Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Birthday Cake

Tuesday was Mr.W's birthday. He's finally 35!

We had a little party which I'll call a reverse surprise party--invited guests didn't realize it was to celebrate his birthday. We wanted to avoid the pressure of gifts, so we didn't mention it. We just wanted to enjoy the day with friends.

And being true to himself, a store-bought cake wouldn't do. Mr.W generally does not like cake, but indulges once a year in his favorite--German Chocolate Cake. And it's impossible to order such a cake at our local grocery bakeries sans pecans (because he hates nuts in his food, but likes to eat nuts all by themselves--go figure), so I'm obliged to make a custom version at home.


It turned out pretty well.

I used a box mix and canned chocolate frosting, but made the coconut frosting myself. Here are the full details:

- I used a German Chocolate Cake mix, but used melted butter instead of oil and used milk instead of water. It was baked in an 8-inch springform pan.

- After cooling overnight in the pan, it was transferred to a serving platter.

- The canned milk chocolate frosting was whipped in my kitchenaid to add a bit more air into the frosting for a lighter consistency. Half was put into a zipper bag fitted with a flat piping tip for frosting the cake sides. The remaining frosting was put into another zipper bag fitted with a star tip for the edge detail.

- I started by piping flat lines around the edge from bottom to top to cover the sides of the cake. I did this because I'm terrible at spreading frosting with a knife or spatula, and it seemed that this would be the best way to get a clean look without a big mess on the serving plate.

- Then I spread the coconut frosting on the top of the cake. It was made the day before thusly:

Coconut Frosting


1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1 stick salted butter

2 egg yolks, beaten

1-1/3 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
extra milk as needed


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and butter; stir often as butter melts. When melted and combined, pour a thin stream of milk-butter mixture into egg yolks while whisking vigorously to temper. You only need to pour in maybe 1/4 cup or so--just enough to warm those yolks without making scrambled eggs. Now pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk-butter mixture and stir; cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. Cool and refrigerate overnight. When ready to frost cake, I had to thin the frosting with milk to make it spreadable.



- Then I used the frosting with the star-tip to decorate the bottom and top edges of the cake, along with a rosette in the center for the candle.


Pretty good for a novice cake decorator, I'd say. The cake was very light and the modifications resulted in a flavor that hid the fact that it was from a mix. The coconut frosting was amazing. I had a literal sugar high that day--I just could not resist it.

The cake was served as part of a several available munchies at his party, which included a jam tart (I'll do a separate post on that), turkey and roast beef sandwich slices (just store-made submarine sandwiches cut into slices and held together with toothpicks, dishes of mayo and mustard available on the side), potato chips and onion dip, and corn chips with salsa. This was a quick-and-easy get together made largely of store-bought, home-embellished food.

Hey, sometimes you just have to take the help where you can get it.

6 comments:

Mary said...

Happy Birthday Mr. W.! The cake looks fabulous!

Kathy said...

That is one super decorating job!

Lulu said...

I would say excellent for a novice cake-decorator!! Beautiful job! And happy birthday Mr. W!

Amanda said...

Mr.W is sitting here smiling with happiness that y'all are wishing him a happy birthday. Thanks, Mary and Lulu! (And Kathy by email!)

Michele said...

Nicely done!

Amanda said...

Why thank you, Michele!

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