It was my youngest daughter's 12th birthday yesterday and I wanted to make a birthday cake for her this year. I knew a store-bought, regular type birthday cake was just not going to do. She has quite a reputation for making incredible birthday cakes and treats for her family on special occasions and I wanted to do the same for her.
It's funny but when the girls were little I went to great lengths to make special birthday cakes for them. They were less about the cake and more about the decorations and icing back then. I made clown shaped cakes and Mickey Mouse cakes, I made the most incredible Barbie cake with the cake as her dress, I've made castles with blue jello moats, candied fish cakes, under-the-sea cakes and cupcakes that spell words. I literally spent hours thinking, preparing and making these cakes. A few years ago I just decided to ease my time commitment and start buying them. Which was fine but I must say it was fun to look in the recipe books and choose what cake to make. It was also nice to know that I could make something not so traditional and it would be appreciated.
So yesterday morning I got myself ready and started baking a Dulce de Leche Cream Cake. (It sounds alot more complicated than it really was.) Essentially it's an almond-scented cake, whipped cream and a Latin American caramel sauce called dulce de leche.
There is something really nice about making something from scratch. You know exactly what's in it. You aren't adding unnecessary preservatives and strangely named chemicals.
Another great thing about baking a cake yourself is how great the house smells....mmm...
It's amazing what you can find in everyday life. When I looked down in the bowl after beating I found this beautiful design. I have been really inspired by design and textures this week after reading a blogpost from a friend I met through Etsy who I like to call RikRak. (check it out!)
In between baking and serving you have to whip real whipping cream and add a 1/2 cup of of the dulce to leche. You can make the caramel sauce yourself, and it doesn't look that hard but I actually had bought a jar from President's Choice after it had been promoted over the holidays. It's really good and it's not really cheating when you make everything else by scratch, right? I'm a good mom but I no longer consider being 'super' mom a necessity!! I just lightly warmed it up to make it more runny rather than spreadable
...and here's the result. Not your average birthday cake. Each piece is actually put together individually. It starts with a spoonful of the caramel sauce on the plate followed by the bottom half of the cake, then more caramel and a couple spoonfuls of the whipped mixture. Top with the other half of the piece, more caramel and then whipped cream. Sydney doesn't like nuts so hers was plain but the rest of us had toasted slivered almonds on the top.
Beautiful and yummy.
It's nice to be back...it's been a while. Sometimes life just takes you in unexpected directions and you have to just go with it. I'm glad to be back and return to my acts of kindness. There's nothing like having a little kindness in your life.