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A Birthday Cake for...."ME!"

My lovely, wonderful, sweet husband and son are the best. However, they are not going to bake a birthday cake for my birthday this Friday. It just isn't their thing - it's more up my alley! Therefore, I ask you all: What kind of cake should I make for my birthday? Thanks!

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  1. happy birthday! but what kind of cake do you like? are you a chocolate person? or a lemon person? (nobody is both.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Thanks! Oddly, I AM both.....strange of me, I know! I am actually considering a beautiful white cake with beautiful REAL buttercream.....the way old-fashioned wedding cakes were before they became chemical, frosting-loaded, flavored-up nightmares!

      My dilemma is that I don't necessarily want to spend most of my birthday working on my cake....

      1. re: sandylc

        cakes like that can be fully made the day before. you could even make the cake layers well ahead of the big day and freeze them. cakes freeze very well. when i worked in a bakery's commissary we put an initial layer of frosting on still frozen cakes to avoid crumbs in the finished outside.

      2. re: hotoynoodle

        I love both chocolate and lemon, depending on my mood. For instance, two weekends ago I made lemon bars and last weekend Thomas Keller's brownies, and I loved them equally!

        Anyway, as to the OP's question, if I were going to make myself a birthday cake right now I'd probably go with a coconut cake, but only because coconut cake was featured in one of my food magazines recently and it sounded SO good. I also really love cheesecake as a birthday cake, likely because that's what my mom usually made me when I was growing up. As much as I adore chocolate cake, I don't ever think of it for my own birthday (although I have made plenty of them for other people's birthdays).

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I love both, too...though not together. I could also go for a good coconut cake. That said, a white cake w/ buttercream sounds good, although I'd probably make it almond based w/ a raspberry or strawberry filling. CI's Best Recipe has a very good white cake, along those lines. It's a very light, fluffy cake.


        2. Happy Birthday...... Chocolate cake with cannoli cream filling. I prefer either chocolate fudge or fresh whipped cream frosting. I'm sure almost any frosting would do.

          1. Sandy.. I make my own birthday cake every year! I always make Nigella's Nutella cake.. my absolute favorite. However, I have also made Dorie Greenspan's perfect party cake for friends.. a nice old-fashioned cake..
            Happy b-day!

            4 Replies
            1. re: rstuart

              rstuart would you mind sharing these two recipes with us.They both sound delicious!

              1. re: glebe

                Here's the Nutella Cake - you better believe I added this to Pepperplate IMMEDIATELY! http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/n...

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Yes, that's the nutella cake! I skip the hazelnuts on top.. it's so, so good. And it definitely serves more than 8.. more like 12!
                  Here is a link to the Dorie Greenspan recipe (although I strongly suggest the purchase of "Baking: from my home to yours".. it's such a useful cookbook!
                  and some tips from Dorie:

                  I used my mother's raspberry jam with chambord as the filling...

            2. Thanks, everyone! I am still undecided - mainly because I'm coming down with a cold, and I am thinking I might have to delay the big baking day until I can appreciate the results more fully! I am sipping blisteringly hot tea right now, in an attempt to kill the little buggies that are making my throat hurt. Damn you, cold germs, get away from me!!! I don't have time for you!

              3 Replies
              1. re: sandylc

                Hope the tea helped!
                If you're still looking for recipes , try Rose Beranbaum's Buttermilk Country Cake ( although it doesn't have lemon, it has a tangy taste from the buttermilk). You could satisfy your chocolate craving by slapping on a Sour Cream Ganache.

                1. re: sandylc

                  If you want something over the top, this chocolate peanut butter cake from Smitten Kitchen is the way to go. http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/08/cho... I don't even like peanut butter in desserts and I loved this.

                  I also like the cakes at this blog - it's where I learned to make Italian and Swiss meringue buttercream frostings. I just made this cake for my roommate's birthday, but with only 3 layers. http://www.whisk-kid.com/2009/08/hot-... but she also has good white cake recipes. I made the pina colada cake in December and it was a big hit too. http://www.whisk-kid.com/2011/07/two-...

                  1. re: LisaPA


                    THIS CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE ON SMITTEN KITCHEN IS THE BEST CURE FOR YOUR COLD. I don't even particularly care for pb BUT Smitten Kitchen's recipe is brilliant good.

                2. Oh, the coconut cake sounds beautiful and screams for a tart lemon filling. What a gorgeous combo. Just have a box of good chocolates to munch while you make the cake and your chocolate yen will be satisfied.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: mamachef

                    Now that really sounds like a plan!

                    1. re: sandylc

                      Was that coco cake featured in BA or Gourmet?

                      1. re: mamachef

                        The one I mentioned was actually featured in Saveur this month - they have quite a spread on cakes from the South (there's a recipe for a lemon layer cake that sounds fabulous as well). Here's the link to the coconut one: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Ya know what? It WAS Saveur. Thank you for reminding me. It was a terrific issue, and it's on a rack with 1,000 other magazines, in my kitchen.

                          1. re: mamachef

                            Boy, do I ever understand. I actually have about 20 years of Gourmet in magazine boxes in the basement!!! And, yeah, that issue of Saveur is really good....that magazine has come a long way over the years....

                            1. re: sandylc

                              Yes, Saveur is actually my favorite food magazine now that Gourmet is no more. I don't cook from the recipes as much as I do BA or even F&W, but I enjoy the articles and the general style of the magazine much more.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                Is F&W better now? I haven't liked it in years past. Although I did just get their 2011 Annual Cookbook at the library and it looks pretty good so far.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  I don't always love the magazine itself, but I generally enjoy the recipes I try (they're pretty trustworthy, very few duds). It's a little more style than substance, though, and I often feel like the articles are aimed at people with a lot more money than I have (especially when it comes to wine).

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    You know, I like F&W. As biodanonima said, I don't cook from it as much as I did Gourmet, but the articles are fantastic, especiallyl the wine stuff. (We sound like men of a certain age talking about Playboy - "I only read the articles.")

                      2. re: mamachef

                        I was actually thinking key lime curd with a coconut cake would be sublime! Great minds!

                      3. Happy birthday -- and I hope you're feeling better. If you're still thinking lemony, here's a cake that I made (several times) last year. I made Ina's basic sheet cake into layers with extra lemon zest (it already has some) and then made the cooked flour frosting but mixed lemon curd into it (as much or as little as you want ... we like tart here). I split the layers and filled them with lemon curd, and then put the lemony frosting in the middle and then all around. You can always add a box of good chocolates on the side, lol. :)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                          Is that cake a white one or a yellow one?

                        2. Hi, Sandy. And happy birthday!!!

                          My favorite cake is Alice Waters' 1-2-3-4 yellow cake. Here's the recipe: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                          I like it two ways: (1) with whipped cream frosting made with cocoa and sugar or (2) with lemon curd, fruit, and plain whipped cream.

                          And again, happy birthday.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Jay F

                            Thanks and thanks! Recipe tucked safely into favorites. Baking delayed until my cold is gone....

                            1. re: sandylc

                              I'm getting a cold today, too. Right nostril only. How strange.

                              1. re: Jay F

                                Feel better, Jay. Uh, at the risk of being gross? (Sorry.) It's not THAT unusual. It just means you have some infection prolly, in your right sinus. Take good care. Eat some ziinc and C. Me

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  Hi, You.

                                  It seems to have gone away already. I made another batch of chicken paprika tonight, this time Fannie Farmer's version--not as good as my standard (Joy of Cooking, 1973). But even if it wasn't perfect, the cooked chicken seems to have done its job.

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    So if it's not chicken soup, it's chicken en plein? i was curious about your Paprikash experiment. Come to think of it was prolly the paprika that cured you! What was different about this recipe (and whose recipe was it?) that made it not as good?

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      Mainly, this new recipe, which is in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, uses considerably more flour for thickening (3 T to 1.5 c. liquid) than the one in the 1973 trade paperback Joy of Cooking (1 t, which I changed to 1 T over the years, to 2 c. liquid). Also, the chicken cooks a bit longer in the Joy recipe, which I think made a difference, too.

                                      Though I liked the Fannie Farmer version more the second day, I would use the Joy recipe with maybe less chicken stock. That'll be my next trial.

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        Ok, this is good info. I pretty much count on that from you. Thanks Jay!!!

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          Thanks for the kind words, Marci.

                                          I got to the store yesterday and realized I need to take a break from chicken. It was one of those days when all I wanted were popsicles (Edy's Fruit Bars, grape and lime) and chips (Kettle Honey Dijon). But I'm going to get back to this testing soon.

                                          America's Test Kitchen has this recipe for Chicken Paprikash. http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/...

                                          They brown bone-in pieces with skin on, then remove the skin before doing the rest of the cooking, to avoid that oily red top layer. I thought of doing it that way at one point, but chose skinless/bone-in next time at the store. I think I'll try it

                                          Oh, and my cold completely went away. Paprika Power!

                          2. Orange cake with orange buttercream. My absolute favorite. I've been whipping up layer cakes without a lot of effort lately (even resorting to "fake" buttercream) and I think they're actually more satisfying than some of the more elaborate cakes. I also discovered the key to good orange buttercream is 1) orange zest 2) orange juice concentrate and 3) lemon juice to brighten up the flavor.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Savour


                              1. re: Savour

                                I have a recipe for walnut-date bars with orange buttercream and I agree with Savour - a touch of lemon juice really brightens the flavor of the buttercream beautifully. I just make a basic American buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, liquid) with orange zest and orange and lemon juice. I'll have to try the orange juice concentrate next time.

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  I must have that bar recipe, please please please please!! :)

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Sure thing - here you go! These are ridiculously addictive - I actually asked my mother NOT to make them this Christmas, as I can easily eat half the pan in one sitting.

                                    1 c. flour
                                    1/2 t. cinnamon
                                    1/2 t. baking soda
                                    1/4 t. nutmeg
                                    1/4 t. salt
                                    1/3 c. butter
                                    3/4 c. brown sugar
                                    2 T. orange juice
                                    1 T. orange zest
                                    1 egg
                                    1/2 c. chopped dates
                                    3/4 c. chopped walnuts

                                    Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8x8 baking pan and set aside. Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in egg, orange juice and zest. Add dry ingredients and mix just until smooth. Stir in dates and nuts. Spread in a greased and floured baking pan and bake at 350° for 25-30 min. Frost with orange buttercream.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      Thank you so much, B.!! I'll actually be trying these out today because I always do a check, not being a total baker, though I bake. Ok, the truth is I want something sweet and this is perfect. I'm going to sub in prunes 'cause I haven't got dates, but it should be fine and these sound REALLY good. Wait. OTOH I'll be visiting the grocery, so I can get dates and make this per your recipe, which I prefer.

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        How did they come out? I am SO craving that orange buttercream now!

                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                          Buttercream's the best, isn't it? And this one is goooooood. I added a splash of OJ concentrate to brighten after tasting, and OMG.
                                          The bars are moist and walnutty and date-y; more moist than cakey. I am having a REALLY hard time not just going in, fork in hand. Thank you so much; this one is going in the "save" file. I had about 2 T. frosting left over and spread that on graham crackers, and it was gooooooooood too, but not as good as the bars.

                                          1. re: mamachef

                                            Yay, glad you liked them. I can eat that buttercream with a spoon!

                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                              I DID. Were you hiding in my kitchen, or something? :)

                              2. Sandy...Let me wish you a Happy Birthday. Hope you're feeling better. Great topic. My birthday is next week also, and I too will be baking my own cake. Love all of the suggestions. Keep them coming.....

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Phoebe


                                  Just a nuisance cold.

                                  Good to hear from a fellow Pisces!