You guys! I think I did it. I finally figured it out. I’ve been practicing making my wedding cake for months now and even though I’ve tried several different flavors, I just keep coming back to chocolate. I mean lets be real. I’m a severe chocoholic. But not just any chocoholic. You can’t just hand me a Hershey’s bar and call it a day. Nononono. I’m gunna need a solid fudgy brownie before the craving will subside. Preferably a chocolate torte but those a smidge harder to come by in the pantry 😇. So really, it was a no brainer. For the wedding cake, we needed to go seriously chocolate. But how to make it more than just an every day chocolate cake? How to make it really special? It’s all in the frosting friends. SO let’s get on with it! Skyscraper Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting!
First off, before you say “you’re making your own cake?!?” lemme clarify. Aside from being a chocoholic, I’m a pretty big dessert fan in general and thus love a good dessert table. Awesomely enough, our fabulous caterer has added said dessert table to our line up of goodies (brownies included because obviously) so I can skip the massive (not to mention 💰💰💰) cake scenario and just make the top layer to for Dan and I to cut together. Win win!!! A little DIY wedding cake.
But honestly, this Skyscraper Chocolate Cake is anything but little. It may just be the top layer of a wedding cake but it’s most definitely 💯 the tallest cake I’ve ever made. It didn’t even fit in my cake carrier! (note for wedding: buy a taller carrier). Absolutely perfect for that “ooo, aaaah” reaction you want at a birthday party.
Before we launch into that ridiculously long frosting description (I’ll get to it I promise), let’s talk about the actual cake. SO. CHOCOLATE. OMG! My first bite and I was in absolute heaven. The secret? Well, as with any tasty cake, theres a couple.
- Buttermilk. You may be surprised, but this Skyscraper Chocolate Cake? It’s an oil cake 😎. SO much easier than dealing with butter (No worries though I make up for it in the frosting, seriously. All the butter). The buttermilk gives it that wonderful, moist, buttery crumb and a little extra flavor.
- Coffee ☕️. Strong, black coffee. I know right? After a ton of research, this is a necessary go to for a chocolate cake. You won’t actually taste the coffee in the cake at all (definitely no caffeine fix from it either 😋). Instead, it deepens the flavors within the chocolate for an outstanding bite.
Now, about that frosting. Real moment: I’m too embarrassed to say how much of it I ate while I was mixing it in the kitchen aid. SOMUCHBUTTER!!! And guess what? Totally 👏🏻 worth it 👏🏻. At my wedding, I do have quite a bit of gray and lavender going on so I figured, I’ve gotta connect this cake to the “theme” (so to speak) so why not add some earl grey and lavender to the frosting?? A quick, simple infusion on the stove and boom! Earl grey and lavender frosting was in the works! Open up your favorite earl grey tea bag into a small pot of scalded heavy whipping cream, and slowly add a couple drops of lavender extract. Stir and let sit off heat for 10 minutes to infuse. Strain into a container and let cool. Mix the cream into the frosting ingredients and voila! Super snazzy sounding and absolutely delicious frosting.
Quick note: Remember, as evidenced by my previous cake recipes, I’m a really big fan of the rustic “naked” cake look. If you want to fully frost this cake, doubling the frosting recipe will give you more than enough to cover this chocolate tower in buttercream goodness. Although I will say, the naked look resulted in plenty of frosting per bite 👌🏻.
I have to admit, originally my ultimate Skyscraper Chocolate Cake vision was coated in a straight up buttercream frosting. But the more and more I tried it, the less and less I was in love with it. I have discovered, I’m just a cream cheese frosting kind of girl. That’s not to say this frosting isn’t a buttercream. It just also has 8 ounces of cream cheese, along with 2 cups of butter….
I know what you’re thinking…The GOODNESS right?! It’s just SO delicious!!!
Just. Really. You need this Skyscraper Chocolate Cake in your life, complete with Earl Grey Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting. Any party you have, any dinner at your house, even your wedding! Try this out, you won’t be disappointed 🙌🏻.
- 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1½ cups cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strong, black coffee, cooled
- 2 cups unsalted butter , room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 bag earl grey tea
- 3-4 drops lavender extract (a little less than ⅛ teaspoon)*
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 3 8" straight edge cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease. Set out butter and cream cheese to soften for frosting.
- Infuse the cream: In a small sauce pot, scald the cream (do not boil!). Remove from heat and add lavender extract. Open the earl grey bag and empty contents into the cream. Let sit for 10 minutes to infuse the cream. Strain the cream into a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside. (some earl grey contents is fine).
- In a large bowl, cream sugars and beaten eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in oil, vanilla extract, yogurt, buttermilk and coffee until completely combined.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour batter into greased layer pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Set on a wire rack to cool, at least one hour, or frosting will melt.
- Make the frosting*: In a standing mixer, whisk butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar, infused cream,vanilla paste, and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely smooth.
- Assemble the cake: When the cake layers are cooled, place one of the cake layers with the flat side down on a plate or cake stand. With an offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top of this frosted layer and spread frosting. Add on the final layer, flat side down to make the cake even, and top with remaining frosting, evenly spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to an hour, until frosting is set.*
- Garnish as desired (I topped it with dark chocolate shards, silver decorating sugar, in season berries and a dusting of powdered sugar, plus a few strawberry blooms and culinary lavender buds).
*If you can't find lavender extract, culinary lavender buds will also work. Add about ¼ teaspoon of them to the cream along with the earl grey tea bag contents.
*This amount of frosting ingredients will give you enough to frost the tops of each 3 layers and do a crumb layer for the rustic "naked cake" look. If you want to fully frost the cake, double the ingredients for the frosting to ensure you have enough.
*In between the layers of cake, I sprinkled milk chocolate chips on top of the frosting for an extra bite of deliciousness.
If you make this recipe, please be sure to take a photo and tag it with #aberdeenskitchen. I can't wait to see what you cook up!