I made this cake almost a month ago, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. As most of you know, I’m a huge Lost fan (as is my fiancee) and when the season finale aired last month, it was an emotional night, as you might imagine. Knowing that we’re going to have to wait until January 2010 for the next (and last) season is heartbreaking! So, I decided to make this Dharma Initiative Swan Station cake to try to ease the pain, as well as to celebrate the finale. I might like Lost a little too much. Hey, it’s not the worst thing in the world! Kramer, my brothers, and our friend Morgan are all going to Comic-Con in San Diego in July, so that’s the next time we’ll be able to get our Lost fix. Until then, I’ll have to remember the glory that was this cake.
Not only is it shaped like the Swan Station, but this is a really easy to make chocolate layer cake. You can do the whole thing in one bowl! The cake itself has a really tender crumb and a rich chocolate taste, and the layers are made with the amazingly delicious leftover Nutella frosting I had from Kramer’s birthday cupcakes. The outside is vanilla frosting that…came from a can (as did the black frosting). I know! So sue me! But I wanted to make sure that I had the whitest white frosting that I could find and I didn’t want to end up with off-white frosting and have to start again (finals were also happening during this week). I hope you’re all inspired to make your own Dharma Initiative cakes, or at least this chocolate layer cake, sometime soon! Recipe after the jump.
Combine your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add in the oil and sour cream and beat until blended. Gradually beat in the water, then the vinegar, vanilla, and eggs.
Scrape down the sides.
If you have parchment paper, cut out liners for the cake pans by placing the cake pan over a piece of parchment and cut around it with a serrated knife.
Place the liner cut-out in the pan and spray it with Pam. This will help your cake to easily slip out of the pan without breaking. You just flip it upside down and peel the parchment paper off when you’re done!
Divide the batter evenly amongst your 3 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pans.
Our little diagram for the cake. We cut around the cake about 2 inches inward to make 8 sides.
This is a picture of the Swan logo. I didn’t attempt to write “Dharma” on the inside because I knew that would end in disaster.
This is called a crumb layer. What you do is go around the cake once with a very thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate the cake to let it set. This will allow you to have a much smoother and cleaner surface when you finish frosting the cake.
I had my brother draw the swan logo on it because I didn’t trust myself.
The cake, almost completed.
And there it is, all finished!
I think it looked better in real life, but I still think it’s awesome and I’m proud of it!
This was the last remaining slice of cake after we watched Lost. A success (both the cake and the finale), I’d say!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups white sugar
- ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup sour cream (I used low-fat)
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease your 3 8-inch cake pans (I used 9-inch pans and they were fine).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the oil and sour cream and beat until just blended. Gradually beat in the water, then the vinegar and vanilla. Lastly, beat in the eggs until just blended (don't over-beat).
- Scrape down the sides to make sure everything is thoroughly combined and divide amongst your 3 cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until set and a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely before removing from the pans. You can speed this process up by sticking them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes (I did this and the cake wasn't dried out at all, so don't worry).
- Here is the recipe for the Nutella frosting I used.
- Place one layer flat side up on a flat surface or cake stand and spread the frosting evenly. Place the next layer on top, flat side up, and frost again with another layer of frosting. Place the last layer on top, flat side down (or you can level the cakes by cutting the rounded tops off but I am often far too lazy for that).
- To make your Dharma Initiative logo, use frosting or toothpick holes to mark lines 2 inches in around the entire cake, making 8 sides. With a sharp, wet knife, slice carefully down each side of the cake, wiping the knife clean after each slice. You should have an octagon when you're finished (see the diagram up top for a picture instruction).
- Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to make your crumb coating. This will help you create a smooth surface later on. After you've spread the thin layer over the cake, put it in the fridge or freezer for at least 20 minutes to firm the thin layer of frosting.
- When the crumb coating is firmed up, finish frosting your cake. To make the Swan Station logo, follow the diagram pictured above. Or you can just make a regular ol' chocolate cake if you're not a nerdy Lost freak like me. Enjoy!