Dump Truck Cake

Yesterday was my godson's third birthday party (his official birthday is actually tomorrow) and I was lucky enough to be on Maui to help celebrate. That of course meant baking a cake because I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to spoil my godson, Hanalei, with homemade goodies. Are you wondering why did you make a dump truck cake? Well, my godson LOVES work trucks. Tractors. Dump trucks. Semis. You name it, he loves it. I think he knows all the names of every major work truck out there, which is more than I can say. Hence, dump truck cake. And let me just tell you, the look on his little face when he saw his birthday cake, was the best thing ever. Ever. 

Excuse me for a minute while I gush about this little cutie. His mama and I have been best friends since before we were ever born (our parents are great friends) and he is so much like his mama, it's a little scary. He's the smartest little man, always talking about his cars, trucks, or sea animals, and if you catch him on a good day, he'll sing you songs for days. He's also got the longest lashes I've ever seen (Aunty's got some major lash envy) and his mama gives him the cutest haircuts!! Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be his godmama. 

I can't even tell you how lucky I felt to attend his birthday party this year. I had to miss last years, so making it to this year's was extra special. The kids had a ball running around, playing duck-duck-goose, and jumping on the jumping castle. That alone would have been enough to make any girl happy but then came the food. Hanalei's grandfather is an amazing chef and he made the best pork lau lau and hawaiian style bbq chicken ever. To say I've had local food withdrawals is a gross understatement so I was in heaven! Then, my best friend and godson's mother, Kammy, gave me the best early birthday present a girl could ask for: a giant box of Komoda's Bakery Cream Puffs. If you don't know them, please make sure you get to know them the next time you're on Maui. They are the best!! And then, as if the day couldn't get any better, it was cake time and watching the kids try to sneak in finger-fuls of icing or some oreo "dirt" when they thought no one was watching was priceless. 

A few notes about the cake because, well, cake should always be talked about. The cake itself is a super moist chocolate cake. Adapted from the great Ina Garten's Double-Chocolate Layer Cake recipe, it's so good that I don't even want to tell you how many people told me how good it was cause then I'll sound like a big fat bragger. Not too sweet, insanely moist, it's pretty perfect. There are two buttercreams: a birthday cake Oreo mascarpone buttercream on the inside and a vanilla-birthday cake cream mascarpone buttercream on the outside. Then, there's the marzipan dump trucks. Those were made with homemade marzipan (recipe below) and then stamped out with a dump truck cutter. The amazing cone candles can be purchased here. Also, at the party, I added some Oreo cookie "dirt" to the dump truck on the top of the cake. I made a three-layer 9" cake and a mini three-layer 3 1/4" cake just for Hanalei. The recipe below is for one two-layer 9" cake but can easily be doubled to create a three-layer 9" and a three-layer 3 1/4" mini!!

Dump Truck Cake

Makes One 2-Layer 9" Round Cake

INGREDIENTS

CAKE

  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. hot coffee, brewed fresh (I used decaf)

MASCARPONE BUTTERCREAMS

  • 12 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. mascarpone, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 10 birthday cake Oreos crushed (I used my food processor)
  • Filling from 10 birthday cake Oreos

TOOLS

  • 9" x 2" round cake pans
  • 9" parchment rounds
  • Stand mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Silicone spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Plastic wrap
  • Offset spatula

FIX

CAKE

  1. Move rack to middle of oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two cake pans and line with parchment rounds. Butter the rounds then dust pans with flour. Tap out any excess flour and set aside pans.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt at low speed. In mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. On low speed, incorporate the buttermilk mixture into  the dry mixture and beat until just combined. Next add the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. Evenly distribute batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done! Cool in pans for 30 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool. When cooled completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer till ready to frost. 

MASCARPONE BUTTERCREAMS

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter, mascarpone, and vanilla extract and beat on medium-low speed until throughly combined. Add powdered sugar and salt and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Reserve 1/3 of the buttercream in a bowl. Beat in Oreo filling into the 2/3 that remain in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the reserved 1/3 of the buttercream back into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat in crushed Oreos until smooth. 

FROSTING THE CAKE

  1. Set your first cake layer on a plate with flat side facing down. Spread the crushed Oreo buttercream over the cake almost to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, flat side up. Spread the vanilla-Oreo filling buttercream over the top and side of the cake, filling in the area between the two cake layers. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing. 
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Marzipan

Makes around 8 ounces

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. fine almond meal (flour)
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. rose water (food grade) 
  • 2 Tbsp. golden syrup or corn syrup

TOOLS

  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Food processor
  • Plastic wrap

FIX

  1. Combine almond meal and powdered sugar in food processor, pulsing until combined. Make sure there aren't any visible clumps. Add almond extract and rose water, pulsing to combine. Add golden syrup and process until dough forms. Turn out dough onto a work surface and knead with your hands, then form into a disc or log. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate till ready to use. Make sure you bring it to room temperature before using!