I realised something last week. Now that the Tiger is here (and has turned one–yikes), I have the delight/stress of making birthday cakes twice a year. And unlike Hannah’s girls, who have birthdays in the same week (two years apart), my two are almost exactly on opposite sides of the year, giving me ample time to plan and research the absolute best birthday cake for whatever age whichever child is turning. Plus, one is an autumn birthday and the other a summer birthday (the very same as me and my sister; I will be commiserating with Little e if she grows to be jealous of her brother’s warm weather birthday possibilities), so I have the chance to make seasonal cakes if I so choose. Ahem. If the kids so choose.
If you’re like me and love a good story about cake, you can check out the first two installments of this series on birthday cake-making: the first one here and the second here. And while your in the mood, check our Hannah’s post about wonderful woodland themed cakes for her girls.
This birthday’s cake is from Smitten Kitchen, which is also where I went for inspiration for Little e’s third birthday cake, the one that never got photographed for the blog because it involved DH and I staying up until the wee hours perfecting it. Things got a little intense and I forgot to get out my camera. If you’re wondering, it looked something like this, but less perfect and less fondant-y.
This time, I went simple: no bits to cut out except a few ears and no elaborate piping or brightly-coloured icing. And I’m so glad I did because we’ve been sweating through a heat wave and when I checked the thermostat at 9am as I started working on the cake (the birthday boy supervising in his chair, see below), it said 28 degrees. And we live in a land where air-con for houses is not a thing. It got up to 35 by 11am, which, as far as icing is concerned, is a blast furnace. Hence, I was glad to have a simple plan, icing at the ready, not too many pieces (though I did conduct a fevered search in the cupboard for two brown smarties for eyes–thank you, leftover gingerbread house decorations!).
Don’t be fooled by the stoicism. Those are cake-tester crumbs on the tray; this guy just takes his job very seriously.
The cake turned out to be all the best things about banana bread and cake–banana-y but light, not too sweet but a good match for the chocolate icing. If you want to try the recipe, go here. There’s a larger size for a crowd and a smaller one for a family gathering. The icing is rich but light and uses a significant (and delicious!) amount of butter, so you know it will have the best flavour. Just watch those summer temps!
And if you’ve made something similar, or–OR!–have any amazing birthday cake stories to share, we’d love to hear them. Stories about cake are kind of our thing.