Today I'm giving a mini-tutorial on how to make the Game of Thrones inspired below, as well as reviewing a Chocolate Stout Cake recipe. It's gonna be a longish one, so settle in!
This cake was inspired by a fan favorite scene in the first episode of Game of Thrones's fourth season, where Sandor Clegane ("The Hound") threatens to eat every chicken in a tavern. The line really caught on and inspired a lot of fanart. Some of my favorite fanart was of Sandor as Colonel Sanders, which I found just hilarious enough to want to bring to life. (Side note: If anyone knows the original artist of the Colonel Sandor portrait, please e-mail so I can give them credit!)
The cake served about 10 people and was decorated mostly in Italian meringue buttercream. I used a Chocolate Stout Cake recipe and paired it with white chocolate mousse (the recipe for which can be found in my Black Forest Mousse Cake entry). The only fondant present was for the painting of Sandor, and the chickens were made of white chocolate and corn flakes. I've seen fried chicken cakes before, but most of them seemed to have chicken made mostly of fondant. That seems like both an expensive and unlikely-to-be-eaten option, so I came up with the method you'll see in a moment.
Without further ado, let's get to the progress photos! I began with 2 6" layers and one 5" layer, and I sculpted them into a more tapered bucket shape.
Next up, I started filling. I used the same process for each layer. First, a healthy brush of triple sec syrup.
Next up, a buttercream dam (Italian meringue, as always!) to hold in the filling. This is essential anytime a cake is being filled with mousse, jams, curd, fresh fruit, or basically anything that isn't buttercream or a firm ganache.
And finally, piping in a layer of white chocolate mousse. Rinse and repeat for all remaining layers.
Next up is a buttercream crumb coat, followed by a rest in the fridge to get the whole situation firmed up.
I transferred the cake to its final board and added the outer coat of buttercream.
At this point I whipped out my airbrush machine and gave the cake a nice red fade. Turntables are your best friend for this sort of thing.
That board looks crazy. Time to clean it!
Next up, I scooped some of the frosting from the top. This helps the chicken settle in and look more like it's inside the cake. I also piped a rim in buttercream and put down a cornflake bed.
Now, it's time for the chicken! My original idea was to make the chicken pieces out of white modeling chocolate and roll them in cornflakes. I quickly realized what an absurd amount of chocolate I'd need for this task. Realizing I also had an absurd surplus of cornflakes (we don't eat cereal at my house and I had purchased a whole box just for this project), I had the idea of combining the two. It was perfect. The mixture resulted in a pretty spot-on dupe of white chocolate Nestle crunch bars, but in chicken form. Delicious, and kind of hilarious. I rolled the shapes in some extra corn flakes after sculpting, for good measure.
I airbrushed them with ivory airbrush color to give them a browned look.
Last but not least, the Sandor Clegane portrait. This was just painted on very thin fondant using a mix of airbrush and powdered food colors. I drew a guide to lay the fondant on as an aid, primarily to keep me from drawing Sandor too large or too small. Since fondant isn't exactly translucent, these guides really aren't helpful for any level of detail.
And finally, I put it all together!
The next order of business is my recipe review. I've been meaning to try out Guinness Chocolate cake for a while now, and the Game of Thrones season finale seemed like an appropriate time to try it. I got the recipe from Epicurious. I'll post it as it's written there, followed by few thoughts!
Chocolate Stout Cake
2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
Epicurious included a recipe for icing, which I didn't use. Some quick thoughts:
1) This cake is definitely good! I'm not a major chocolate fan, but I liked it a lot. It's slightly less moist than my usual chocolate cake recipe, but it's also firmer and easier to sculpt. Party goers were big fans.
2) This recipe makes a HUGE batch of cake. It made five 2" tall and 6" diameter cakes, and one 2" tall and 5" diameter cake. I could easily have halved it and had enough for this cake.
3) You can't taste the Guinness in any obvious way, but it serves to cut the sweetness. The sour cream does this as well. It makes the cake a lot more balanced than many other recipes.
I'd give it a solid 4/5.