Hey Valentines! We’re republishing an old favorite today: Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing and Rose Petals. The Schu family loves this simple chocolate cake recipe. Spend a year of birthdays with us and you’re bound to have it at least a few times. Fancy it up with some buttercream icing and the addition of dried rose petals and you have the prettiest Valentine’s Day (or any damn day) dessert. If cupid shot you with an arrow and you’re in need of more Valentine’s Day DIYs – check out our side bar for more.
Did you know that rose petals are edible?! In fact, many common ornamental flowers, most vegetable & herb flowers, and some tree blossoms are edible; here’s a rather comprehensive list along with descriptions of the flowers’ flavors. The key is to make sure you are only eating flowers that are 100% organic, that is, they have not been sprayed with any pesticides or other chemicals.
Fresh, organic flowers look beautiful decorating a cake, but since it’s still too early for most to bloom in the northern hemisphere, another option is to used dried petals and flowers. I have a bag of dried organic rose petals that I picked up from our local apothecary, but they are also available from many online herb sources. Today’s cake requires only a small number of petals, but there are many other uses for the dried petals. They can be added to teas, used to make syrups or flavored waters, used in potpourris or baths, added to pillows or sachets…
As for the cake, a staple chocolate cake in our house is the one printed on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder box. Fun fact : Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa was the top rated supermarket cocoa by Cook’s Illustrated! We also love it because we have a bit of home state pride when it comes to this brand. But back to the cake, it’s a basic chocolate cake that’s not too fussy, is super moist, and has a great flavor.
We usually pair it with a chocolate or peanut butter (my favorite) frosting, but neither would make a good backdrop for the rose petals, so today I went with my preferred butter cream, which starts with a can of coconut milk. I’m writing out the original recipe below, as I had received it. Over the years I’ve began to modify slightly, the major change is that I use slightly less sugar because I find the original recipe (and most frostings) to be a bit sweet for my liking. I’ve also done things like used regular coconut milk when I don’t have light and then just reduced the butter slightly. It’s really not hard to play around with this recipe. So, while it’s delicious as written, I would encourage you to make the original recipe at least once and then don’t shy away from tweaking it. You can’t taste the coconut milk in this frosting, but if you really aren’t a fan, Posie Gets Cozy’s Cloudburst Frosting is very similar substitute made with whole milk.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 7 1/2 tsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
- Sift together the dry ingredients (sugar through salt). Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Beat slowly to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients, then turn the mixer up to medium speed for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the boiling water. The batter will be very thin and runny, but don't worry!
- Split the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- Whisk the coconut milk and flour in a saucepan. Bring it to a low simmer and continue whisking and simmering for about five minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool completely.
- In a mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the coconut mixture and extract and continue to mix on high speed until your frosting is light and fluffy. *The mixture may look like it's going to separate, but have faith.
Once frosted, it’s time to add some rose petals. *The white tips of the rose petals can taste a bit bitter, so if you’re concerned about that, you can remove them, as you see, I skipped that step because moms of two year olds don’t have time to fuss :-). You could do a very simple sprinkling of petals across the top of the cake and/or around the sides (I think it would look nice with rose petals spread along the lower half of the sides). Today I placed the rose petals in the shape of a heart on top of the cake. To keep my design clean, I traced the size of the cake pan on a peace of parchment paper, but I didn’t cut the paper into a circle – it’ll provide more protection if you leave it as a big square or rectangle. The circle provides a guide, so you know how much room you have for creating your heart stencil. I cut out a heart in the middle of my circle, placed the parchment paper lightly on the cake, and filled in the heart with petals. Once complete, you can easily lift the parchment paper off the cake without pulling up the frosting.
And that’s it, a simple way to say I love you with a basic chocolate cake!