Tag Archives: cake

How to Make a Surprise-Inside Cake

Say Goodbye to Ordinary Cakes.

Gone are the days of cakes with only cake inside.

It turns out, you can put nearly anything into a cake…even a SHARK…and it’s easy to do!

We take SHARK WEEK pretty seriously around here.  We are equally enthusiastic about dessert.  This post is dedicated to sharks everywhere…and desserts…although mainly sharks…and desserts.Shark Week Cake

Lately, I’ve been seeing all these amazing “reveal” cakes.  It started in July with a cake that had a flag baked inside.  I mean, wow.  It didn’t stop there, either.  I saw checker board cakes, piñata cakes, cakes with names baked inside for crying out loud!  HOW DO THEY DO THAT?  All I could think was there must be some sort of special, top-secret cake mold circulating out there amongst the most privileged and talented bakers.  That prompted me to begin my quest to learn the art of baking a cake with something surprising inside and I’m not talking about eggshells! 

I did my research (a.k.a. Pinterest) and have been  anxiously waiting for just the right occasion to try my hand at this magical art of cakeology.  It was imperative that I try this.  I needed one magnificent day of celebration to debut my un-tested theory of how to accomplish such a feat.  Instead of one day, I was gifted with an entire week.  A holiday that I nearly overlooked until it snuck up on me like a stealthy great white stalking it’s prey.  SHARK WEEK.  Eureka!

I set out on a search to find a shark-shaped cookie cutter, I picked up some brightly colored cake mix and blue frosting and I started out on my quest.  The result?  Borderline Fabulous.

My next obstacle quickly presented itself.  Do I keep this mysterious cake phenomenon discovery to myself or share it with the world?  My friends, this information is too valuable not to share.  This will change the way you look at cakes…forever.

(I used Pillsbury “Funfetti” cake mixes and Frosting.  The colors are really vibrant and they come in smaller “cupcake” size packets.  They ended up tasting really good for a mix and had the consistency of a sponge cake.)

I mixed up the purple cake batter and baked in a square pan, slightly larger than the pan size recommended because I wanted a nice, large cake that I could easily cut the shark shape out using my cookie cutter. Bake according to package directions (or just a few minutes less than the recommended time since this cake will be baked again once inside the blue cake).  Cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack in the cake pan.  Invert directly onto a cooling rack and refrigerate for a few hours.Shark Week Cake

If you have a rounded top, level your cake by using a serrated knife and lift off, leaving a pretty uniform cake layer.  Using your cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can fit from this cake.Shark Week Cake


Prepare your next cake pan and mix up the batter for the cake that will be on the “outside”.

Shark Week Cake

Pour just enough of the “outside batter” on the bottom of the prepared pan to cover it.  Line up your cut-outs and position them tightly touching each other in your pan.Shark Week Cake

Carefully, pour your “outside batter” around the cut-outs and spread evenly over the top.Shark Week

Bake according to package directions.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and finish cooling completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Shark Week CakeI felt like a little kid with a secret as I decorated this cake with my kids today.  They had no idea that this was no ordinary cake.  I giggled all throughout dinner (tuna casserole, again a nod to shark week).  I was so nervous as I made my first cut into the cake.  I had been imaging the shrieks of shock and amazement I would hear from my family all evening.  Would there really be a purple shark inside?  Was that even possible?  I’m no cake wizard, but, by golly, as that first piece of cake was cut away, there, swimming in a sea of blue cake and frosting was the most feared predator in the sea.Shark Week Cake

Cheers and cries of pure joy filled my kitchen.  Once I stopped making all that racket, I could hear that my kids were equally excited.  Success.




Oreo Cake

oreo cakeThis Oreo Cake is da-bomb.  Okay, well I’m not really cool enough to use the phrase “da-bomb” but you get my drift.  It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s chocolaty and it’s a snap to make.  It’s been requested by all of my kids for their birthdays and I recently made it for my mother-in-laws birthday.  It’s good.  It has over 700 reviews and a 5 star rating on Kraft’s website.  700 people can’t be wrong.  If you’re my personal trainer, please avert your eyes. oreo cake


  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil’s food cake mix
  • 4 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups thawed whipped topping
  • 12 Oreo cookies, crushed


Heat oven to 350 F

1.  Follow package directions on cake mix in 2 (9 inch) round pans.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Invert onto wire racks and cool completely.

2.  Microwave chocolate and butter until butter is melted.  Stir until chocolate melts and set aside to cool slightly – about 5 minutes at room temperature.

3.  In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until well blended.  Stir in the whipped topping and then gently fold in the crushed cookies.

Putting it all together (the FUN part):

Start with one cake layer on your cake platter (or plate).  Evenly spread cream cheese mixture and top with remaining cake layer.

Pour the cooled chocolate/butter glaze on top, being careful to not let it drip down the sides.  This layer will cool into a nice hard chocolate top.  You can add more cookies on top to decorate but you must do it before it hardens completely.

Keep refrigerated.

Recipe from:  Kraft Recipes



Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Williams-Sonoma


I needed a cake for our annual church cake raffle.  I knew that not just any old cake would do.  I committed myself to the mission of seeking out and baking the most decadent, chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth, sinfully blissful cake that ever existed.  Enter the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Williams- Sonoma.  The result?  Well, I don’t want to brag, but I know call this my $100 cake.  Cha-ching!

032This cake is not for the faint of heart. Ohh the chocolate!  It requires a certain amount of dedication.  It requires a large colossal bundt cake pan (15 cups!)  *I don’t actually own a bundt pan that size, so I used the largest one I had a made a few cupcakes with the left over batter.  We’ll talk about those cupcakes later. 


For the cake:

  • 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting pan
  • 7 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 20 Tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


For the ganache:

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


036Start with all of your ingredients at room temperature. Don’t skip this step, it really does matter.  Nerd alert!  Want some science to back that up?  Cold ingredients like eggs, butter and milk don’t completely incorporate together the way that room temperature ingredients do.  You need your ingredients to fully incorporate and bond together to form an emulsion…because that’s how air gets trapped making your baked goods light and airy instead of dense and clumpy.  Nobody likes dense and clumpy.  Set those ingredients out 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead of time and make yourself a cup of coffee.  Patience is a virtue, so is light and airy chocolate cake.

Pre-heat an oven to 325 degrees F. Grease your bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.

To make the cake:

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, repeating until well blended.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of cocoa powder and the finely chopped chocolate.  Carefully pour in the boiling water and whisk until the chocolates combine into a smooth, velvety river of chocolate heaven.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for a good 30 to 45 seconds.  Reduce the speed to low and add the brown sugar, beating until well blended.  Now it’s time to add air because air = light and fluffy cake!  Beat at a medium speed for about 5 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time until blended.  You want everything to really have a change to incorporate before adding more, so beat and scrape and beat and add and beat some more.  Add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute.

Time to fold in the dry flour mixture that’s been patiently waiting on your waxed paper.  To prevent a heavy, dense cake, you will reduce your mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time and alternating with the addition of the sour cream.  This sounds more complicated than it actually is.  It looks like this, or something similar.  Add 1/3 flour, beat just until blended, add 1/2 sour cream, beat just until blended, add 1/3 flour, beat just until blended, add the rest of the sour cream, beat just until blended, add the last of the flour mixture and beat just until blended.  Scrape sides of bowl as needed.

Pour in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and beat until full incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Fold in the chocolate chips by hand using a rubber spatula.

That sounds eerily like a step-aerobic sequence…add, beat, add, beat, scrape, add, beat…and then reward yourself with chocolate.

Your batter is ready!  Grab your greased and cocoa-ed  bundt cake pan and start pouring.  Using your rubber spatula, spread your batter until the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center of the cake.  Do not overfill your cake pan.  If you have left over batter, I suggest making cupcakes. Ohhh, the delicious cupcakes.   

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 10- 15 minutes.  Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and lift off the pan.  Let the cake cool completely for at least 1 hour.

To make the ganache:

Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium size glass (or other heat proof) bowl.  Set aside but keep handy- you’ll be adding hot cream in just a minute!  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil, being careful to not scorch it. Pour the hot cream into the chocolate and butter and whisk until melted.

Slide a waxed paper lined baking sheet under your wire cooling rack (to catch the drips).  Pour the warm glaze over the top of the cake, watching with pride as it drips down the sides and middle of the cake.  Let the cake cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes and swear vengeance on anybody who sticks their finger in the ganache to taste it.

*That’s where the cupcakes come back into play!  They are small, they cool faster, they are single servings, they are your golden ticket to tasting the heaven on Earth you’ve just created without having to cut into the masterpiece that is now cooling on the wire rack.  Do it.  You’ve earned it.

Option: You could be a real show-off and coat with more chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles or you could wait until it’s cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Serves 16