For my family, I am the resident birthday cake maker.
It wasn't always this way. I only started baking and decorating cakes within the last couple of years, and I don't decorate cakes as often as I would like. But that's neither here nor there.
My Older Sister has 3 kids. One girl, 2 boys. Both of her boys have birthdays in June. We celebrated her older boy's birthday last weekend and her younger boy's birthday this past weekend.
The ages between her 2 youngest children are kind of funny. Her older son just turned 17 and her younger son just turned 5!
As you can imagine, the birthday cakes were decidedly different.
My little nephew decided he wanted Pokemon for his birthday. And since I'm the resident cake maker, it was up to me to figure out what to do. My sister gives me full creative license. LOL!
Luckily, her oldest (my niece) is a lot like me so we brainstormed together. This is what we came up with. A Pikachu cake with Poke-ball cupcakes.
The cake was a two layer chocolate cake with buttercream icing rippled through the center and enveloping the cake layers. I printed a picture of Pikachu off the internet and used that to make the outline.
For the cupcakes, I found a white cake recipe to try. I colored half of the batter yellow and the other half blue. I layered the batter in the red cupcake liners and baked them up. Each cupcake was yellow and blue inside and topped with the same buttercream icing I used for the cake.
The Poke-balls were made from red and white fondant. My niece made the Poke-balls and I think she did an amazing job! She took equal amounts of red and white fondant, matched up the edges, and evenly rolled it out. She then took a small cookie cutter and made the rounds. I bought some black edible ink for the "seam." It was pretty runny and some of the seams melted in the 100 degree F Texas heat on the way to the party place. Oops. Oh well.
My little nephew seemed pretty pleased with the cake. He said it was "awesome!"
The chocolate cake is my go-to chocolate cake so it was, of course, delicious.
My niece and I were unhappy with the white cake. It tasted too eggy to me. But everyone else said they were great. Of course, this could be because I messed up when making the batter. AND the batter ended up getting over mixed due to having to color it. It was most likely my fault that I didn't like the taste.
This was my first time using this buttercream recipe as well and I must say, I have found a winner. It was easy to work with and held its shape quite well...even in my hot house and the Texas heat!
I was able to snap a quick picture of the inside of the cake. Sadly, I didn't cut it so it was pretty messy. But whatever, it's birthday cake. This was my piece. After I took this picture, I was standing next to a table enjoying my first two bites and my Baby Sister walked by and accidentally hit my plate with her arm. Everything went in slow motion as my plate leaped from my hands and landed face down on the floor as I tried to catch it. She quickly turned and realized what happened. She started apologizing and all I could do was laugh my head off! What can you do??
I didn't get a picture of the inside of the cupcakes. But they were pretty fun.
All in all, everyone seemed happy with the cake and cupcakes. I was pleased with how they turned out. And the birthday boy was happy so that's all that matters.
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Sky High via Lick the Bowl Good
Printer Friendly Version
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
- Add the oil and 1/2 cup of the water to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup water, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Basic White Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book
- 3 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners (24 cupcakes total).
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds.
- Gradually add the sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until light, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- At low speed, alternating between the flour mixture and the milk, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions. Mix just until incorporated.
- Evenly distribute batter into the 24 cupcake liners. Each liner should be about 2/3 full.
- Bake 16-18 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes then cool completely on wire racks.
Classic Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Savory Sweet Life
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar. Place kitchen towel over bowl and mixer and turn mixer on low speed. Wait 30 seconds, remove towel and increase speed to medium.
- Add vanilla, salt, and 2 Tablespoons of cream or milk. Beat for 3 minutes.
- Turn off mixer and text icing. Adjust to desired consistency as needed. If icing needs to be stiffer, add remaining sugar. If icing needs to be thinner, add remaining cream one Tablespoon at a time mixing thoroughly and testing before each addition.