My Aunt’s Birthday Cake flies to Florida!

Birthday Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Many of you may have read about my aunt Kristin in past posts. She is a true lover of food and cookbooks. In fact, she supplies me with a great number of the books that fill my shelves. That is saying a lot considering I own hundreds of them.

In addition to the books, she sends me articles and pictures of food, mostly pastry. She has been a constant source of inspiration. Her birthday is coming up and because she lives in FL I can’t be at the party. In my stead I sent a cake to the party. My father, who lives just blocks from me, carried the cake on his lap during his flight to see her. When I handed over the cake, all nestled safely in a cake box, my dad said “can’t you pack it with pop corn or bubble wrap?” I took a deep breath and said “No, dad you can’t pack a cake with bubble wrap!” LOL!

Happy Birthday Kristin! I love you bunches and hope the cake got to you in one piece and everyone enjoyed it!

To make Kristin’s cake you will need:

sponge cake ( I used this cinnamon sponge, but left out the cinnamon.)

Filling: I used 1 cup of the mocha buttercream and added 1/2 cup toasted coconut and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. I sandwiched the filling between the 3 layers: cake, filling, cake, filling, cake!


1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons strong coffee (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound bittersweet chocolate

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a medium sauce pan heat the cream, coffee and vanilla to a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate and butter. Cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently whisk to combine, until totally smooth. (If your ganache ever “breaks,” or separates all you have to do is blend it with a hand blender (Immersion Blender)for a minute or two. Or you can use your food processor and pulse a few times until the ganache is shiny and smooth again. Just don’t panic, it can be fixed! Let the ganache cool to room temperature.

Once the ganache is cooled you can spread it on the cake just like any other icing, see how here.

Piping the flowers: I used the remaining ganache to make the roses. I put it in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment and let it whip on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until it seems to thicken slightly.

The ganache may set up too much to pipe after sitting for a while. To continue to use, just heat slightly over a double boiler to soften slightly. To pipe the flowers you will need these cake decorating tips:

a Wilton 125 rose tip to pipe the roses, see how here.

a Wilton 366 leaf tip to pipe the leaves between the roses. Place all of the roses first and then fill in the blank spaces with the leaves.

an Ateco Tip – Plain – Size 2 round tip to pipe the bottom border.

Birthday Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

* Kristin called to say she got the cake in one piece (Thanks Dad!!!) and it is so beautiful she can’t cut into it and wants to have it bronzed! Hehehehe. Really, she hasn’t cut into it! OMG!

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52 thoughts to “My Aunt’s Birthday Cake flies to Florida!”

  1. It’s beautiful! You should make her another one in something sturdy and inedible so she CAN have it bronzed!

  2. Hi Zoe!

    Stunning cake what a beautiful and so yummy gift, impossible to see it in one piece…;) is a great temptation!

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  3. I can’t believe your dad carried this on his lap and it made it in one beautiful piece! It’s stunning. Chocolate roses — perfect! Lucky aunt.

  4. What a great niece you are. Your dad sounds pretty awesome too for carrying this cake on the plane. I’m nervous about any sort of transport. Transporting through the plane (and security) would be very nerve wracking.

  5. Zoe, That cake is amazing! If your dad is ever headed to NC I wouldn’t say no to a beautiful chocolate cake with roses on it. 🙂

  6. Hi Zoe…beautiful cake, I’m shocked it made it through security….they get real suspicious with food and something that beautiful could have been taken from him then eaten in the back room by the TSA people.

  7. Thanks!!!

    Hi Sue,

    I thought the same thing!That is why I took so many pictures, so when he showed up empty handed I could show her I really had made it. My dad must have charmed his way through!?


  8. Hi, When I bought my Artisan Bread in Five Min. book, I placed it on my blog for others to see. You commented on my blog. Today, Crafter’s Choice, the book club,I am a member of asked me to rate your book and write a review. Which I gave you 5 stars and told how great your book is. Also, there were other reviews, all were good. One review talked of the stone, how great it works. One person, said she even missed kneading the bread. lol Just wanted you to know. I need to write an article on my blog, and share with my readers, what a wonderful book this is.

  9. What a beautiful cake. Your photos are so inspiring and I love that you provide the recipes and instructions so we can try at home.

  10. Hi Candice,

    My apologies for not explaining that in the post. I’ve fixed that in the directions. Please let me know if you still have questions!

    Thanks! Zoë

  11. wooooooooow
    I wish I live in your area, I can learn so much from you
    AMAZING Talent.
    God Bless your Hands.

    p.s. I have your book and make several recipes from it

  12. Oh, Zoe, what a magical treat it must have been for your aunt to open the package and find this beautiful cake! Brava!

  13. Zoe, love your blog. As a native Minnesotan living in Cleveland, I feel like I get a slice of home when you mention the cities!

    Speaking of slice, I am planning on making this cake for my SIL. She hates coffee, so I don’t think I can do the Mocha buttercream filling. Does the espresso taste come through, or does it just complement the chocolate? I’d make a test batch, but I’m not a good judge since I love coffee. Would the Ganache work for the filling also, or do I need to contrast with another buttercream? I think I’ll end up with a chocolate cake since she’s a big chocolate fan. Thanks, I always look forward to your new posts!

  14. hey zoe! =) i am plannign to make tthe devils food cake with mocha buttercream mnus the mocha ..tee hee…and make these roses on top…so just wodnerign cause i dont think i ll hav time to make all the companents at one shot.. can i make the ganache for the roses a day earlier?

  15. also! im making the roses now and i have about 17, and it just hit me, the cake above, w as it a 8 inch or a 6 inch? tryign to figure out how many roses i w ould need to cover an 8 inch cake!!

  16. Hi Zoe, I really adore your blog and have used a number of your recipes. I just came across this site: and it might just be me being paranoid but it looks like someone is using a pic of yours (or at least incredibly similar to yours) without attribution?

    1. Hi SM,

      Yep, that is my photo! Shame people think it is ok to poach images and not give credit! 🙁

      Thanks for letting me know! Zoë

  17. Thats a beautiful cake, I was planning to bake a chocolate cake and I am going to attempt that, I have done butter cream roses before with the nail, still trying to perfect them, they seem to fall apart when I take them off with the scissors. Are these made with chocolate butter cream or chocolate ganache…thank you

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