Chocolate Dylan

No, those are not my boobs

I was lucky enough to have been asked to create a custom Bob Dylan birthday cake to be featured on the cover of this week’s LA Weekly.  In the usual Straight Outta Chocolate style, I hand-painted chocolate to create the image, and as you can see below, it was entirely edible.

The cake after being devoured by LA Weekly staff


Strawberry Ginger Upside Down Cake

Strawberry Ginger Upside Down Cake

Sweet strawberries from the Echo Park Farmer’s Market and my recent habit of adding fresh ginger to almost everything I eat led to today’s cake creation.

A last minute addition of frozen blueberries balanced out the slight tartness of the strawberries and  resulted in an unexpectedly yummy caramelized crust.   I like the cake served by itself, although a little whipped cream couldn’t hurt.

I’ve used this cake recipe before, with different spices and loquats, here.

Berry Topping:

3/4 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

2 baskets or about 12 ripe strawberries, trimmed and sliced 1/4″ thick

1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (I used Trader Joe’s frozen wild blueberries)


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup buttermilk (regular or soy milk can be substituted)

Equipment: A 10″ cake pan or a 10″-12″ ovenproof cast-iron skillet


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For berry topping:  Melt butter in skillet or cake pan (using potholders, of course!) over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low, sprinkle brown sugar and chopped ginger evenly over butter, then cook, without stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  Not all the sugar will be melted.  Remove skillet/pan from heat and arrange strawberries, cut sides down, in a circular pattern over the brown sugar/butter mixture.  Scatter blueberries around the outside edge of the pan.

For cake:

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda, salt and ground ginger.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 1/2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one and a time until mixture is creamy and has doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk.  Beat until just combined.

Gently pour batter over berries.  Bake cake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.

As soon as cake is done, invert a large plate or pan over the skillet and flip skillet over, inverting the cake onto the plate.  Lift skillet off cake and replace any fruit still stuck to bottom of skillet.  Serve warm.

Cake will last, covered and refrigerated, for several days.  Reheat in a low oven.

Chocolate Storm


In the midst of some unexpectedly rainy Los Angeles weather, I have been baking up a storm.  First off was an Ian Curtis/Joy Division cake, which was one I had done before, but was happy to repeat.  The first time I made this cake, my chocolate wasn’t properly tempered and not having time to start over,  it showed badly in the end result.  Two years, lots of experimentation and 5,000 pounds of chocolate later, I can honestly say I won’t have that problem again!  This time, the chocolate came out perfectly, as you can see above.


After the Joy Division success, I was asked to create something for the 100th birthday of Tennessee Williams.  Skylight Books and the Skylight Theater were hosting a series of performances of classic Williams plays, with refreshments that included this cake.

Not sure what or who I will be asked to create next, but i’m looking forward to finding out!

Buffy Sainte-Marie Cake

I designed and hand-painted this cake top out of chocolate as a tribute to the musician and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie.  The cake interior is blood orange with vanilla buttercream frosting. I’m pretty excited with how this turned out. I’ve been tinkering with ideas on how to preserve and mount the finished chocolate pieces but have yet to figure out a way to display them on the wall. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

The below photo was shot on a table, but you can imagine how cool this piece would look mounted on a wall:

Thursday Nights at Footsie’s Bar

Every Thursday, we play incredible blues, r+b, reggae and african records for your listening pleasure.


The Chocolate Cure

Handpainted chocolate Cure cake


The cake is chocolate with vanilla buttercream, and I created the chocolate image using the Wish album and an altered concert photo of Robert Smith.

Wedding Cake Straight Outta Chocolate Style

paisley heart

coconut cake is for lovers

Last weekend some friends and fellow DJs got married in Griffith Park.  I created this psychedelic paisley coconut cake for the occasion.  The bride and groom had asked for muted 70s colors, paisley and flowers, which had me searching out vintage clothes and photos for that perfect paisley.  I finally found it, mixed with daisies, on a piece of old fabric. Then I handpainted chocolate pieces based on the fabric. Each component of the cake contained coconut, from the custard filling to the buttercream to the simple syrup soaking each layer.   I wanted to create super-coconut flavor without using coconut extract, which can taste fake, so there was a lot of coconut milk and unsweetened grated coconut involved in the creation of this cake.

It was the first time in years that I had made a cake this big, so I was a little nervous.  The Cake Bible recommended using drinking straws as supports between the layers, which worked out really well.  Stone and I managed to drive the heavy cake over to the restaurant and maneuver it up and down several flights of stairs without a problem.  After we dropped it off, we had a celebratory Bloody Mary, then headed off to the park.  The wedding was beautiful, and the reception at El Tres Inn was a blast.

right before they cut the cake