Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

In honor of Lottie's first birthday, I thought I'd share my favorite cake recipe. It has great flavor, starts with a box mix, yet tastes entirely homemade.

Photo: Jessie Sarrazin
For decorating purposes, it will stand up to frosting and fondant very well. If you would like to switch up the cake mix flavor, just adjust the egg type and amount for what is called for on the package and lastly, in my opinion, Duncan Hines always provides the best height.

For Lottie's birthday cake, I torted each cake layer (split each layer in half). Then I placed one cake layer on the serving board and spread with a good layer of rhubarb-raspberry jam and topped with another cake layer. Then I mixed a good dollop of cream cheese into some of the frosting and spread over the next cake. Then repeated those layers.

For other filling ideas there is a lot of room to fulfill your baking whim. Lemon curd is always a great spread and for more pizzaz you can top the curd with strawberry slices or raspberries and spread with whipped cream; you can also mix some lemon curd or jam into the frosting for a filling. Or, beat a good dollop of Nutella or peanut butter into some of the frosting. If adding a flavor component to your filling or using jam, be sure to first pipe a bead of frosting around the inside edge of the cake and then spread your filling inside the dam. This will keep your filling from seeping or becoming visible once the entire cake is frosted.

Creating the perfect birthday cake can be fun and pretty easy if you put your heart into it. All the best birthday wishes (even if you have to bake your own cake)!

Birthday Cake

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
4 egg whites
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
   Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Birthday Cake Frosting

1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Makes: 5-1/2 cups. (enough to frost and fill a 2 layer 9-in. cake with about 1-1/2 cups leftover)

Photo: Jessie Sarrazin

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