Hercules Cake

A twelve layer cake covered in edible gold!
This cake is epic. Epic like Hercules. In fact, it has twelve layers, one for each of the twelve labors of Hercules. It’s a fiori di sicilia (orange-vanilla; you could easily make it vanilla if you prefer) cake with honey frosting covered in edible gold. Yes, Edible. Gold.
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
I was determined to figure out how to cover a cake in edible gold without using fondant for Disney Dinners: Hercules. According to the The Internet, applying edible gold to frosting is impossible. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. I figured out how! Now this won’t be solid gold, but rather a gorgeous ancient, speckled gold look that’s such to wow your guests.
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
Is edible gold expensive? Compared to sprinkles, sure. Compared to buying a cake from a bakery, nope. This may not be a Tuesday Cake but this would be perfect for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, holiday, or themed party. The cake in these photos used about $15 worth of edible gold. Not bad for a WOW party moment!
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
A perfect illustration of how cake makes me feel
The Rose Table is in no way affiliated with The Walt Disney Company.
Photography by Darling Photography TX.
Can you really eat gold? Yes, you can but make sure it’s pure 24K gold with no filler metals. Be careful when you’re purchasing it that you are buying food grade, edible gold. It is tasteless and odorless and passes through your system without being absorbed so it’s purely for looks but oh doesn’t it look incredible?
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
What’s the difference between transfer sheets and loose leaf? You want transfer sheets, trust me. Packs of edible gold come in a little booklet. (Be careful not to bend it!) The transfer sheet makes all the difference in the world in terms of ease of use. It’s similar to wax paper. Hold that, not the gold itself, and press the transfer sheet on to the cake. Wet a pastry brush to apply and voile, you have a sparkling cake.
A few pictures taken right after apply edible gold:
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
The key here is to freeze your fully frosted cake for exactly fifteen minutes for the gold to stick. It does not affect the texture of the cake. Fun fact: I actually have a chunk of this cake in my freezer from recipe testing a month ago and the gold still looks perfect!
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
Six layers of cake + six layers of frosting = twelve layers, for each of the twelve labors of Hercules
Disclaimer: I have only applied edible gold to this frosting and cannot speak to how my method works on other types of frosting. I have more edible gold and may update this article in the future with a note here about that.
Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table
Hercules Cake
For the cake:
2 cups sugar

3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp fiori di sicilia extract
4 large farm fresh eggs
 
Honey Frosting
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp milk
 

To bake the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour three 8″ round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add butter to the mixer and beat until it looks sandy.
  4. Combine the milk and fiori di sicilia and add to the mixer. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl as you go!
  5. Crack eggs into a bowl. This way, you won’t accidentally get egg shells in your cake batter. With the mixer running on low, add eggs one at a time. Make sure each is incorporated before adding the next.
  6. Pour batter into your prepared cake pans. Softly bang the bottom of the pans against the countertop to help settle the batter evenly in the pan.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven, cool ten minutes in the pan, remove from pan, and cool completely. See assembly directions below.
To make Honey Frosting:
  1. Cream together powdered sugar and softened butter with an electric mixer. Start with two cups of powdered sugar and half a stick of butter, alternating additions.
  2. Slowly incorporate vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and add honey. Add additional milk or powdered sugar if needed for desired consistency.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Carefully slice cooled cake rounds in half using a serrated knife. Brush off crumbs. Grab a plate to build the cake on.
  2. Spread a thin layer of honey frosting on top of each round. You should have six layers of cake and six layers of frosting. Spread frosting around the outside of the cake and smooth as best as you can. Pop the whole cake in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove cake from freezer and take one sheet of edible gold leaf on a transfer sheet and gently set it on the cake, starting at the top center. Dip a pastry brush, new soft-bristled paint brush, or new makeup brush into cup of water and tap off access water. Gently brush water on the transfer sheet. Slowly lift the transfer sheet off of the gold, which will stick to the frosting. Repeat until cake is covered as desired. Store at room temperature.

Watch me make it:

Read more about Disney Dinners: Hercules here. Watch the video highlights:

Hercules Cake and how to apply edible gold leaf transfer sheets to frosted cake | The Rose Table

Go the distance,

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