Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

by Darla

If you follow me on twitter or Facebook, then I’m sure that you’re aware that my birthday was this past Sunday.

I mean, I wasn’t shy about talking about it. :)

I can’t help it; I am a firm believer that everyone should feel amazing and special and important and loved on their birthday.

I. Love. Birthdays. All birthdays. It doesn’t matter who’s special day it is, I love them!  Really, how can you not love birthdays??

There’s cake. Any day that has cake is bound to be a good one.

Then there’s presents. Hello? What day involving presents isn’t something to look forward to?!

If it’s my birthday, then bright colors, sparkly tiaras, and girliness also happen to abound. I  have zero qualms about throwing myself a par-tay.

My favorite thing every year is planning my birthday cake. I typically pick a theme (maybe based on a favorite thing of mine, or maybe based on something simple like a color combo) and go from there. Sometimes, my cake is elaborate and geektastic, and sometimes, there’s a surprise inside, but one thing you can usually always count on is that I want something sweet, fun, and girly.

This year, I wanted a simple and rustic cake, but I also wanted it to be completely festive and happy. I think my pretty chocolate layer cake, lavender frosting (vanilla buttercream), and lovely little ribbon banner gave me exactly what I hoped for.

This was one of those cakes that, when I was all done assembling it, I stepped back, tilted my head, stared for a second, then clapped my hands, did a hoppy little happy dance, and giggled like a toddler. I was completely smitten with my cake. Completely.

And the very best part was how simple and easy it was to achieve such a wonderful little cake. (Well, the very best part was that it was my birthday and I got pretty presents and chocolate cake, but still…)

I made a simple chocolate cake for my birthday this year. My favorite recipe is the one I use for my Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes, so I made three 6-inch layers. I always prefer small, happy little cakes to big, overwhelming ones.

In fact, each of my birthday cakes that I’ve posted on Bakingdom, so far, have been deceptively small. This one was no exception.

My cakes came out relatively domed, so I leveled the tops out quickly, using a bread knife.

It’s important to level any cake, but was particularly important here, since I wasn’t going to completely cover the cake in frosting.

When you assemble this style of cake, you can fill it however you like, but I wanted mine to look slightly frilly, so I used a large star tip to add a border to each layer and some filling in the middle.

Next, I spread the frosting in the center out to fill it in, but left the frilly edges as-is. When I stacked the layers, I was careful not to damage the piping, but once each layer was in place, I pressed it down ever so slightly.

For the top layer, after spreading the frosting, I used my small offset spatula to create a simple swirl design to give it a more finished look. Then I added a small rosette and my happy birthday banners.

The banners were super simple to make. All I did was glue strips of ribbon (about 2-inches long, each) onto bakers twine. Next, I tied the twine to long skewers. I prefer odd numbers, so I did a total of five skewers to be spaced around that cake. I think that it looked best, in the end; any more would have been far too busy, and less wouldn’t have achieved the same roundness that I got with five. Obviously, you could do more for a larger cake, but for my 6-inch round layer cake, five skewers were just right.

When adding the skewers, I tilted them out slightly to give the whole cake a fuller, more whimsical look. Finally, I finished everything of with some pretty yellow pearl sprinkles and tall, festive candles.

I say it every year, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite cake I’ve ever made myself. From the tip of each skewer to the very bottom crumb, everything about this cake makes me happy, giddy, and smily. I felt so special getting to have this cake for my birthday, I don’t know how I’ll ever want a different kind of birthday cake ever again.

This cake truly made me feel as though all of my wishes will come true.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brooke Tollison February 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

Happy Belated Birthday! What a gorgeous and yummy looking cake! Where’d you learn how to do cinemagraphs? I have been wanting to learn forever!


2 Stephanie (bake with ginger) February 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Happy birthday!!


3 gabybakes February 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I bake small cakes for my kids birthdays as well, never as cute as this one, I might do pink frosting for my little girl. Happy Birthday!!!


4 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar February 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Oh yes! A BIG happy birthday to you! Hope you have a splendid day!


5 rikkitachiquitabananagirl February 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Happy birthday! That is a BEAUTIFUL cake! And heck yeah to the birthday celebrations! My birthday is my favorite *personal* holiday – I flat out REFUSE to work on my day. Then, it just so happened, I married a guy who’s birthday is the day before mine (this was almost a relationship killer); but it turned out exactly right as we now both take BOTH days off for some celebration & recoup time :) Single-night camping trips for the win!


6 Yael February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Love the cake!! Love the fact that you are not shy about celebrating your own birthday!!Took me many years to get to that point. Happy, happy Birthday!


7 Tina@flourtrader February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Happy belated birthday Darla! I am glad you have found the joy in doing something extra special for yourself-you know Oprah says you should do that every day! It does not have to be anything expensive or fancy, just something that would please you.
I love the deceptive pictures here-I would have never known it was a tiny cake if you had not said so. The chocolate cake does look exceptionally delicious and I love the color of the frosting.
There is no doubt your day was all you wanted it to be and wishing you many more of the same!


8 Cecily February 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Happy Birthday!! Love the cake.


9 Rosa February 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

What a lovely birthday cake! That’s inspiring me to celebrate my upcoming birthday by making a cake like this. Thanks, Darla and I hope you had a wonderful birthday!


10 Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. February 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

This cake is so simple, yet so pretty and perfect for celebrating your special day! I hope you had a great birthday!


11 Emily ~So Domesticated~ February 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Super cute cake… hope your Birthday was wonderful!


12 christina @ ovenadventures February 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

so pretty. i love, love the banner and am totally gonna steal that idea ;)


13 Libby February 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Happy Birthday! Sorry it’s late… but I hope you had a fantastic birthday. And I agree 100% about loving birthdays, my family makes fun of me for how much I love birthdays but I think everyone should celebrate that you have made it ONE more year and are still alive and able to celebrate that birthday. So go on and celebrate like it’s the best birthday you’ve ever had!!


14 Tina @ Babycakes Blog February 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

First of all Happy Birthday! Second that cake is so pretty, I love the lavender colored frosting! I love purple! The cake looks so tasty, wish I was there to have a slice with you!


15 Laura Jane February 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

It IS you right?
Now that you have teased me with the SALTED CARMEL MOCHA cupcakes…Are you giving out the recipe that you use??? Pretty please.



16 SamCyn February 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Love the cake…Happy B-day! ;)


17 Becca- Cookie Jar Treats February 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

You are an amazing cake decorator, for reals! I wish I had an eighth of your talent, and not to mention the time :P I love how rustic it looks and I like how it’s not completely covered in frosting, not being a frosting girl myself. I know this is a little late, but I was out of town on Sunday, so Happy be-lated Birthday!


18 Tamar February 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

What a lovely little birthday cake, indeed. First of all, I wish you the happiest birthday imaginable. And second of all, I just want to say what an insparation this post in particular and your blog overall provide me with. I will definitely be making my own layered-bannered cake for my birthday in June! And I have yet to make your Malted Creme De Pot from a few weeks back, but that’s coming. Oh boy, is that coming.
So thanks again, and best wishes!


19 Erica February 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Happy birthday! Love how enthusiastic you are about your birthday cakes :) Very cute.


20 Annie February 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Happy Birthday Darla! I love your blog and routinely check back for your beautiful creations! And I love how you document your work. Congrats on perfecting the Videograph too! Have a great year ahead. Looking forward to more baking gorgeousness from you!!!
PS-I share the birthday month/week with you.


21 Stephanie February 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

As always. Beautiful! And Happy Birthday friend! xoxo


22 FestivePartyGirl February 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Happy Birthday! Your cake looks amazing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it thoroughly.


23 Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie February 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Happy birthday! What a lovely cake – I love the color of the frosting: such a girly, beautiful lavender!


24 Renee February 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

This is so adorable. It’s so YOU! I hope you had a joyous birthday, and I hope you’re loving that new bag.


25 CheezyK February 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Happy Birthday! That is one nice looking cake, definitely worth doing a happy dance over :)


26 Chess February 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I love birthdays more than anything. I think nothing is more special.

Also, I am in love with this cake! Or is it the banner? Either way, it tickles my birthday fancies in a wonderful way. :)


27 Ash February 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Happy Belated Birthday!
The cake looks absolutely delightful, simple and yet so cute and spunky. I just love the little banners on top :)


28 Melitta February 22, 2012 at 3:52 am

Happy Birthday! You’re cake looks so delicious and absolutely adorable!
Where’d you find those candes?


29 Katherine @ eggton February 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

I love, love, love the last picture and was so glad you showed how you put the icing on to get that effect. Love it all.



30 Katherine @ eggton February 22, 2012 at 11:15 am

Also, I am a huge fan of green and aqua blue nail polish. Respect.


31 heather February 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

Happy Birthday!!!! Waaay cute cake!


32 Sugargirl February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Happy Birthday!!!!


33 Miriam @ Overtime Cook February 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Firstly, happy birthday!!

Also, I just had to comment on this…I have the same bread knife as you! Mine came in a set with some other knives- I adore them. And now I realize how distinctive they are. ;-)


34 Katira February 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

This is such a wonderful, simple, and gorgeous cake. Makes my mouth water. I think the lavender frosting was the perfect color compliment to the chocolate cake.
Happy birthday!


35 michelle February 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

awww happy birthday! love the cake, and love your blown out candle pics! awesomely awesome :)


36 Krissy's Creations February 23, 2012 at 3:27 am

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!! What a perfect cake :)


37 Bailey February 23, 2012 at 5:02 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :) Hope you had a great day! :)
love the cake too…pretty!!


38 Cathy February 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

happy birthday!! what a lovely cake! i prefer small cute cakes to enormous cakes, too!


39 Russell van Kraayenburg February 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Happy belated birthday! What a scrumptious and cute way to celebrate. That cake is soo cute. And I adore that gif up top!


40 Javelin Warrior February 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

Darla, Happy (very belated) Birthday! Your cake is incredible – and I love that it’s NOT covered in frosting. The contrast of textures and colors is amazing – and your method for icing has me taking notes =) I have featured this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks as ever for the inspiration…


41 Carol Cross February 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I’m so sorry I missed your birthday! I don’t do Facebook, and although I’m supposed to be following your blog by email, I haven’t gotten any posts notices since the candy necklace one. I don’t know what happened…maybe I’ll just try signing up again.

But what a creative and joyful cake–just like you!


42 kelli smith February 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Happy birthday from one birthday girl to another. Mine was on monday and I to had a fabulous day! My cake wasn’t as devine as yours and now I think I will have to try making it myself. Also loved that you had purple icing, wick awesome!


43 Lior February 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday dear Darlaaaaaaa
happy birthday to you!!
from far away i wish you happiness!!
come to visit me: http://www.tapuz.co.il/blog/net/viewentry.aspx?EntryId=2261793


44 sweetsugarbelle March 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Happy belated bday! YOu really got me with the REAL FLICKERING CANDLES! LOVE!


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