The Gleeful Gourmand: A Very Happy Birthday Cake

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Very Happy Birthday Cake

I wanted to make something very special for Savannah and Delia's 1st Birthday party. On their actual birthday I made two small individual chocolate cakes with fresh homemade whipped cream sweetened with just a little bit of confectioner's sugar. They loved the whipped cream, but didn't want much to do with the cake, so I figured for their party not to bother. It was way too much work. They got Birthday Pudding instead and loved every single bite.

But months ago I got this idea in my head that I was unwilling to let go of. I had to make the cake that was featured on Better Homes and Garden's May cover, the Pink Lemonade Cake. Even though they couldn't eat it, it would be really special for their party, and I knew the adults would get a kick out of it. After reading over the recipe, I realized I could do this! The cake portion I could actually make days ahead and freeze (up to 3 months in fact!), and it was really easy to do, even when it came to making the different color layers. It smelled like heaven in the oven and I really thought I was super clever.
It looked better in person, trust me!

Then the day of the party dawned and all hell broke loose (as they usually do when you're trying to get ready for a big party). I got the cakes out of the freezer early and they defrosted beautifully. And then I noticed it: One cake was significantly smaller than the other height-wise. What the what? I had followed the directions perfectly, measured perfectly, but there it was; an inferior cake stacked up against the way it should have looked. Slicing the cakes into four equal layers confirmed my fear: the dark pink layer would be uneven.

Whatever, I had to press on and get to making the Lemonade Buttercream. I have made a lot of buttercream in my time, but this one was really different: namely that it requires a ridiculous amount of marshmallow creme. When I say a ridiculous amount, I mean ridiculous. Like 32 ounces worth of ridiculous (and 6 sticks of butter, but that's neither here nor there). I don't know if any of you have ever worked with marshmallow creme (supposedly you can make fudge with it), but it is really hard to get out of the jar.

By the time I was scraping the bottom of the first jar, the marshmallow creme started fighting back, grabbing my spatula and holding on for dear life. It was sticking to the jar, my hand was stuck to the spatula, and some fell on the floor and my flip flop then got stuck to the floor. Seriously, I actually had to stoop down and pull my shoe off the floor with force, and I still had a jar and a half to go. Meanwhile, Buck is marinating his chicken and basically staying quiet as I sweat, cursed, and fought with the stuff. I was really worried about how it would go down trying to turn all of this into buttercream, but I shouldn't have.

It turned out beautifully. And it made so much that even with four layers I still had plenty leftover (something I always worry about when making layer cakes, that I'll run out of frosting). And it was delicious. The cake was moist and light with hints of lemonade coming through, and the buttercream was to die for. It didn't look anything like the cake on the cover of the magazine, because let's face it, I'm no professional, but it looked really fun, and it got great reviews from the partygoers.

Would I make it again? Yes, but only for special occasions, and I would definitely do the final steps of slicing the cake and frosting when I have ample time and don't feel totally rushed and stressed. Baking the cake was no problem, assembling was dicey. I'd love for someone else to try the recipe and tell me how it went. You can find the recipe here: Pink Lemonade Cake.


Elizabeth Wilson said...

It was yummy yummy.

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Was this the buttercream you mentioned when I had the snafu with the coconut cake? I love the description of you v. marshmallow creme. :)

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