Delectable, Homemade Birthday Cakes: Creating Memories
Having grown up within a family of bakers, I’ve had my fair share of homemade birthday cakes. Now that I’ve moved away from home (and don’t really want to bake my own cake), I finally tried the store-bought versions, and boy, did I have opinions about it! It was absolutely appalling that an event that’s meant to be memorable and special could be just as generic and tasteless as any no-name brand. What’s worse is that there are actually boxes of cake powder that you mix with other ingredients and you get a cake! If you’re going to put that much effort into baking, why not just actually bake? It would literally take an extra minute or two…ok, maybe 30 or 40. Maybe a little longer if it’s a gluten-free birthday cake that requires a little inventiveness.
With the wonderful, magical thing called “The Internet’, you have access to hundreds of thousands of free, amazing recipes. Generally, what I do is go through the recipes, read the reviews, and apply what I think sounds good to the recipe; sometimes, I even add spices, creams, or frostings that weren’t even called for in the reviews! There’s no harm in experimenting, and if it goes wrong then it’s only half a buck’s worth of ingredients. Either way, the point remains: Anyone can buy a store-bought cake, but a homemade cake is special, it was made just for you. Therefore, it is safe to assume that your children, your spouse, and your parents will appreciate that personal touch of home-baked love that much more!
How to Make Your Birthday Cakes Unforgettably Flavorful
The interesting thing with birthday cake ideas is that you can just let your imagination wander and brainstorm through flavors you like, and then envision whether or not any two of them would go well together. Again, the possibilities are endless here: raspberry and white chocolate; pumpkin and cinnamon; apple and caramel; vanilla and lemon; strawberries and dark chocolate. Perhaps you noticed a pattern here, but if you didn’t then that pattern is that you generally want one “strong” flavor and one “subtle” flavor, with the second flavor enhancing the first one. Ideally, the flavors should complement each other, but sometimes a contrast gives a good burst of flavor, too!
For example, if you’ve decided to go for a roll cake, then you could spread a different flavor of jam or diced up fruit on each quarter of the flattened out roll (i.e. before you begin rolling it). Or to simplify things, if you have a layered cake, then you could have something different on each layer! This serves to be particularly useful if you’re having troubles settling on two flavors. Go ahead and make your loved one feel special by beginning to make unique birthday cakes for each person you hold dear to your heart—they’ll appreciate it more. As a bonus, you’ll probably even get better thought-out gifts on your birthday. (And maybe even a homemade one!)
Making that Birthday Cake Fun or Glamorous
Other than the tasting process, cake decorating is probably one of the most fun parts of baking a cake at home. I mean, think about it: do you really want a stranger’s handwriting on one of your wife’s 30th birthday cakes? (Assuming that your family is similar to mine and the guests feel like bringing a cake is a suitable enough gift — this should also be a telling sign that store-bought cakes are so impersonal!) Personally, I don’t like the premade frostings that they sell next to the boxed cakes, they’re either too sweet or they just taste off. If you like them, then by all means buy it, but I’m going to give you a tip for frosting: If you buy whipping cream (not the bottled kind, but the one next to the heavy cream) and whip it, then add your flavor of choice (e.g. mashed strawberries, vanilla extract, or cinnamon) and a little bit of sugar, then you will have top-notch frosting. It does melt fairly quickly, so you’ll need to refrigerate it, but it’ll be worth it! Other than that, feel free to add edible pearls, mold fondant into a desired shape to place atop the cake, or write on it with gel. If you’re out of birthday cake ideas, then simply walk into a cake decorating supply store and they can definitely help you come up with a couple of birthday cake designs that you’ll find fitting! One thing is for sure, though, and that is that you now have the opportunity to make birthday cakes the highlight of your next party!
written by Rebecca, birthday December 3rd
Check out our extensive Pinterest board on birthday cakes for tons of great ideas on cake decorating and themes for not only the cake, but the whole party!