Ultra Chocolate Wedding Cake

Chocolate Wedding Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This weekend I had the greatest honor and pleasure of making a chocolate wedding cake for my friend Maggie and her wonderful husband Steve. She is a fabulous midwife and delivered my two boys. It is an understatement to say she went above and beyond for me during my pregnancies and births. Maggie is the type of person who brings joy and love to everyone who has the good fortune to meet her. It meant so much to me when she and Steve asked me to participate in their special day.

Steve is a chocoholic and they decided to break with convention and go with a tower of over-the-top chocolate. I couldn’t agree more! I, of course, started with my Devil’s Food recipe and added a deep chocolate ganache-fudge icing.

Tiers of Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I built four layers (11-9-7-5 inches) by layering the cake with the ganache.

Assembling Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Then I had to add dowels to the bottom 3 layers to support the weight of the cake once I stacked it all together. Start by sticking long, thick wooden dowels into the cake. I like to err on the side of caution and add more than many might think necessary. I learned this the hard way! ;(

When you pull the dowel out of the cake it will have a line of chocolate, this is where you want to make your cut. The dowel should be just at the surface of the cake.

Assembling Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Here are all of the layers with their dowels. The top layer doesn’t need them, it won’t be supporting anything.

Assembling Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once I am at the wedding site I stack the layers. Some people travel with the cakes assembled, but I find that WAY too stressful.

Assembling Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This cake was well chilled when I delivered it, so once the layers are placed carefully on top each other I was able to move it slightly into place. If your icing is soft you want to make sure you line everything up before placing the layers.

Assembling Chocolate Wedding Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once everything is together and lined up you can start decorating. You can see that the layers were built on cardboards.

Piping Icing On Tiered Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I piped a simple ganache bead around each layer to cover the cardboard,

Piping Icing On Tiered Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

and the base.

Chocolate Wedding Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Here is my husband lifting the finished cake onto the silver cake stand. I had to turn my back while he hoisted it up there, because it made me so nervous. I’m incredibly lucky that he has always been willing to deliver and help me set up the cakes. Now you know one more reason we’ve been married for 17 years!

Maggie’s friends Kim and Lisa (both master gardeners) grew and set up all of the flowers. The wedding was gorgeous.

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52 thoughts to “Ultra Chocolate Wedding Cake”

  1. Fab! Just like ours four years ago. Being in Montana, we accented it with huckleberry sauce (on the side, of course!). Chocolate wedding cakes are the best… Like a giant truffle!

  2. Zoe, that looks awesome! Baking a friend’s wedding cake is a big endeavor. I wish I had the balls to do something like that, not to mention a bride in need of my baking expertise 🙂 I bet the cake tasted delicious too. I hate cakes that look awesome but taste like crap…

  3. Wow, you are so talented. I love the idea of a chocolate wedding cake, but I’ve been married for 13 years now, so I’ll have to push the idea onto my daughter for when she gets married. She’s only 6, aaahhhhhh!!!!

  4. Hi Amanda,
    I totally agree about the gorgeous cakes that taste like a leather shoe.

    Hi Nina,
    I think if you start with some very subtle suggestions now, she may grow up to think the chocolate wedding cake was her idea all along! 😉

    Thanks! Zoë

  5. You make it all look so easy! What a beautiful cake and how cool that it’s chocolate for a wedding. I don’t see that often — the flowers are perfect — no fuss! But of course, I’m partial since we had flowers on ours…

  6. Hi kellypea,

    I got married way before digital cameras, but I’d love to scan a picture of our cake to show you. My mom’s best friend made it and it was adorable and just covered in fresh flowers.

    Thanks! Zoë

  7. What a beautiful and impressive cake you made. I love the idea of a wedding where the elements are so meaningful –cake baked by a friend, flowers grown by a friend. Not to mention bucking tradition and going with a chocolate cake.

  8. Your cake is beautiful and I am sure very delicious as well. I had the usual wedding cake, very practical, dried out and boring. I wish I had thought of an entire chocolate cake. I’ll have to marry my hubby again, I could use a bridal shower too, everything is so worn out now! I understand the work that went into that cake, I’m sure it was appreciated and cherished! Wonderful!!

  9. Hi Robinsue,

    What a great idea, especially the bridal shower. When we got engaged our friends had a wine party for us. Everyone brought a bottle of wine for us to hold onto and drink at special occasions. We’re running out and so I think we’ll have another engagement party! 😉

    Thanks, Zoë

  10. Terrific post Zoë!
    I have always wanted to try making a wedding cake and I keep getting questions from people at work if I would be willing to try it out and I keep turning it down out of fear of completely messing it up.
    I might just have to try it out this winter after I get all this bread baking behind me.

  11. Hi Stephan,

    As an engineer you have the most important skill needed to do a wedding cake, the ability to keep it from falling down! (Hopefully you are a civil and not a chemical engineer.) You know how to bake a cake and put the icing on, so the only other thing is stacking them up. Just use more dowels than you think necessary and you’ll be all set.

    Good luck, have fun and send me pictures when you finally do one.

    Thanks! Zoë

  12. Hi Zoe.

    Loved the pictures! Do you use a heating core when you bake such thick layers? I’ve been thinking about buying 3″ cake pans, but wonder about changes in baking times, etc. Did you have to adjust the baking time in your devil’s food recipes to accommodate the thicker layers? I bake a lot and would like to venture into something different like tiered cakes, but am uncertain about those kinds of variables. Thanks!

  13. Hi all, thanks for the lovely comments!

    Yes, making a wedding cake can be stressful, especially when you are attending the wedding. My husband and I ended up getting changed into our party clothes on the loading dock at the venue.

    Thanks! Zoë

  14. Hi Emilie,

    If you will notice on the post I did about Claudia’s cake http://zoebakes.com/?p=592, I bake the cake in thin layers and then put some kind of filling between them to make them the right height. This way you can use the pans you already have.

    To answer your question directly, I do increase the baking times when I use a deeper 3″ cake pan. I can’t give you an exact amount but it is often a significant increase.

    Instead of baking the layers in deeper pans, my preference is to bake them in sheets and cut out the shapes I want. This does produce more “waste” but I just make it into trifle!

    I hope that answers your question. Let me know!

    Thanks, Zoë

  15. I’ve taken three of your bread classes which were sensational. Now my daughter and I would like to take one of your pastry classes, but can’t find any listed on Cook’s site. Any chance of teaching a pastry class soon?

  16. Hi Marvyl,

    That reminds me that I have to put in some ideas for classes at cooks for the winter catalog. What would you and your daughter like to create? Let me know and I’ll propose it to Cooks!

    Thanks, Zoë

  17. We love dark chocolate so your devil’s food cupcakes would be great, but everything on your site makes my mouth water. We do like to try things a little out of the ordinary…that’s why we love your site. I’ll keep checking Cook’s winter catalog. Cheers, Marvyl

  18. Hi,
    Can you tell me the quanties for each cakes, four layers (11-9-7-5 inchess) and how long to bake them for?

    I have a chocolate cake to my for a young French couple.

    Many thanks Susie

  19. hey zoe, would you have any Chocolate wedding cake recipes (like the one on top) would you mind sharing it with me?, I just can’t find good wedding cake recipes, tried many but most of them collapsed, thanks

  20. I’m making a small wedding cake for a friend and can’t figure out how much cake to make. I do know that I will make your devil’s food cake recipe-it is fantastic and yet so simple to mix up. They want the top layer to freeze for their anniversary and the rest of the cake needs to feed 25-30 people. would you make a two layer cake or three layers of smaller cakes?

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