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 cook books. 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!