The Year of Simple Birthday Cakes

Although I’ve been bitten by the cake decorating bug (possibly hereditary, since my grandmother and mother were actually quite good at it), it just didn’t happen this year for anyone since the decorating tools have been in transit since July.  While I’ve tackled an excavator (really massive, but fun), Rapunzel’s tower (not entirely a success), a cake with twin spiders (cute ones, really), and a triceratops, the kids took it easy on me this year.  Actually, they did it last year, too, not asking for things that were too complex, but rather pretty simple shapes and nothing elaborate for icing.

My cake was a 1-2-3-4 recipe, with peanut butter subbed in for butter, and baked in a bundt with a tunnel of mango jam.  I baked it just before the movers came so we could have it on my birthday.  I was pretty pleased with the final result.

We were basically in transit in Colorado for Yakum’s birthday.  With my parents, I did a tres leches cake (not necessarily for the birthday, but close enough) and while we were at my in-laws’, Yakum’s aunt made brownie cookies (at her request) for a birthday party with some of our friends.  Nice, simple, tasty, and fun.

Ikinji got a seven-layer chocolate icebox cake with peanut butter whipped cream, recipe found at the Smitten Kitchen.  My execution was somewhat lacking, especially with regards to spreading the filling evenly across the layers.  Still, this was a fun one, and really tasty.

The twins wound up with a 1-2-3-4 cake (a double recipe, so maybe a 2-4-6-8?), filled and lightly frosted with fruit whipped cream (as found at Serious Eats).  I baked it in four loaf pans so I could make a square with four layers (it was, after all, their fourth birthday, and we had both godparents’ families for dinner and cake).  Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned on the double batch, so I only had a pint of whipped cream, rather than double that I should have had to completely cover the cake.  Even so, I think it came out pretty well, with a good balance of the icing to the cake, without one overpowering the other.  Also, since I could only find freeze-dried strawberry/banana and mango, the colors weren’t that vibrant.  Live and learn, though.

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We’ll see what next year brings in terms of decorating cakes–probably simple shapes and recipes that rely on good technique to come out right, and nothing too terribly elaborate for decoration.  Or at least, one can hope.

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