Dr. Snowflake Cake That The Universe Did Not Want Me To Make

Speaking of baking, I baked a cake for my work Christmas potluck on Friday. I had seen this fancy looking snowflake cake in a little free Kraft recipe magazine I’d picked up at the grocery store. The recipe itself sounded horrible – it’s all use-every-Kraft-ingredient-under-the sun. Like Cool Whip and Jello Pudding mixed together for the icing and Kraft jam in the middle. Barftastic. But it looked so pretty, so I decided to make a cake that was delicious and then decorate all pretty-like with snowflakes.

First of all, I knew that I had to make the snowflakes, that were made out of white chocolate, at least a day in advance as they needed chilling time. So I set out to make them one night and, stupidly, followed the instructions on the box for melting the white chocolate in the microwave. Which resulted in this pile of burntness:

Melted and burnt white chocolate - shouldn't have followed the instructions!

For the record, that brown bit in the middle isn’t regular chocolate – it’s white chocolate that got burnt all to hell by following the instructions! Happily, I’d bought extra white chocolate since I figured that the snowflakes would be finicky to make and I wanted to have extra on hand. And I don’t generally have white chocolate in my house because white chocolate is the devil – a disgrace to the word “chocolate”1, so I only use it when I’m making something that needs to be white. Like snowflakes. Or eyeballs.

Anyway, once I had some non-burnt melted white chocolate, I piped it in the shape of snowflakes using some templates2 I’d drawn out and put underneath some wax paper:

Snowflake templates

The first bunch didn’t turn out that well, as the chocolate was runnier than I thought it would be, so flakes that looked lovely at first ended up looking like a pile of mush as the chocolate spread out before it hardened. So I made some more and got them into the fridge faster and I ended up with some good ones, which I put into a Tupperware container. But, being the worrywart that I am, the next night I made a few more just to be sure I’d have enough of the perfect ones – I figured it would be better to have too many than too few and I knew there was a chance that I might break some, because they are pretty fragile!

I baked the cakes the night before and set out to decorate them when I got home from work, but before I had to leave for the party. I made a chocolate ganache to put in the middle of the two cake layers3 and then some buttercream icing to cover the whole thing. But as I went into the fridge to get something as I was making this stuff, I knocked the Tupperware with the majority of the snowflakes onto the floor, shattering every last one in the box! Thank the FSM that I’d made the extras, which were still sitting on the cookie sheets in the fridge!

So I had to use those few flakes from the last batch, which weren’t all my best ones and were disproportionately big ones, whereas I wanted to have good mix of different sizes. I also noticed as I decorated the cake that my buttercream icing was so very white that it made the white chocolate snowflakes look yellow. Thus, it was not my best work, but at least it tasted good!

snowflake cake

  1. Technically, it is not actually chocolate. It’s cocoa butter and sugar and evil. []
  2. Which I will also use as templates for making meringue snowflakes. Because I am all about efficiency []
  3. Ganache, for the uninitiated, is a French word that translates to “the easiest thing in the world to make, but boy does it sound fancy!” []

Comments |11|

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  • hey, I’ve burnt chocolate in the microwave too! How did you end up doing it?

    FWIW, I think your cake looks delish. Just needs an action shot of your coworkers devouring it.

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  • Remind me never never NEVER to ask you to do *ANYTHING* delicate or that requires any kind of grace. That sounds like one of the biggest tragedy of errors ever. It is a damn good thing you never became a medical doctor. I’m surprised they let you drive! 😛

    Your definition of ganache, however, is awesome.

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  • @Jody – I nuked it in 15 second installments, stirring in between. I think it took me about 45 seconds of nuking time, whereas the instructions said to nuke for 2 minutes! I also didn’t wait for it all melt in the microwave – where there were just a few little lumps let, I just stirred it until the heat of the melted chocolate melted the rest of it.

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  • Baking is such a science. For that reason, you’d think I’d like baking! Alas, that is not the case. Your cake looks so delish! Remind me to always ask you to do ANYTHING delicate, like bake a cake, and I’m sure you’ll do it gracefully with lots of TLC! That’s how I would do it, and we’re twins. Thank goodness you’re a doctor who specializes in all things awesome!

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  • That cake looks freaking amazing, and given how finicky baking can be I am impressed. I’ve had my share of baking mishaps, so I definitely feel your pain. One particularly memorable event required that I melt about 8 lbs of butter (when I worked at a bakery). There was a tour group going through the bakery at the time so we were asked to try to keep everything as tidy as possible apron wise (a little flour in the air was considered appropriate). As I was removing the container of melted butter from the microwave, and in full view of the tour, I fumbled it and spilled the entire container all over myself. I’ll tell you this; nothing feels quite like melted butter as it spills down your pants and into your shoes. Worst baking day ever.

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  • oh my god Dan, were you burned?! That sounds like absolutely the worst setting in which to be covered in melted butter.

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  • Thankfully the apron absorbed most of the heat – so while it was hot, it wasn’t scalding or anything like that. And I should add – it wasn’t melted to the point of being completely liquid oil – slightly more solid than completely melted, but still quite runny as to make its way down my legs in short time.

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  • I think it is a pretty awesome looking cake, and I have a solution for your white/yellow dilemma. Next time put blue food colouring in the icing = white snowflakes on a blue sky.

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  • I was thinking the blue food colouring in the icing was a terrific suggestion and then I saw who suggested it….now I know it’s an awesome suggestion!! 🙂 And your cake looked fabulous just the way it was.

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