Birthday cake you can make even with a baby on your lap.
(Please excuse my English, I am now living in Israel, but I was born in Czechoslovakia and English is not my first language, nor my second.) 😉
Why did I name this recipe “Birthday cake you can make even with a baby on your lap”? The answer is simple. I did it with a baby on my lap.
I am currently working as a nanny for 3 kids and the only time to make this cake I had was when the two older kids were at school. But I still had to watch the baby. So this recipe is going to be little bit longer but it will have some useful ideas how to make your life easier and yes – with a little bit of practice it can be done even with one hand.
When I was still living with my mom she used to tell me: “I love it when you bake, but I hate it at the same time. I love it because it smells delicious and tastes delicious. I hate it because you make so much mess in the kitchen (and do not clean it well enough) and because you take one bite and make me eat the whole thing.” In a couple of years I learned how to make few things better. If you want to avoid painting your walls every time you cook or bake (by the way, one time I really had to paint a wall – thank G-d it was white, but once I was making beef bourgignon and I had to saute beef in smoking oil). You just need to use a mixing bowl that is big enough. My mixing bowl is 14 inches (36 cm) at the bottom in diameter and 20 inches (52 cm) wide at the top. I use it for making challah and it is good for up to 4 kgs of flour at a time. My mom was also very upset she had to throw out the sponge every time I washed the bowl after making my dough. I did not realize it for such a long time but the solution is simple, like home made chocolate. Seriously, you need only two ingredients – sugar and cocoa beans. Hopefully I will be able to make the recipe one time. But back to the sponge. You just use either a thin plastic bag or a small piece of old t-shirt or any type of cloth you just want to throw out. And you do not wash the piece you used for cleaning the bowl. It goes straight to the garbage. How brilliant is that? I feel so silly it took me a couple of years to figure this out.
OK I shall now write something about this cake. The recipe calls for a lot of eggs but I have seen recipes that required more eggs. Many years ago I met a very interesting non Jewish girl, she was covering her hair with a tichl (scarf) and worshiped the cult of the sun, and she was vegan and she told me that apple sauce can sometimes substitute for eggs. And recently, my dear friend Leora told me that the juice from canned beans or chickpeas can be beaten like egg whites and does the same job. I did not try it yet and I do not have time to experiment as my dear friend Riki had a birthday party in couple of days and I did not feel comfortable testing the bean and chickpea juice on such a big project as a two tiered cake. But eventually I will do it in the future for something smaller.
I have made many birthday cakes. I made one for a bar mitzvah and so far my biggest project was 5 tiers wedding cake. I was working on the cake till 3 AM in the morning. After that experience, I developed even more cool ideas how to make big cakes better!
To make this cake you need two pans size 16×14 inch (42×30 cm) and 10×7,5 inch (26×19 cm). My opinion is that two tiered cakes look so much nicer when it is in a rectangular shape (compared to a round shape).
For the Basic Cake Mix:
1 ts salt
3 cups sugar
6 cups flour
2 cups soy milk
2 ts baking soda
2 ½ cups oil
2 tbs vanilla extract
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the salt and egg whites until a thick foam that looks like snow (use mixer for best results). Mix egg whites with sugar and beat till the color turns “yellow-whitish”. Add oil and half amount of flour. Mix with a mixer till the dough is solid and add soy milk, vanilla extract and the rest of the flour. Stop using the mixer and take a spatula. Mix beaten egg whites with the rest of the dough, add baking soda and mix well. You do not want to use the mixer for the final stage, you would ruin the beaten egg whites. Cut from a baking paper rectangle that covers the bottom of the pans. Distribute the dough between the pans. In each pan you should have same height of the dough – that goes into a half height of the pan. Baking soda loses its ability to make the dough rise after a certain amount of time so you want to bake the smaller pan first. It takes about 35-40 min. You just check with the toothpick in the middle if it is ready. Another good sign that it is ready is that the crust is broken on the top and little bit burnt. Seriously, do not worry if you slightly burn the top because you cut it of anyway. It is better to make it a little burnt than to have raw cake in the middle.
If you would like to make the frosting (I call it cream) parve (non-dairy), I am begging you, do not replace the butter with any type of margarine. It will not come out right. I would suggest for a parve version, a mixture of coconut oil and overnight soaked blended cashews sweetened with sugar or stevia. Oh and btw if you have a baby or kids around when you are making the cream – you better take the cream off the stove and not leave it even one second unattended. It can get burnt very easily and than you have to throw the whole thing out. It makes your life much easier if you use a pot that has teflon inside.
1 liter milk
1 cup flour
400 g butter
powdered sugar – can be between 200-400 g (depending on how sweet you want your cream to be)
2 tbs vanilla extract
Mix milk with flour – so there are no crumbs and then put it on the stove and cook till it gets thick like oatmeal. Take if off the stove at that every second. Wait till it gets cold and with a mixer mix the cream base with butter and sugar. Btw keep the butter at the room temperature before mixing it.
Note: you can change the flavor of the cake easily by adding instant coffee, cocoa powder, shredded nuts, coconut or anything you like.
Marzipan Flowers (for about 14 pieces)
200 g marzipan
4 tbs powdered sugar
To finish the cake:
300 g strawberry jelly (without any pieces of fruit)
bar of chocolate
Once you are ready to build the cake, it is good to cut a sheet of baking paper -at least to two pieces (you can make even four or six) and put them underneath the serving tray. Once you are decorating, you can allow yourself to be as messy as your kids because once you are done you will just easily pull the baking paper out and all will be clean.
Before building the cake I recommend to eat something. Make your favorite hot beverage and put on your favorite movie or music. It can happen that your stomach will get upset after smelling a lot of sweets (and eating leftovers of the frosting) so if you eat something before hand you will be fine.
Cut off the edges and burnt parts. Cut the cake horizontally into half (yes you can cut it twice so you will have two layers of cream in between – it is surely possible, just make sure you prepare about 50% more of the cream – but I do not really like it when it is super creamy).
It happens to me quite often that I do not cut the bottom part well and I make a hole. But it is OK. There is a way how to fix it. You just cut little bit of the top of the cake and fill the hole with it. Nobody is going to recognize anything and you have to cut of the top anyway to make it even. This is a good way how to use it. Unless you want to eat it. LOL.
Start building the cake from the big corpus. Cover the bottom part of the bigger corpus with thin layer of strawberry jelly and than with a bigger layer of the cream. Cover with the top part. Spread jelly on the top. Put the bottom layer of the small corpus on the top. Spread the bottom part of the smaller corpus with jelly and cream. Cover it with the top of the smaller corpus. Spread the whole cake generously with cream so you can not see any corpus. If you have patience and your baby lets you – you can use the decorating cone to make it more fancy.
Decorating is up to your imagination. I admit I am not the best decorator. I do not have much patience with it. But if you do have patience – you might need to make more cream – because more fancy decorating requires more cream. So I would suggest perhaps to double the amount. And another thing – once you hold the decorating cone in your hands for too long – the cream gets warmer. So you need to refrigerate it in between, so it still can hold a nice shape.
You can even make as many colors of the cream as a rainbow has. I am sure whatever you make, it will be wonderful.
Once you are finished, keep the cake refrigerated. If you have kids – you might consider keeping the cake in your neighbor’ s fridge to make sure they will not eat the cream with their fingers directly from the cake.
I hope I did not forget anything, and I very much hope you will try this recipe, even if you have small kids and even if you feel like you have no time. I am giving you proof that it is possible, it might just take little bit more time.
Oh, one more thing before I finish. Unless you want it to be a surprise, if you are not sure what the taste is of the person you make the cake for – ask. You might spend about 10 hours to make this cake and you want to make sure the person will love it so you did not waste 10 hours (that you will never get back) of your life just with making something nice but not according to the taste of the eater.
All the best,