If you want a little bang for your buck this Father’s Day, make the man in your life a camouflage cake. (If he’s not the outdoors type, use his favorite team colors instead.) I covered my cake with a fudgy coating topped with crushed chocolate cookies, chocolate deer, and candy trees. (My man’s happy place is in the woods.)
I’d like to call this a pound cake, but technically it isn’t. I used leavening (just a little) and my egg, sugar, flour, and butter ratio isn’t exactly the same. Still, if it looks like a pound cake, and tastes like a pound cake, well . . . it’s delicious.
I used thick, fudge-like icing on my cake. If you prefer a traditional drizzle, I recommend making a ganache. It’s easy and you can use it right away as a glaze or let it sit and thicken for a few hours, then spread it like soft frosting. To make the ganache, use equal amounts of a good dark chocolate and heavy cream. For a drizzle, 4 ounces of chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream should do it. (Double this if you plan to spread it on the whole cake.). Chop the chocolate into tiny pieces and put in a bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Stir gently. Let it sit on the counter, stirring occasionally until it’s the consistency you want.
Here’s the recipe. I’ll give you decorating ideas below.
|Camo Cake for "Deer Old Dad"|| |
- 2½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup strong coffee (mostly for color - you can just use buttermilk if preferred)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon "Special Dark" cocoa (or use regular cocoa and a little black food coloring)
- Green food coloring
- FUDGE COATING:
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 ounces chocolate (chocolate chips are okay)
- DECORATIONS (optional)
- Crushed chocolate cookies (remove filling first if using sandwich cookies)
- Green candy melts to make trees
- Plastic or chocolate deer, ducks, hunters, etc.
- Heat oven to 350 F. Line a large loaf pan with parchment. Spray any uncovered surface with baking spray (or grease and flour the exposed area). This recipe was made with a 10"x5" loaf pan. If your pan is smaller, don't fill more than ⅔ full. Make a few cupcakes if you have leftover batter.
- In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl often.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds with each addition. Scrape the bowl!
- Combine buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Alternately add flour and liquids, beginning with ⅓ of the flour, stirring well, then add ⅓ of the liquid. Repeat until all has been added. Mix until well combined.
- Remove 1 cup of the batter and place in a small bowl. Fold in 1 tablespoon dark cocoa.
- Divide the remaining batter between 3 small bowls. Add 2 teaspoons regular cocoa to one bowl, add green food coloring to one bowl (add a touch of cocoa or orange color if you want to make a khaki color) and leave the last bowl as it is. You will have dark brown, light brown, green, and cream/tan.
- The first layer: using a small spoon, drop dollops of green, light brown, and cream batter in a random pattern in the prepared loaf pan. Place dark batter in a piping bag or sturdy food storage bag with the tip cut off and add long, skinny shapes here and there. Fill in some low places, climb the side of the pan - just don't use too much of it in one spot.
- The second layer: repeat, taking care to fill in any low places. Tap the bottom of the pan on a hard surface and gently smooth the top. The colors will smear together on top, but that's fine.
- Bake for approximately 75 minutes. Ovens vary, so check the cake at 1 hour by inserting a skewer into the center next to the crack (which is perfectly normal for a pound cake, by the way). If the skewer has batter or a lot of sticky crumbs on it, give the cake more time. It takes a long time to cook a pound cake in a loaf pan, and the edges may get a little dark before it's done. I just use a serrated blade to trim them if necessary.
- Cool the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes before lifting the cake out.
- FUDGY COATING: In a small pot, combine water, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Stir over medium heat until hot but not bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Spread over cake and decorate as desired.
You can let it cool and serve it just like this, or drizzle it with glaze or ganache. You can wrap it snugly and hide it in the pantry where you’ll have sneaky little rendezvous with it for days (it just gets better and better as it ages) while you pretend to be looking for a can of mushrooms. Ahem.
Or you can decorate it however you choose. Here’s my cake. There are no smooth, perfect lines – this is a rustic cake for a man who’s into hunting.
I was really surprised by the lack of chocolate molds available in the shape of deer. Apparently, you can get deer heads or Bambi. I used a cheap little silicone mold I just bought, and it was not a good application for chocolate. If you want to get one, they’re on eBay and Amazon, but I’ve got to warn you, just count on getting a deer torso and head. The antlers and legs will break off. The mold is made for fondant, not chocolate. Honestly? I don’t even know how you’d get the fondant to come out of this delicate shape.
So, you could bake and decorate deer-shaped cookies. (I’ll bet you have a reindeer cookie cutter in your holiday stash.) Or you could print a silhouette of a deer, put a piece of waxed paper over it, put melted chocolate in a pastry bag and follow the lines, filling in as you go. You could buy cute hunter/deer cake toppers. Or you could just make trees and pretend the deer is hiding behind them somewhere. (Probably the most realistic scenario.)
I used light green candy melts for the trees, then painted them with color dust for depth. They didn’t want to stay upright; a simple solution would have been to add a toothpick when I flipped them over and piped the second side. Instead, the toothpicks were put to use propping the trees up.
I wanted the top to look like dirt, so I crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, discarding the white centers, and put the crumbs on waxed paper. I iced the top and long sides of the cake, picked it up by the ends, turned it over and rolled the top in crumbs. Ta Da!
If your guy isn’t into camo and hunting and you’ve still read this far, you are my new best friend! Instead of camo, make the colors those of his favorite team, or turn it red, white, and blue for the 4th of July!
Remember to keep the cake well wrapped at room temperature. It’s good for days . . . if it lasts that long.