Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coleen's Big Birthday Cake

My dear friend Coleen celebrated her 60th birthday last week, and asked me to bake her birthday cake.  Her partner was throwing her a big to-do and wanted a cake that would feed about 30 people.  Of course I said yes, how could I not?

The last time I made her a birthday cake was in 2006--even though we all remembered it as being two years ago.  Coleen asked for a chocolate-chocolate cake. The two cake layers were TCB's Chocolate Fudge Cake which uses brown sugar instead of white. Reading the post reminded me how delicious that cake is! I filled and frosted the cake with the Milk Chocolate Buttercream, which is a simple combination of milk and dark chocolate and butter. It was rich.

Read about Coleen's Chocolate-Chocolate Cake from 2006.
And, photos of her cake are found here.

This year, Coleen asked for a yellow cake, with a fudgy frosting and a raspberry filling. When I asked what kind of raspberry filling, she got excited about a raspberry whipped cream. I told her I was thinking about a half sheet cake, but Coleen protested, "I want a round cake!"

Round it is, my friend.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

December 04, 2010
Name of cake: A Cake Fit for a 60th Birthday
Occasion: Coleen's 60th Birthday Party!
Constituents: two 10 inch yellow cake layers filled with raspberry buttercream and frosted with miss irene thompson's dark chocolate frosting

Somewhere in the middle of putting this cake together I realised I was basically recreating the Chocolate Strawberry Cake the Heavenly Cake Bakers made in June.

I chose TCB's All-American Yellow Butter Cake as the cake component for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is an awesome and delicious yellow cake. Secondly, this is one of the cakes Rose gives the base recipe for so that it can scaled up or down really easily. For two ten-inch layers, it was easy (with the help of a calculator) to figure out how much of what I would need.

For example, this many egg yolks:

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

The egg whites are in the freezer. I have a lot of egg whites in there.

This much butter (pork chop optional):

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

You can also see in the above photo I made a batch of Rose's Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve for the whipped cream. (The whole batch is in the large measuring cup to the right of the teakettle.)

I was excited that the cakes rose as high as they did, considering that I was using cake pans that are two inches high and TCB's recipes are scaled for 1.5 inch high cake pans.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

However if you looked at those photos of Coleen's chocolate-chocolate cake, those cake layers seem just as high, don't they?

I decided to torte the cake; this is a birthday party after all. Check out the crumb!

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

I made the full batch of raspberry whipped cream even though I was just using it as a filling. Rose mentions that the pectin in the jam is sufficient enough to prevent the whipped cream from watering out, so no need to use gelatin. That made me happy as I forgot I was out of gelatin.

After filling and stacking the cake, it was after midnight and I was ready for bed. The cake got a rest up in the refrigerator while I slept.

The next morning I decided to even out the edges of the cake.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

Then came Miss Irene's Dark Chocolate Frosting. When Coleen told me she wanted a fudgy chocolate frosting, this one immediately came to mind. I thought about a good ganache or buttercream, but neither option sounded particularly fudgy to me. Plus, I remembered this frosting as being really easy to make.

I am pretty sure I doubled the recipe, and in the end had maybe 3/4 cup left over. It is mostly made over a double boiler and involves a large amount of corn syrup, and while still thick and warm you glaze the top of the cake and make a crumb coat over the sides.

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake


After the fudgy frosting cools down a bit, you can use it to make decadent swirls around the sides (and top, if you like). In my cold kitchen the frosting was ready for swirls pretty soon after finishing the crumb coat. Gotta love unheated kitchens.

After swirling I kind of lost it and went out of control. I scattered Vahlrona Les Perls over the top, mounded some fresh raspberries in the middle (they looked great but tasted like water), then lined the bottom of the cake plate with raspberries and mounded in some more Perls. It is a bit much, I know, but hey--it's a birthday!

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

Coleen's 60th Birthday Cake

No photos of the cake at the party--too dark and too busy enjoying the party to "work." The birthday girl seemed pleased with her cake--but that could have been the bourbon talking ;)


  1. Well then, Happy 60th Birthday to Coleen!!!!! The cake you made for her is nothing short of a masterpiece! I love the way you decorated it... the swirls, the raspberries, the les perls, the optional pork chop ;).... perfection!

    Btw, you mentioned the chocolate fudge cake from TCB - one of my all-time favorite cakes! A friend invited me over one day and served me a slice of cake. I immediately told her how good the cake was. She laughed and told me I had shared the recipe with her several years earlier. It was the Chocolate Fudge Cake from TCB. :)

    Take care,

  2. That is one beautiful cake! Makes turning 60 seem like a piece of you know what.

  3. BEAUTIFUL! Like Butteryum, I love the way you decorated it. And I totally didn't expect to see the swirls in the last picture (yes I speed-read, and that's what happen when you speed-read, you miss tiny details!). I covet your turn table and the les perles.

  4. Your cake is absolutely beautiful! I love the swirls on the side, the les perls, and the raspberries!

  5. Your cake (Coleen's cake) turned out wonderful! So lovely and just perfect.

  6. thanks everyone! i've read all your comments but i've felt too busy to log in and reply. those les perles are very addictive; i had to hide the leftovers so that i won't snack on them. too expensive for snacking!

    happy holidays fellow cake bakers!

  7. Jennifer,
    You bake such lovely cakes! You're a real pro!
    Merry Christmas