Celebration Cakes Archive

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 »

Monday, December 8, 2008

carrot cake with maple-cream cheese frosting

carrot cupcakes, show offs

After months and months and months of the kind studying, stressing and panicked all-nighters I only vaguely remember from college in part because I am very, very old and in part because, no, I did not graduate with a 4.0, my friend Alice finally took her very big exam this past weekend. In an effort to compensate for the dozens of parties and outings and merriment she’s missed since the summer, her fiance had a surprise party (and a clean loft, swoon) waiting for her when she got home.

grating carrotssoft bed of grated carrotsdry ingredientsso very very orange batter

Me? I made cupcakes, carrot cupcakes to be specific because carrot cake is Alice’s favorite. But do you know what I have come to realize about people who say their favorite cake is carrot cake? It’s really the cream cheese frosting (and perhaps the orange and green carrots eloquently piped on top) that they love. Or at least that’s the case with Alex.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pumpkin cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Oh, people. I know you’re pumpkin-ed out and it is not even Thanksgiving yet. But if there could be room in your gullet for one more pumpkin love — perhaps even as a last minute, the-heck-with-pie, Hail Mary pass of a Thanksgiving meal dessert — I think that these wee cakes are a worthy cause.

paper linerspumpkin cake batterpumpkin cupcake battermaple cream cheese frosting

So many pumpkin cakes and loaves and muffins are heavy, playing off the dense qualities of pureed squash, and the deep, warm spices we like to eat them with. But these cupcakes — originally envisioned as a two-layer cake I believe my sister is frosting right! now! — are light. They still taste of pumpkin but not aggressively so. And the maple cream cheese frosting, my word, is so heaven sent, you can see I got a little carried away prettying it up.

piping a rose

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 23, 2008

pink lady cake

pink lady cake

I know what you’re thinking: another dessert, Deb? Are you trying to kill us? But let me explain; you see, when your house guests fill your fridge and freezer with sausage and cheese and bread and you buy some wonderful Satur Farms arugula (now available at Whole Foods! Oh, how happy this makes me.) and make daily vinaigrettes with your new French Dijon, it turns out you don’t have to cook dinner at all. For days. And that’s pretty much where we’re at with things that do not involve sugar.

pink lady batter

Alas, they left us with no dessert, and more poignantly, no pretty pink princess birthday cakes (the nerve!), and so when the call arose on Monday to make one for Liz’s (of spaghetti and meatball photography fame) birthday, I jumped in with two feet.

Because everyone has a pretty pink princess in their life, be she four or 34, and when that pretty pink princess has a birthday, you need a cake that is appropriate. And there is nothing more darling and swell, more coquettish and eyelash-batting, than a pink lady cake. Simply nothing.

creating a pink lady cake

Continued after the jump »

Monday, August 11, 2008

chocolate peanut butter cake

chocolate peanut butter draping

Alex’s birthday was this past weekend and in case you are new here, let me give you a loose outline of a Standard Dessert Alex Politely Requests: Chocolate. Chocolate with chocolate. Chocolate with caramel. Chocolate with toffee. Chocolate with coffee. Chocolate with hazelnut cream. Chocolate with Oreos. Chocolate cheesecake with brownie chunks. Chocolate icebox cake. Chocolate with raspberries. Chocolate with white chocolate. Chocolate with dulce de leche. Chocolate with banana cake.

What, can you sense a theme or something?

cake batter

This year we added one more to the chocolate cake pile: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Well, actually, the technical title of the cake is Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze, though it is actually a Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze, but all you really need to know is that if you know a chocolate-and-peanut-butter lover, you must make this cake.

peanut butter cream cheese frosting

Because did I mention the chocolate cake? With the chocolate-peanut butter ganache (I bet you didn’t even know such a thing existed, I sure didn’t and my life may never be the same again. I wish I could quit it.) And the cream cheese peanut butter frosting and filling? Actually, let us pause on that last part. If you’re anything like me, the thought of cream cheese and peanut butter intentionally mixed probably gives you a bit of pause. I don’t know cheese + sweetened peanuts? That can’t be right, I thought. Well, I was wrong. They are perfect together, with the tangy/saltiness of the cream cheese helping the peanut butter hit all the right notes.

peanut butter filling

Continued after the jump »


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