I was inspired by this hamburger cake and before the inspiration passed, I was in the kitchen baking one up for Father's Day 2011.
I have baked many an "art" cake over the years for various sons' birthday parties, but it had been a while since I tackled one. If I hadn't been in such a rush to harness this unexpected inspiration, I would have found a tutorial for this particular cake here at Coco Cake in Vancouver. Needless to say, there is no ganache in the middle of my cake. Yummy, with or without.
So, it's almost vegan, because true to form, I borrowed elements from more than one resource. I was able to make all 3 layers of this cake with one batch of this cake recipe from A Farm Girl's Dabbles. I used the Chocolate "Wacky" Cake recipe but did not add the cocoa. Instead, after the batter was mixed, I poured 2/3 of it into 2 rounds. Then I mixed in 3 Tablespoons of cocoa into the remaining batter and poured it into a third round. The batter is vegan (using cocoa without dairy).
If you want to stick to a vegan cake, you can make "buttercream" frosting using vegan butter and some additional flavoring like lemon. Just a few drops of lemon in addition to vanilla cuts adds a dimension to the hydrogenated oils of the vegan butter without actually tasting like citrus. Here's a quick and simple buttercream icing recipe from the Food Network.
And here's my finished sculpture! It's different to be making a cake with the icing in the middle.