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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Birthday Pig

Today Caleb is 5 years old. It's hard to believe he can be that old! Boy does time fly.

For the last few months Caleb has been talking about wanting a pig for his birthday, or should I say his birthday cake. I have had some time to plan it in my head, and although I wasn't able to get to the store last night to get what I wanted for the ears, I think it turned out alright for throwing it together after a soccer game. The most important thing though is that Caleb thought it turned our alright. :)

Somehow the tradition got started that the kids pick out what they want for their birthday cake, and I try to make it. I think Hannah started it when she saw Caleb's farm cake last year and wanted an "Animal Cake" for her last birthday with a pig, chicken and cow.

I don't mind being creative, but I have had my share of battles with birthday cakes. (One of them resulted in me needing to make a whole new cake, but that is a different story and I will blame it on hormones from having a baby a week and half earlier.) Most of these battles are with the frosting. I think I have a frosting that is the right consistency, but then it either is too thick to spread or looks like it is thick enough but ends up running once it is on the cake.

So for this post I am calling out for help on making the perfect frosting. I do like the flavor of mine. I don't have a recipe, but I blend together powdered sugar, milk, shortening/margarine/butter - depending on my mood and the color of frosting I need - vanilla, and a pinch or two of salt. I learned the salt trick from a cake baker. It actually is quite good as it takes away the sugary bite. What I didn't get is the proportions though. So . . . anyone what to share their favorite cake frosting recipe???


Nance said...

oh. . . I am not a cake baker . . . nor a cake decorater. Yet I sure do like the pig cake. After seeing the pig cake, I am sure you will manage just fine with any cake you want to bake/make. And I will remember that salt trick. The best coffee I ever had had a "pinch" of salt in it yet when I tried making coffee like that it was just plain salty!

Rachel McNeely said...

I frost lots of birthday cakes and have found that these recipes work the best:

Buttercream Frosting
2 egg whites
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp butter flavor
2# bag powdered sugar
3 Tb. cornstarch

this makes a pretty big batch.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
6 T butter
1/2 c. cocoa pwd
2 2/3 c. pwd sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

makes 3 1/4 cups


Jamie said...

I have another cake to make in exactly a month, and I always have the same problem with my frosting as you do!! I'll be happy to see what responses you get. Love your pig cake!

Brenda said...

Those cakes are so cute.

This is the recipe I've been using, and it turns out very well.

1/2 cup butter or high-grade shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla or other flavoring
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp warm water
2 tsp flavoring (if wanted)
Food coloring (if wanted)

Soften the butter/shortening in a large, shallow bowl. You can heat the bowl by placing it over a container of steaming hot water while you work with the butter.

Add the sugar slowly, while still kneading the butter with your spoon. Add the other ingredients, while stirring. When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, beat with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy.

I normally make two batches, and use the first as a 'crumb coat' for the cake. The frosting is nice and spreadable when it is still warm from the softened butter and mixing, and then sets up really well. Plus it tastes divine.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Rachel and Brenda - Thanks so much for the recipes! I will have to give these a try. Our next birthday is in November, but maybe I can think of an excuse to make a cake before then. :)

Jennifer said...

Don't have any thoughts on the frosting but boy those sure are some cute cakes! I never had a birthday cake so neat growing up!

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