Cake blessings…the cake in this picture is a very special smash cake I made for a very special boy two years ago. It’s not the greatest photo. The cake wasn’t even on the cake stand yet. But, it’s the only photo I have of this particular cake, and its a great cake to introduce my cake blessings. I have been making cakes for many years. I got really into cake decorating well before I had children. I took a few baking and cake decorating classes at the local junior college. After honing my skills, I contemplated making cakes as a business. However, I was always afraid that making it a job would take the enjoyment out of decorating cakes. Then, my triplets came along. I didn’t make a cake until their second birthday. I felt drained of all my creativity and everything else for the matter. It took me a while to get back into cake decorating. Slowly but surely, I started to make cakes for family and close friends again. Nowadays, that’s how I like it. I only make a few fancy cakes a year. My kids plan their birthday cakes at least a year in advance. Every year they come up with something more challenging. I like to bless my family and friends with cakes for special occasions…birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc. I see my cake as a gift to them. I never ever want anything in return. Some friends and even family members insist on passing along a gift card or gift when I make them a cake, but I always feel awkward accepting it. I truly enjoy making these cakes as gifts.
This particular cake was special. I met my friend, B, when my kids were just teeny tiny 3 month old babies. I honestly don’t remember the exact time frame, but it wasn’t too long after I had met B, that she told me that she was struggling with infertility. I did not know her very well at that time, but I am pretty sure I teared up on the spot when she told me. I had struggled with infertility as well, and just hated to hear that someone else I knew was on this difficult journey. It is something that is hard to talk about to others when you are going through it, especially to those who have not experienced it. I was happy that B could talk to me about her struggles. I could share my experiences with her, and give her advice. I have known her for almost 9 years, and after all of the infertility struggles and treatments, B now has a two and a half year old boy! When she asked me to make his first birthday smash cake, I was beyond thrilled! I knew this first birthday brought a lot of joy and celebration for her. From my own experience, my trio’s birthday is a huge deal to my husband and I. Every year, I think about everything we went through to be blessed with these three healthy, beautiful children. I knew B was feeling the same way, and I was so honored that she asked me to make his cake. I also had the honor of making his second birthday cake last year! It was such an amazing joy to see his face light up when he saw his cake and “It’s Mike and Sully!”
I love making cakes for my close friends and family because they are all so special. Each cake is for an important life event for someone I love. It means so much to me and is such an honor to be able to make a cake as a gift. I will continue to turn down offers to make cakes for money. I will continue to bless others with cake!!! I look forward to sharing more cakes stories with you in they future!
This is my absolute favorite cake recipe. It is a very tender white cake. The original recipe calls for almond extract. I am not a fan of the stuff. I either replace it with 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract, or another 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. I almost always ice this cake with swiss meringue buttercream. It is heavenly, creamy, and delicious. It can be made plain, or flavored with chocolate or a fruit puree.
Tender White Cake
2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 oz) Cake Flour
1 2/3 cups (11 3/4) sugar; superfine sugar is best
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg
1 cup (8 oz) full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/4 t lemon extract or 1/2 t vanilla bean paste)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ x 2″ or 9″ x 2″ round pans; a 9″ x 13″ pan; or 2 standard cupcake pans (20 to 24 cupcakes) by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment. Note: Make sure your 8″ round pans are at least 2″ deep; if they’re not, use one of the other pan options.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it’s mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.
- Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for 8″ or 9″ rounds; 23 to 26 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake; or 20 minutes for cupcakes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, if desired (not advisable for a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake), cool on a rack, and frost.
Yield: Two 8″ or 9″ round layers; one 9″x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake, or 20 to 24 cupcakes.
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 lb Extra fine sugar
8 oz Egg (Whites)
24 oz unsalted butter,softened
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Place sugar and egg whites in a stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, to 165 degrees.
2. Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer with a wire whisk and whip on high speed until the meringue is at stiff peaks.
3. With the mixer running at medium speed, gradually add the butter in small pieces until all the butter is incorporated. Mixture should be light and creamy. Blend in vanilla.
Cover with plastic wrap and store under refrigeration.
*to use after refrigeration, place into microwave approximately 45 seconds or until parts of Buttercream are becoming soft and then mix in an electric mixer with paddle. Continue mixing until mixture comes together.
*Use the best quality European butter you can find. I recommend Kerry Gold, Plugra, or Land O’Lake European style buttercream
*Be sure your ingredients are room temperature
*I use full fat vanilla flavored yogurt for the tender white cake recipe. I use the Stonyfield Yobaby brand
*Be sure to scrape the bowl every time the instructions say to do so. It is a lot of stopping and scraping, but it is necessary, and helps to build your cake batter.
Bake and Share Ideas
- Bake a cake for your someone in your family to celebrate his or her birthday. The cake does not have to look perfect! Your recipient will feel so special because you made it!!
- Bake a batch of cupcakes to share with friends, neighbors, or co-workers just because!