I’ve been wanting to style a simple woodland cake topped with meringue mushrooms and decided that this chocolate rum cake was the one. Layers of chocolate cake flavored with vanilla rum, rich chocolate buttercream, paired with cute little cocoa dusted mushrooms. A fun presentation for your holiday table!
For this woodland tree vision, I used 6-inch cake pans to create a cylindrical tree shape with rings of piped buttercream. The flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves pair nicely with the smooth taste of vanilla rum in both the cake batter and frosting. Making the meringue mushrooms the day before, makes assembly much faster. You can also add tree shaped cookies for a little extra forrest decor.
Ingredients You Will Need
I partnered with Blue Chair Bay Rum to bring you this fun winter chocolate rum cake and I’m obsessed with their Vanilla Rum. A clear Caribbean rum with aromas of sweet and creamy sun-baked vanilla meringue. Its lingering finishing taste of creamy vanilla balances the spice and chocolate notes of the layer cake.
I’ve been experimenting with rum in my baking all year and I love the array of flavors and quality of Blue Chair Bay Rum . Made with sugar cane molasses and all natural ingredients, their barrel aged rum is deliciously smooth. The flavors compliment my recipes without being overpowering.
I love the richness of dutch processed cocoa powder paired with dark brown sugar. If you can’t find any, unsweetened cocoa powder will work fine in this recipe too!
Let’s be honest, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are the perfect trio for a chocolate cake. Add a little espresso powder to boost the chocolate flavor and we are in tasty business. Feel free to adjust the amount of spice to your liking.
Making the Cake
- Prepare three 6- inch pans with non stick baking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Make the cake batter and be sure to sift both the flour and the cocoa powder.
- Make sure to alternate between flour mixture and milk as you mix them into the batter. Then add eggs one at a time.
- These layers bake pretty level. But, if you have a slight dome wrap your cooled cakes in plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes before leveling. The cold cakes are easier to level and will tear less.
- Make the chocolate rum buttercream while the cakes are cooling.
- You can also make your cake layers the day before, wrap cooled layers in plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to assemble the next day.
- Buttercream can be made the day before as well. Just make sure to keep it in an air tight container at room temperature. If the buttercream gets too cold it will harden and be more difficult to pipe.
- Store cake in an air tight container at room temp for 4-5 days.
- You can also keep cake in the fridge, then to revive a slice, just warm slightly to bring back softness in the frosting and moisture to cake.
Making the Meringue Mushrooms
- Bake the meringue mushrooms the day before.
- Pipe small meringue circles and stems of different sizes on a parchment paper lined tray. I prefer to use a silicone baking mat.
- Allow the meringue to bake for 2 hrs. Then, turn off the oven and allow the meringues to slowly cool in the oven to prevent cracking.
- Assemble the mushrooms by, scratching a small indention in the bottom of the caps with tip of a knife. Dip the tip of the stem in melted chocolate and secure the two together. Allow the chocolate to set before dusting with cocoa powder and placing on the cake.
- Use a small fan brush dipped in cocoa powder to dust cocoa powder on your mushrooms to resemble dirt.
Storing Chocolate Rum Cake
Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for 4-5 days of freshness. Or place wrapped layers in a freezer safe bag and freeze fro up to 3 months of freshness.
Frosted cake can set out at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days of freshness. Or place in the fridge for a few more extra days.
Meringue mushrooms will keep for 2 weeks in an air tight container at room temperature.
This Recipe is Sponsored by Blue Chair Bay Rum. All thoughts and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make Two Cups Flour possible.
Chocolate Rum Cake
Chocolate Rum Cake
- 2 ¼ cups ( 281 g) Cake Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves 2
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¾ cup (64 g) Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
- 12 tablespoons ( 170 g) Unsalted Butter melted and warm
- 1 teaspoon Espresso Powder
- ½ cup (120 g) Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum
- 1 ½ cups (330 g) Dark Brown Sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) Whole Milk warm
- 4 Large Eggs room temperature
Chocolate Rum Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (227 g) Unsalted Butter softened
- ½ cup (43 g) Cocoa Powder
- ¼ cup (60 g) Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup (60 grams) Heavy Whipping Cream very cold
- 2 – 2 ½ cups (220- 280 grams) Confectioner's Sugar
- 3 Large Egg White room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- ⅔ cup (133 g) Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup (43 g) Semi Sweet Chocolate melted
Chocolate Rum Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and layer the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, hand whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed, mix the warm melted butter with the brown sugar, Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum, sifted cocoa powder, and espresso powder until smooth.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula to incorporate all ingredients.
- With the mixer on medium low speed, spoon in a third of the flour mixture, alternating with ½ of the milk. Continuing until both are fully mixed in.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed until batter is smooth.
- Transfer the cake batter into pans, dividing evenly between them. Place pans on the middle of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with small crumbs.
- Set pans on wire cooling rack until completely cooled. Invert layers from pans and wrap in plastic wrap, set in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm slightly before icing. (this helps prevent tearing of cake layers during assembly)
Chocolate Rum Buttercream Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment whip together softened butter and cocoa powder until fluffy and smooth. (about 3-5 minutes)
- Mix in Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum, sea salt, vanilla extract, and heavy cream until light and fluffy. (about 1-2 minutes)
- On low speed, add half a cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing until desired consistency has been reached. Turn up the speed to medium for about 30 seconds to smooth the frosting.
- Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
- To make thicker frosting, mix in a ¼ cup of confectioner's sugar at a time. To make thinner frosting add a tablespoon of heavy cream and mix again.
- Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star piping tip.
- Preheat oven to 200 F (90 C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. For exact measurements, draw small ½-2/3 inch circles on parchment paper. I prefer to just eyeball it and make different sizes for a more natural look.
- Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip until foamy, about 1 minute. Then, add the cream of tartar and increase to medium high speed for another minute or until soft peaks form.
- Turn speed down to medium low and slowly pour in the sugar. Increase speed to medium high for 3-4 minutes, whipping until stiff peaks form. The meringue should be thick and glossy.
- Transfer meringue to a large piping bag fitted with a ¼ inch round piping tip.
- To pipe the caps, hold the pastry bag upright and close to the parchment paper. With even pressure from the top of the bag, pipe 1.5 inch or similar sized rounds that are about ½ inch high. Dip you fingertip in water and level out any tips.
- To pipe the stems, hold the pastry bag upright and close to the parchment paper. Using even pressure form the top of the bag, make small cylinders, by gently squeezing the meringue out onto the pan and lifting while releasing pressure. The base of the stem should be the same thickness as the piping tip and get smaller as you lift the bag. You may have a tip and thats ok. I use the tip for assembly.
- Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely. (about 45 minutes) They should be dry and crisp.
- Melt chocolate in a double broiler or using a microwave safe bowl, heating and stirring in 30 second intervals until smooth.
- Carve a small hole in the center of the bottom of each mushroom cap. (Make sure not to punch through the dome.) Dip the tips of the stems in melted chocolate and connect the two. If your tips are too pointy, just shave then down to desired levelness.
- Place mushrooms on a plate while the chocolate sets.
- Remove cake layers from fridge, unwrap and peel away parchment paper.Level cake tops with knife if needed.
- Place a dollop of buttercream onto cake stand or serving dish.
- Place bottom cake layer onto dollup. Cover top of cake layer by piping the buttercream in a circular motion starting by piping a ring around the edge and moving towards the center clockwise to mimic tree rings.
- Add the second cakes layer and repeat with buttercream piping. Flip the final and top cake layer upside down with the flat bottom mow becoming the top of the cake. Pipe with buttercream.
- Use a small fan brush and dust the meringue mushroom with cocoa powder to mimim dirt.
- Place mushrooms on top of cake in desired style. If you want to adhere mushrooms to base of cake, use buttercream to help them stick.