1st Birthday Cake

Even more January busyness! My baby nephew turned one this weekend (so, officially not a baby anymore!). My sister wanted to have a big party for him, so lucky me, I got to bake TWO cakes for her (my next post covers the other cake)! I recently made a list of the different baking techniques I want to try, so I used this opportunity to check off two of them. I was excited to make such a fast start on my goals!

Not only was I making the cake, my nephew’s grandma made all the lunch – including the sandwich bread from scratch! And on top of that, my boyfriend’s cousin made the caramel I topped this cake with, so the meal was truly a team effort.


The party was circus-themed, hence, I decorated it with animals. The caramel drips are one of the two techniques I wanted to try. The messy naked-cake look is the other.

For the cake layers, I tried out this buttermilk chocolate cake recipe (And this time I used parchment circles on the bottom of the pans – it worked much better! Who would have thought? This video taught me a very useful technique for cutting them). To get flat-topped cake layers, which makes the cake-building process easier, I use both heating cores and bake-even strips.

For the filling, I mixed 3 cups creme fraiche and 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and beat in in the mixer with the paddle attachment for five minutes until it was fluffy. This is not a sweet frosting- it’s fairly tart. Think plain frozen yogurt-flavor. If you prefer it sweeter, I suggest either upping the sugar or using a different kind of frosting. I thought the less-sweet frosting paired well with the sweet cake and caramel, but then again, I’m not a fan of super-sugary things – which is weird, considering that I’m a baker!

Achieving the messy, naked cake-look isn’t too hard. Just don’t do a perfect job when you frost the cake!

To get the drippy look, spoon the caramel on top and spread it around. When you get to the edges, push it over slightly. Be careful during this step not to push too much over at once. Make sure you get drips on all sides. Then spoon more caramel onto the top to completely cover it.

(Make sure to navigate over to part 2 to see how everything turned out…)

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