Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Here is Fabio’s birthday cake from this year, it is a vanilla buttermilk cake, filled with lemon curd and strawberries, wrapped in dark chocolate and tied with a blue tinted white chocolate bow.  I got the idea for the wrapped cake design from dean and deluca where they make a wrapped cake like this for $150 and I just had to recreate it myself.  

The chocolate covering is made of modeling chocolate which I have learned is very simple to make.  All you have to do is melt chocolate, pour in corn syrup and stir until it firms up – allow the ‘dough’ to cool, knead a little bit and it’s ready to go.  I like how it’s a tasty alternative to using fondant to cover a cake and importantly the white chocolate can easily be dyed any color to suit any occasion.  I’m looking forward to making another cake with different colored stripes next.

The cake part of this recipe and the buttercream is from smitten kitchen and I will just link directly to the recipe as I don’t think I can add anything to it, I just followed the directions and made 3 – 8 inch square cakes for the layers.

The lemon curd is from the batch we posted last week and the combination of the fresh strawberries, vanilla cake, buttercream outer layer and thinly rolled chocolate really did work very well together – I am now just waiting for the next birthday so I can justify making this elaborate cake once again.  


Vanilla buttermilk cake /  Torta de vainilla con leche de mantequilla

Lemon curd / Crema de limón

Modeling chocolate / Chocolate moldeable

1 lb chocolate (White, milk or dark) / libra de chocolate (blanco, de leche o amargo)

1/2 cup corn syrup (5.65 ounces) / tazas de jarabe de maíz (5.6 onzas )

If you have a strange amount of chocolate you can follow this simple formula (that I did not invent but that I read on a website that i did not bookmark) / Si no sabes cuanto chocolate tienes, puedes usar esta fórmula (la cual yo no inventé, lo leí en un sitio web el cual no guarde el link)

If you have 1/2 lb chocolate or .5 lbs then multiply / Si tienes 1/2 libras de chocolate, multipica:

.5 * 5.65 = 2.8

So with 1/2 lb of chocolate you would add 2.8 ounces of corn syrup / Por lo tanto por cada 1/2 libra de chocolate pon 2.8 onzas de jarabe de maíz.


  • In advance, prepare the cake layers, lemon curd, and modeling chocolate (instructions below) / Antes de todo prepare con aticipación las capas de torta, crema de limón y el chocolate moldeable.
  • Melt chocolate in a double broiler or (like in our house) in a stainless steel bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water / Derrita el chocolate en baño maría.

  • Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat, and pour in corn syrup.  Mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the ingredients together, the mixture will stiffen up quickly and begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl, holding together as a soft dough after about 30 seconds /  Después de que el chocolate este derretido, agregar el jarabe de maíz, despues de 30 segundos la mezcla debera ser como una masa suave.
  • Pour the chocolate ‘dough’ onto a sheet of parchment to cool / Poner el chocolate en papel especial para hornear y dejar enfriar.
  • If using white chocolate – what you may notice is that as you stir in the corn syrup, a lot of the oil from the chocolate will start to release and separate.  This is normal, just stop mixing and set it aside to cool  / Cuando estes usando chocolate blanco vas a notar de que al poner el jarabe de maíz la masa se va a tornar grasosa (esto es normal), dejar a un lado y enfriar.
  • The white chocolate, if a lot of oil has separated off, will need some kneading, so pick up the dough in your hands and while holding it over the bowl, begin to squeeze the chocolate and fold the mixture over and over in your hands.  Try not to drain off the oil, if it seeps into the bowl that is fine, but you do want some of the oil to remain in the modeling chocolate, it will keep the chocolate from being grainy and brittle / Si es que mucho aceite esta saliendo del chocolate blanco este va a necesitar ser fusileado, por lo tanto toma el chocolate y trata de escurrirlo con tus manos, trata de no sacar todo el aceite pues luego necesitaras que el chocolate tenga este.
  • My first batch I immediately drained off all the oil and was left with a grainy mess that wouldn’t hold together, but the second time around I made an effort of re-incorporating some of the oil into the mixture and was left with a perfect mass of modeling chocolate  / Cuando hice por primera vez el chocolate blanco moldeable, saque todo el aceite y fue un error, pues se deshizo en pedazos y no quedaba junta la masa. La segunda vez lo hice diferente dejando un poco de aceite en el chocolate y fue perfecto para moldear.

Some useful tips for making this cake  / Algunos consejos para hacer esta torta

  • Freeze the cake after it is baked and cooled – this allows you to make the cake ahead of time – even a week or so – so that you only have to worry about the assembly on the day of / Congela la torta después de hornearla, puede ser por dias o semanas, esto ayudará a no dejar todo para ultima hora y tener mas tiempo perfecionar la torta.
  • Level the cakes with a serrated knife when the cakes have just come out of the freezer.  Trim the edges so that each cake is a perfect square with sharp edges for the box shape / Para que la torta tenga unas medidas perfectas, sacalas del congelador ponlas una arriba de otra, con un cuchillo corta los lados para que así sea una sola medida perfecta.
  • It will make it easier to move the cake around for icing and wrapping if you construct it on a cake board.  I made a cake board that was cut to fit right onto the serving plate we were using.  I used some strong cardboard from the back of a sketchbook, cut it into a square and wrapped it several times in wax paper / Será mas fácil  ensamblar y decorar la torta en el mismo plato el cual se va a servir o mostrar la torta, te recomiendo que hagas esto para así no trasportar la torta hacia otro plato ya que en ese proceso puedes dañar seta.
  • Begin to assemble the cake – On the base layer of cake spread a thick layer of lemon curd and top with sliced strawberries.  I also spread a thin layer of lemon curd to the bottom of the next layer of cake so that all the surfaces of the cake have the extra moisture and flavor of the lemon curd.  Repeat with the second layer of cake and top with the final cake square / Para ensamblar la torta – agregar crema de limón y frutillas sobre la primera base, tambien puedes agregar un poquito de crema de limon sobre la otra base de torta la cual vas a poner encima, repetir esto hasta que este todo ensamblado.
  • I covered the cake with a Swiss buttercream to hold the layers of cake together and to have something for the modeling chocolate to grip to / Para cubir la torta puedes usar el glaseado que mas quieras, yo use crema de matequilla suiza. Esto ayudara para que el chocolate moldeable tenga una base y asi quede adjunto.

  • Before covering the cake with the first layer of buttercream I measured a sheet of wax paper to cover the cake, as though it were wrapping paper, so that I would know exactly how big the sheet of modeling chocolate would need to be  / Otro consejo, mide la torta antes de poner el glaseado, con estas medidas corta papel para hornear, de esta forma cuando hagas el chocolate moldeable sabrás las medidas para hacer éste y poner sobre la torta.
  • I used a pasta roller to roll out the sheets of chocolate to the #4 setting.  I then trimmed each sheet to be a straight ribbon and placed them on the measured wax paper and continued rolling chocolate until the whole sheet of waxed paper was filled up with ribbons of chocolate / para moldear el chocolate usé una máquina para hacer pasta, de esta manera el chocolate va a quedar fino y largo.

  • All the ribbons of chocolate were slightly overlapping each other but they were not completely joined yet so to create the single sheet that I needed, I placed another sheet of waxed paper overtop and manually rolled them all together with a pin  / Pon el chocolate el cual moldeastes en la máquina para hacer pasta, junta todos los pedazos de chocolate y fusilea todos para hacer una sola masa.

  • This I then placed on a cookie sheet and put into the refrigerator for about ten minutes to firm up a bit  / Luego pon en el refrigerado por diez minutos.
  • I did two layers of buttercream, the first was just a crumb coat and the second was a more substantial layer so that the modeling chocolate would have a smooth surface to meld to / El glaseado en la torta tiene que quedar suave para que así el chocolate pueda adjuntarse bien.
  • Once the second layer of buttercream was finished, and the sheet of modeling chocolate had firmed up a bit in the fridge I took it out, peeled off the wax paper and positioned it carefully directly center over the cake and folded down all four sides of the sheet, making sure that the ‘wrapping’ covered all the icing and reached down to the base  /  Luego poner el chocolate moldeable sobre la torta, hacer esto con mucho cuidado, teniendo en cuenta de que el chocolate este cubriendo los cuatro lados de la torta
  • Now, just like wrapping a present, you will be left with triangles jutting out the four corners.  On two opposite sides of the cake fold these triangle flaps toward each other and seal in the middle.  It doesn’t have to look perfect in the center as you will be covering the seams where these flaps meet with another ribbon  / Ahora juega con el chocolate, comienza a envolver la torta como envolviendo un regalo.

  • Using the Blue tinted white chocolate I rolled out two long ribbons and placed them in a cross over the ‘present’ and then got to work on the bow. I wasn’t able to take photos of the bow in progress but you essentially just take one wide and long ribbon, fold the ends toward the center, overlapping a bit, and then cinch the middle, leaving the folds loose and open on the sides.  The ribbons coming from the bow are simple, just bunch them up however you like and they will hold their position  / Usa colorante azul para hacer los lazos del la torta, de la misma manera como hicistes el chocolate oscuro haz el chocolate blanco con color azul. No te olvides de hacer un moño para la torta, este es el toque especial.

The night of…

and a piece the next day…