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How to make a Chocolate & Vanilla Bark Cake

I got the baking itch not too long ago and decided that day was the day to bake a cake. I had zero materials and not too much time but I was determined to create something visually pleasing and just as delicious. After searching pinterest I stumbled upon “The Cake Girls” website and their tutorial on how to make bark. It looked beautiful and I already had a love of the look birch wood…so here we are.

I grabbed a two cake boxes, (yes…boxed cake) one chocolate, one vanilla and decided to “doctor it up” with some ways to make it more sweet and feel homemade. Think semi-homemade on steroids.

Following the cake box directions, I substituted the water for heavy cream (yes all 1 1/4 cups). It gives it a richer flavor. Also used butter instead of vegetable oil because everything is better with butter. Lastly, I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to bring out more of the flavor.

For the chocolate cake I added 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder (always use the good stuff) rather than vanilla extract to accentuate the chocolate flavor.

This yielded 4 cakes in 8 inch pans. I aim to please with a 4 layer cake….what nonprofessional baker does that? (raises hand)

While the cakes were cooling, I began working on the bark. Following the directions from The Cake Girls, I melted milk chocolate and white chocolate wafers in separate bowls. I started with the milk chocolate chips and began to dab lines and texture onto a parchment paper sheet in a cookie pan.

I then allowed it to set and become firm. Next, I poured the white chocolate over the hardened milk chocolate on the parchment paper.

After allowing it to dry (it didn’t take long), I went back to my sad attempt of layering and crumb coating my 4 layer cake. I alternated between the chocolate and vanilla cakes with a simple buttercream icing. It may have been just as interesting to alternate icing flavors (that are complimentary of course) to match the cake layers…but ain’t nobody got time for that!

After the crumb coat and final coat went on the cake, I headed back to the melted chocolate pan where I began to break apart the sheet pan of chocolate. It came out perfectly! The indentions in the bark imitated an actual birch tree and I was quite proud. I then went Picasso mode and began to stick the bark shards along the outside of the cake and on top.

At first glance, you probably would have hit me with a “Bless your heart” but with a little more zhooshing with faux greenery and cranberry accents, I think it all came together. What do you think? I’d love to know what cakes you are baking and decorating for the holiday season!

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