Ukulele Chocolate Cake
Last spring, I started taking free guitar lessons with the MIT Live Music Connection on a whim. Guitars ended up being too bulky for my taste, so I transitioned to the ukulele. My ukulele and I have been inseparable since then. I used to always deal with stress through food either by cooking ridiculous quantities, eating too much ice cream, or sharing baked goods, but since I started playing ukulele, I can cope through music. This is my 100th post on FoodParsed, and I'm celebrating my two favorite things in the world, food and ukulele, with a ukulele chocolate cake.
The resulting cake turned out to be adorable and delicious. You can hardly tell which ukulele is real! As a heads-up, the entire process took me 3 hours, and the recipe is fairly long. If you want to adjust the recipe, see the section on Ukulele Cake Discussion. If you want to see what I did, see the section on Step by Step Photos.
- 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk (1 cup whole milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee (1 cup water + 1 tablespoon instant coffee)
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips, melted
- 4 white chocolate disks
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to get rid of lumps.
- Mix the wet ingredients in another large bowl. First, beat the eggs. Then, add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and coffee.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir to thoroughly combine. The mixture will be thin.
- Grease the ukulele cake pan very well with oil or non-stick spray.
- Pour the chocolate cake batter into the cake pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl: butter, cocoa, cream cheese, and powdered sugar.
- Beat with a mixer until soft and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and milk to a medium bowl, and stir to combine. If needed, slowly add additional drops of milk until icing is a drizzalable consistency.
- Get cake out of pan: Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before trying to remove it. Put a flat surface over the top of the ukulele cake pan. Then, invert the cake and surface together. Gently tap the cake pan to remove the pan.
- Prepare for frosting: Let the cake cool for another 30 minutes until no longer hot. If the cake is even slightly warm, it will melt the frosting.
- Decorate: Evenly spread the chocolate frosting on the ukulele cake to make the wood of the ukulele. Add 4 white chocolate disks for the pegs. Carefully add the melted chocolate to make the sound hole and bridge. Carefully pipe the white icing to make the saddle, 4 strings, and frets.
Ukulele Cake Discussion
At a high level, the process is 2 steps: bake cake, decorate cake. In practice, making an entire ukulele cake from scratch takes an awfully long time even if you've made cakes before. If you're completely new to making cakes, I would suggest starting with an easier recipe, such as easy chocolate cake.
Fortunately, the "bake cake" step is straightforward if you're careful with measuring ingredients, and you'll get a moist, rich, and fudgy chocolate cake. The "decorate step" is much more finicky. To make a pretty ukulele cake, you have to work very slowly.
- No ukulele cake pan? You can make your own. You can buy a cake pan from Amazon. If you don't want a ukulele shaped cake, you can bake the recipe in a 9x13 pan.
- You can substitute any recipe for a 2 layer cake. Any boxed cake mix would work.
- Questions about the chocolate cake recipe? I use the same ingredients list as Sally, and she has more detailed cake tips on her blog: Sally's Baking Addiction.
- Chocolate frosting: Buy frosting.
- White icing: Buy frosting. You can use actual ukulele strings for the strings. Any long, thin candy would work.
- Dark brown: Large pieces of chocolate would work. If you feel fancy, you can make a chocolate cookie for the sound hole and bridge.
- Pegs: Hershey kisses are cute.
Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start with a ukulele cake pan. I use this guitar cake pan from Amazon, and it's the exact same size as my soprano ukulele. As a note, please don't bake your ukulele. Not delicious. Also, if you're making frosting, you should get out the butter and cream cheese because they need to be room-temperature. Cutting the butter and cream cheese into smaller cubes makes the process faster.
Make the chocolate cake batter according to the recipe. Grease the cake pan really well. I used non-stick spray and thoroughly covered the interior. The pan isn't non-stick, and if you skip this step, extracting the cake will be difficult.
Once your cake pan is greased, pour in the chocolate cake batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is done when you stick in a toothpick, and it comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes before trying to extract it. This gives the cake time to set up properly.
Then, carefully remove the cake. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, put the baking sheet on top of the pan, and then quickly inverted the cake. The cake came out after I gently tapped on the bottom of the cake pan.
Meanwhile, make the decorations: chocolate frosting, white icing, and dark brown part. For the chocolate frosting, it's super important that the butter and room cheese are at room temperature or else you'll get little lumps. You can tell when it's the right temperature because the dairy will be completely smooth. I used a hand mixer to beat the chocolate frosting. If you don't have a mixer, you can get a similar result by beating very, very rigorously by hand.
Before you frost the cake, make sure that the surface of the ukulele chocolate cake is completely cool. If the cake is slightly warm, it will melt the frosting and you'll get a puddle. Carefully frost the cake. I used a rubber spatula. As a note, I don't like that much frosting, and you might want to scale up the recipe. The amount I listed is barely enough to cover the whole cake.
The white icing is just powdered sugar and liquid. Be careful not to add too much liquid or else the frosting will be too runny. Powdered sugar takes up a lot of space, but you don't need much liquid at all to make icing. After I made the white icing, I put it into a ziploc bag and snipped a very small hole out of the corner so I could pipe the icing into straight lines. The dark brown part is melted chocolate. I melted it in a small bowl and used a spoon to decorate.
Next, add features of the ukulele. First, I added the sound hole and bridge very carefully using a spoon and melted chocolate. Make sure the melted chocolate isn't too hot or it'll melt the frosting. Second, I added 4 pegs. Finally, I carefully piped the white icing to make the strings.
You can eat the cake immediately after decorating, but I wanted to save it for the next day. To store the cake, I used a rectangular cake cover. Like most cakes, ukulele chocolate cake keeps for several days. Here's what the ukulele chocolate cake looks like after overnight storage.
Ukulele Chocolate Cake Nutrition Facts
Nutrition facts depend on how much cake you're eating. The original recipe says the cake serves 12, but I think that's not quite accurate. The cake is really rich and fudgy, so I like smaller pieces. Here is the nutritional information for 32 servings of cake.
|Amount Per Serving|
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.4g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrates 0.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.8g
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 0%
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