This tall chocolate and orange multi-tiered cake will make a great impression on a couple's big day. The colours can be made to work with any palette; just be sure to go light and dark enough on either end to allow for a gradient of colour on the middle two tiers.
- Portion size 100 servings
MethodChocolate cakes: Whisk cocoa powder with 3 cups boiling water until smooth; let cool slightly. Set aside. In heavy-duty mixer, beat butter until fulffy; beat in sugar, 1 cup at a time, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Beat in chocolate. Transfer to large bowl.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into batter alternately with cocoa mixture, making 4 additions of flour mixture and 3 of cocoa. Scrape into greased and parchment paper-lined 2-inch (5 cm) deep 12-inch (3.3 L) and 8-inch (1.2 L) round cake pans, filling three-quarters full.
Bake in 350F (180C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 55 minutes for large. Let cool in pans on racks for 30 minutes. Run knife around edges; invert onto racks. Let cool, keeping paper on.
Orange cakes: In heavy-duty mixer, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg yolks, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange zest and vanilla.
Stir together flour, almonds, baking powder and salt; stir into batter alternately with milk, making 4 additions of flour mixture and 3 of milk. Scrape into greased and parchment paper-lined 2-inch (5 cm) deep 10-inch (2.3 L) and 6-inch (800 mL) round cake pans, filling three-quarters full.
Bake in 350F (180C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes for small cake, and 50 minutes for large. Let cool and turn out as per chocolate cakes. Wrap all cakes individually in plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature for 24-hours. (Make-ahead: Overwrap in foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
Butter icing: In large bowl and making icing in thirds, beat butter until light; beat in icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla.
Cut 3 cake boards from sturdy cardboard to same diameters as 10-, 8- and 6-inch (25, 20 and 15 cm) cakes; wrap in plastic wrap.
Syrup: In saucespan, stir sugar with water over medium heat until dissolved; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in liqueur. Divide between 2 bowls, 1 for each cake flavour.
Find the how-to for icing the cake here.
Place large chocolate cake, top side down, on larger cake plate; place on revolving cake stand. Using serated knife, cut in half horizontally. Brush cut sides with syrup from one of the bowls.
With palette knife, spread 2 cups icing over cut side of base. Top with remaining half, cut side down; gently press to push icing to edge. Remove paper. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
Repeat with remaining chocolate and orange cakes, cutting each in half, placing on prepared same-size cake board, brushing with syrup and filling with icing as follows: 3/4 cup on small chocolate cake and 1/2 cup on small orange cake. Refrigerate until set.
Tint 7 cups of the remaining icing desired dakest colour; reserve 3-1/2 cups for scallops.
Ting 5-1/2 cups of the remaining icing second darkest colour; reserve 2-1/4 cups for scallops.
Tint 4-1/2 cups of the remaining icing third darkest colour; reserve 1-3/4 cups for scallops.
Tint remaining 3 cups lightest colour; reserve 1-1/4 cups for scallops.
Return large chocolate cake to revolving cake stand. Using palette knife, spread darkest icing as smoothly as possible over top and side of cake; set aside. Repeat with remaining cakes and corresponding icings.
Place large tier on cake stand. Follow these instructions on how to build a tiered cake, except align cakes at back edge.
Starting at back edge of cake and using reserved icing for scallops, pipe three 1-inch (2.5 cm) round dots vertically on side of largest cake. With palette knife, smear dot to form scallop. Repeat to cover side of cake, finishing with 3 dots. Repeat on remaining layers. (Make-ahead: Cover lightly; refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
To serve, slide 2 metal spatulas under top tier; remove. Repeat for second tier. Cut top tier into 12 wedges. Cut second tier into 16 wedges; remove dowels. Remove third teir. Remove dowels from third and bottom tiers; cut 6-inch (15 cm) circle in centre of each. Cut border of third tier into 16 slices; cut centre into 12 wedges. Cut border of bottom tier into 32 slices; cut centre into 12 wedges.