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18th birthday cake or dessert-quick,easy cheat

By: Deb

I’d asked my Son what kind of cake he wanted for his 18th birthday dinner with close friends and family at a  local restaurant.

He ask me to make him a mousse cake which is a family favourite. Unfortunately come his birthday I was a little unwell and taking medication which really didn’t bode well for creating a cake suitable for a public get-together ;)

So what to do?

We headed out to the local Sara Lee Factory outlet as I’d used their catering sized cakes before, they are of good quality and some do have a very nice flavour.

While there I had an idea.

My son loves Bavarian dessert.

We used Sara Lee Entertainer Bavarians

We used Sara Lee Entertainer Bavarians

It’s a kind of biscuit base with chocolate, vanilla or other flavoured pudding kind of mousse filling. Quite often more than one flavour and sometimes has piped fresh cream on the top.

So I grabbed 3 of them (2 to make the main cake ’8′ one as extra serves) and a couple of  classic chocolate Pound cakes to make the ’1′:

We used simple Poundcake

We used simple Poundcake

I’m showing the pictures so that you can see what kind of cakes they are, knowing full well how we all have different names for similar cakes worldwide :-)

The beauty of this idea was it only needed to be assembled just before we left so it made for easier storage in the fridge and witht he sweltering and humid weather we’ve had here in Australia this Summer that was quite important!

So when I was ready to assemble the cake I covered a platter with foil. I then sliced about an inch/inch and a half off the bottom of two Bavarian dessert cakes. This allowed them to sit snugly like a figure 8. It’s quite easy to see just by looking how much needs to be removed but the amount will change depending on the size of the cakes.

I then placed them together and covered the join with some melted milk chocolate

I then squared up one end of each of the poundcakes so they sat at a similar height to the number 8.

I coated them in a chocolate ganache style icing made from around 300 grams of dark chocolate (I used a lindt with bitter orange and almond pieces left over from Christmas) and a few buttons of dark cooking chocolate. I broke it into pieces and covered it with pre-boiling cream and let it sit for 5 mins to melt. I then beat it together until smooth and sifted a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar in to help thicken it. I then coated the ’1′ shaped cakes and placed them next to the Bavarian desserts.

I initially was intending to cut the centre of the “8″  circles out but realised quickly with a biscuit/cookie base the cake would lose some integrity so I  made a small amount of melted white chocolate and did my best to form the inside of the 8. I then sprinkled it with coconut to help disguise the lack of precision  ;)

I stuck some ‘Happy birthday” candles in the one so there was no need to pipe or write on the cake at all !

All in all we had an 18th birthday cake that may not of looked professional at all but one that cost less than $25au and served more than 30 people. Also it was guaranteed my son would like the cake as it was made from one of his favourite desserts and I didn’t have to stress over each part of the cake baking and the full decorating.

Served with fresh (and squirty) cream it went down very well.

Very quick 18th birthday cake or dessert

Very quick 18th birthday cake or dessert

I think with a little thought any circular cake or dessert could be used e.g. Black forest gateaux or Cheesecake and also most numbers could be created. Have a look and see what your local supermarket, grocer or bakery keep in stock I’m sure they will have a few appropriate cakes which can be used last minute to make a number cake.

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Two Easy Cakes for Mom

By: Pfoinkle

One pattern makes both of these "MOM" cakes. Kids can help make these cakes perfect for Mom's birthday or a fabulous Mother's Day Celebration.

One pattern makes both of these MOM cakes. Kids can help make these cakes perfect for Mom's birthday or a fabulous Mother's Day Celebration.

These two cakes were designed for the dads and kids who don’t know a lot about baking or decorating cakes, but who want to make a special cake for Mother’s Day or mom’s birthday.

The first cake is super easy, decorated right in the pan with a simple Cool Whip frosting, and topped off with children’s cereal or mom’s favorite colorful candy. The second cake is a bit more work, but older kids will have fun with the buttercream frosting and sugar pressed decorations.

MOM Cake Supplies

  • 13″ x 9″ pan
  • One box mix cake (plus required ingredients listed on the back of box — usually eggs and oil or butter)
  • Pattern for cut outs
    For “cake in pan” only

  • 1-8oz container of thawed Cool Whip topping
  • 1 package of instant pudding or 4 individual servings of prepared pudding (“Pudding Packs” work fine)
  • Children’s cereal (such as Trix) or colorful candies
    For “cut-out cake” only

  • Buttercream frosting
  • Food coloring (found in the “baking supplies” aisle of most grocery stores)
  • Pressed Sugar Decorations
  • Assorted “sprinkles” for decoration (found in the “baking supplies” aisle of most grocery stores)


Super-Easy MOM Cake Instructions

MOM pan cake.

MOM pan cake.

Super-easy (and just a little bit messy), Mom will love this cake prepared by Dad and the little ones.

Make sure you have all the supplies listed above (including the downloadable cake pattern) and start by baking your cake. While the cake is baking, prepare the pudding and place it in the refrigerator. Once the cake is baked and cooled (make sure it has cooled), the fun starts.

Place paper pattern on top of cake.

Place paper pattern on top of cake.

Print out the downloadable cake pattern and cut out the grey shapes — if the kids are old enough to be trusted with scissors, this is a great task for them. Once all the pieces are cut out, place them on the cake as shown. It’s easier to get the correct placement if you first measure the cake and lightly mark three equal sections (the three letters) on the cake.


Score MOM pattern in cake.

Score MOM pattern in cake.

Following the patterns, use a sharp knife to score the cake — cut about half-way into the cake (precision is not important).


Remove a layer of cake from scored areas.

Remove a layer of cake from scored areas.

Use a fork to “flake out” the cake in the areas previously covered by the pattern. Remove about half the cake in each pattern piece. If you remove too much, don’t worry — just stuff some cake back in the hole. :D


Frost cake while still in the pan.

Frost cake while still in the pan.


In large bowl, fold (gently mix) pudding with thawed Cool Whip. Once mixed, spread the frosting over the entire cake (still in the pan). This is a fun step for the kids to do. Don’t worry about “messy” or about filling up the holes you just made — it’s easier to remove some frosting than to avoid the holes while frosting.

Once frosted, refrigerate the cake for twenty minutes.

Once the cake is chilled, use a spoon to scoop out any excess frosting that filled in the holes.

MOM pan cake.

MOM pan cake.

Fill the holes with colored cereal or candies. The cake is easier to “read” if you only use one or two colors for filling. Sorting the cereal or candies is a great “helper task” for little hands. Use the same decorations to make two “lines” separating the letters.

This cake is naturally “messy” and won’t look like it came from a professional bakery. But Mom will know it was baked and decorated by the ones she loves — and that makes it perfect.

Easy Buttercream MOM Cake Instructions

Cut out Mom cake.

Cut out Mom cake.

This cake starts with the same pattern as the Super-easy cake, but it takes a bit more effort to get the spruced up look.

If you want to use Pressed Sugar Decorations, it’s best to prepare these ahead of time to give them time to dry (the yellow stars on the pictured cake are pressed sugar). These decorations are a great project for kids: they look great, they’re simple to make, and require getting your hands covered in colored sugar — what could be better?

Or, for an easier decoration, pick up an assortment of candies to put on the cake. Less messy fun, but easier to do last minute. ;)

Start by baking your cake mix in a 13″x9″ cake pan. Once baked, allow the cake to cool for ten minutes and then remove it from the pan. Allow cake to finish cooling.

Cut out the cake using the downloadable cake pattern.

When it comes to frosting, you have three options:

  1. Buttercream frosting: the most work, but the best results. Here’s a recipe for a great tasting buttercream frosting. Go here for directions on coloring frosting.
  2. Canned Frosting: if you go this route, I recommend on of the “whipped” frostings. They’re easier to spread and that’s important when you’re frosting a cake that has been cut up. Plan on using a minimum of two cans of frosting.
  3. “Cool Whip” frosting: read the recipe above in the Super-easy cake instructions. Please note, this is the messiest option and will not make for a “tidy” finished cake. However, if you go the Cool Whip frosting route you can also use liquid food coloring (available in most grocery stores) to color the frosting.

Once you’ve frosted the cake, decorate it with pressed sugar decorations and lots of sprinkles (this is the easy part and a great job to hand over to the kids). Be sure to get lots of sprinkles on the serving plate around the cake.

Mom is gonna love it!

Download a PDF file of the MOM cake cut outs.

Download a PDF file of the MOM cake cut outs.


Download the MOM Cake Pattern (the pattern is a .PDF file which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader).

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Coraline Birthday Party Cake

By: Pfoinkle

The Other Mother's Birthday Cake

The Other Mother's Birthday Cake

I have a great fondness for the writing of Neil Gaiman, so when the movie version of his book Coraline was released, I didn’t expect to find myself sitting in the theatre completely ignoring several seconds of dialogue while I tried to memorize the details of a birthday cake.
A scene from the movie Coraline (produced by Laika Entertainment).

A scene from the movie Coraline (produced by Laika Entertainment).


But that’s what happened and this article is the result of that missed dialogue. Here’s a cake
perfect for Coraline Birthday parties or Coraline Halloween celebrations (tell me you don’t expect to see children with some sort of safety-approved version of black button eyes this Halloween), this cake is my interpretation of the Other Mother’s cake as presented in the movie — tall chocolate topped with delightfully runny pink icing.

Be forewarned: this cake requires three batches of frosting (and one’s tricky) plus a goodly bit of patience (or maybe the patience part was just me experimenting with “dripping icing” recipes). If you’re looking for an easy Coraline cake, check out the Coraline Button Cakes.

Because of the cream cheese and milk in the drippy frosting, this cake should be refrigerated until time to serve.

The Other Mother’s cake is made with three 9″ rounds, so if using a box mix (I used Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Dark Chocolate), you need two boxes. Bake 4 – 9″ rounds of the cake of your choice. You only use three of the rounds for this cake, but you can use the fourth layer as a practice cake for the drippy icing or turn it into a Button Cake.

After baking, level the cake layers. Use either a “cake leveler” or carefully cut through each cake layer with a large knife.

Make a batch of pink buttercream frosting. I made the Butteriest Buttercream Recipe. Prior to adding the coloring, set aside 1/4 cup of uncolored frosting. For coloring, I used Wilton’s Gel Coloring, “Rose”.

Frosting between layers.

Frosting between layers.

Place one layer on a cake board or plate. Frost with the pink icing, but don’t go all the way to the edge. Because the sides of this cake are frosted with brown icing, you don’t want the pink squooshing out and then have you spending time trying to cover pink with brown. ;) Frost between all three layers with pink frosting.

Frost the top of the cake. This layer of frosting is not the “drippy” layer, but it does provide a moisture barrier between the drippy layer and the cake. You should have some frosting leftover, set aside to use for piping at the base of the cake.


Chocolate frosting on sides of cake (before smoothing).

Chocolate frosting on sides of cake (before smoothing).

Make a batch of dark brown buttercream frosting. I used the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe, but instead of regular cocoa, I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa — that’s what makes the frosting such a lovely dark brown (which contrasts beautifully with the pink frosting). Frost the sides of the cake. For easy frosting, I used a pastry bag with a frosting tip (it’s so much faster and easier than spreading).

Use the “paper towel” method to smooth the buttercream on the sides and the top.


Drippy Frosting

  • 1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 oz. butter (1/2 stick) at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pink coloring (same as coloring used for pink buttercream)
  • 8-10 tablespoons milk

Recipe Note: It’s critical that the cream cheese be at room temperature. If you attempt this recipe with the cold cream cheese, you’ll likely end up with ugly white lumps of cream cheese in your icing.

  1. Cream cream cheese and butter together.
  2. Add one cup of powdered sugar and the vanilla to the cream cheese mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add second cup of powdered sugar and two tablespoons of milk. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add up to a total of 10 tablespoons of milk (one tablespoon at a time) until the frosting is at the desired consistency (I used 8 tablespoons).

Just some of my practice drips.

Just some of my practice drips.

This recipe makes a batch of frosting with enough for you to do some practice drips and, trust me, you should practice. The drippy frosting is easy enough — once you get the hang of it. The picture to the left is my practice. You can practice on leftover cake, a box, an old milk jug, whatever — what you practice on doesn’t matter, just practice.


Adding the drippy frosting.

Adding the drippy frosting.

Take a regular spoon (“teaspoon” size), scoop up some of the drippy frosting and hold the spoon perpendicular to the top of the cake and hold it just inside the edge of the cake. Hold the spoon just above the cake, so that the frosting drips off and flows over the edge. “Jackhammer” the spoon (without touching the cake) to encourage additional frosting to flow into the drip (the “jackhammers” are tiny, fast, up and down movements).

If you make a drip you don’t like, the best thing to do is to decide you really do like that drip. :) Don’t try to flow more icing over an existing drip — the excess weight will stress the drip and it will not fix the look of the drip. As I said earlier, trust me on this one.

Do a mix of short and long drips. The drama of the long drips is accentuated by the shorter drips.

Once you’ve finished with the drips, cover the top layer of buttercream with a thin layer of the drippy frosting.

Piped shell border.

Piped shell border.

Use the remaining pink buttercream frosting to pipe a simple shell border around the base of the cake.

Now, remember the 1/4 cup of plain colored buttercream that you set aside? Use that to pipe simple stars (or other shapes to your preference) to serve as candle holders on the top of the cake. Place candles in buttercream holders.


The Other Mother's Cake

The Other Mother's Cake


About the candles — I was surprised to discover that my local supermarket (nor three others in the vicinity) didn’t carry simple pink birthday candles. I did finally find some at a local department store, but they also had some “extra-tall” pink candles. I bought some of both and I’m here to tell you that with this tall cake, the tall candles are almost a must. They really make a difference in the presentation of the cake.

Please note that the “drippy” frosting never fully hardens (it’s not supposed to), so use care in moving the cake. If you have to transport the cake in a vehicle, I recommend refrigerating for several hours prior to moving to make the frosting more stable. I haven’t had any problem with moving my cake around (though when I bumped it with my camera, sure enough, I ended up with pink icing on my camera). Just a note of caution born of experience. ;)

Because of the cream cheese frosting (with an excess of milk), serve immediately or refrigerate until time to serve.


Jack makes his bid for being added to the cake blog.

Jack makes his bid for being added to the cake blog.






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