Birthday parties are nothing without the cake. Candles ablaze on top indicate years gone by and the prospect of those to come but what really counts is what is beneath the flames.
Thousands of varieties of cake – different in taste, shape and size – make for an opportunity to try something new each year.
Recently Hailey, the Collegian’s chief designer, and I were in the newsroom and she challenged me to a birthday cake showdown. Since I had fun with the truffle debacle between me and the editor in chief, Brandon, I said yes.
The rules were simple – we could make whatever kind of cake we fancied and we would be judged on taste, presentation and originality. Our judges, once again, were a group of Student Media employees who were all easily swayed to stick around for the event with the prospect of cake.
For my loyal readers you will remember I swept Brandon in the last showdown. This time I wasn’t as confident because I knew how creative Hailey could be.
She did not disappoint with a birthday cake entitled “Bubblicious Definition Makes the Hungry Loco” covered in bubble gum.
Inspired by Collette Peters, one of my favorite cake decorators (yes, I do know how nerdy that sounds), I offered up “The Big One,” a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting shaped like a large slice of cake.
The turnout for the actual showdown was more impressive this time around. A variety of Student Media employees filtered in and out of the judging room (the back conference room) as Hailey and I waited with bated breath to find out who would come out on top.
When the results came in I felt like the heat was on. Building the tension and complimenting both contestants, one of the judges announced the final decision. Hailey had taken the cake, only a minor pun intended.
So as not to be a sore loser I sat down with Hailey and shared a slice of each cake. Both were amazing. Hailey’s light and fluffy take on confetti cake contrasted my slightly more dense chocolate cake and my coconut-chocolate frosting was sweet and creamy in contrast to Hailey’s sweet pink buttery frosting.
In the end what would have made the perfect cake would have been Hailey’s cake combined with my frosting.
Fortunately for you, both recipes are available for you to decide which combination of cake batter and frosting works for you.
L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (to life and eat well).
Verve editor Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butter Marigold Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together.
Gradually add flour mixture into wet ingredients.
Bake at 345/ for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and continue cooling on racks.
4 sticks of butter
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
Beat sugar and egg whites over boiling water until sugar has dissolved. Cream butter into sugar mixture.
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
5 ounces unsweetened, coarsely chopped chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups hot coffee
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. In a separate bowl place chocolate and butter and pour hot coffee over the mixture and cover until melted.
Pre-heat oven to 300/
Add sugar to the coffee mix. Stir in flour mixture. Add eggs, vanilla and coconut.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan and then continue cooling on racks.
1/2 c soft butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces melted chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Cream butter with sugar. Add salt, vanilla, chocolate and cream.