For my nephew's sixth birthday, I made him a pirate ship cake. Inside, it is cocoa fudge cake with chocolate mint buttercream.
To shape the ship, I baked four layers: two in a loaf pan, two in an oval Corningware casserole dish. Then I did a lot of carving, which resulted in quite a bit of cake left over. I also had some frosting leftover, so what did I do? I made cake truffles (like tiny cake pops without sticks).
I have been known to turn up my nose at cake pops: I just didn't like the idea of eating something that has been handled so much (I may have been under the impression that the cake and frosting were combined with bare hands, then smashed into balls with bare hands... ew!). So I used a mixer to combine the cake and frosting, then scooped the truffles using a tiny one inch scoop onto a foil-lined sheet pan, and stuck them in the freezer for a few hours.
I dipped the truffles in a few different kinds of chocolate, just that I had in t he cupboard. I had orange and milk chocolate compound coating* and some dark chocolate labeled "midnight delight." I melted the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second increments, with lots of stirring. I sprinkled some with orange and chocolate sprinkles, and left them overnight to set (though the compound coating sets almost immediately).
I'm not exactly sure on the cake-to-frosting ratio. I was worried I didn't have enough frosting, but they turned out just right! So I recommend going easy on the frosting. You can always add more, or use the leftover between graham crackers (my fav).
So, without further ado, here are the recipes! Both are adapted from good old Betty Crocker.
Cocoa Fudge Cake
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x13 pan. Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes. Pour into pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted amd cooled (can sub 1/3 cup cocoa powder)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (or peppermint oil, to taste)
2 tablespoons milk (plus more, as needed)
Mix chocolate and butter. Add powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla (or flavoring of choice) and milk. Add milk as needed until frosting is of spreading consistency.
*Compound coating is pseudo chocolate. It tastes pretty good, and is virtually foolproof because you don't have to worry about tempering because it never blooms. I get it at Baker's Cache and Carry on Vine Street. Mine was a little old, so I added coconut oil to thin it a bit for dipping.