Grown Up Birthday Cake

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Creme Fraiche Frosting

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Creme Fraiche Frosting

It’s my birthday! Well, it was my birthday last week. I’m a little late in posting this. In fact, blogging has been rare treat around these parts lately, and what better day to treat myself than by birthday?

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Creme Fraiche Frosting

Some people talk about the baker’s dilemma. Do you bake your own cake or not? For me, it’s a no brainer. Control freak that I am, I always want to bake my own cake. Unless someone wants to deliver a Momofuku cake to my door. Then I might change my mind, but this year nostalgia took over and I chose my childhood favorite- yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Of course, my childhood yellow birthday cake came from a box, so I wanted this cake to resemble that in the light and fluffy department, but perhaps less so in the alarmingly yellow department (seriously, what do they put in there?).

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Creme Fraiche Frosting

I’ve never been a big fan of canned frosting, so I wanted to do something different than the traditional chocolate buttercream. I thought about making my go to chocolate sour cream frosting, but after some googling, came across Hummingbird High’s recipe for creme fraiche frosting. By swapping out creme fraiche for the sour cream, I ended up with a frosting that was not too sweet, ultra rich, and chocolaty in all the right ways. I dare you not to eat half of it before you even start frosting the cake.

The actual cake recipe is a paired down version of the “All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake” from The Cake Bible. Even though Rose Levy Berenbaum warns not to mess with the pan sizes, I almost always do. Sometimes I’ve paid the price for it, but this time it worked out. I love this cake because it has the lightness of a boxed mix that comes from the cake flour, and the egg yolks give it a rich yellow color and flavor. For the ultimate lightness, make sure to use bleached cake flour. Unbleached cake flour will make a denser cake.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Creme Fraiche Frosting

In the spirit of being more grown up this year, I was going to leave the sprinkles off of my birthday cake this year. But for me, part of the pleasure of eating birthday cake is the mouthful of crunchy nonpareils that come with it, so I decided to go sprinkle crazy because I’m the birthday girl!

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Strawberry and Chocoroom Cake

Chocolate cake, strawberry frosting, and candy mushrooms

I have a thing for Asian candy. We didn’t have a designated Indian grocery store where I grew up. It was all kind of lumped into one “ethnic/all things from the east” store, so when my mom went to buy ghee and mango pickle, I tagged along and got Pocky, Yan Yan, and these little koala cookies. I think my inner 6-year-old would have gone nuts for little chocolate mushrooms, though. I saw them recently at Daiso, a Japanese version of a dollar(ish) store that opened up near my house. I love browsing all of the miniature knick knacks and aisles of Japanese candy, so when I saw these little mushrooms, I knew I wanted to use them on a cake (except the first time I bought a package I ate the entire thing on the way home and was too embarrassed to go back and get more).

Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Frosting, and candy mushrooms

So on my second shopping attempt I bought an extra package for the inevitable snack attack, and this Strawberry Chocoroom Cake was born. It’s just in time for Valentine’s Day, because nothing says I love you like candy mushrooms.

The cake itself is my go to chocolate cake, which just so happens to be vegan. It’s almost exactly the same as what I used for my Marshmallow Madness Cake, but I used water rather than non-dairy milk. I’ve seen several recipes that do this, and I wanted to see how they compared. I’ve only tested it once so I can’t say for sure if it was because of the water, but this cake was super light and fluffy. I had to chill it for several hours before frosting because it was difficult to work with, but I did like the texture.

Chocolate cake, strawberry frosting, and candy mushrooms

Since fresh strawberries are out of season, I got a package of freeze dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s, ground them down into a powder, and then mixed them into the frosting. I liked the end result but it was missing some depth, so I mixed in a teaspoon of red wine vinegar. I do this often to balance out the sweetness of fruit crisps, and I was happy that it worked so well in the frosting.

Chocolate cake, strawberry frosting, and candy mushrooms

If you can’t find Chocorooms, this cake would be equally adorable covered in meringue mushrooms. If mushrooms are too weird for you, perhaps candy hearts would be a fun substitute.

Not a fan of tall cakes? You can also bake this cake in 2 6-inch cake pans.

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Small Batch Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Small Batch Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy New Year! Now that the first week of January is almost over, does that mean you’ve given up your resolutions yet? No? Good, me either. Believe it or not, this is one of the few recipes on my website that’s not a diet buster. At least, it’s not an “eating everything in moderation” buster, which I’m all about these days. This small batch cookie recipe makes only 5 cookies. Yay for built in portion control! But wait…it get’s even better! *cue Billy Mays*

They’re vegan, and it’s a super simple one bowl recipe. Excited yet? Click on over to Food Fanatic for the recipe.