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Birthday Cake

January 25, 2012

Earlier this week the son of friend from work turned four.  His party was on Sunday, and I baked the cake.

Although I most frequently search for recipes on the internet these days, I decided to pour through cookbooks searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.  (I have a fabulous chocolate cupcake recipe, but I haven’t baked a chocolate cake from scratch before.)  Finally I settled on the classic dark chocolate layer cake from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman.  It included both sour cream and buttermilk, neither of which I normally bake with, but birthday cakes are special.  It turned out nice and moist and chocolately (using cocoa instead of chocolate, unlike most of the other recipes I considered.)  It also was quite dense, so I didn’t have to worry about it being too fragile.  I would definitely recommend the recipe.

I wanted to fill it with a raspberry filling.  The reoccurring theme I found when looking for recipes seemed to be seedless raspberry preserves, so I mixed some with the frosting.   It was very sweet.  I added some cream cheese to try to tone it down.  In the future I would make a filling starting with frozen raspberries.

I used my usual buttercream frosting.   I tried it with unsalted butter, as that is what I had bought for the cake, and it was terrible.  Luckily I needed to make more, so I used salted butter for that batch and combined the two.  With unsalted butter the powdered sugar taste was too obvious.

Quick Buttercream Frosting

(makes enough to frost an 8″ 2-layer cake, adapted from Allrecipes)

1 cup salted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
up to 1/4 cup milk

With a mixer, cream butter.  Mix in vanilla.  Beat in as much icing sugar as possible.  Add in a tablespoon or two of milk and then mix in remaining sugar.  Continue adding milk, a little at a time, and beating until light and fluffy.  All the milk may not be necessary.

I tempered dark chocolate and filled a parchment cone and piped chocolate stars onto parchment paper.  (I also tried to make a rocket, as originally it was going to be a rocket cake, but that didn’t work so well!)  Once dry, they were easy to place on the cake.

It looked… like a homemade cake.  I definitely need practice.  But it tasted good!

the birthday boy enjoying the first slice with ice cream

And then, the kids all beat a bird to death (!!!)

Do you bake birthday cakes?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 7:22 pm

    Wow- that cake is adorable! Love the color of the frosting too! I cannot bake to save my life, but found this quite inspiring. Thanks for sharing :)

    • January 26, 2012 7:14 pm

      Thanks! I didn’t quite mean to make the frosting so bright, but it kind of matched the birthday boy’s shirt, so that was okay! ;)

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