I posted a sneak peak of this cake on my Instagram story about a month ago with a promise to post the recipe soon. Well, a month later and I finally have the recipe for this Cute Succulent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Pistachio Buttercream. Isn’t that a mouthful? I made this cake for my mom’s birthday and she absolutely loved it! The succulent chocolate cake was inspired by the many different succulent cakes I have seen on Instagram. In fact, it was this photo that prompted me to embark on decorating the cake in this way, in the first place.
I actually took three days to make this chocolate succulent cake. You could easily make the entire cake in a day if you manage your time right but I certainly did not want to take any risks. I don’t know about you but I find baking cakes in a rush to be a bad idea! You certainly do not have to decorate the cake the same way I did, feel free to spice it up in your own way. I just wanted to try something new.
Like I was saying, it took me three days to make the cake because I broke it down into steps. On day one I piped all the decorative succulents and I bought the macarons (I had no desire to make them LOL). On day two I baked the cake. And finally on day three I made the chocolate buttercream and assembled and decorated the entire cake. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 🙂
Lately, I have been obsessed with 6-inch cakes. I think they are easier to decorate since there is less of a surface to cover. However, I am a bit nostalgic for 9-inch cakes and I really feel like I should go back to making those. In any case, this recipe works for 6, 8 or 9-inch cakes. Although you may have some leftover batter that you can easily turn into cupcakes.
What makes this succulent chocolate cake special is that fact that I add real melted chocolate to the cake. This addition of added chocolate just amplifies the taste! I also use cake flour. You do not need to use cake flour (for the longest time I never did and my cakes were still tasty). However, I find the addition of the cake flour to help yield a more tender and softer crumb.
Finally, I have two buttercream flavours here – chocolate and pistachio. I use pistachio extract to get the flavour for my buttercream and you can too! You can also opt out and make regular vanilla buttercream or if you have almond extract you can add a teensy splash of that instead. And now without further ado let’s get into the recipe shall we?
cocoa powder & real melted chocolate. need I say more?
This adorable 6-inch cake has a deep and wonderful chocolate flavour that is complemented by a light pistachio flavour and a rich chocolate buttercream.
Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Butter and line two 6-inch cake pans and set aside. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars for 5 minutes, making sure to scrape down as needed.
While the butter is creaming, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, careful not to burn the chocolate. Set aside and let cool. In a small bowl whisk together the coffee and buttermilk and set aside. Finally, in a medium-sized bowl sift together all the dry ingredients. Once all this is completed we can start mixing the ingredients together!
Once the butter and sugars have been creamed, turn the mixer to low and add one egg at a time. Mix for 1 minute after each addition of an egg. After all the eggs have been added, mix the ingredients together for another 2 minutes. Add the extracts and mix on high speed until the batter had doubled in size, be sure to scrape down the sides.
Either using the stand mixer on low speed, or a spatula, begin to add 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 the coffee mixture. Alternate between the two, beginning and ending with the flour. Be careful not to over mix. Add the melted chocolate and give one last fold.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake them for 30-40 minutes or until cooked. Depending on how deep your cake pans are, it may take longer or shorter to cook. You can check on the doneness of your cake around the 25-minute mark. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans and letting them cool completely.
While the cakes are cooking and cooling you can prepare the buttercream.
Cream together the butter and icing sugar. Add the full cream and whip on high for 5 minutes until the buttercream doubles in size. Remove 1/3 of the mixture and place it in 2 small-sized bowls and set aside. Meanwhile, add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract to the buttercream in the stand mixer. Adjust for taste.
In the small bowls, divide the pistachio extract evenly between the two creams. Add food colouring (pink in one and green in the other) to achieve the desired colour. Place in piping bags and pipe succulents onto a cookie sheet. Freeze the succulents for 15 minutes or keep them in the freezer until you are ready to decorate your cake.
Assemble the cake and decorate it as you please!
If you do not have 6-inch cake pans you can always make this in 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans, though you may have leftover batter. In which case you can make cupcakes 🙂
I am no expert cake decorator but I definitely wanted to try something new and push myself out of my comfort zone. I followed random tutorials on YouTube and found some photos on Instagram for inspiration and just gave it a whirl! There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that show you how to make little succulents.
I used this colour chart by Wilton to get the colours for my buttercream succulents!