It feels a little crazy to be talking about Valentine’s Day already but here we are, less than a month away! I’ve always supported the idea that this holiday should be for all kinds of love and not just the romantic sort. It should be celebrated elementary school-style. That means you buy a box of Valentines (bonus if they are scratch-and-sniff) and give one to everyone you know.
All of this Valentine’s business made me think about tokens of affection. Love letters in particular. Are they a thing of the past? Have they been replaced by heart emojis and text messaging? Maybe, but I’d wager that there are still a few romantics left with the talent and patience to hand-script a beautiful letter.
I wanted to make a love letter that could be shared by many – on slices of cake! I felt that edible wafer paper would be the thing to help carry out this task (you can write on it!), but friends, my handwriting resembles nothing so much as the scratchings of an iguana (chicken-scratch is too generous a term). There’s no way I could pen it myself. After shopping around, I finally found a love letter rubber stamp with beautiful script.
To make the edible love letters, you’ll need wafer paper, a stamp with script lettering, undiluted black gel food color, and a flat head artist’s brush. You may have noticed that the stamp is not on a block. This makes it versatile for other projects, such as making impressions in pottery. If you plan to use the stamp for edibles, keep it culinary-dedicated.
Before you begin stamping, lay out a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. This makes for easy clean-up.
Okay! Let’s get stamping.
- Place the stamp, textured-side-up on the parchment and dip the art brush into the undiluted gel food color. Evenly cover the raised text with the food color.
- Pick up the stamp by the edges and turn it over. Place it onto a sheet of wafer paper and gently press down with a flat palm. Wafer paper has a shiny side and a textured side. Be sure to stamp on the textured side.
- Peel the stamp away from the paper to reveal the design. Allow the sheets to dry, about 30 minutes and then store them in a zip-top bag so they don’t dry out.
- When you’re ready to decorate the cake, cut the letters to size according to the height of the cake’s edges. Apply the paper to a freshly frosted cake – this is important! The buttercream needs to be fresh and tacky so the paper will adhere properly.
After decorating, this cake is best stored at room temperature. The moisture in a refrigerator will cause the wafer paper to wrinkle. Give the cake about 30 minutes to 1 hour before you slice it to ensure the stamped paper has time to meld to the icing properly.
Without the love letter decor, this is a classic tuxedo cake with a chocolate interior, white vanilla buttercream and ganache drip. It’s simple and so delicious. I tinted some of the buttercream red for a surprise inside when it’s sliced. I covered this very inexpensive cake topper with red glitter to match the red buttercream, which I think looks really nice with the black and white script, too.
Love Letter Cake (Classic Tuxedo Cake)
- script motif rubber stamp
- small art brush
- 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups 350 ml hot brewed coffee or hot water
- 2 1/2 cups 300g all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 600g sugar
- 1 1/2 cups 150g unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup 180ml vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups 12 oz. full fat sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
White vanilla buttercream and décor
- 1 cup/226g unsalted butter softened
- 6 cups/770g confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Milk or heavy cream to thin
- Red food color optional
- 8-10 sheets wafer paper stamped with script motif per blog post instructions
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup/ 117 ml heavy cream
- 1/4/ 85 g cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease three 8-inch round pans with shortening. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease paper.
- Finely chop chocolate combine it in a bowl with hot coffee or hot water. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Add oil, sour cream, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Divide batter between 3- 8” pans and bake in middle of oven until cake springs back when pressed in the center, approximately 40-50 minutes.
- Cool layers in pans for 15 minutes on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto wire racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool layers completely. Level if needed with a cake leveler or serrated knife. Cake layers may be made one day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
- Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter well and then add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat on low speed until crumbly and add milk or cream a little at a time until the mixture is no longer crumbly and begins to come together. Increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency. If it’s too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.
- Remove 2/3 cup of frosting and place in a separate bowl. Tint the frosting with red food color and fill each layer with 1/3 cup of frosting. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining white frosting. Please aim to make the edges of the cake as even as possible so the wafer paper will adhere smoothly. Measure the edge of the cake (height) and cut the stamped wafer paper to size. Place the paper pieces onto the cake side-by-side (do not overlap) and press them into the frosting evenly. The frosting must be fresh and tacky in order for the paper to stick. If the paper doesn’t adhere, apply a fresh coat of frosting. Pay special attention to smooth the edges of the paper into the buttercream so they do not peel away from the cake or pucker. Be careful not to move your hand around on the surface of the paper or you may smear the ink. Allow the cake to stand at least 30 minutes before applying the glaze.
- Make the chocolate glaze: Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high until the milk begins to steam. Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes; whisk until chocolate and cream are smooth and combined. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Whisk again until smooth. Place mixture in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over top of cake and allow it to overflow and run down the sides of the stamped wafer paper.
- Store the cake at room temperature in a cake cloche.