At this point in the holiday season, everything is wonderfully white and frosted. The world becomes adorned with glittery sprinkles and sweet warmth.
Why not make a contrast? For the season, while every cake is white-chocolate-this or eggnog-flavored-that, I wanted to make something to represent the darker side of the Christmas season.
Enter, what I like to call, the Krampus Cake. Derived from Alpine folklore, Krampus is meant to punish children who have been bad or naughty (Krampus does a multitude of other not-so-appropriate things). There are multiple websites (like Krampus.com) featuring the neat history and folklore of Krampus.
For the Krampus cake I decided to go with the ‘naughty’ flavor of velvet. A lot of the Victorian era illustrations depicting Krampus show him with dark [almost black] fur, so I wanted to recreate that sort of appearance of black and red.
I chose a black velvet cake and a red velvet frosting. In all honesty, velvet cakes are not one of my favorite flavors. Velvet cakes are neither completely chocolate nor are they completely vanilla, resulting in a weak flavor. Such a mild taste would not do this dramatic looking cake any justice. The recipe called for water, but I substituted it for coffee. The coffee highlighted and enhanced the cocoa in the recipe, and gave the cake a deeper, more definitive flavor.
Since one batch of frosting is NEVER enough for me, I filled the cake with black tinted sour cream frosting. The smooth silkiness of this filling plays well with the luscious ‘velvet’ flavor of the Krampus cake. Yes there is cake calls for ungainly amount of black food coloring. Be calm, it is in the name of beautiful ascetic cakes! I was initially was nervous to make a red frosting. Past experience has taught me that simply adding red coloring (even a whole bottle) will simply result in a very pink (but not red) frosting. The recipe I used from I am Baker adds cocoa powder. The addition of some chocolate gave the frosting that perfect bright and deep red hue. For my cake I added some black tinted ganache to the top as well as black sprinkles. Feel free to decorate the cake in anyway you choose.
- 2¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups of hot strong brewed coffee
- 1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons black gel food coloring
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt salt
- 2⅔ cup powdered sugar, NOT sifted (+plus more depending on your desired consistency)
- 1-2 tablespoons room temperature milk or as needed
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 one-ounce bottle red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Black food gel
- Black sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 8-inch pans with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
- Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl, and pour the hot coffee on top of it. Whisk the coffee and cocoa together until smooth, and then set aside until cooled.
- With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until they completely combined. Add in the vanilla.
- Gently add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and half of the chocolate. Mix to combine.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients and mix into a smooth batter. Add the black food coloring and mix completely in.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pans.
- Bake the cake layers about 22 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Let the cake layers cool completely before frosting them.
- Melt the butter in a medium size microwave-safe bowl. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it is almost fully melted. Microwave at 50% power for another 30 seconds and stir until chocolate is fully melted.
- Scrape into a large stand mixer bowl. Stir in the room temperature sour cream and then the vanilla. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until smooth and creamy. For thinner frosting, add a little milk.
- In a bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter and beat on a high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Reduce the speed to low and the add in sugar/cocoa mixture.
- With mixer on low speed, add in milk, red food coloring and vinegar.
- Beat on low/medium low speed until smooth.
- While the cake chills, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the cream until it bubble around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Whisk from the center outward, gradually stir from the center outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Whisk in the black food gel. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, yet still a pourable consistency.
- Level off the cakes, so each layer is flat.
- Frost each layer with a ring of Devil Red frosting to create a "moat" for the filling. Spoon in an even layer of the Black Chocolate Sour Cream filling. Stack the next layer on top and repeat the process.
- Do a light crumb coating on the outside of the cake and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Frost the cake with a final coat of frosting. Let the cake chill for a final 15 minutes
- Carefully pour ganache onto the top of the cake. Smooth it with an off set spatula.
- Decorate with black sprinkles.