Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Halloween Birthday Cake

My nephew's birthday is in the beginning of November and every year I designate myself the official baker of his birthday party cake.  Last year he had a Fiesta! theme party (with Zumba!), so I made the Fiesta! cake.  The year before that there was the slightly disastrous Cupcake Penguin fiasco, for which I was only slightly able to redeem myself with the Iceberg Cake for our family celebration.  

This year he was having a Halloween themed party and I volunteered to make the cake again.  He informed me that he wanted a lemon cake, which I thought was a bit of an odd choice for a 10 year old, but I'm not going to ask anymore questions than I need to.  I had just gotten the Baked cookbook when he mentioned that he wanted a lemon cake and I thought immediately of the Lemon Drop cake from the book.  I then realized that making a three layer lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon drop boiled icing for a 10 year old's birthday party might be a bit much.  So, I decided to make the cake from the recipe, but not do the rest.  My nephew informed me that I could just decorate it with "a bat or something," which I thought was very kind of him.  

But, I didn't do that.  
Instead, I found this: 

and I became obsessed.

Now, I am well aware of my limitations and the fact that I refuse to use fondant and gum paste because it tastes gross (and is confusing), but I decided to throw caution to the wind and use the cake from the website as my inspiration anyway.

I made the lemon cake from the recipe and it came out magnificently.  I even used cake flour, because I found some in my cupboard.  I am linking to the dessert girl blog because she got in touch with Matt Smith from Baked and got permission before posting the recipe, which I dig.  Of course, I can't get Matt Smith to respond to anything I tweet at him, so it also makes me a little bitter.  

I made a regular decorator's icing using half butter, half solid vegetable shortening, lemon juice, milk and vanilla.  I discovered that if you follow a recipe, your consistency comes out a lot better.  I filled the cake with the decorator's icing as well as frosted it with it.  It's too sweet for me, but I figured it was going to be eaten by a bunch of kids who didn't belong to me, so I could get them as sugar-hopped-up as I wanted.

The cake was solid and took the frosting well.  I have to say that I was really happy with how the cake came out.  I worked my butt off and was on my feet for over two hours, but I've been doing so little real decorating recently that it made it worthwhile.

I put black cats and gravestones behind a creepy looking iron fence around the outside with some pumpkins and cobwebs, then on the top I put the lettering and a big cobweb and a little spider.  

It was a lot of fun to make.  I hear it tasted pretty good too!  

Here are some pics:


I think this is my favorite part.


  1. Wow, whatta cake. I should've worn a Bryce costume this year.

  2. Hahahaha! I worked on Hello, Cupcake! And I production edited the sequel.

    We need to talk cupcake horror stories. My penguins came out brown, too. (And I knew Jack was a keeper when he helped me hand trim licorice and sort Froot Loops by color for another cupcake fiasco.)

    Also, we just met someone who is baking her way through a pie book.

  3. Wow, this is beautiful! Such nice work, and such a super aunt!

    (Love, Holly's college friend who stumbled on this on her fb wall)