When my boys were young, I had several boy-themed cake pans and loved to make special cakes for their birthdays. After they got too old for that and I had my girl, I still kept the pans just because I loved them. Then during preparation for the big move, I knew they had to be sacrificed. They went to a good home though, a close friend of mine with a 5 year old boy and she also happens to be the most talented baker I have ever known.
For my girl’s first birthday I had made a castle Bundt cake with a pan given to me for that purpose by another talented baker I know. It was a very plain cake, a butter pound cake for the castle and a sheet cake of just starlight yellow cake recipe. Her second birthday was quite exciting for a cake, a large spongebob, fully decorated (picture in archives of this blog) and using Snickers bars for legs and arms, the right color icing spread on top of course. Then it came time for her 3rd.
Being a girl, she knew what he wanted – an Ariel cake with purple, and also cupcakes. I also made a castle for Ariel. I found the recipes online before going to the store. I’m getting tired of the regular flavors I have been making. So I found a few recipes and altered them for ease and less ingredients.
I was challenged first off knowing that with an Ariel cake, her hair being red, that it wouldn’t be easy. I am solidly against red dye. I researched tons of sites and after careful thought on my own, decided to finely chop organic strawberries and attempt to do it that way. Very tiny bits of liquid food coloring went into other parts of the cake, very small parts. As you can see by the pictures to follow, the chopped strawberries were a great addition to this cake. I used white frosting underneath and pressed the chopped, pressed-sort-of-dry strawberries into it. The cake I made for it was on the back of the Trader Joes cocoa container. Never made it before but definitely will make it again. This was the main candle cake at the party and I got lots of compliments. Only one piece left after a small group of people.
For the castle cake, I wanted to try something different so the Irish cream was perfect. Instead of going to a liquor store for the 1/4 cup of Irish cream, I found an Irish cream wine at the grocery store. It worked fine. I decided to whip a bunch of heavy whipping cream and cover it in raspberries and blueberries. Always a way to dress up a cake.
The cupcakes were the biggest hit. Every kid birthday I bake for is not complete until I make ice cream cone cupcakes. The best idea! I saw it in a “Special Effects” cookbook years ago. Teachers love these when you bring them for kids birthdays (I hope you are still allowed to do this) because there is no trash, no wrapper from the cupcake. Just use cake cones as if they were cupcake liners and bake like normal. Just don’t let the batter sit in the cone before baking or they will get soggy. I have never had a fail of these cupcakes. Too easy! Frost them like normal. They do fall in the pan when transporting but never are a problem. The frosting stays on and handles the trip well. Just bake and transport in a dish that has at least and inch or two tall sides and no problem. I decided to make White Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes, inspired by my good friend I mentioned earlier who is the most amazing baker I know. I found a few recipes online and altered them the omit things I didn’t want to use and add things I do. I haven’t asked but I do believe that is what my friend does too.
Irish Cream Bundt Cake
2 sticks butter (1/2 lb.), softened
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Irish cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Bundt pan by spreading butter with a brush to make sure that all crevices are well greased. Sift cake four, baking powder, and salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
Cream butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Combine sugars then add to butter with vanilla and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds after each egg. Combine Irish cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup with spout. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes until smooth. Pour into Bundt pan and smooth surface, making sure batter is in all crevices.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Insert a long wooden skewer into cake to test for doneness. Remove pan from oven and allow cake to cool in Bundt pan for 20 minutes.
Invert cooled cake onto serving plate/cake stand.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cake or Cupcakes
3 oz White chocolate chips
3/4 cup Milk
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Butter softened
1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons crushed raspberries
White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup or more Raspberries (I put a blueberry inside each raspberry for the top just be be fancy)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round baking pans or use muffin cups lined or cake ice cream cones.
Melt white chocolate with about half of the milk in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat, stir until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well-combined. Alternately add flour mixture and white chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
Spread batter in pans or muffin cups Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely. Frost as desired. Top with raspberries.
White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz white chocolate chips melted and cooled
8 oz neufchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (softened)
2-3 tablespoons of crushed raspberries
2 cups confectioners sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar.