My first theme cake – a chocolate cake with a marzipan Super Mario and mushrooms for my adorable son..!
I can… I cannot …. I can… I cannot..!! This was the mantra that was echoing through my thoughts all November. I had just had an exclusive request from my 5 year old son. It was his birthday and he wanted… (to the sound of trumpets)… a SUPER MARIO cake. .! Now… I can bake a decent cake but one with a theme was a first. My son has had his series of heroes. He started with Barney at age 1 moving to superman, batman and then Ben 10 in the subsequent years. After having bought almost 50 Ben10 watches… I guess Mario should have been a welcome change…. and in some ways it is..!!
A week of searching and numerous SOS calls later .. I was armed and ready to attempt the first theme cake I ever made… The basic cake is a chocolate layer cake with vanilla frosting on the sides and topped with chocolate ganache. The Mario figure and his mushroom are made with marzipan tinted with red and blue food colors.
Chocolate Layer Cake
(Recipe source: Ina Garten)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch round baking tins with butter and line with non-stick baking paper (grease paper). Dust the tins lightly with flour and tap out any excess.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients well on low speed so that everything is well combined. This is equivalent to sifting the dry ingredients with a fine mesh seive.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and slowly mix on low speed until just combined .
- Gradually add the coffee and mix until fully combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tins. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes; then invert the cakes and return the cakes to the wire rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.
- Semisweet chocolate chips 200gm
- Thick cream (I used Amul) 125ml
- Icing sugar 1/4 cup (optional)
- Heat the cream in the microwave till hot.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir till well combined. You can add some icing sugar if you want it more sweet… however I play around with the quantities to suit our taste buds.
- Butter 50gms
- Icing sugar 4 cups
- Clear vanilla essence 1 1/2 tsp
- Beat all together till light and fluffy.
Super Mario and Mushrooms
- Store bought marzipan 300 gms
- Red food color
- Blue food color
- Melted chocolate
- Divide the marzipan in three.
- Tint one portion red , one blue and other neutral.
- Make the cap and shirt and mushroom top with red.
- Make the Mario outfit with blue, face and shoes with neutral marzipan. I painted over with melted chocolate for the mustache, hair , eyes and shoes.
- Remove the parchment paper off the cakes and slice each one into two
- Moisten each layer with some sugar syrup.
- Put a spoonful of cream on the cake board. This will act as glue to keep the cake in place.
- Spread some vanilla frosting over the firs layer and scatter some chocolate chips on it.
- Now Place the second layer over it and repeat the process till all 4 layers are in place.
- Pour the ganache on the cake and spread it around the surface with a spatula till evenly spread. Refrigerate 30 Min till set.
- Now frost the sides with vanilla frosting. and decorate with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate stars and glace cherries.
Place the Mario and mushroom figures on the top, light up the candle and “ATTACK”..!!!
Well… for an adorable son whose greatest dream in life is to “… become big, open my office and fill it full of mushrooms, so I can eat and become big like Mario…” this cake and his mushroom were dreams come true… Here is wishing many more birthdays and countless other heroes in the years to come for my dear one …!!