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Favourite birthday cake idea or recipe?

This summer I will be baking myself a birthday cake- last year's was Nigella's gingerbread, the year before that Magnolia Bakery's hummingbird cake. Before then, endless varieties of chocolate cake. I am at a loss this year...for something a little different, yet delicious. Someone must have a special, charming cake recipe to share. I do hope.

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  1. For a family birthday last year, I made a chocolate layer cake with chocolate whip cream that everyone gobbled up. The recipe was in Williams - Sonoma Chocoate cook book from a whole series of their cookbooks that my hub gave me when he worked there. I'd prefer more adventurous flavors myself, but the rest of the family like traditional and plain flavors best.

    1. My husband's two favorites are German chocolate and Alton Brown's pineapple upside down cake made in an iron skillet.

      1. I'm a big fan of the "cupcake as cake" notion myself. Maybe make several different small batches of cupcakes (1/2 dozen of one, etc)...there are lots of neat recipes out there on the web..my current fav are ones using fresh herbs (in season now depending on where you live) such as lemon verbena or "unusual" spices such as cardamom (which mixes amazingly well with chocolate). I've found several tasty recipes from a cool food blog I discovered last month: http://vanillagarlic.blogspot.com/

        1. I love a really good moist strawberry cake with a light whipped cream frosting and fresh berries. Unfortunately this is not necessarrily peak time for that, but you could always use frozen berries. In a completely different vein, the texas sheet cake thread touts it as the ultimate chocolate indulegence cake. Not traditional, but if you like chocolate cake it a a great option. Pineapple upside down cake is also always wonderful. My family actually really loves it chilled in the summertime.

          1. I love Vosges Haut Chocolat's innovative truffles, so when I saw this recipe for chocolate-wasabi-black sesame cake, I nearly bowled over: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec....

            Epicurious's recipe for Persian love cake frosted with rose-scented saffron cream and redolent with cardamom is also a great twist: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec....

            1. There is a yummy cake from Epicurious that I made a few years ago. It's a peanut butter cake with chocolate peanut butter ganache in the middle, a cream cheese frosting, and crumbled bits of Butterfinger. My only caveat, is that the cake part came out kind of dry. Someone else on the site used cake mix and mixed in peanut butter and had great results.

              1. For my daughter's birthday, I made the cupcake cake from Gourmet a few years ago. It was fabulous and lots of fun.

                I've also made a white cake with a bit of lemon zest in it. Spread the first layer with seedless raspberry jam before icing. Ice with buttercream with some more lemon zest. Yummy!

                1. Thanks, all! Am thinking of a cupcake version of the persian love cake- the rose essence sounds very summery, and I can make the candied petals from blooms in my rose garden.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rat under paper

                    It seems that you like to bake. But if one year you're feeling a little lazy, you can always go out and get the different sizes of Cinnabon and tower them to make a cake, and extra frosting to drizzle on the mound. Just add candles to decorate.

                    1. re: Rodeline

                      A friend of mine is infamous in our circle for her Twinkie Cakes. She makes these great shapes out of Twinkies and then ices the cake. Oddly, it's pretty good, but that may be because the cake is usually accompanied by a full bar!

                    2. re: rat under paper

                      Will cupcakes be big enough to showcase the pistachios and rose garnish? I guess you could always chop the pistachios, but the petals might be too big for a cupcake unless you have old-fashioned tea roses. You might also want to use something a little moister than the sponge cake. Let me know how it goes!

                    3. duncan heinz white cake. make 2 8 inch rounds, cut in half horizontally. layer with passionfruit caramel (make caramel, add passionfruit pulp or juice and cream with a wee bit of cornstarch), frost with homemade cream cheese frosting and coat with toasted coconut.

                      1. These are all great ideas. I have another three weeks or so to decide and maybe test a recipe. Decorating isn't going to be a problem. I can picture big candied rose petals over a tiered arrangement of little cakes, maybe one whole pistachio atop each. I realise that if I make a cream based frosting, I will have to eat all the little cakes very quickly. I'm imagining this as a lighter petit fours kind of creation now. But easier?

                        1. My most requested cake is Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread (I bake in two loaf pans instead of the bundt to make more top crust surface area); make a few days ahead to let flavors marry. Serve chilled or heated (spice is intense when heated) with vanilla ice cream.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Emme

                            I like the pink champange cake, it looks as good as it tastes.

                            1. re: bigjimbray

                              I've heard of these before. do they actally taste of champagne, or is the frosting just pink?

                          2. Pink champagne cake? How very Hotel California. Please describe.

                            1. Lemon curd-filled cakes are always delicious in the summertime.

                              1. Well, I don't think that you can ever go wrong with a great carrot cake..Then again, if you really wanted something quite different, you could buy one of those new Giant Cupcake Pans...It looks really cool...Check it out...

                                1. I found two recipes for Pink Champagne cake online. One listed "cake mix" as an ingredient, so I moved on to one that actually included champagne. So now I have two ideas so far that I'm delighted to try out: the Champagne, and the Persian love cupcake! How sweet is that!

                                  1. Thank you to all! I am planning both the champagne cake (for this week) as my fourth cake(I like excess) and will make the Persian love cake for my Japanese friend's September birthday. (She loves cream, not icing. Perfect!)
                                    For my birthday on Labour Day, I made a German chocolate brownie cake, AND a swingle cake- which was technically not a cake. I kind of made that one up as I went along, but it was o so very tasty!
                                    I also received a coffee meringue and genoise cake from Patachou. It was decorated simply with coffee beans. Wow! Caffeine! Sugar! My kind of birthday!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rat under paper

                                      Hi... can you please provide the recipe (or a link to it) for the Champagne cake? Thanks so much, and happy birthday!

                                    2. http://homecooking.about.com/od/caker...

                                      There are a number of recipes available, but I'm going to use this one.