A Different Kind of Birthday Cake!?
I am throwing a suprise party for my live with fiance I want to make something different than the usual cake, but it will need to feed 30 people. I don't have lots of different cake pans and it is in hot summer don't want to be baking all day (nor do I have a lot of time), so I wanted to make something a little different and tasty, but easy and big as well. Does anyone have any recipes or ideas for me?
Thanks so much
You could make pavlova! (there's a thread below.) Meringue base, whipped cream and fruit. I'd make several regular sized pavlovas (not individual) -- each one probably feeds about 6-8 people who have large appetites.
You could try baking cupcakes--if you don't have enough pans, you could get the disposable kind from the market.
Marcella Hazan's Diplomatico Cake is a showstopper, decadent without being overly sweet. I would recommend making three or four in bread pans. If it is really hot, throw them in the freezer; they defrost plenty fast if you move them to the fridge a few hours before.
Recipe By : Marcella Hazan
Serving Size :
RUM AND ESPRESSO SOAK
1 1/4 cups strong espresso
5 tablespoons rum
5 teaspoons sugar
1 16 ounce pound cake, cut into 1/4" slices
4 large eggs -- separated
1 teaspoon sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
FROSTING AND GARNISH
1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
fresh berries or
walnut halves and candied fruit
Make the rum and espresso soak:
In a small bowl, combine the espresso, rum,
sugar, and 5 tablespoons of water.
Moisten a sheet of cheesecloth large enough
to line a 9x5x3 inch glass loaf pan with
plenty of overhang. Line the pan with the
cheesecloth. Dip the pound cake, slice by
slice, in the rum and espresso soak, then
use the slices to line the bottom and sides
of the pan. (Dip the cake slices very
quickly or they will become too soggy to
handle, let any excess liquid drain from the
slices before lining the pan.) Leave no
gaps, patching where necessary with pieces
of soaked pound cake.
Make the chocolate filling:
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the
sugar until they turn pale yellow, about 4
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over
gently simmering water. Gradually pour the
melted chocolate over the beaten egg yolks,
mixing quickly with a rubber spatula until
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until
the form stiff peaks. Stir a rounded
tablespoon of the beaten whites into the
chocolate mixture to loosen it, then gently
fold in the remaining whites.
Spoon the chocolate filling into the cake-
lined pan. Cover the filling with more
slices of soaked pound cake (you may have
some cake left over). Fold the moistened
cheesecloth over the top of the cake.
Refrigerate the diplomatico for at least one
day, and up to a week.
When you take the cake out of the fridge,
unfold the cheesecloth and pull it away from
the top of the cake. Invert the loaf pan
onto a platter and shake it firmly to free
the cake and peel off the cheesecloth.
Make the frosting and garnish the cake:
In a very well chilled bowl, using chilled
beaters, whip the heavy cream with the sugar
until stiff. Frost the top and sides of the
cake with the whipped cream. Garnish the
cake with fresh berries or walnuts and
NOTES : If you do not have an espresso
machine, buy some ready made, strong coffee
cannot be replaced. Some pound cakes absorb
too much liquid and become too soggy to
handle and break apart. Always look for the
cheapest brands, made with little or no
butter, because they remain firmer and are
easier to work with.
Once you've picked the flavor of cake you want, make it into a sandcastle. I like to use spice cake with buttercream frosting and/or German Chocolate Cake.
It is really easy and saves time from trying to be perfect with the frosting.
You can Google for shape ideas. I just did and saw you can also use Sugar in the Raw (instead of the Teddy Grahams I am going to instruct you with) for the frosting final.
(1) Cake mixes
(3) Graham crackers (make into crumbs in food processor or blender) 1-1/2 box of graham crackers for each cake mix, or 6 boxes for cake for 30.
(4) Flags (If you end the cake with a flag, it looks more like a castle.) Use a toothpick [in an upside-down [ice cream] cake cone and a ribbon, or use a wooden skewer with ribbon or material glued folded over it and together and cut like a dragon's tongue.
(5) Blue clear cellophane or plastic to set it one - the more hanging, the better to look like water around the cake.
(A) Make the cake. (Boxed mixes are okay if you want - and use about 4 boxes; or make recipe for one cake four times the amount-use different flavors for each wing or side if you want).
You can just use any pans you want, including 8" round cake pans, cupcake tins, Bundt pans, glass bowls, or even tin cans (without the label). Just change the baking time for smaller capacities - or cut from oblong or square cakes.
(B) Assemble the cake.
Obviously, you have to put the cake together.
Stack different size box shapes together side-by-side or on top of each other. Use your frosting as "glue" and be generous between layers.
(C) Frost it
A butterb\cream or cream cheese frosting will hold up to room temperature and to grabbing the crumbs.
(D) Coat it with graham crackers crumbs. If you use Teddy Grahams, the texture might be gritter and the flavors can vary from regular to cinnamon graham and even chocolate if you want.
Anyway, since it's a sandcastle, you can spend as much time on it as you want to shape it and cover it. Add cookies as a fence or whatever you want. I sometimes add Tonka toy tractors on it or other decorations/dishes/shovels, etc. The graham cracker crumbs on the frosting is forgiving both to you and the time it sits out and eating it; doesn't have to be perfect and it still looks like it's supposed to.
Also, Trader Joe's has boxes of seashell shaped chocolates (with hazelnut inside) that you can place around the cake. Some people might want to nibble the sweet before its time to eat the cake.
For shapes, see also,
The simple, the better if you're in a big hurry.
You could make the Tres Leches cake from the King Arthur Bakers Companion.
I made it for a block party recently and it was a big hit. It looks fantastic.
It is a sponge cake baked in a 9 x 13 pan, then soaked liberally with a delicious mixture of cream, evaporated milk, and sweetned condensed milk. Very fast to put together and not particularly expensive, either. This part can be done at least the day before. Then it is frosted with a frothy white merengue. Although the frosting recipie may be intimidating at first glance, let me confess that I made it after 2 beers and had the cake frosted 15 minutes after I began the frosting.
The cake ends up being very moist, but not soggy. Even though the folks on my block are not adventerous eaters, they all loved this cake. I overheard them standing around it trying to figure out how it was made. So it's different but not "weird".
You do need a candy thermometer and a stand mixer to make this cake. Also, you couldn't really write "happy birthday" on this cake, if that matters.
Let me know if you want the recipie. I would recommend buying this book- it has some great stuff in it.