How to Make a Chocolate & Strawberry Hippo Cake

How to Make a Chocolate & Strawberry Hippo Cake
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DISCLAIMER: This recipe is for humans not dogs!

My roommate just had her birthday and I needed an excuse to make a new elaborate cake. She loves hippos (and cows). One of the first things I noticed when she moved in was that she had a bunch of little hippo knick-knacks that she put out. It made me feel horribly un-adult-like. She generally is much better at adulting than I am. The first weekend after we moved in, she had a friend over for dinner and spent hours cooking dinner, setting the table, etc. I, on the other hand, grabbed an empty cardboard box, turnedit upside down, and proceeded to eat ramen for dinner straight out of the pot. Anyway, Tina told me that she prefers chocolate cake, and likes strawberries with her desserts, so I thought up a hippo cake with a chocolate and strawberry theme.

beagle with hippo cake

First things first, we need to prep all the components.

(1) Chocolate Cake

5 from 8 votes
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Chocolate Cake


Ingredients
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp dark cocoa powder (can be replaced with regular cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups hot water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 3 9" cake pans.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the melted butter and granulated sugar.

  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

  4. Mix in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla extract.

  5. Mix 1 cup of cocoa powder.

  6. Add in the buttermilk and mix thoroughly.

  7. Mix in the remaining 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 cup of sifted flour.

  8. Mix in the hot water.

  9. Add in the rest of the sifted flour.

  10. Split the batter between the three pans and bake for about 40min or until a toothpick emerges clean.

 

(2) Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Ingredients
  • 3-4 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
Instructions
  1. Puree strawberries in a blender.

  2. On a double boiler, whip egg whites and sugar until it reaches 140-150°F.

  3. Remove from double boiler and continue whipping until it forms stiff peaks.

  4. Mix in vanilla.

  5. Beat in butter in chunks and continue mixing until it looks like frosting. It'll take ~5min or so and may curdle in between.

  6. Beat in strawberry puree.

 

(3) Purple Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Siding

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Purple SwissMeringue Buttercream
Ingredients
  • 3-4 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. On a double boiler, whip together egg whites and sugar until it reaches 140-150°F.

  2. Remove from heat and continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks.

  3. Beat in vanilla extract.

  4. Beat in butter in chunks and continue mixing until it looks like frosting for ~5min. It may curdle in between.

 

(4) Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 from 8 votes
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Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. On a double boiler, whip together egg whites and granulated sugar until it reaches 140-150°F.

  2. Remove from heat and continue whipping until it forms stiff peaks.

  3. Beat in vanilla extract.

  4. Beat in butter in chunks until it resembles frosting. It'll take ~5min or so and may curdle in between.

Beat in cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

 

(4) Pink, Purple, and Black Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Swirls

  • Make the remaining necessary swiss meringue buttercream. Use the same recipe as for the siding but multiply all the ingredients by 1.5.
  • Set aside 1tbsp of the frosting aside for the whites of the hippo’s eyes.
  • Split it into 3 parts. One smaller one that’s about 1/2 cup, and then the remainder split into 2.
  • Color the smaller section pink
  • Color the other 2 two different shades of purple. Lighter purple for around the snout and eyes, and more saturated purple for the rest of the hippo.
  • Take 1/4 cup of the chocolate frosting and color it black.

Layer the Cake & Frost It

  1. Layer the cake with strawberry buttercream between the layers.
  2. Frost and smooth the cake with purple buttercream.
  3. Chop fresh strawberries (about 4-5) and, using the chocolate buttercream, sculpt a snout. I drew guidelines with a toothpick first.
  4. Using the white buttercream, flatten and smooth it over the whites of the eyes. Again, I used a toothpick to draw guide lines.
  5. Cover the snout with purple rosettes.
  6. Pipe more rosettes around the rest of the face, leaving space for the eyes and mouth.
  7. Using the pink buttercream, pipe rosettes into the mouth area.
  8. Using the black buttercream, pipe on nostrils and eyes.
  9. Pipe on ears with purple buttercream, and use 2 marshmallows as teeth.
  10. The hippo cake is complete!

hippo cake steps

 A couple notes:

  1. To pipe rosettes, hold the piping back with an open star tip perpendicular to the cake. Pressing evenly, begin in the center, and then move in an outward circular fashion.
  2. Make sure the cakes are completely cool before frosting or the frosting will melt.
  3. An offset spatula, and a frosting smoother are very useful for frosting cakes.
  4. I used a smaller open star tip for the nostrils and eyes but the larger tip should work just as well.

pin for hippo cake

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