Birthday Cake

I’ve known for a while what kind of birthday cake I want: Yellow cake with a dulce de leche filling and a dark chocolate frosting.

But I didn’t know where to get it, and honestly, I didn’t want to buy my own birthday cake. So… I baked it myself.

And it was glorious.

The kitchen gods must have known in advance, because the moment I started searching for recipes online, I found a wonderful recipe on Smitten Kitchen for Best Birthday Cake. It was yellow cake with a dark chocolate sour cream icing, and the icing didn’t even need a fancy mixer or anything like that (remember my baking confession?). A chocolate icing made by hand? I was sold.

Now, don’t think that baking a cake is easy for me. Sure, I make a lot of cookies and brownies and truffles and whatnot. But – here’s another baking confession – I’ve never actually made a full, layered, frosted cake. This was my first attempt.

So my cake wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty…

(But hey, to me, it was beautiful!)

I read all the Secrets to Frosting a Layer Cake by American’s Test Kitchen and I also followed Deb’s recipe exactly, only making a couple of adjustments:

1) I used regular cream soured with lemon juice, instead of buttermilk

2) I used a dulce de leche filling

Of course my dulce de leche came from a can. Ain’t no shame!

I only encountered a couple of mishaps during my birthday cake making. The edges of the cake got a little too crispy, so I just trimmed those off (resulting in a not-perfectly round cake). And the cakes puffed up in the middle, but I simply sliced off the domed portion with a serrated knife. It also helped to chill the cakes in the freezer first to harden it up (one of Smitten Kitchen’s great layer cake tips) before frosting, which I had really enjoyed (resulting in an almost-perfectly round cake).

It was everything I wanted it to be. The yellow cake was moist and subtly sweet, which went so well with the velvety dulce de leche and the thick dark chocolate frosting. It really was the best birthday cake.

I had such a wonderful birthday, doing things I love the most (running, cooking, spending time with friends, talking to my family). I did the big party last year and so this year I wanted to just stay in and have a nice, quiet dinner at home with friends. Thank you to all who greeted me and for all the well wishes!

And now that I’ve successfully made my first birthday cake, my question is… whose birthday is coming up soon?? Let’s make another one.


33 Responses to “Birthday Cake”

  1. #
    Erica @ Boston Rookie posted January 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    That looks so delicious!!! I will have to read those tips- it’s been a while since baking a cake!

  2. #
    lisaiscooking posted January 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve been looking at birthday cakes and trying to choose a flavor today. Yours sounds delicious! Love the dulce de leche filling. Happy Birthday!

  3. #
    Megan posted January 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I think it looks beautiful! The dulce de leche filling must have been incredible. There’s something really rewarding about making your own cake.

  4. #
    MelissaNibbles posted January 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Your cake came out wonderful! Look at all that thick frosting. YUM!

  5. #
    Heather posted January 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Happy belated birthday! That cake looks wonderful!

  6. #
    Jenn @ Frost Bites posted January 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Happy Birthday Bianca! Your cake looks really yummmyy!!! I bet it was. Makes me want to make one right now.

  7. #
    A Plum By Any Other Name posted January 29, 2012 at 9:01 am

    What is it about layered yellow cake with chocolate frosting?! It’s just gorgeous. (Or, at least to me it is.) Happy birthday! And I’m so glad to hear you took matters into your own hands with the cake! Congrats. A cake of finest quality and best wishes for a year to match!

  8. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted January 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

    That cake looks terrific, especially for your first layer cake! Great choice of flavors to celebrate your birthday:-)

  9. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted January 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

    So pretty! I’m definitely going to check out ATK’s frosting suggestions – your cake looks perfect!!

  10. #
    Michelle posted January 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

    So proud of you for baking this cake! It looks great!

  11. #
    Daisy posted January 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    mine is feb 21!! I have never made my own bday cake (never mind any cake.) I think your cake is beautiful and you should be very proud of it!!

  12. #
    Tracey posted January 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Looks Yummy. What a wonderful thought – make your own birhday cake – love it!!! Happy Birthday

  13. #
    mlr posted January 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Cake looks absolutely wonderful–as I remember my first was very lopsided–yours looks as good as I’m sure it tasted.
    Are you familiar with I’ve never had anything less than wonderful from there and they’ll make it up to suit you if you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary. Best wishes for this and many more happy birthdays!!!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you! I have not heard of Konditor Meister yet, but everything on their website looks fantastic! Thanks for letting me know :) Hope all is well!

  14. #
    Kim K posted January 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

    ohhh i was tempted to make a layer cake this weekend for my girlfriends birthday but backed out and just made homemade brownies and an apple crisp. i def want to test my baking skills :) my birthday is in march :)

  15. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted January 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I am so impressed! It has been quite some time since I have made a real layered cake. I do remember the first time I made one, I forgot to cut off the domed tops so lets just say it did not stack well at all! Looks delicious and Happy Birthday!

  16. #
    dan posted January 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    well happy birthday to you too. My blog thanks you for your wishes. Mine is coming up in late feb… just sayin…

  17. #
    Mal @ The Chic Geek posted January 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Yum! I want this birthday cake too!

    Happy Birthday!!

  18. #
    AikoVenus posted January 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    This cake looks so delicious! ^^ Mmm – the next time a birthday comes around I’m definitely making a cake like this!

  19. #
    Molly Galler posted January 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    You’re crazy, girl! This cake looks AMAZING! And now I want it. So glad you had a fantastic birthday. I hope this year is the best yet!

  20. #
    Jay posted January 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    wow…cake sounds simply superbbbbbbb…cant wait to giv atry..
    just found your space…amazing space you have..
    excellent posts with interesting presentation
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  21. #
    Hannah posted January 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! For my own birthday, I think I’d most like to just sit down with dulce de leche and eat it all with a spoon.

    Except I’ve done that on days that aren’t my birthday. Hmmm….

  22. #
    Joanne posted January 31, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I definitely plan on making my own birthday cake this year…and no, I have NO idea what I want. but this is definitely making the short list! You did an amazing job with it.

  23. #
    Meghan posted January 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

    This looks gorgeous!

  24. #
    Candy @ Candy Girl posted January 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Happy Birthday! I started making my own birthday cakes a few years ago and actually enjoy it. I think your cake is beautiful and love the layer of dulce de leche!

  25. #
    honeywhatscooking posted January 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    that looks amazing! omg, i need to buy dulce de leche and bake with it. i have no shame either. :-) who has time to make fresh dulce leche and bake a cake from scratch. you did a really good job considering this is your first cake, i’ve made so many and I still dont’ know how to frost well. it’s an art.

  26. #
    Tarynaryn posted January 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I think this looks great! Sounds pretty darn delicious too… I’m all for making your own birthday cake. You did a great job for your first attempt at a layer cake!

  27. #
    Simply Life posted January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I think baking a cake for yourself is a great idea- then you know you’re getting JUST what you want!

  28. #
    Dana posted February 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Happy birthday to you! This cake looks like a great bday treat. I hope you enjoyed it!

  29. #
    Bianca Garcia posted February 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks, everyone!

  30. #
    Asmita posted February 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Wish I could eat this. Looks divine!!!

  31. #
    Samantha @ Bikini Birthday posted February 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Why is it so hard to make cakes that look pretty? I’ve made maybe 2 or 3 cakes in my time and they always look hideous. Before I bring them to the table I have to preface with: “Okay, so this is going to be the ugliest cake you’ve ever seen. . . “

  32. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks posted November 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I have always wanted to try Deb’s yellow cake recipe and you may have just sold me!

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