Sunday, September 14, 2014

Having (and eating) Cake!

My two grandboys are 22 months apart in age, with one birthday at the end of July and one the end of September. The eldest one has a summer visitation schedule with his other family that means he will most usually always be gone for the younger one’s special day. Brad felt strongly that he didn’t want to miss Silas’s birthday, so we held off on a party until the boys could be together. Today was the day to celebrate with our families and we had a very fun time.

Jessica made her boys’ cakes and decorated them with some help from her Aunt Tonita. We were expecting around 25 guests, so she made fairly large cakes. Brad’s was a 12” double layer and Silas’s was one 12” and one 6” layer. She used one white and two chocolate cake mixes. Each chocolate mix made the 12” layer plus a 6” cake we used for “sampling”. Both cakes were delicious. Jess used a “doctored” cake mix recipe that results in cake with a lovely moist texture with a slight denseness so it holds up well to decorating. For the chocolate cake, she replaced 1/4 cup of the added flour with 1/4 cup cocoa powder. That adds a nice depth to the chocolate flavor of the cake mix.

The buttercream recipes were from Wilton’s web site. Homemade frosting is so easy to make and tastes infinitely better than any canned. I’m particularly fond of their chocolate buttercream recipe.

Since we had the party outside, we used cardboard cake boards that were stashed in a cupboard. After it sat all night, I was wishing we’d have covered the Hulk cake board with foil. It kind of absorbed some of the oil from the buttercream. If I hadn’t had those round boards, we’d have just cut some cardboard from a box stash I have, covered that with foil, and been happy.

Brad had asked for a Mario cake early in the summer, so when McDonalds had Mario toys in their Happy Meals, we just bought one of each toy and saved them to top Brad’s cake. He found a Mario candle at the store last week to add to it. Jess used alphabet cookie cutters pressed into the frosting, then traced them for Brad’s name, and put some colorful sprinkles on top. This cake was chocolate with chocolate frosting between layers and vanilla buttercream on top. Y.U.M.

Silas wanted a green Hulk cake, and he prefers vanilla, so his was white cake with vanilla buttercream. They left the top layer color white so the Hulk wouldn’t blend in too much to see him, but sprinkled some green sugar on it. The green frosting was colored with Americolor gel food coloring and was the perfect shade for Hulk. You can’t really see it in this photo, but Jess wrote his name and a big “3” on it with black tube frosting. I picked up a small Hulk figure from the store toy aisle to use as a topper.

These cakes were inexpensive, yet tasty, and took just a couple of hours of effort. I didn’t keep track of the cost of ingredients, but I’d ballpark each cake at less than $10. Not only did we save some money, but they were made with love and creativity not to be had from a store bakery. The fun she had making them and working with my sister to decorate doesn’t have a price tag. We know they look homemade, but for us that’s a huge part of the charm. There will never be any other cakes just like them.






  1. What a sweet picture. My son was Hulk obsessed when he was smaller. He had Hulk cakes for birthdays and dressed up as the Hulk for Halloween three years in a row. He is 12 now and no longer cares about the Hulk. I miss those days.

    The cakes look great.

    1. We do a lot of Avengers in general around here. They also got into Star Wars this summer, the three old ones, and of course, Transformers and Batman. After they got Legos as birthday gifts, we've entered a season of favorites. It's all Legos all the time right now.

  2. Jess did a great job on the cakes. B and S look very proud of them.

    I like the joint party idea too.


Thanks for sharing!