My daughter loves having homemade layer cake for her birthday. Two years ago I made her a Frozen cake, but last year my oven broke just prior to her party and I had to purchase one. This year we were back to homemade, and her request was a Littlest Pet Shop theme.
My daughter LOVES chocolate cake; it’s her absolute favorite. If she had her choice, she would have every last drop of her cake be chocolate. My daughter is a sweet soul though, and told me to put a layer of vanilla in the center for those who aren’t obsessed with chocolate.
This cake is basically the same recipe as my old fashioned chocolate cake, with an extra vanilla layer in the center. (I used additional chocolate frosting to compensate for filling the extra vanilla cake).
To decorate, I used pink and purple piping icing around the circumference of the top and bottom of the cake. I generously filled the center with pastel diamond sprinkles. The sides of the cake were ringed with candy hearts. To top things off, I placed a Littlest Pet Shop cat and dog set above the sprinkles and wrote her name on top of homemade chocolate letters. (The chocolate letters did not set well, but covering them in more frosting solved that issue).
The cake was VERY rich, very chocolatey. Given the choice, I preferred the Frozen cake because the vanilla frosting adds some lightness and variety. My daughter preferred the Littlest Pet Shop cake with its generous chocolate frosting.
- For the chocolate layers:
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened well
- 1 & ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 & ¾ cup white sugar, separated
- 1 & ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- For the vanilla layer:
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1&1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1&3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ (heaping) cup buttermilk
- For the chocolate frosting:
- 3 sticks butter, softened
- 2 cups cocoa powder
- 3 lb. powdered sugar (about 12 cups)
- 1+ cups whole milk
- 1&1/2 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pink & purple piping icing
- pastel diamond sprinkles
- Littlest Pet Shop figures
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- Combine unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over medium saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir mixture with silicon spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup white sugar to chocolate and stir until glossy, 1-2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in glass measuring cup. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat eggs, egg yolks, and 1&1/4 cups sugar on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high, and whisk until thick and voluminous, about 8 minutes.
- Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing on low speed.
- Add about one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture. Beat on low speed until batter is thoroughly combined. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter with a rubber spatula to make sure all flour is incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Spin pans carefully but quickly on a level surface to create a small crater in the center of the batter. (This will make your cakes bake at a more level height and prevent a dome in the center). Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes on wire racks before frosting, at least 2 hours.
- While the chocolate cakes are baking, make the vanilla cake. Grease and flour another 9 inch round cake pan.
- In the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar very well.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla, mixing on medium speed two minutes.
- Beat in half of the flour and the baking powder on low speed. Add the buttermilk and continue beating. Add the remainder of the flour and beat on low speed until combined.
- Pour into prepared pan. Turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake for 35-38 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool before frosting.
- To make frosting, add all ingredients to stand mixer. Beat on low speed until almost incorporated. Add additional teaspoons of milk until frosting is desired consistency. Beat frosting on medium-high speed for several minutes, until thick and fluffy.
- To frost, spread a generous cup of frosting on top of a chocolate layer. Top with the vanilla cake. Frost top of vanilla cake generously. Top with second chocolate layer. Frost top and then entire cake with a crumb coat. (This means to thinly frost the entire surface of the cakes). Refrigerate 30 minutes to set the crumb coat. Next frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
- Decorate as desired. Keep cake tightly sealed with plastic wrap and refrigerated for optimum quality.