Home » cakes » The Birthday Cake Test Run, Attempt #1

The Birthday Cake Test Run, Attempt #1

It’s almost April and I’m now less than two months away from my little sweetheart turning 2! I cannot believe it and have no idea where the last two years have gone?!
This year Paisley’s theme is Mickey Mouse. We love Mickey in our house and I thought I could build a really cute birthday party around that theme. I’ve been planning for her May party since January, buying things here and there for it, and spending entirely too much…. but hey, my little girl only turns two once! (I’ll probably say that for every birthday party 😉 ) I have been working on these really cute Mickey centerpiece a the last couple of weeks and just finished them up! I’ll post those, along with my steps in another post, but for now this one’s about cake!
I don’t believe in buying baking mixes, so everything I bake is a majority of the time from scratch. It is a bit more work, but I’m happy that I know exactly what I’m serving. Anyways, I always do a test run of sorts before the party so I can be 100% sure that my cake is up to par. Last year we had a theme of “vintage pink” and I made a black forest cake covered in pink frosting rosettes. It was beautiful! I loved how it came out, I’ll have to find a picture and post it.
This year, I ordered an edible Mickey image from Etsy, and I planned a double chocolate layered cake filled with chocolate mousses and almond buttercream. Yum! I spent 4 hours yesterday making the cake from start to finish, and completed the cake. It was a bit of a bear for some parts, but I finished and sent the majority of the cake with Hubby to work. It’s nice for me to do these test runs also, because I can see how much time it takes me and I can figure that into my plans. There were components of the cake I liked, and some I didn’t.
I liked the actual cake itself, but the chocolate mousse ended up melting everywhere, and the frosting just wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t as light as I was expecting, and when I refrigerated the cake, the frosting turned very solid. I’m not sure if that’s typical for buttercreams, I mean it makes sense that they would given their makeup of mostly butter. I just felt like it was overly solid and sort of broke off in chunks 😦 I think I’m going to go with a different frosting for the party, and I think I’m going to nix the chocolate mousse and maybe just use the same frosting for the center of the cake as well. I’ll post the pictures I took yesterday along the way, so you can just see my methods. I’ll also post the cake recipe that I used, because that part was very good! I doubled the cake recipe because I had a 12×18 -inch pan to fill, so the pictures will look like a lot more batter!

– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I think I’ll use cake flour next time though)
– 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup buttermilk
– 1 cup strong black coffee (don’t let the coffee scare you, it doesn’t taste like it at all, it’s just an important factor for moisture)
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. (325 F for my huge pan) Generously grease your cake pan(s). This recipe makes one 13×9-inch rectangular cake or two 9-inch circular cakes.
Set aside once greased.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
To the bowl, add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes, the batter will be quite thin, but don’t worry! Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes for round pans, and 35-40 minutes for the rectangular pan. I baked my large pan for about 40 minutes and it was perfect. Conduct the toothpick test, to check for doneness in the center. Cool 10 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks.
Cool completely before frosting.











Now, I’ll just post the pictures of the rest of my process’ so you can see, and if anyone wants the recipes I’ll post them. I just wasn’t entirely thrilled with the mousse or the frosting, and I don’t normally like to endorse any recipes I’m not 100% sure of


















It came out pretty looking, but just wasn’t quite what I had in mind taste wise. So onto the next I guess! That’s why I do these trial runs though, so I don’t end up with this kind of a problem on party day! 🙂 >

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