I don't know about you all, but I have SO many summer birthday buddies! Maybe its because I myself am a May baby, so I have lots of class-runt friends?? Or maybe I just have a heightened awareness and need to celebrate them, since we all used to get tricked into having one joint classroom party at the end of the school year? Or maybe it's just because summer birthday babies are the best ; )
Whatever the case may be, I have been putting my favorite past-time into overdrive lately: baking. I basically am going at a birthday-a-week rate these days! In the process of so much baking, I’ve wanted to remain inventive and make each special but without taking up all my time after work and without breaking the bank.
I’ve found The Formula for baking cakes that meet that criteria! Sometimes the true layer cakes are so involved, expensive and sometimes not even that great. (They can be a bit over-dry or kind of standard). Check out the Momofuku cake that I made a while back. That thing took the better part of a weekend and 2 trips to the grocery store! While it was so worth it, I can’t rally myself on that every week. So I’ve simplified.
I’ve been going through my Pinterest boards, Party Sweet and Treats and picking out my favorite single layer cake or bar recipes. I double the recipe (or make it twice which is sometimes easier and faster than doing the math or stirring it all together properly), and then I make a double batch of cream-cheese frosting of some sort.
Last week’s birthday cake was inspired by the Fluffernutter Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction:
I made mine a bit more like a Reese’s Fluff Cake with some customized twists and turns. I started out by making her cake just as instructed, and I did two recipes of it so that I would have two layers. Then, I followed her instructions on the fluff icing (8oz cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar and vanilla plus some salt) — but I also added a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to give it a chocolatey kick and extra salt to balance. That bowl of icing would become my cake “filling.” I made a second bowl for the top layer of icing. To cut the sweetness overall, I used 8 oz of cream cheese and then only 1/2 a cup of fluff and 1/3 a cup of powdered sugar. The end result:
Transporting the cake was actually easier than you would think. I assembled it AFTER transport which was key. I wrapped each cake round in tinfoil and then stacked them and put them flat into a shopping bag that I could carry and keep them upright in. I put each bowl of icing into a ziplock bag and brought one small spatula-spoon. I chopped my Reese’s and wrapped them in foil too. When I arrived at my destination, I unwrapped a cake round, then smoothed the chocolate icing over it. I dropped the second cake round on top, then smoothed the white fluff icing on top of that. Scattered my Reese’s and all done!
This week’s work in progress is a Funfetti Layer Cake. This is the true layer cake version of it: which requires almost 4 cups of flour, 7 eggs, a standing mixer, buttermilk and heavy cream and a lot of steps. It's gorgeous but a little too much for me on a Monday night. I am doing the Funfetti Sugar Cookieversion: which is only 1.5 cups of flour, 2 eggs (3 and 4 if you double), and I made it in one bowl with no special ingredients except for white chocolate chips.
I’m also skipping the frosting from the recipe and doing my go-to: 8 oz cream cheese, some powdered sugar to taste and maybe a dash of almond or vanilla extract. The beauty of the frosting is you can add whatever you want to customize it to your cake flavor with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cocoa powder, peanut butter, almond extract, rum or anything else you can think of. If the add-in makes the frosting a little too stiff, add a dash of water and if its a little too soft, add a dash more of powdered sugar. Work in progress:
The possibilities are endless.