Hi, I’m Jessica, and I’m the Food Artist, Stylist, and Founder of Luxe and the Lady where I love to share food that’s as cute as it is delicious! I find inspiration from many different places, but especially cute animals and the beloved characters of my childhood (like Sanrio). I have a massive Hello Kitty collection, and when I was younger even started a Sanrio fan club with my brother and sister (complete with a newsletter and everything). It is such a dream come true to now be able to collaborate with Sanrio to bring some of my favorite characters to life as delicious desserts! You can find even more cute creations and recipes at luxeandthelady and on my Instagram @luxeandthelady.
Since this month is the adorable Chococat’s 25th anniversary, I thought it was only fitting to make a cake to celebrate. This recipe is modified from my Grandma Bea’s fudgy chocolate cola sheet cake. Chocolate, of course, since Chococat is named after his chocolate-colored nose. The brownie-like cake layers are filled with a traditional chocolate fudge frosting and toasted pecans (also a nod to Nutz, Chococat’s hamster friend). Instead of adding marshmallows, I frosted and decorated the outside with an ultra-silky vanilla American Buttercream. Trust me, you’re going to want seconds! I know layer cakes can feel intimidating, but I am sharing tons of tips and tricks so that you can easily recreate this cake even if you’ve never made one before. Grab a friend and get ready to bake your day a little happier! And Happy Anniversary to our favorite Sanrio friend, Chococat! Let's celebrate!
Chococat Chocolate Cola Cake
Makes 1 8-inch, 3-layer cake
Chocolate Cola Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cola soda (regular, not diet)
Chocolate Cola Fudge Frosting:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cola soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 9 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Buttercup Yellow, Moss Green, Sky Blue, Black and Orange icing gel colors
- White-white icing color* (optional)
- 1 teaspoon black cocoa powder
- Parchment paper
- Chococat template (sized to about 4.5 inches wide, flowers about 2 inches wide each)
- 1 piece card stock paper
- 8-9 large piping bags
- 4 Medium or Large round piping tips (I used sizes 10, 12, and 1A)
- 4 small round piping tips (I used sized 3-5)
- Offset spatula
- Bench scraper
- 8-inch cake boards
- 10-inch cake board* (optional, to help move the cake around. You could also use a flat plate)
It is easiest to read all of the directions once through, before beginning, as some steps of the recipe require prep.
Bake-even cake strips are a game changer for baking cake layers! Instead of worrying about the cakes doming and having to level them, the cake strips ensure that your cakes each bake flat and evenly and stay super moist. If you don’t want to invest in a set, you can also look up how to diy your own.
I like to take all of my refrigerated ingredients out and place them on the kitchen counter about 30-45 minutes before I begin mixing the cake batter. This allows them to blend together smoothly. If it’s really cold in your kitchen you may want to take the butter out sooner (but leave the heavy cream in the fridge until just before you use it).
Buttercream holds its shape best when cold, so any time shapes are softening up too much just pop the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes before working on it again. Avoid using the freezer once the cake is assembled or else it can cause condensation on the colored buttercream.
Because of the amount of butter used to make American Buttercream it can look a little yellow or off-white. To counteract this I add white-white icing coloring as needed.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the sides and bottom of 3 (8-inch) round baking pans with butter. Then flour them, shake out the excess over the sink, and add a parchment paper round to the bottom of each pan (this ensures that the cakes pop right out of the pans after baking).
2. If you are using cake pan strips (see tips above), you will also want to now soak them in a glass of water to get them prepared.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the softened butter for 1-2 minutes, at medium speed, until creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the sugar, and mix again for 3 minutes until lighter in color and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again.
5. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated.
6. In a large measuring cup, stir together the cola, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
7. With the mixer on low, alternate between adding the dry (flour mixture) and the wet (cola mixture) ingredients to the mixing bowl beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until everything is blended, being careful not to overmix.
8. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale for this so that I can get the proportions just right, but it’s not necessary. If using the cake pan strips, squeeze just a bit of the water out of them (so they aren’t dripping wet) and wrap them tightly around the sides of your cake pans.
9. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes in the pans before carefully inverting them onto a wire cooling rack and letting the cakes cool completely. Once cooled, wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and transfer them to the freezer (I placed them on 8-inch cake boards to make them easier to move around). If you are making the cake over a few days, you can freeze the cakes the night before stacking and decorating. Just remove the cakes from the freezer about 45 minutes before using them.
10. Time for the filling! In a medium size mixing bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
11. Beat the butter with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes until creamy. Then slowly add the sifted ingredients in, a little at a time until incorporated (mixing on low).
12. Once all of the powdered sugar is in the mixing bowl you can add the vanilla and mix again, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the salt and slowly mix in the cola. Then, turn the mixer up to medium low, and beat again until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
13. Transfer the filling to a piping bag either fitted with a large round piping tip or cut a large corner off once ready to pipe.
14. Now we will make the vanilla buttercream. Sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
15. Beat the butter for 2 minutes, on medium speed until creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar (on low speed) until incorporated. Add the salt, vanilla and cream. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat the frosting for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
16. Measure out about 4 ½ cups of the buttercream for frosting your cake. Cover the rest of the frosting and set aside. Stir in a tiny bit of the Sky Blue icing gel to get a light blue color. Transfer to a piping bag.
17. Let’s stack and fill the cake! I used several cake boards for stability since this cake has to go in and out of the fridge quite a few times (and it’s a hefty cake)! Tape your 8-inch cake boards securely to a 10-inch board, add a little bit of the frosting to the top of the 8-inch board, and add your first chilled cake layer with the bottom of the cake on the cake board.
18. Pipe a ring of the blue frosting around the edge of the cake. This acts like a wall between the filling and the outside of the cake so it doesn’t show through. Then pipe a swirl of the filling frosting in the middle. Sprinkle ¼ cup toasted pecans over the chocolate frosting. Add your next cake layer on top and gently press down. Repeat the piping, filling and pecans.
19. Add your third cake with the bottom of the cake facing up (so it’s the top of the cake). Press down gently. Pipe or spread a thin layer of the blue buttercream over the top and sides of the cake as the crumb coat. This layer doesn’t need to be smooth or even. You just want it to lock in the crumbs before adding the smooth final coating. Transfer the cake to the fridge for 20 minutes to set the frosting.
20. Once chilled, pipe or spread the final coating of blue buttercream over the sides and top of the cake. I like to pipe it on and then use the offset spatula to smooth the top, and the bench scraper for the sides. To use the spatula, work your way around the cake carrying the excess frosting out to the edge. I used a turntable to easily work around the cake, but a cake stand helps too as it elevates the cake. The bench scraper can be held vertically against the cake to help pick up excess frosting. Wipe both tools periodically so you aren’t moving frosting back onto the cake after smoothing it. Once you are happy with the frosting transfer the cake to the refrigerator again for 20-30 minutes.
21. Prepare your template by printing it out onto the card stock paper.
22. Cut the flowers and Chococat out, and once the cake is ready, place Chococat onto the top middle of the cake. Use a toothpick to trace around the design into the frosting. You can place the flowers around him tracing to determine the pattern you’d like for the top and sides.
23. Separate the rest of the buttercream frosting into 6 bowls. You will need the most for the orange and blue flowers and only a little in the other bowls.
24. Add the moss green to one bowl, more of the sky blue to another (to achieve a deeper blue than the cake coating), a tiny bit of the buttercup yellow to third, orange to a fourth, leave one white (you can add white coloring to brighten it more, if you’d like), and stir the black cocoa powder into the last bowl. The black cocoa helps to color the frosting without having to add as much black icing gel.
25. Once the cocoa powder is mixed in slowly add the black coloring, a little at a time. The color will deepen as it sits, and we don’t want to oversaturate it. You can even color this icing the night before to give the colors more time. Color and refrigerate each one and make sure to mix them well with a rubber spatula before piping to remove any air bubbles.
26. Time to decorate! Outline and fill in Chococat with the black icing. Transfer to the fridge for 10 minutes. Then use either the offset spatula or the back of a spoon (I like to warm it in my hands first) to smooth the black frosting out. Chill again then use the template to trace the eyes, scarf, ear details, and arm onto the black icing shape. Pipe using the yellow for the middle of the ears, white for the arm detail, white for the eyes (then add a black dot off to the center of each), and finish with a little bit of the leftover filling frosting for the chocolate nose.
27. Use medium round piping tips to pipe the petals for the daisies (I used size 10 tips), alternating the blue and orange. I did this by piping the end of the petal then dragging and releasing towards the center of the flower.
28. Once all of the petals are piped transfer the cake back to the fridge for 10 minutes. Smooth any necessary details on Chococat. Using medium/large round piping tips (I used size 12) pipe green frosting dots into the center of the orange flowers and yellow dots into the center of the blue flowers. You can chill and smooth more if needed, but now your cake is complete!! Take a ton of photos and then immediately feel free to enjoy a slice of all your hard work.
Leftover cake can be covered and refrigerated for about 4 days or frozen for longer. Leftover frostings also freezes great! Please let me know if you try this recipe. I’d love to see your version! Enjoy.
Please note: Sanrio has invited, but does not necessarily endorse, the comments of this guest blogger. Any ideas or instructions for homemade products featuring Hello Kitty or other Sanrio characters are authorized for personal use only. A separate license from Sanrio is always required to sell or distribute any products featuring Hello Kitty or other Sanrio characters. The contents of this blog are the copyrighted works of Sanrio.