Horse Cake is a chocolate cake shaped like a horse head. I served it at Fuzz’s birthday (may nears ago!) and it got a lot of good reviews. Plus it’s cute! It’s the one birthday cake I’m not ashamed to post. Most of the others are so embarrassing I just took them down (though Chococat is still floating around on Pinterest).
But this cake is special! I remember it well because I made it using the recipe below, and I made a second vegan version because one of our friends had a milk allergy.
The diagram for carving the horse cake was originally from a pattern on Family Fun, but the link no longer works so I’ll do my best to describe it for you below.
Horse Cake Head
You bake the the chocolate cake (you can use the recipe below or a cake mix cake) in a 9×13 inch pan. Let the cake cool, then freeze it so that it will be easy to carve. When the cake is frozen, set it in front of you with the 13 inch side on the bottom. Cut a triangle from the bottom about 4 inches from the left corner. This will be the area between the horse’s mouth and neck. Move the triangle to the top to make an ear. Next, you’ll need to carve an arch up around the left corner to create the slope of the horse’s head. Argh, this is still confusing.
Fuzz is now in college, but she’s better at crafts so I’ll ask her to carve a frozen cake so that I can post some better how-to pictures.
- Flour-Added Cooking Spray
- 2 cups sifted cake flour sifted, then measured — 7 oz by weight
- 1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk room temperature
- 1/2 cup warm water or coffee
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil leaving a slight overhang; spray foil with cooking spray.
- Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Stir in water (or coffee). Let batter cool if it is warm from the coffee, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into pan and bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 225-30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Set pan on a rack and cool completely. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze until ready to use.
- Make Frosting. Using the top of a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate and butter together. Stir in the espresso powder, then transfer melted chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a food processor, process sugar, cocoa, remaining butter and salt until thoroughly mixed. Scrape sugar mixture into the stand mixer bowl with the melted chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in cream.
- Place the mixing bowl in refrigerator and chill until very cold. When chilled, mixture will be firm. When ready to use, set the bowl at room temperature until the mixture is not quite so firm.
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat cold chocolate mixture until fluffy and spreadable.