Any way you want it.
I've posted before about some of our Treehouse birthday cakes. Some of them have been copied from magazine pictures or online ideas; some have been complete originals (like Mr. Fixit's CB radio cake). None of them have ever looked much like the pastel creations my mom made for us (she even made her own icing roses and they worked). I am challenged just to get the icing smooth enough to put someone's name on top--and after many tries with my mom's wax-paper tubes, I admitted defeat. (I do have a plastic icing shooter my kids gave me.)
But who says a birthday cake has to look like a rose garden or come in a character pan? Sometimes it's more about taste (as in Yum) than theme or pink frosting: one of The Apprentice's more recent more-grown-up birthdays featured a homemade Turtle cake--not as in the animal, as in chocolate and caramel and pecans. Sometimes it's about the celebration, plain and simple: Meredith did a beautiful job this month jazzing up a store-bought cake with flowers.
This week is another birthday for The Apprentice. When pressed for a cake request, she said she wanted "chocolate in the middle" and "lots of icing." So that's what we did. Before it got too hot in the morning, Mama Squirrel baked two layers of Yellow Cake from the Betty Crocker Cookbook and sandwiched them with one layer of chocolate-chip filling (recipe follows). Before The Apprentice came home from school in the afternoon, Ponytails added one generous slather of white frosting on top. (We didn't bother to frost the sides; besides, it would have been kind of hard to cover up some of the chocolate that had oozed out between the layers a bit.) And we had a very beautiful big initial on top made of coloured sprinkles and inspired entirely by Meredith's big E. Mama Squirrel cut the stencil out of a paper plate, and Crayons filled up the holes with sprinkles. Ponytails added some bright pink candles. Then we hid the whole thing in the cold room and Ponytails posted a gentle warning: "Stay Out or DEATH and BLOOD and MISERY." (She also added a Black Spot.)
And it was very tasty. Not a photo-op for Family Fun, but just what The Apprentice asked for.
How to Make Chocolate Filling That's Not Frosting
In the microwave or on the stove, warm up 1/4 cup of milk. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and about a tablespoonful of butter or margarine. If the milk isn't warm enough to melt the chips, put it all back into the microwave for another minute or so. Stir until everything is melted together. Refrigerate until thick enough to spread on a cooled cake. 1 cup of chocolate chips made enough to fill one 9-inch round layer cake, but you can double it if you want more filling.