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Birthday Cake

The post title makes this sound like an incredibly broad request for help, but here are the parameters that make it somewhat more of a challenge.

We're hosting a surprise party for my boyfriend, and I want to make the cake rather than buy it. I had originally planned to make the chocolate bourbon cake with caramel frosting, because I made it once before and it was excellent.

However, I'm concerned because 1) his sister is pregnant, so I really shouldn't make the birthday cake inedible to her, and 2) I need to be able to do it all between about noon and 7 pm on one day (no time to refrigerate anything overnight).

So I'm looking to you all for suggestions for an equally delectable cake, not boozy, and doable in a long afternoon. Chocolate is good, but not necessary. Hazelnuts are something he likes as well. Both he and I have a preference for not-chocolate frostings on chocolate cake, and not-vanilla frostings on white/yellow cake. I'm a good baker, and open to unique flavors (although probably not the vegan chocolate-avocado cake for this occasion).

Any help would be much appreciated!!

Oh, P.S. not the Elvis cake! Thanks!

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  1. does it have to be the standard frosted cake? a chocolate hazelnut torte would suit his tastes perfectly. or if you'd rather do a regular cake, how about a super-rich, moist chocolate layer cake with hazelnut mousse/icing?

    2 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      No, it doesn't have to be a standard frosted cake. What I would like - more than a suggestion of a kind of cake - is a tried-and-true recipe. There are a million recipes for cakes on the internet, and probably even more seemingly-great IDEAS for cakes, but I trust you guys!

      1. re: pamiam

        understood - just wanted to get a more defined feeling for what you wanted before taking the time to post recipes that wouldn't interest you.

        this Gourmet recipe is always a hit:
        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    2. If it doesn't have to be hazelnut, I recommend this one (although I don't see why you couldn't substitute hazelnuts for the almonds) -- http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
      I made it earlier this year for my son's bday and everyone swooned over it. Mine turned out looking exactly like the photo. It is definitely do-able in a long afternoon (although I broke it up over a couple evenings). So. Yummy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mdepsmom

        I love this almond praline cake. With the marscapone frosting. Yum! I think this is the best cake I've ever made. And visually it's a showstopper.

        It does have a pronounced almond flavor from the almond paste. (Which is something I liked about it.) But agree it be better with the almond praline rather than a hazelnut praline.

        1. re: karykat

          I agree that it sounds amazing - I think I will make it for the next big occasion (when the birthday boy hasn't specifically mentioned hazelnut+chocolate). But since I'm a big fan of almond, it WILL get made!

      2. recently made a couple of cakes for myself and a few friends lately.

        one that stood out is:
        almond cake and whipped chocolate frosting from here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/05/alm...
        mascarpone cream in the middle studded with raspberries and a layer of very fine praline between cakes: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        although i baked me a moist chocolate cake, chocolate mousse (Jchild) in the middle with ganache frosting (or swiss buttercream if you are looking for contrast) for my own birthday.

        you can always boil off the alcohol in the basing liquid if anyone is prego.

         
        1. For a special cake, I like the triple chocolate celebration cake. If you want hazelnut flavor, you could do a nutella mousse.

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          For a non-chocolate cake, lemon layer cake with lemon curd with mascarpone frosting is amazing.

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          1. When I made Suzanne Goins' Hazelnut brown butter cake, my DH pronounced it the best cake I'd ever made. It's a single layer 10-inch cake made with ground hazelnuts and iced with a chocolate glaze. It's a really, really wonderful cake:

            http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/03/haz...