Birthday | Never Too Old for Funfetti!

| Birthdays


I have a dear friend, with a bubbly personality and infectious smile, for whom it is very fitting to request a funfetti cake for her 30th birthday. Now, this was a bit tricky — it’s pretty easy to go to the grocery store and buy funfetti cake mix and frosting, and indulge in that childhood-reminiscent deliciousness. But could I come up with a cake just as yummy and whimsical from scratch?


Why, yes I can, with the help of Momofuku Milk Bar! I used their recipe for birthday cake and birthday cake crumbs, and then modified a Swiss meringue buttercream recipe by substituting in some shortening and cream cheese for the butter to create my version of the birthday cake frosting.

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I put this together for a 3-layered cake with frosting and crumbs in between, and instead of creating a naked cake, I lightly covered the cake with the frosting and used extra crumbs and homemade brightly colored macaron shells (to mimic enlarged funfetti sprinkles) for decoration.


I don’t typically make very sweet desserts, but this was a worthwhile exception (and actually, not the sugar overload you would expect). I wish I had a slice of this waiting for me in the fridge every day!


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Birthday | Purple Princess Cake

| Birthdays

 It’s not every day that someone requests a princess cake, or even knows what that is! I love fun opportunities like that. A friend wanted to surprise a birthday girl with a princess cake. The only real guidelines were that she likes purple, and her nickname is “Panda”.

A princess cake (prinsesstårta in Swedish) is a traditional Swedish cake made of layers of sponge cake, pastry cream, and jam (I think typically raspberry), and shaped into a dome with whipped cream. The dome is then covered by marzipan, traditionally tinted a light green color and decorated with marzipan flowers. In this case, I tinted the marzipan purple, and topped with purple marzipan flowers.

To assemble this, I first stacked the cake, jam and pastry cream layers. Then I spread whipped cream (stiffened with a little bit of pastry cream) into a bowl. Then I placed the bowl over the cake, inverted, and let it set up in the freezer.

Once frozen, the cake wasn’t too difficult to pop out of the bowl mold. I smoothed out the whipped cream dome and then covered with marzipan. Not my smoothest cake covering job, but whipped cream is a little trickier to mold around than say buttercream.

Et voilà!
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Birthday | Chocolate & Apples (Unlikely Pairing!)

| Birthdays

Happy birthday this week to my friends Patricia and Chengos! I made this cake at the last minute for a potluck. The only guidance I had was “chocolate” and “maybe with fruit”. I thought about what I was originally going to make (apple tarts), opened up my favorite cookbook, Extraordinary Cakes, and the first page I turned to was “New York, New York,” a chocolate and apple cake. It was meant to be.

I don’t often associate apples with chocolate, but add in a little caramelization and rum, and it all comes together.

I used the same sour cream chocolate cake that I used for my previous German Chocolate Cake, since I knew I could count on it for a flavorful and light texture. I brushed the cake with rum simple syrup and then layered it with rum-spiked chocolate ganache, chocolate chantilly (whipped chocolate cream), and caramelized Golden Delicious apples.

The assembled cake was then coated with chocolate ganache, and covered with a chocolate glaze for a smooth finish. Then I placed thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples around the sides and secured with a ribbon. I didn’t have time to make additional decorations, so I arranged some fresh flowers on top.

Although you might expect this cake to be incredibly heavy, the lightness of the chocolate cake layers offsets the denseness of the ganache. I might skip the ganache filling layers in the future and save it just for the outer coating, but all in all, this was a unique and flavorful cake! Thin slices recommended for consumption 😉

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