Happy Birthday to….Us?!

I started out the New Year on make-good that I owed my family. See, in 2010, I let my people down. How’s that? I failed to make a single birthday cake the whole year. I have a whole list of good excuses, that I won’t bore you with. On New Year’s day, I found myself with not much to do, so I decided it was time to make it up to my people.

As a disclaimer, I want to mention, that I’m no Nancy Clay when it comes to cakes. Who’s Nancy Clay? Only my beautiful and talented sister who makes cakes like this:

Nancy Cake 1

Nancy cake 2

These cakes are even more delicious than they are beautiful.

If you live near Chandler, AZ and are in need of a fabulous cake, let me know and I’ll hook you up!

Like I said, though, I do not have my sister’s mad skillz, but I’m not half-bad, either.

Bake & Level Cake

I used two boxed cake mixes, but I added about a cup (or more – I just added all the remaining sour cream I had in the container) of sour cream to the batter. I divided the cake mix between 3 pans. I don’t know about you, but I always find the cake mixes to make really shallow cakes even when I make sure to beat them for all the time it says on the box and not just until I don’t see any dry ingredients, which I may or may not have done on more than one occasion.

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Fill Cake

After the cakes cooled, I used a large bread knife to level the cake. Basically you just slice off the rounded part. I cheated for this cake and used store frosting. I put some in a decorator bag and piped a circle around the edges.

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I filled in the center with chocolate pudding. I only used 1.5 C. of milk for the filling instead of the 2 cups called for on the package. Just fill the pudding in the center of the frosting dam.

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Okay, the second layer is bigger around then the first. See, I’m no Nancy Clay. She would have fixed this right up. But here’s the thing. This cake was for me Hubs, Buddy and Kiddo. They are not even going to notice these type of imperfections, let alone care. It’s still going to taste great.

Frost Cake

Next, I took the remaining frosting in the can and heated it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. I stirred it up a bit to make sure the consistency was good and then I just poured it over the cake.

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I just let it ooze down the sides. After the frosting firmed back up a bit, I used a knife to move it around a bit to make sure the cake was evenly coated.

Ganache It

Next, I whipped up a chocolate ganache for the top of the cake. I totally blame my sister for introducing me to such a thing. I was such a cake neophyte before she started rockin’ out the cakey goodness. If you haven’t ever made ganache, it’s harder to say [guh-nahsh] than to make.

You mix 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips with 2/3 C. Whipping Cream. I put mine in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 15 seconds at a time. Stir between heatings. The chocolate chips start to melt and look all chunky at first. I keep heating until you get a nice, smooth, creamy mixture.

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I let it cool for a little bit before pouring it over the cake. You can see a slight glaze beginning to form on the ganache, then it’s good to go (quick stir first). I poured it over the cake, again, encouraging a uniform ooze down the sides of the cake.

Decorate It

After the ganache hardened, I piped on a quick Happy Birthday with all the ages of each family member. I wasn’t really going for pretty, just to make us feel like this was a birthday cake.

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See all the oozing at the bottom. It’s messy. Usually I move the cake onto a bigger plate before I start the whole frosting process so you get an artful display of ooze. I didn’t want to dirty a second plate this time around. I did not happen to have 120 candles on hand (12+15+47+46=120) so we just stuck every birthday candle in the house on the top, lit the thing on fire and sang “Happy Birthday to Us!” as we stood around the stove in the dark. The boys like to turn out every light in the house when we sing Happy Birthday for some reason. I think it makes the flames more magical or something.

Enjoy It!

We cut into this triple layer of madness and got our chocolate fix on. It was delicious! I’m thinking this is the way to do birthdays every year. Okay, they’re never going to let me get away with this for more than one year, but it was a nice treat for the boys and I made like Marie Antoinette and let them eat cake every day until it was gone.

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Kiddo’s birthday is on 1/11/11 this year, so I’m trying to come up with a fun way to celebrate that for him. If he’d only do what I requested and go back a year in age, instead of forward, he’d be 11 instead of 13 (gasp – How can my baby be a TEENAGER?!!!)

I won’t price this out because that’s too tedious as I never remember food prices, but I will remind you about the ingredients you’ll need if you want to try this bad boy at your house.

Ingredients List

  1. 2 Chocolate Cake Mixes (plus Oil, Eggs & Water as called for on the mixes – be sure to double)
  2. 1 Cup (or more) Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
  3. 1 box Chocolate Pudding mixed with 1.5 C. Milk (mix and let stand only about 5 minutes before filling the cake)
  4. 1 Can Chocolate Frosting
  5. 1 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  6. 2/3 C. Whipping Cream

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