1st Birthday Cake

This past weekend I helped my friend make a 1st birthday cake for her sweet little boy, Jeremiah.  We wanted to do a jungle/monkey theme but since neither of us are professional cake bakers/decorators, we had to improvise a little.  Fondant was out because not only have I never worked with it before, I really don’t care for the way it tastes.  So, after searching the internet we found some ideas we liked, went shopping and prayed it would turn out!

First, let’s start with the cake.  It’s a homemade yellow cake covered with a delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Both are very simple and very good.  For the decorations we used palm trees found at a local craft store.  The animals are just chocolate molds that were painted and filled with milk, dark and white chocolate.  For the #1, I had my husband outline it on a piece of paper.  Then I taped a piece of wax paper on top of the paper with the #1 on it, filled a squirt bottle (like this one) with white chocolate and simply traced the #1, filled it in and popped it in the freezer for a couple minutes.  Easy!  Once we had it on the cake, we placed banana runts around it.  Oh, and the “bamboo” around the cake are Pirouette cookies from Wal-Mart, cut with a serrated knife into different size pieces.

The really was one of the simplest cakes.  I think painting the chocolate animals and #1 took the longest, about 1 1/2 hours.  So, I hope this gives you inspiration and confidence for your own cake baking adventures!  You can do it!  Have fun!

Yellow Cake

(adapted from Allrecipes.com)

1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 1/2 c. White Sugar

8 Egg Yolks

3/4 c. Whole Milk

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. Cake Flour

2 t. Baking Powder

1/2 t. Salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 pan and flour.  Line pan with a piece of parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then add the vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.  Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Turn out onto the rack and carefully peel the parchment paper from the cake.  Gently turn the cake over and use a serrated knife or cake leveler to level the top of the cake.  Turn upside down (so that the bottom of the cake is facing up) onto your cake plate.  Frost and decorate.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Squares, chopped, melted (melt at 20 second intervals, stirring between each) and cooled

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold

1/4 c. Solid Vegetable Shortening

1/4 t. Salt

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

6 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted

Directions

Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth.  Add salt and vanilla.  Beat in melted chocolate.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar until nice and creamy.

Frost cake with a crumb coat and let harden in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.  Remove, apply the final coat of frosting and decorate immediately.