Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebration Cake (Yellow Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache)

When it comes to yellow cake, fluffy and moist are where it's at in my book. But sometimes I just can't deal with all the crumbs that break off the second I apply frosting. Especially in planning my first ever multiple-tiered cake, I knew I'd need a yellow cake endowed with a touch more strength and structure than my current go-to. I get enough baking anxiety without adding collapsing cake tiers to the not-so-little list of horrors! Luckily my favorite white cake recipe had a yellow cake (egg yolk) variation built right in! A double batch was just right for the 2 tall tiers pictured above (5 x 4 inches and 8 x 5 inches), and the cake came out nicely firm without sacrificing moistness or flavor.

SMS Cake
Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache and Covered in Fondant

Surrounding each cake layer was a generous coating of milk chocolate ganache (I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus bars, which are just $5 for 17.6 oz. and taste seriously amazing). I recommend a milk chocolate-to-heavy cream ratio of 2.8 or 2.9 to 1 so that the ganache will set up firmly and provide a sturdy, smooth (and decadent) base for your fondant covering. And I calculated the total amount of ganache needed using this awesome tool called The Ganacherator. Now if you've read anything about fondant, you'll have heard that a cake covered in fondant will only look as good (read: smooth and straight) as the buttercream or ganache underneath. This is absolutely true, and ganache is much easier to learn with as it will set really firm at room temperature (unlike buttercream). Making celebration cakes is really an art-form and I've got a long long ways to go (as evidenced by the elephant skin, not-quite-straight sides, and drooping of the corners in the above cake). But for anyone interested in going down the rabbit hole, I've shared some of my favorite video tutorials below of ganaching, covering, and smoothing the fondant to get a clean professional look to your fondant cakes. I hope this helps the other beginners out there, and I'd love to get feedback on improving my fondant work from any cake experts out there! Cheers!

Making Ganache for Decorating Cakes by Inspired by Michelle
Covering a Cake in Ganache with Smooth and Straight Sides by Inspired by Michelle
Rolling out Fondant, Covering, and Smoothing a Ganached Cake by Planet Cake
Smoothing Cake Covered in Fondant to Get Sharp Edges by Inspired by Michelle


  1. Absolutely lovely! And fondant looks gorgeous!!!

    Hugs <3

  2. Looks absolutely perfect! And love the videos :-)

  3. This is such a fabulous tutorial-esque post!! I need so many cake decorating/fondant tips it's not even funny. And I use TJ's chocolate also!

  4. Gorgeous!! What were you ever worried about, of COURSE you can make a tiered cake. ; ) Just the first of many no doubt!

  5. Now I am sure you are addicted to them and will be looking for every opportunity to bake more of them :)At least that's what happens to me whenever I conquer a new baking technique.Can't wait to see your line of wedding cakes :) I hope to bake one of these some day too, think I'll start by making a mini version!Thanks for the tutorials & inspiration as always!

  6. Your cake looks beautiful and smooth. I can't wait to see you videos especially on the fondant which I haven't tried before but was planning to take a course. Thanks for sharing these.

  7. Wow beautiful cake!! I've never made a cake like this, especially layered but it's fun to watch someone make it!

  8. Beautiful creation! I have not mustered up the courage to bake my own layered cake yet, but you give me inspiration =)


  9. Thanks for these videos Xiaolu. I always prefer learning from videos, and spend a shamefully large amount of time on YT. Never came across these videos though, they are really great, I learnt quite a bit. And your cake looks awesome, no elephant skin anywhere!


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