally, beat in the chocolate mixture.  Divide evenly between the two prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for ten minutes in the pans, then remove cakes from the pans and let cool on a wire rack.  Frost when totally cool.
She loved it!  Blowing out the candles

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter, slightly softened
  • 1 box confectioner's sugar (one pound)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
  1. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, or a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter.  Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, and add the vanilla.  Add in the milk or cream a tablespoon at a time until you achieve your desired consistency (you may not need to add it all.)  Mix in any coloring.  This recipe makes enough to frost a sheet cake, or to fill and frost a 2-layer round cake.

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