We All Scream for This "Melting Ice Cream Cone" Cake

It's as if you dropped a drippy cone right on top of a cake — and weren't sad about it at all.

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Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Drippy Ice Cream Never Looked So Adorable

A melted, spilled ice cream cone is usually something to pout about — but not on this cake. Instead, an unfortunate summertime accident inspires confectionary art — pro bakers like Katherine Sabbath have made cakes like this their calling card on social media. But with a few clever decorating tips and tricks, it's easy to make our at-home version (and impress all your friends). Here's how to do it.

Bake the Cake

To give this cake some extra party pizzazz, we used a confetti-style yellow cake (find full instructions here in the recipe) — but you can use any cake recipe you like. To make a cake as tall as ours, you'll need to fill four 8-inch round cake pans with about 1 1/2 cups of batter each. A taller cake will look more impressive, but there's no "right" way to stack this dessert — you can certainly tweak the decorating to suit a smaller cake.

Level the Cakes

Once the cake is baked and cooled, trim the layers using a cake leveling tool or a large serrated knife. This ensures that all the layers are identical and even, so you end up with a neat and tidy cake.

Save the Scraps

Don't toss the bits of cake you've trimmed off! You'll use them later to create the "ice cream cone." Place the scraps in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so they stay fresh.

Layer with Buttercream

Place the first cake layer on a cake board or flat serving platter. A spinning cake turntable will also make the cake easier to decorate, but it's not a necessity. Top the cake with a thick layer of buttercream frosting (get the recipe here). You can use a piping bag to do so (as shown here), or spread it on with an offset spatula.

Stack 'Em High

Continue layering cake and frosting until the cake is completely built. Gently press the top of the cake with your palm so some of the frosting squeezes out to the edge of the cake rounds — this helps provide an even surface for the exterior frosting.

Apply a Crumb Coat

Apply a thin layer of frosting to the exterior of the cake. This tidies up any crumbly edges and helps the next layer of frosting go on smoothly. Use a bench scraper or icing smoother to scrape away most of the frosting. You want just enough frosting to even things out and fill in any gaps on the sides of the cake. Then place the cake in the refrigerator to chill until the frosting is firm, about 30 minutes.

Pipe on Stripes

Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch decorator's tip, start from the bottom and pipe thick stripes of buttercream around the cake. (This is where a cake turntable can come in handy; it helps you pipe in a fluid motion and make the stripes even.) You'll need about 4 cups of buttercream frosting to cover the cake. We tinted half of our batch with a little lavender gel food coloring, but you can experiment with any color combination you like.

Smooth 'Em Out

Holding the bench scraper vertically, carefully scrape away a little of the frosting in one fluid motion. This smooths the frosting stripes against one another to create a more polished look. It may take a couple of passes before the frosting is completely flush and even. Clean the bench scraper between each pass (and reserve the discarded frosting for cupcakes!).

Frost the Top

Once the stripes are even, you'll find you can use the bench scraper to pull any excess frosting at the top across the cake. Add a little more frosting to make an even and level surface, but don't worry if it isn't quite perfect; the upcoming ganache drizzle will cover any rough spots. Move the cake to the fridge as you make the ganache. 

Gather Ganache Ingredients

To make the drippy ganache topping, you'll need 6 ounces of chopped white chocolate, 1/3 cup of heavy cream and pink gel food coloring. Use high-quality baking bars instead of white chocolate chips; they can contain stabilizers and may scorch in the microwave.

Melt and Stir

Melt the white chocolate and heavy cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds at 100 percent power; stir until smooth. If the mixture is not melted after 30 seconds, heat again at 10-second intervals until completely melted. Add pink food coloring a little at a time until the desired hue is achieved. You should end up with a thick, pourable pink ganache that falls in a ribbon from a spoon.

Get Drippy

Remove the cake from the fridge (at this point it should be firm enough to transfer to a plate or cake stand with a spatula). Spoon the ganache over the cake, pooling it in the center of the top first, and then using the spoon to gently push some of the ganache over the edge to create a drip effect. You won’t use all the ganache (and you'll need some of it for later), so reserve any leftovers.

Grab the Scraps

Remember these from when you leveled the cake rounds? Crumble them in a medium bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of leftover frosting. Stir until combined. The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your hand. If it is too crumbly, add a little more frosting until the correct consistency is achieved.    

Fill the Cone

Pack some of the cake scraps mixture into a sugar cone.

Form a Ball

Shape two handfuls of the scraps mixture into a ball about the size of a scoop of ice cream (place the ball against the sugar cone to gauge size). Roll the ball until the outside is as smooth as possible.

Insert a lollipop stick into the cake in the sugar cone, thread the ball onto the lollipop stick and press it onto the top of the sugar cone.

Add More Ganache

Use a spoon to cover the ball with the leftover ganache — it may take a couple of layers to get an opaque look. (If the ganache is firm, reheat at 10-second intervals in the microwave until smooth and pourable.) Allow the excess ganache to drip back into the bowl.

Top the Cake with the Cone

Turn the "ice cream cone" upside-down and insert into the cake at a slight angle. Press down until the lollipop stick is completely embedded in the cake. Use extra ganache to touch up and cover the ball if any accidental blemishes appear.

Add Sprinkles

Pastel confetti-style sprinkles offer a whimsical final flourish and drive the ice cream theme home. We used mini sprinkles across the top of the cake and larger sprinkles around the edge.

Add Some More!

Finish with some more sprinkles around the base of the cake, where the pink ganache pools.

Slice and Delight

This cake will make partygoers smile as soon as they see it — and when they cut a slice.

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