Friday, August 7, 2009

the best summer birthday cake ever.

It was my 25th birthday on Monday. :)
We didn't really get to celebrate, as I had to work for ten hours and Husbear was busy studying away for his MCAT, which he took (AND RULED) on Wednesday.
I came home from work and we ordered pizza and ate ice cream, and then I curled up with a blanket and some Golden Girls. Not a bad night, if I'm being totally honest.
Then Tuesday night, Husbear took me out to the lodge in williamsburg for $14 lobster night! I laughed so hard when they brought out my over-2-pounder, and then Husbear's little nugget of a lobster. oh well. it was my birthday, after all.

So, now that the MCAT is over and done, we are having a birthday party!
Tomorrow our new york pals are gathering in Manhattan Beach for a day in the waves, and then walking to Clemente's Crab House in Sheepshead Bay for ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT CRABS!!!! I am over the moon about this.

But, being that I am DomestiKatie, I couldn't just order whatever dessert they may have on the menu. I must make my OWN birthday cake.

So, I perused the web for various ideas that I could collaborate into my ideal summer cake, as I already knew I wanted to make a cake similar to my favorite summer beverage- blackberry juice, lemonade, and bourbon. And here are the results (sans bourbon.)

Katie's Blackberry Lemon Layer Cake.

LEMON CAKE, from Ina Garten (originally a poundcake recipe that bakes up beautifully in two 9" round cake pans!):
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons?)
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature. or if you dont have buttermilk, pour 2 tbsp vinegar into whole milk and let sit until it's room temp. it'll become buttermilk!
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*I also added 1/2 a package of lemon instant pudding mix, just to see what would happen. Worked great! But not necessary.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9' round cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

BLACKBERRY SOAK (idea from the blog :

12 oz blackberries, fresh or frozen (i used fresh)
1/2 cup sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together blackberries and sugar, with just a little splash of water. Cook at a low boil until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out as much liquid from the blackberries as you can into a small bowl. throw out seeds and skin.

FROSTING (also from amandascookin, who provided me with the ability to execute my idea of perfection!)
2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackberry juice (from thawed blackberries)

blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Turn speed down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Turn speed back up to medium high and bet until creamy. Slowly dribble in, while mixing, the blackberry juice. Scrape down mixer bowl and be sure everything is blended. Refrigerate until you are ready to frost the cake.


Cut the dome off of one of the cakes. (I nibbled on this through out the rest of the assembling process!)

Place layer upside down (flat side up) on cake plate. Spoon the blackberry soak onto the cake layer, smoothing with the spoon as you go. Allow to soak into the cake. Put enough on so that the layer is saturated.

Spread some of the frosting on top of the soaked layer. You may want to refrigerate this layer for an hour to let the frosting set up to avoid slippage.

Place a piece of wax paper (or if you have a second cooling rack, this works great) on top of the remaining cake layer so that it is now sandwiched between the bottom rack and the wax paper. Invert the cake and place it gently on the counter. Soak the flat side of the cake with blackberry soak. When done, carefully turn the layer over and place it on top of the cooled, frosted layer. Frost the sides and the top of the cake.

you have my perfect summer birthday cake.

Then I decorated it.
I think it turned out pretty cute, considering I have never decorated anything edible before.

What do you think?


Now I'm going to snuggle with Husbear and catch up on last season's episodes of Mad Men!