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Birthday Cake ideas wanted!

A friend of mine is having a birthday party next weekend and has asked if I will make her a cake. Yay! I love baking and decorating and I don't have nearly enough opportunities to do it.

Anyway, she told me she likes lemon, raspberry, dulce de leche, orange and chocolate (although this would preferably be combined with another flavor). No coconut. The party is going to a BBQ with a wide variety of smoked meats and potluck sides, casual and indoor/outdoor, with hopefully nice warm weather.

So hounds, hit me with your best ideas, given these parameters. My mind jumped immediately to lemon cake with raspberry filling, but I am certainly open to other ideas. Caramel cake with orange buttercream? Tres leches with dulce de leche and raspberries?

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  1. Rose Berenbaums Lemon or Orange Chiffon Cake (orange recipe is available on epicurious). Make lemon curd. Slice the cake in half or thirds, layer in some lemon curd and raspberries. Whip curd into whipped cream for frosting. Decorate with more raspberries. yummmmm

    4 Replies
    1. re: Torina

      I have the Cake Bible and I've got that Orange Chiffon recipe bookmarked - excellent idea!

      1. re: biondanonima

        Perfect! I am actually partial to the lemon one, they are both excellent though. She has a good lemon curd recipe in that book too. Have fun :) ... this cake (minus the raspberries) is now on my regular rotation and everyone swoons for the texture. I've also used a lemon cream cheese frosting on it with good success, and it's a little more hardy against warm temperatures.

        1. re: Torina

          Have you made it in a pan other than a tube pan? I wonder if it would work - I know those light-as-air cakes usually need that center rod to hold onto...

          1. re: biondanonima

            I have made it in two large rounds and it was fine, slightly denser. I personally prefer it in the tube pan since it's loftier. Not as "classic" as a layer cake, but it does decorate prettily anyway.

    2. If you are thinking the lemon cake/lemon curd route, I love this lemon layer cake w/ mascarpone lemon curd frosting.

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

      I had a restauranteur tell me he'd pay me to make it for his restaurant. That said, I do love tres leches w/ berries in this weather.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I am definitely leaning toward lemon but I'm not sure if I want lemon on lemon or not. I've got this bookmarked, though - looks fabulous!

        1. re: biondanonima

          I've done it w/ key lime, too--even better! But, it is definitely only for lemon lovers.

          1. re: chowser

            Oooh, key lime sounds amazing too...decisions, decisions. I am actually thinking about doing two cakes now, because it's going to be a sizable gathering and I've been wanting to try an experiment with my sous vide machine and cheesecake. :) A variation on the Scarlet Empress from the Cake Bible, plus something lemon/orange/lime for the other.

      2. My favorite was always a multi-layer Viennese Tort my mom made. But she used a much darker chocolate than the picture linked to below. One could use different flavor layers with the nice dark chocolate to make a tasty and colorful cake.
        http://www.jollytomato.com/2011/11/13...

        1. In Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours there is a recipe for The Perfect Party Cake. It is no fail (every recipe in the book works beautifully).

          The cake is layered with raspberry preserves between the layers and is frosted with lemon butter cream. I would add some True Lemon to the butter cream for a more pronounced flavor.

          I have never found anyone who does not like it. You could change the fillings...lemon curd instead of raspberry preserves or add fresh berries along with the preserves. Let your imagination fly.

          1. If there's a lot of smoked meats and rich sides I'd go with something fruity/bright on the palate. The orange chiffon with lemon curd filling sounds AMAZING! Or how about lemon cake with a blueberry filling?