Housewarming Cake

My brother and his lovely girlfriend moved in together at the beginning of December. Having been busy over the holidays, they were finally able to throw a housewarming party on Saturday to show off their new digs. Although I was asked to bring an appetizer (I made my favourite Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip), I couldn’t let the occasion pass without baking something special!

I decided to experiment with adjusting a vanilla cake recipe that I love to make a chocolate cake. The results were pretty good – it was described by one party-goer as “kind of half brownie but fully delicious” – but I would really like to experiment a bit more to get it a touch more fluffy. I will post my recipe and results as soon as I hit the jackpot, promise!

I baked my cake into two 8 inch square pans. After letting them cool, I cut one of them in half diagonally to make two triangles. I placed one of the triangles at the top to make the roof and fashioned a chimney out of part of the other one (the remainder of which I have been snacking on all week…oops).

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Their house literally looks nothing like this…but this is cuter than a replica would have been.

As I made the cake the evening before the party, I decided to add a quick crumb coat to keep the moisture in and because I had the time. I made a batch of my favourite Wilton buttercream icing (it is to die for) and used it as “glue” to keep my pieces together. Additionally, I added a very thin layer to the top of the cake.

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For those who haven’t used/heard of a crumb coat before, the application of a thin layer of icing acts as a primer to ensure that your final, decorative icing remains free of crumbs. The coat also allows you to smooth out any dips or valleys in the top of the cake that may occur when transferring out of the baking dish or for any mishaps that may happen on the way to the final decoration. Once you have added a thin layer, allow it to dry completely. Once it is dry, continue decorating as normal and you will likely notice a difference! 

The next day, I decided that I wanted to make the house brown and the easiest way to do so was to make the icing chocolate. I added about 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the icing that I had made the night before and found it was a delicate chocolate flavour and the perfect colour. I also separated some out and added some black icing dye to use as a roof.  I finished by adding some details such as a door and windows. As you can tell, I need to work on my lettering skills, but that is an issue for another day.

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Overall, I was very pleased with the result and I can’t wait until someone else I know buys a house!

Maybe Martha’s notes

Because you lose 1/4 of the cake in cutting the roof, I was worried that the cake wouldn’t feed everyone there. As there was a lot of food and a few other desserts, it ended up being more than enough, but if you are concerned about portions I would recommend making 1 1/2 times the recipe you are choosing to use. You can then create a double decker cake in the same fashion with no leftover (keep in mind you wouldn’t be able to make the “chimney”). Alternatively, make a double recipe and make a few cupcakes to use as bushes for the front of the house!

Happy baking!

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