June 2, 2023


Food Information

Certainly one of My Favourite Birthday Cake RecipesJoy the Baker

9 min read

I flipped by means of an previous classic cookbook to search out one in every of my favourite birthday cake recipes. A lightweight and tender white cake stuffed with a straightforward almond-studded butterscotch caramel, topped with easy mocha buttercream.  A cake made for a “Distinguished Visitor” as Martha Meade suggests is certainly additionally good for a Distinguished Birthday.

Forgotten in my cabinets piles of cookbooks was a cookbook from 1934 titled 50 Cakes for 50 Occasions.  How the cookbook made its strategy to cover in my assortment of cookbooks I’m undecided, however I believe I’ve been shifting it from state to state, dwelling to dwelling for the previous decade or so.

This previous month, I’ve turned my New Orleans dwelling on it’s very head, portray the within and thus, take each guide off its shelf and piling all of them, reasonably unceremoniously, within the heart of the home.  Undoing that mess has been no small feat and required buddies to speak me previous the overwhelm.

Karlee was the primary of these buddies in my very messy dwelling, taking a couple of deep breaths with me and beginning to unpack.  One of many first issues she picked up was Martha Meade’s classic cookbook.  You know the way different individuals’s stuff is rather more attention-grabbing that your personal?  Yea.  She requested the place I had gotten this guide and I checked out her as if it had simply dropped from the heavens.  She flipped by means of it, made a remark about how candy it was and handed me one other hefty stack of guide to finish the kitchen cookbook shelf.

Days after Karlee left I went on the lookout for that little cookbook myself, discovered it, and was newly delighted by its appeal… the appeal that had one way or the other been on my shelf all alongside.  The patina of the pages, the handwritten notes on the again cowl – it’s received really feel.  Every cake is made for an event like, for instance, nights while you welcome a Distinguished Visitor to your house.  What would you probably serve them apart from this two layer white cake, almond caramel, and mocha buttercream?  Nothing much less would do.

Which brings us right here. The New Orleans home is generally put again so as and, though we want no excuse for cake, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. Except for all that, I think about myself The Distinguished Visitor of my very own residence so we made THE CAKE, babes.

And since consuming birthday cake on different individuals’s birthdays is the true present, might I humbly counsel you make this cake, too.  Right here’s how!

I made a couple of adjustments to Martha Meade’s unique 1934 recipe.  Just some.  The recipe as detailed under stays fairly true to the traditional!

Listed here are the components you’ll have to deliver collectively some of the distinguished birthday cake recipes we have now right here on Pleasure the Baker:

•  cake flour, sifted

•  egg whites from 4 massive eggs, whipped to stiff peaks

•  granulated sugar

•  unsalted butter

•  vanilla extract

•  boiling water

•  baking powder

•  sea salt

•  vanilla extract and a tiny splash of almond extract

•  entire milk

•  brown sugar

•  roasted almonds, chopped

•  powdered sugar

•  cocoa powder

•  robust espresso

The simple reality about white cake constructed from scratch is that essentially the most tender crumb comes from first whipping egg whites to stiff peaks, then folding them into the cake batter.  It’s an additional step, sure.  Is there a method round it?  No, I’m afraid not.  Give up to the additional bowl.

In a clear and dry bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites to stiff peaks.  They need to maintain their form and be nearly crunchy cloudy (which isn’t a technical time period however maybe must be).  Add the air integrated into the egg whites will translate to the cake batter, lending construction and tenderness.

The egg whites apart, let’s discuss concerning the dry components, specifically:  cake flour.

Cake flour in necessary for this cake due to its decrease protein content material (about 10% versus all-purpose flour’s 11+%).  The decrease protein will make for a extra tender crumb.  My favorite cake flour is from King Arthur Baking and price protecting within the fridge for birthday muffins alone.  My mother at all times had the traditional purple Swan’s Down Cake Flour tucked on the aspect on the fridge and it’s an previous standby, to make certain.

And no, cake flour doesn’t actually must be saved within the fridge as if it can spoil.  It’s simply not a generally used flour in my kitchen and I maintain it recent (and sneaky bug free) by storing it in both the fridge or freezer.

When it’s time to bake, you’ll want to sift cake flour because the wonderful grain makes it extra vulnerable to clumping.

With the egg whites whipped and the flour sifted (whew… I do know), cream collectively the butter and sugar in a big bowl or within the bowl of a stand mixer on low velocity utilizing the paddle attachment.  Add vanilla extract and that tiny splash of almond extract.

Slowly beat within the flour combination together with the milk.

And lastly, for this traditional vanilla cake batter, fold within the egg whites in three batches.  The primary batch will really feel clunky and awkward as a result of the feel of the 2 parts are so totally different however by the third batch of egg whites, the batter will really feel fluffy and aerated.

Divide the batter between two ready 8-inch spherical baking pans (although 9-inch rounds may even do and make for barely thinner cake layers).  By “ready” I imply, a greased, floured pan with the underside lined with a parchment paper spherical for additional credit score.

Bake the muffins within the higher third of the oven till puffed and bouncy, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of every cake comes out clear.

I wish to let my baked cake rounds cool barely within the pan for 15-20 minutes earlier than inverting onto a wire rack to chill utterly.  It’s best to take away the muffins from the pan in the event that they’re nonetheless barely heat.

For finest frosting outcomes, wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and refrigerate in a single day. They’ll be extra sturdy for frosting.

Let’s speak about this caramel filling as a result of the recipe as written on this old-school cookbook is… distinctive (if not slightly unhinged).

Assume:  a home made caramel sauce thickened like Thanksgiving gravy and laced with toasted almonds. Obtained it?  Slightly unusual however with a couple of tweaks, I made a decision to largely belief in Martha Meade.

Begin by mixing collectively melted butter and flour right into a thickish paste.

In a small saucepan, soften collectively brown sugar and soften till the sugar dissolves and the combination begins to bubble on the edges of the pan.  Over low warmth, stir within the butter and flour combination and watch the entire caramel thicken.  Stir within the vanilla extract and chopped almonds.

Think about this butterscotch caramel a bizarre delight.  Enable it to chill to room temperature earlier than filling the cake.

Have a look at these superb air pockets on this springy little cake layer!  Too good.  Let’s assemble this cake (assuming you whipped collectively the mocha buttercream frosting).

Trim the highest of the cake to create a degree floor.  For additional credit score, spoon a number of the buttercream right into a piping bag fitted with a big spherical tip to create a border that may home the caramel.

Unfold on the nutty butterscotchy caramel and easy to high.

High with the extra cake layer and canopy all the floor of the cake with a skinny layer of mocha buttercream.  The flavour is out of this world – you’ll wish to eat this frosting by the spatulaful.

As a result of it’s my birthday and I’m the Distinguished Visitor – sprinkles.

I like to present the frosted cake a chill within the fridge for a couple of hours earlier than slicing.  It’s like letting the freshly made mattress settle earlier than hoping in for the night time.  You’ll be able to’t make the mattress and instantly unmake it by getting inside! In the identical method you’ll be able to’t minimize right into a cake moments after it’s been frosted. I don’t know the place these reality got here from however they’re spot on.

Slice into beneficiant wedges and take the fork to the tip. That’s the most effective chunk.

Martha Meade charmed with this, one in every of my new favourite birthday cake recipes however oh oh oh do I’ve extra.  For those who’re in want of birthday cake inspiration, think about:

My Greatest Chocolate Cake  //  All people’s Yellow Birthday Cake  //  Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting  //  A candy little Lemon Curd Crumb Cake  //  Funfetti Birthday Bundt Cake  //  Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake  //  12 Frosted Cupcakes with only one stick of butter  //  My Favourite Simple Strawberry Sheet Cake

All my like to you, buddies!

xo Pleasure


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a slice of vintage birthday cake

The Distinguished Visitor Birthday Cake

  • Writer:
    Pleasure the Baker

  • Prep Time:

  • Prepare dinner Time:
    28-35 minutes

  • Whole Time:
    1 hour 5 minutes

  • Yield:
    1 8-inch cake, serves 8 or 12 1x

  • Class:
    cake, birthday

  • Methodology:


A cake from Martha Meade’s 1934 cookbook, 50 Muffins for 50 Events, up to date simply barely to make a really wonderful birthday cake.



For the Cake:

For the Butterscotch Filling:

For the Mocha Frosting:


  1. Place a rack within the higher third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 levels F. Grease and flour two 8-inch spherical baking pans and put aside.
  2. First whip the eggs to stiff peaks. In a clear and dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment whip egg whites on medium velocity till frothy, rising the velocity to medium-high till the egg whites type into nonetheless peaks. Scrape right into a bowl and put aside.
  3. Within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a big bowl with electrical hand beaters cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, 3 to five minutes. Add boiling water regularly and beat till effectively mixed.
  4. In a medium bowl sift collectively flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add half of the dry components to the creamed butter combination on low velocity. Beat within the milk adopted by the remaining dry components. Fold within the eggs whites in three components, creating a light-weight and ethereal batter.
  6. Divide between the ready pans, spreading into an excellent layer. Bake for 28-35 minutes or till the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted within the heart of the cake comes out clear or with a couple of moist crumbs. Enable muffins to chill within the pan for quarter-hour earlier than inverting onto a wire rack to chill utterly. (Cake layers may be made days upfront, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled within the fridge or freezer.)
  7. Whereas the cake bakes, make the butterscotch filling. In a small saucepan over medium warmth, whisk collectively brown sugar and milk. Enable to simmer and dissolve the sugar. In a small bowl whisk collectively melted butter and flour. Spoon the flour combination into the simmering sugar combination and whisk till easy and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of vanilla and a sprinkle of salt. Take away from warmth and add the chopped almonds. Spoon right into a bow land cool to room temperature.
  8. To make the frosting within the bow of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or in a bowl with electrical hand beaters beat butter across the bowl till softened. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low. Drizzle in espresso till the frosting is easy and spreadable however nonetheless holds its form.
  9. To frost the cake, spoon about 1/3 cup of chocolate frosting right into a piping bag fitted with a big spherical tip. Trim the cooled cake layer if wanted. Place it on a cake plate or cardboard cake rounds. Use the piping bag to pipe a chocolate frosting border across the fringe of the cake layer. This would be the barrier to carry the butterscotch filling neatly in place. Spoon in butterscotch filling and unfold evenly. High with second cake layer and frost the highest and sides of the cake till easy.
  10. Embellish with sprinkles and candles. Refrigerate for at the very least 4 hours earlier than slicing.

Key phrases: layer cake, birthday cake, white cake, caramel filling, chocolate frosting, mocha frosting,

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