Since my birthday was coming up shortly before Linda’s wedding, and since I volunteered to make her wedding cake because I’m slightly nutty, I thought I would make my birthday cake and use it as practice. You know, what a great idea, making two large intricate cakes within a week or so of each other. Sometimes I really doubt my sanity. Thus, my cake is now affectionately named Bane of My Existence #1, and I am looking forward to Bane of My Existence #2 this week.
The bottom layer of the cake is actually a fake styrofoam block, because I really didn’t want to make a lot of cake that nobody would eat, and then I’d have to store in my freezer and slowly eat through and watch as my clothes stop fitting me. I also thought it was a genius idea since I could then start on decorating it much earlier and I’d only have to do the top edible layer closer to the date. WRONG! Of course I managed to twiddle my thumbs and waste away time that I could be working on the cake, until last Thursday when my birthday was looming around the corner I had a slight panic attack. Then I began working on it – at 6:57pm when I woke up at 3:40am that morning to drop off Alex at the airport.
The bottom layer is an actual eyelet design. The inspiration came from Martha Stewart and I was clearly over-ambitious on what my limited skills could do. I totally underestimated how difficult it was to add on the extra strip of fondant, but at that point I was still very optimistic and time was still on my side. So I did it, and it turned out pretty OK only after I applied all the royal icing decor on the layer…before that, the edges were pretty grotesque and uneven.
Now, the top layer was a bit more complicated. I wanted to do something just as visually appealing inside as it was on the outside, and since strawberries are just coming into season, I did alternating chocolate and strawberry layers with white chocolate buttercream. Local strawberries weren’t available to me, though, until Saturday morning at St. Lawrence Market…so I literally made the cakes on Saturday night and didn’t start on putting it all together until Sunday morning at 7:00am. The brunch with the cake was at noon. I’m a good time manager…yeah.
So as you can see, the top layer didn’t get the extra special treatment with the eyelet. Somewhat intricate icing patterns was all I could manage, considering I only had an hour to ice the top layer before I had to get ready and leave. I think I did alright for an hour’s worth of attention, though.
The inside lived up to the pretty-ness I had hoped for, but I must admit, fresh strawberries just didn’t add as much flavour to the cake as I had hoped they would. This is where fake flavouring would have made a bolder statement, but I guess fresh and natural is always better than fake flavours. The chocolate cake recipe wasn’t my usual one, but just as delicious and worked better for a layer cake. I added a shot of Bailey’s rather than vanilla extract or coffee, and it definitely jazzed up the flavour of the cake!
All in all, aside from my complaints, I think this cake was a pretty good accomplishment for my 25th birthday cake.