Let’s Talk Cake!

Cake is a must on birthdays.  Seriously, it is.  Look it up.  I’m sure it’s a rule somewhere.  I’m not sure where, but just trust me, it is.

I have a bit of a sweet tooth by nature, but I’m also passionate about health and fitness, so I don’t always partake in the sweet stuff as often as I’d like to.  But if we’re celebrating a birthday, you better believe there will be cake.

Just as much as I love a great themed party, I swoon over beautifully constructed themed cakes.  While planning my twins’ upcoming Farm-themed party, I scoured the internet for farm party cakes and the net’ did not disappoint.

Check out this masterpiece from The Cocoa Cakery:

And this one featured on MomOoze.com:

These cakes are perfection and I would be ecstatic to have them at our party, but just like with my party décor, I always try to do what I can at home to keep expenses down.

Last year, to coordinate with my babies’ camping-themed party, I made a four-layer S’mores Cake inspired by Cathy of What Should I Make For… .  Cathy’s cake looked scrumptious and drool-worthy.  It was a naked cake, so you could see each of the decadent layers: chocolate cake, whipped chocolate ganache, graham cracker crumbles, chocolate cake, marshmallow frosting, then more cake, ganache, graham crackers, and frosting.  It was a sweet lover’s dream come true!

I took my inspiration from Cathy’s cake and made my own version, the Effortless way.  Cathy’s chocolate cake was made from scratch.  I used two boxed chocolate cake mixes.

TIP:  Boxed cake mixes make great cakes; to give them a more “from scratch” taste, I substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil and add about 1 Tbsp of Vanilla Extract.  You can also substitute the oil for real butter.

I followed Cathy’s ganache recipe to the letter.  When most people hear ganache, they think it’s fancy and complicated.  It definitely elevates desserts, but it’s so easy to make.  Here is the recipe:

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup

8 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Heat heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour cream mixture over. Let stand for 5 minutes and then stir until blended.

Place bowl in refrigerator for about an hour, stirring occasionally until ganache thickens to a spreadable consistency.

Remove from refrigerator and beat on high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Cover and reserve.

Easy peasy, right?  I told you so.

I also followed Cathy’s instructions for the graham cracker crumbles.  You just crumble graham crackers in a food processor, add a little salt, sugar, and melted butter, then bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes.  You sprinkle this mixture over each of the ganache layers.

Cathy also made her marshmallow frosting from scratch; I took a pre-made cream cheese frosting and mixed it with marshmallow fluff until it was the right consistency, and that was that.  I frosted the entire cake and adorned it with two cute bear cubs and a row of trees, all purchased from Amazon.

I wish I would have taken pictures of the cake after we cut the first slice out so that you could see each of the beautiful layers.  It was truly magnificent!

Here is the finished cake:

 

It was one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made and it tasted absolutely delicious!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

 

For this year’s farm party cake, I’m thinking about doing a chocolate and vanilla marble cake to mimic a cow print pattern and there will definitely be some ganache in the mix.  I’m still deciding how I’d like to decorate it, but stay tuned, it will be great!