It’s my birthday!!
Yes, I’m turning 39. . . again.
Monday is kind of a crummy day for a birthday, but we’ll be going out to eat tonight and celebrating with — what else? — cake!!
So I thought for my favorite things post today, I would talk about cake.
I am super picky about cake. If I’m gonna spend that many calories, it better be good.
I’m not a great baker, but I’m okay. I almost always bake my kids’ birthday cakes from scratch (well, semi-scratch). I’m not opposed to cake mixes, but I do believe that canned frosting is the spawn of Satan. I’m really not sure how they can market it as a food product. (Don’t worry, I’m going to give you a much better alternative!)
In honor of my birthday today, I give you:
My Favorite Cake Resources, Recipes, and Moments
1. First of all, there’s Pinterest. Oh my gosh, Pinterest. How did we ever live without you?
I have found some fabulous recipes and cake decorating ideas on Pinterest. It is my go-to resource when planning a kids’ birthday party. Here are just a few of the cakes I’ve made with Pinterest’s help.
None of these were fancy cakes. You can tell just by looking that I’m no professional. But these were all fun, fairly easy, do-able ideas. Before Pinterest, I used to clip ideas out of magazines and keep them in a file. Now I just “pin” all my ideas and I don’t have to deal with the paper clutter.
2. The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn
This is my go-to book for delicious (but easy) cake recipes. All of the cakes in this book start with a simple cake mix, but they all taste like a from-scratch cake. I haven’t found a recipe in here that I don’t like. Her classic butter cake with chocolate frosting (the one she’s holding on the cover) is divine. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this cookbook! Ann Byrn also has several other cake mix cookbooks out that I haven’t tried yet, including The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!, Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor, and Cupcakes!: From the Cake Mix Doctor.
3. Homemade Frosting
I’m a total snob when it comes to frosting. Yes, I realize that frosting from a can is cheap and super convenient, but it’s also not really food. If you don’t believe me, turn that can over and read what’s in it. Let me know if you recognize any ingredient besides sugar that even remotely sounds like food.
The main reason I prefer homemade frosting though is the taste. It is so yummy and really quite easy to whip up.
This recipe for Buttercream Icing is my favorite (found on Pinterest of course!) and this one runs a close second. The Cake Mix Doctor also has really good frosting recipes. You can mix most of them up in just a few minutes.
4. A Few Recipes
I say a few because there are really far too many delicious cake recipes for me to even begin. But here are a couple of winners around our house
Sheet cake is kind of a thing here in Texas. Gooey chocolate smothered with pecans. It is decadent and fudgy and shows up at just about any church potluck dinner. A little goes a long way. (Blue Bell “Homemade Vanilla” ice cream highly recommended as an accompaniment.)
This is a recipe I got from my grandmother before she died. It is the cake I made for Eric when we were dating so that he would come inside and stay a while. It worked. (Again, best served with Blue Bell vanilla.)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 Tbsp. cocoa
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. soda
- 3/4 cup oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and soda together in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Add oil, water, vinegar and vanilla and stir until moistened. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- For icing, melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and cook, stirring, until dissolved. Add milk and cocoa. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Take off heat and continue to beat until cooled slightly. Pour over cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Allow to set.
Even though both of these are chocolate cakes, I actually prefer a good white cake. At any wedding, I always choose bride’s cake over groom’s!
5. Favorite Cake Moments
Cake is a celebratory food. So many of life’s memorable moments are accompanied by cake. . . as they should be! Here are a few of my fondest cake memories:
Wedding Day — white cake with pineapple filling. We took some with us on our honeymoon and ate it for breakfast in bed the next day. Divine.
The Lego cake topper made by my son and placed atop the (very expensive) 50th wedding anniversary cake that had just been delivered to my house for my inlaws’ big party. I blogged about the incident — you can read the story here!
This picture makes me laugh!! This is my youngest son at his first birthday party, but honestly, it could have been any of my babies. Of course, he stopped crying once he got ahold of that cake!
I ran across this one while I was going through photos for this post. Look how young I am! According to the candles, it looks like 24 or 25. The funniest thing is that it’s a pecan pie instead of a cake. And it’s at my grandmother’s house, so I’m sure she made it (probably at my request).
Wow, this post ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated!
I guess it just goes to show you that cake is one definitely of my favorite things!