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MINI BIRTHDAY CAKE
If the Cat in the Hat were a baker, this is what his specialty might look like. It is probably our most popular cake—we make more than 100 a week in two different sizes—and it has become our signature design. The first incarnation of the Mini Birthday Cake was true to its name—a 4-inch round cake—but soon we were making them in all sizes, and even stacking them up to five tiers high (see page 118). If you prefer not to work with as many colors as we show here, try some of these alternatives: a glazed background, tone on tone (such as light pink to dark pink), or all white.
What you will need:
Cake: one 10-inch round cake of your choice (we recommend Chocolate Butter Cake, page 65)
Filling: Cookies and Cream (page 65)
Icing: Kaye’s Buttercream (page 37) or House Buttercream (page 36)
Decoration: 1 to 2 cups white wafer chocolate to make assorted chocolate candles
Colors: Teal, green, yellow, blue, violet, neon pink, and orange liquid gel colors and neon bright pink, green, blue, or violet candy colors (plus yellow)
Tips: #102 and #104 petal tip, #18 and #199 star tip, and #4 round tip
1. Bake the cake and let it cool completely. Prepare the filling and icing. Fill and crumb coat the cake as directed on pages 30-32. Chill the filled cake.
2. Melt 1 go 2 cups of white wafer chocolate. Set aside 1/4 cup of melted chocolate. Using the Color Mixing Chart on page 26, tint the chocolate with your choice of candy color. Pour the chocolate into a pastry cone and cut a medium-size hole. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper pipe out as many 5-inch candles as you will need. They should be at least 1/4 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick. Set aside to harden.
3. Tint the reserved chocolate yellow. Pour the chocolate into a pastry cone and cut a medium-size hole. When the candles are hard, flip them over and pipe yellow chocolate flames on their tips.
4. Prepare the colored buttercream of your choice; we used 2 1/4 cups purple, 3/4 cup orange, 3/4-cup lime green, 1/4 cup teal, 1/4-cup neon pink, 1/4-cup blue, and 1/4 cup yellow. (See the Color Mixing Chart on page 26).
5. Ice the cake with purple buttercream or the base color of your choice. Adhere the cardboard round supporting the cake to your base.
6. Place the orange buttercream in a pastry bag with a coupler, and with a petal tip pipe or a Ruffled Ribbon Border (page 67) around the bottom edge.
7. Place the yellow or blue buttercream in a pastry bag with a coupler. Pipe a Bead Border (page 67) above the Ruffled Ribbon Border: With the same tip, pipe yellow linear swags. Place the lime-green buttercream in a pastry bag with a coupler; and with a star tip pipe lime-green Spiral Swags (page 68) using the swag lines as a guide. With the same tip, pipe an evenly spaced ring of rosettes around the outer edge of the cake top. There should be the same number of rosettes as there are candles.
8. Place the teal buttercream in a pastry bag with a coupler, and with a star tip pipe a shell border around the top edge.
9. Stick the chocolate candles into the rosettes so the flat sides face the front, pressing them halfway into the cake.
10. Place the neon pink in a pastry bag with a coupler, and with a petal tip pipe bows where the swags meet.
CHOCOLATE BUTTER CAKE
Classic, moist, and delicious, this versatile cake is sure to please any die-hard chocoholic or party of screaming kids. It is the most popular cake at the Bakehouse.
Grease and flour two 10x3-inch round pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine and whisk until there are no lumps:
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup cocoa powder
Add and whisk until smooth:
1 cup cold water
On a piece of wax paper, sift together:
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat at high speed until light and fluffy:
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
On medium speed, add slowly and cream well:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Add the dry ingredients alternately to the butter and egg mixture with the cocoa, mixing until smooth.
Pour 3 cups of the batter into one 10-inch pan and the remaining batter into the other 10-inch pan. Bake the less full pan for 20 to 35 minutes and the fuller pan for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before turning them out of their pans.
Yield: 9 cups of batter
COOKIES AND CREAM
Yum, yum, yum. You might think this is for kids only, but adults love it just as much. We have even used cookies and cream as a wedding-cake filling. It is simply delicious.
In the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed, whip until stiff:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Gently fold in:
20 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, crushed into medium pieces
Yield: 6 cups
From the Hardcover edition.