For my birthday I needed a cake that made a statement and combined all of my favorite ingredients– yellow cake, chocolate frosting and a little fun. For my first ever-attempted recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s, The Cake Bible, I chose to make a Golden Butter Cream Cake, with one layer of “Neoclassic Chocolate Buttercream” frosting beneath a final layer of Chocolate Ganache. For the fun part, I added gold dust and a “crown” of spun sugar (aka “Angel’s Hair”) on top, creating a shimmering top for a cake that was definitely ready for a party.
The cake and frosting came out great, no major problems to report. I’ve made it a habit to make half batches of frosting since I always seem to have too much left over. However, you might not need the frosting at all with this cake since it is very rich and buttery and can definitely stand on its own.
I must admit the idea for the angel hair came from Iron Chef Sakai — when I saw him make it on TV it left quite an impression. He topped a strawberry shortcake with spun sugar and won the judges over at first sight. The spun sugar had the same effect on my guests, and everyone was curious about the unique top. It looks complicated at first, but it’s really just melted sugar and corn syrup spun into the air as it cools. It can get all over the place, so do it when you’re willing to make a mess and want a little fun.
If you really want to feel like royalty, add sparklers to the top of this birthday cake for an even grander effect. The cake and party were excellent, and I definitely felt like a queen for a day.
I’ll post the recipes if the publishers grant permission. Until then, you can find the official recipes in The Cake Bible:
Golden Butter Cream Cake, p. 34
Neoclassic Buttercream, p. 230
Caramel for Gold Dust, p. 313
Caramel for Spun Sugar (Angel’s Hair), pg. 316
Now for the honest truth…
- Even after making a half batch of frosting I still have a bowl full of buttercream and ganache in my fridge. This cake is small and you could get by with less than half a batch. Only make the full recipe when you are making large, layered cakes.
- Pour the melted sugar for the gold dust onto foil immediately after heating, don’t leave it in the pan to cool or you’ll have to reheat it to remove.
- When making the sugar for the angel hair, do NOT use a plastic bowl to cool the mixture in. Yeah, maybe I am the only one who had this dumb idea, but obviously plastic melts and burns at such high temperatures.
- The angel hair recipe calls for taping broomsticks or wooden spoons to your counter top to fling the spun sugar on, but I used a plastic hanger and it worked great. The sugar doesn’t stick to the plastic and the hanger is light enough to easily tape onto the counter top. I also recommend putting foil (or something you’re willing to eat off of later) on the floor instead of newspaper. Most of my angel hair landed on the floor in pretty little nests and I was able to pick it up and use it to decorate the cake. I don’t recommend telling your guests about this. Keep it clean and they’ll never know (or care!).
- I never intended to make two layers of frosting, but I wanted a darker color frosting than the chocolate buttercream frosting I already put on the cake so Andrew suggested adding another layer. Brilliant! I refrigerated the first layer for 10 minutes before adding the second layer of ganache on top of it. It was double the frosting and the perfect color in the end.
- I made this cake the day of party and it held up well through the night. After a night in an air tight container in the refrigerator the spun sugar sank and the cake was dry. I do not recommend refrigerating the cake; make the spun sugar at the last minute.