Wow. Remember that time that I turned 24 almost three weeks ago and was going to post about the cake I made. Whoops.
Here we are, three weeks later, and I'm finally getting around to that post. HBD to me I guess?
Anyway, I don't know why, but I just was not too excited to turn 24. That does not bode well for my 25th birthday. Also, I've never been much of a birthday person. I'd rather be at home with my boyfriend or a friend or two and a glass of wine, than out partying.
Therefore, I decided to make my own cake. (Insert, my mom being disappointed in me that 1. I worked on my birthday and 2. I made my own cake. She is adamant about not working on your birthday. So far I've been successful, but I just started a new job about a month and a half before my birthday and completely forgot to request off. Also, I like baking so why would I pay someone else to make me a cake. However, I am considering taking a baking day off for my 25th because I deserve a break.)
I went through a few different ideas in my head: classic vanilla, funfetti, lemon, but then I decided on chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and crush pretzels in between the layers. YUM. In hindsight, the pretzels weren't the best idea, just because they absorbed the liquid of the frosting and got a bit soggy, but the flavors were still great. Peanut butter and chocolate will ALWAYS be a classic. Sorry to people who are allergic to peanut butter or chocolate.
So, for this cake, I wanted it to be easy and not worry about too many ingredients or instructions. I decided to use cake mix. I know, *GASP*. I used Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Cake mix, for those interested in knowing. Super easy, you just need the cake mix, a couple eggs, some oil, hot water, and milk (buttermilk if you have it.) Now, I unfortunately threw out the cake mix bag before copying down the ingredients, so my most sincere apologies. I promise it was easy and you don't need a lot of crazy extra ingredients.
I used two 6 inch cake pans, because they make a cute lil' cake that's the perfect birthday cake size. They will bake for about 40 minutes, but keep an eye on them, because everyone's oven is different. Once they are fully cooked, take them out of the oven and LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY before taking them out of the pans. It will also help to grease the pans, cut a circle out of parchment paper and place in the bottom, and then grease again, just to be sure. I've learned my lesson in the importance of preparing your cake pans so that you actually have two cake and not two misshapen mounds of cake. Letting your cakes cool will also make it easier to cut each in half to make thinner layers. After that, wrap them layers in plastic wrap and pop them in the refrigerator or freezer. This will make it about a million times easier to frost.
Now for a word about the frosting. I found out that there is a limit to how room temperature you want your butter. Taking it out of the fridge about an hour before you need it = good. Taking it out at 9 in the morning when you aren't making frosting until 7pm = not good. My butter was basically liquid and therefore my frosting never set the way I wanted. You can tell in the next picture that it is oozing out the sides. I frosted that thing as fast as I could and shoved it in the freezer to avoid more of a mess.
Also, as a side note that is probably TMI, the past few times I've been baking, as soon as I get to the frosting stage, I get really hot and start to sweat. Not like sweat pouring from my body, but something about the frosting action just does me in. (Most blogging advice sites say to share personal information with your readers, but I probably went too far? Meh.)
The peanut butter frosting was clearly trying to escape its chocolatey prison.
But it was no match for my fast moving spatula!
I left the half frosted cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes to get it to set and then moved it to the fridge for about an hour. However, if you have the time, you can totally leave your cake in the fridge overnight so that it's really easy to put on the outer frosting. Just wrap it in plastic wrap so it doesn't absorb those mysterious fridge smells.
One of of the presents my boyfriend got me was a cake turn table. Let me tell you, this makes cake decorating one million times easier. Like for real. Also, I borrowed what I thought was a frosting smoother from a friend. It turned out to be a pastry cutter, but it got the job done. *such a noob* Anyway, it still wasn't perfect, but that's the smoothest I've ever gotten my frosting. If you haven't seen my ugly cake, give yourself a minute and take a look and have a laugh.
Good times right?
Anyway, time for pretzels! This was also my best attempt at an outside decoration. Simple and easy. I really liked how this turned out. The pretzels did get a bit soggy, but they still tasted delicious.
Phew! Thanks for sticking through that whole post! That was a long one. Hope I imparted some nugget of wisdom or joy with my ramblings.
Happy baking :)