We used six unglazed, untreated terra-cotta flowerpots (each with a six-ounce capacity, about 3 inches tall and 3 1⁄2 inches across the top). Thoroughly wash the new pots in hot water before using.
- 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil plus more for pots
- 3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for dusting
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
- 3⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Quick Chocolate Frosting
- 1⁄2 cup crushed chocolate wafer cookies about 10, for garnish
- Multicolored pebble-shaped chocolate candies for garnish
- Mint sprigs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush inside of each flowerpot with oil, and line bottom with parchment paper round. Brush parchment with oil, and lightly dust with cocoa.
- Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add egg and yolk, 3⁄4 cup warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Divide batter among prepared pots, filling each about two-thirds full. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating sheet about halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cakes cool completely in the flowerpots on a wire rack.
- Frost cakes with an offset spatula; sprinkle with crushed cookies. Top with candies; “plant” 1 mint sprig in each cake.
At a spring conference we organized back in 2004, Karen Ritz, author, illustrator, and baker extraordinaire, made one of these for each of our guests. They were a hit! We think they’d work well with a construction-themed party or storytime, too. Adapted from from Martha Stewart’s website