This stunning cake is a delight of flavors and textures. It’s definitely a love letter to the woods. Not only is it decorated with turkey-tail mushrooms sculpted out of chocolate; it also gets its unforgettable flavor from fungi as well! Candy cap mushrooms are several species in the Lactarius family that have an intense maple flavor and fragrance once dried. They are one of my absolute favorite secret ingredients to add to dessert recipes like this one! If you can’t get your own, you can substitute two teaspoons of maple extract instead.
This forestry cake has a rich, strong maple flavor with a slight kick of alcohol swirled through a silky ganache, layered between tender gluten-free crepe-like cakes. It’s all the woodsy, earthy warmth you’d want from a log cake, without tasting even a little bit like a stump. It’s definitely a project—perfect for a peaceful day in the kitchen with few other expectations. If you’re someone who bakes for pleasure or comfort, you’ll love this. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time and space to create it so you don’t burn yourself out. The same activity can turn from replenishing to depleting so quickly when you add time pressure. You’ll make the candy-cap-mushroom-infused ganache first so it has time to cool and thicken slightly while you prepare the cakes.
Candy Cap Mushroom Ganache
2 cups chopped dark chocolate
1½ cups canned coconut cream
1½ tablespoons ground candy cap mushrooms
2 tablespoons bourbon
Put the chopped chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.
Add the coconut cream and candy cap mushrooms to a small saucepan. Heat until just barely simmering.
Turn off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes, then heat to barely simmering again. Add the bourbon. Pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate.
Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Keep somewhere warm while you prepare the cakes, so you can spread the ganache on in a thin layer using a clean paintbrush.
This cake is based on a Brazilian cake called bolo de rolo, where thin layers of cake are baked on cookie sheets, then spread with guava jam and rolled up into beautiful, delicate slices. I decided to use the same technique but instead fill my cake with candy cap ganache. It’s an unusual way of baking cakes, but the results are worth it!
2 cups white sugar
2 cups butter, room temperature
10 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons maple extract
1 cup flour (I used gluten-free)
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons powdered candy cap mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, almond flour, and cornstarch together.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition, alternating with 3 tablespoons of the flour mix after each one.
Beat in the maple extract. Add the remaining flour and candy cap mushrooms and beat until smooth.
Grease a 13-by-18-inch silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet.
Use a clean, wide brush to spread the dough very thin on the silicone mat.
Bake until the dough is opaque and doesn’t stick to your finger when pressed, about 3 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it!)
While it’s baking, spread out a cotton dishtowel and dust with powdered sugar.
Turn the cake out onto the dishtowel immediately after removing it from the oven.
Slice it in thirds lengthwise.
Spread the ganache on the cake while it is warm using another clean paintbrush, then start rolling one of the strips, using the towel to assist you.
Once the first strip is finished, roll the second strip around it. Continue this process with the rest of the batter until you have a round cake formed.
Let chill until the ganache sets up. While the cake is chilling, prepare the decorations!
Carefully trim the top of the cake with a very sharp knife.
Turkey Tail Decorations
These add a little realism to the cake, while also hinting at its foresty flavors.
8 ounces white chocolate melting wafers
1 teaspoon ground black sesame
1 to 2 teaspoons black cocoa powder
1 to 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 to 2 teaspoons butterfly pea powder
or blue food coloring.
Piping bags with small tips
Add the white chocolate melting chips to a silicone bowl. Microwave it in short 15-second bursts, stirring well with a silicone spatula after each time. Stop when most of the chocolate has melted and continue stirring until the rest has melted as well.
Divide the white chocolate into several small bowls. Tint them various shades of gray, brown, and blue to your liking. Leave one white. Transfer them all to small piping bags.
Set down some parchment paper on a cool surface. Pipe the edge of a mushroom with the white chocolate, creating a wavy design. As it sets up, you can pipe the next color inside it, making sure it has full contact with the interior of the white chocolate. Continue layering colors until your mushroom has a flat side (which will go into the cake) and a ruffled side to stick out. Let set up.