Today my children and I were planning out my Mom’s birthday. CAKE was a very important part of this discussion. I can’t reveal the exact cake we’re planning to make her but I’d love to share with you a few ideas for cakes you can make on your own. Most of these cakes are from my daughter’s 5th birthday party this year. She picked out the flavors of each one. (She also helped a lot with decorating of course!) PS: We have a huge family, so 4 cakes were needed… at least we thought so anyway.
I will forewarn you: I AM NOT A CAKE DECORATOR. Period. Nor do I want to be. I can bake anything and do have a hard time paying others to do what I enjoy doing so much. I can make fondant thanks to a recipe given to me by my friend Jessica B. I love to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream because it is my favorite frosting to EAT! As far as intricate décor etc… nope. Not me. I’m more concerned with the cake and how it tastes than what it looks like. Flavors of the frosting/filling and the baking of the layers are priority #1. So with that being said… here are a few simple ideas to take your basic frosted cake and give it a bit more ‘birthday-appeal’.
Basic cake techniques:
Bake layers, cool completely. Level with a long knife or cake leveler. Wrap and refrigerate a few hours. Fill and then frost a thin layer of what is called a “crumb coat” to seal the crumbs into the cake. Chill again. Finish frosting. These steps will make your layer cake easier to finish.
The most classic cake that I LOVE, and always gets the rave-est of reviews: Banana Cake with Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. (My dear sister will be getting one of these cakes for her birthday this year, it is her favorite. At least her cake # is still in the 20-somethings. Mine is NOT.) All you do for this cute cake is buy the teeny-tiny round colorful sprinkles from the baking aisle, print out a large number in the font of your choice and cut it out like a stencil. Frost the cake as desired and right away, gently press the stencil down over the cake covering all but what you want to have sprinkles on. Then shower sprinkles on the open area of the cake. (Do this in the sink, those boogers will be all over your kitchen otherwise. They bounce higher and farther than a super-pumped basketball.)
The “Pig Pen” cake is a basic dark chocolate cake with chocolate raspberry mouse filling, a light frosting, chocolate covered wafer bars, a ribbon and a chocolate ganache top frosting layer with plastic animals pushed in. This was the ‘chosen’ cake that my daughter wanted to blow her 5 candles out on.
“I love my cake Mommy.” (She’s here blogging with me right now and this is what she wanted to say about the picture below.)
It is always nice to have help from good friends when blowing your candles out…
Strawberries and Cream cake… golden butter cake layers, basic buttercream, strawberries and cream filling and just some basic piping using a large open star tip and a plastic piping bag.
“Farm Cake” was decorated by the kids as well. Chocolate cake with Oreo filling, basic chocolate buttercream, chocolate candies, chocolate covered wafers and an assortment of farm-related plastic toys. *Use a ribbon around the cake to secure the chocolate covered wafers.
I didn’t eat any of that cake Mom. None. Or any Doe-eat-ohs. Zero. For sure.
Almond-Apricot Ruffle Topped Flower Cake. Dense almond cake layers, Almond Italian Buttercream frosting, apricot jam. Ruffles: Ateco tip 104.
Simple zig-zag pattern with the petal tip around in circles to make the easy ruffle/flower look. Warm jam up for a few seconds in the microwave and pour into center of ruffles.
Why pigs on everything including a 5 year old’s birthday cake? Here are some pictures from a few years ago that I discovered. My daughter is pictured here a bit before her 2nd birthday. She loves the pigs, they seem to really enjoy her too. It is quite cute when they sit around her like dogs.
Seriously. Waa. Where have these years gone?
Time please slow down.