My sweet boy Aaron recently turned 19. And he has been a lover of all things camping in the past several years. So, first of all, I had asked him what kind of cake he wanted. He said he wanted homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I remembered that my Mom used to make a super moist chocolate cake when I was a kiddo and I asked her about it. She didn't have the recipe but she said she knew the secret ingredient in it was mayonnaise. So I went on a mission and found a chocolate mayo cake recipe. I then decided to surprise him with camping theme and found these adorable decorations in a set on amazon. Just look up camping cake toppers.
I found the cake recipe on foodnetwork.com but I didn't use the buttercream recipe it had. I used a different frosting recipe. I found it on sallysbakingaddiction.com Here is the chocolate buttercream frosting I made:
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
- Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it’s creamy again.
I love that the cake topper set I found even had a tent that you could light up with the silhouette of a camper inside. I also ordered a set of cake topper plastic forest trees. And then I used sprinkles and colored sugar to add water and green grass. It was so fun to do! And the cake turned out moist, delicious and rich. So yummy! 😋
Aaron loved it and especially the camping surprise. ⛺️ 🌲
And finally here is the recipe I used for his cake:
Unsalted butter, for buttering the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2/3 unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of each with parchment.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 1/3 cups warm water.
- Beat together the sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the mayonnaise and the melted chocolate until just combined.
- Alternate beating the flour mixture and the espresso mixture on medium-high speed into the chocolate-egg mixture until just combined; work in 4 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Take care not to over mix.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake until the cakes are set and the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans set on a rack for 20 minute. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the parchment paper and cool completely.
- Frost the cake: Put 1 cake round on a cake stand or large serving plate and evenly spread 3/4 cup frosting over it. Top with the other cake round. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. The cake can be frosted up to a day in advance. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.