Celebration Cakes Archive

Sunday, June 14, 2009

neapolitan cake

neapolitan cake, slice

I turned 33 this week, but seeing how I’m a little preoccupied these days with someone else’s impending birthday, I might have brushed over this occasion completely, had it not been for a confluence of events — a fierce craving for Peking duck (then dragging both of our families into it’s crispy-skinned grasp), the decision to schedule our housewarming mocktail/cocktail party the next day (requiring baked goods involving cheese, of course) and the fact that it gave me an excuse to conquer a cake that has been vexxing me for the last year and a half.

zestysifting flourtoasted almondsone layer

The truth is, I start thinking about my birthday cake long before it is healthy or well-adjusted to. I see it as the perfect excuse to tackle something risky and possibly ridiculous — something I’m not entirely confident will work out, but don’t care because I’m only making it to amuse myself. Being freed from not wanting to disappoint another on their birthday has its benefits: There was the Crêpe Cake, which also marked the occasion of me making my very first crêpe, ever. (Which landed in the garbage, as all first and second crêpes were intended to.) There has been a Pistachio Petit-Four Cake, which involved rolling out marzipan and then pressing and tinting little marzipan roses, slightly less risky but no less insane.

four "cake" discscurrant caramel vanilla bean fillingspreading the fillingneapolitan cake

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, May 14, 2009

almond raspberry layer cake

almond raspberry layer cake

My mother turned sixty-five last month, a number that’s just impossible for me to get my head around because she’s my mom, and grandmothers are 65, not moms. Oh wait. I think I just got it.

almond battertiny almond cake, cooling on the floorraspberry jam fillingwhipped bittersweet frosting

My mother is the original marzipan fanatic in my family, and the biggest cheering squad behind my single homemade attempt, not to mention all of the other almond-flavored confections I’ve given spins on this site. Thus, needless to say, for her birthday, it was an almond cake or bust and this one fit the bill perfectly — a strong almond flavor, and it came together quickly.

detail

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

homemade chocolate wafers + icebox cupcakes

chocolate wafers

People, I am so excited about this recipe, it’s pretty much all I can talk about this week. I mentioned it to a broker who showed us another dud of an apartment (more about that if/when we make it out alive). I mentioned it to a friend who doesn’t eat sweets (and we’re still friends! Really, it’s more for everyone else.). And I tried to explain it to another friend who has probably never baked in her life, who politely nodded, smiled and scooted out of the room. As you can see, I can be incredibly boring when I get excited about cooking. That’s what you’re here for.

slicing the wafers

I have been wanting to come up with a completely home-baked, from scratch and all-natural chocolate wafers for years. It has been an outright obsession of mine, since Alex introduced me to the fabulousless that is Icebox Cake and I was disappointed to learn that the only way to make it was to buy some often-hard-to-find Nabisco chocolate wafers with their own set of disconcerting ingredients. I knew a homemade recipe was out there — for crazy people like me, it’s not like if you’re looking for a shortcut, the store bought ones still won’t do — but I had a hard time finding it.

chocolate wafers

Continued after the jump »

Friday, March 20, 2009

cream cheese pound cake + strawberry coulis

cream cheese pound cake, dusted

Meet my new favorite pound cake. I have had this cake bookmarked for, oh, 100 years or so and while some recipes that I unearth from their 100-year queue are the kinds of disappointments that did not improve with age, this is of the opposite variety: Why did it take me so long to make this? Here, let me kick myself a few times.

crackly top

I’d argue that it was fear. Pound cakes are of British origin, dating back nearly 300 years and their name came from the fact that original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter (four sticks), sugar (two cups), eggs (eight large) and flour (four cups), with no leaveners other than the air that was whipped into the batter. They tend to be a bit heavy and dense but it’s hard to argue that this type is not for you when anything else is not a true pound cake.

strawberriesstrawberry couliscream cheese pound cakecream cheese pound cake

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, March 14, 2009

layer cake tips + the biggest birthday cake yet

lit cake

My father-in-law, youthful guy that he is, turned 60 this past weekend and if you think I was going to allow my in-laws to purchase him a cake from a bakery, oh, you don’t know how even typing those words caused the shudder to rise up in my chest. A bakery cake! Promise me if I make it to 60, I get a homemade cake too. I hope to have leveraged enough cake-baking karma by then to not even have to ask.

two pounds of chocolate

But this isn’t about my father-in-law’s birthday cake, or not entirely. (But you’ll see the recipe later, you know, just in case you ever want to make your own 12-inch square insanely chocolaty cake.) I am long overdue to share with you many of my favorite layer cake tips. I get a lot of email about them, people asking about the logistics of putting them together and I realize I’ve absorbed a lot of advice over the last fifteen or so, and I’m overdue to sum it up in one neat place. So here we go!

ridiculous amount of ganache

Continued after the jump »


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