Bumpy Cake

Bumpy Cake

Dating back to the early 1900s, Bumpy Cake was created when Fred Sanders Schmidt, owner of Sanders Confectionery in Detroit, was running low on vanilla buttercream and decided to pipe it onto his chocolate cake instead of spreading it. Made up of a single layer of rich Devil’s food cake topped with Vanilla Buttercream bumps and draped in velvety Fudge Frosting, this sweet is every bit iconic as it is delicious.

Bumpy Cake
Makes 1 (13×9-inch) cake
  • ⅔ cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (43 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream, room temperature
  • Vanilla Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Fudge Frosting (recipe follows), warmed
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, ½ cup (120 grams) warm water, and espresso powder until smooth. Add cream and sour cream, and whisk until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed in center and edges begin to pull away from pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
  5. Place Vanilla Buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a ⅝-inch round piping tip (Ateco #808). Pipe buttercream from center edge of one long side to center of opposite side. Pipe 3 lines, each 1 inch apart, on either side of center line (7 lines total). Freeze until ready to frost.
  6. Slowly pour warm Fudge Frosting over buttercream bumps in long even strokes until evenly distributed. If frosting thickens too much, microwave on high in 15-second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth and pourable. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Buttercream
Makes about 3 cups
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups (480 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 1½ teaspoons (9 grams) vanilla bean paste
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup (60 grams) at a time, beating until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add cream and vanilla bean paste; slowly increase mixer speed to medium-high, beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Fudge Frosting
Makes 2½ cups
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (65 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons (63 grams) light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 5⅔ cups (680 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, cream, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in confectioners’ sugar until sugar is melted and mixture is smooth and glossy, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour into a large glass liquid-measuring cup. Let cool until warm, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use immediately.


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