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Birthday Cakes: Traditional Vs Eccentric

Updated on March 26, 2012

My top three picks for Birthday cakes

I have celebrated quite a few birthdays, either my own or someone close, and that ever eternal question "What kind of cake to make?" pops up in my mind.

My first question to myself would be. "Have they expressed the want of a certain kind of cake?" If the answer is yes, then go for it and make that cake.

More realistically, the answer to the above, is a big resounding "No." Never fear. Here are some ideas!

Fudge Marble is traditional to my family. The coconut and German Chocolate can be traditional to other families, but they are eccentric to my family.

My 03/2012 Birthday cake. Coconut Cake. My hubby made it, with a little supervision from me. This was his first cake he ever made. I was so proud of him ^_^
My 03/2012 Birthday cake. Coconut Cake. My hubby made it, with a little supervision from me. This was his first cake he ever made. I was so proud of him ^_^

Coconut Cake

My absolute favorite cake!

Here's what you would need:

Non Edibles you will need:
Cake pan(s)
Butter knife or icing knife
non stick spray
a nice plate to present the cake on if it's not a sheet cake
flour sifter if you're not making from a box cake

If you do not want to cheat and use yellow cake mix (I will not judge if you want to ^_~)
•2 cups cake flour
•2 teaspoons baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup butter, softened
•1 cup sugar
•3 large eggs, room temperature
•2 teaspoons vanilla
•3/4 cup milk

And if you want to have a super moist cake add in 1/4 cup vanilla pudding
Coconut shredded/flake/grated (whatever your preference is)
Icing of your choice, I usually like fluffy white.

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Except for the sugar. Mix that into the softened butter
After you have the sugar mixed into the butter add the eggs, beat them into the mixture, add the vanilla, and the milk, mixing that all together.

Between me and you, I like mixing my dry into the wet. It keeps the flour from sticking to the crevices in the bowl and being stubborn when I want it all mixed in. I whisk, until everything is incorporated. It will most likely be lumpy. That's fine! Do not beat it anymore, or you will have a hard as a rock cake!
The only exception is if there are excessively huge lumps. Break those up, but don't play with the batter any more than you have to.

Oven on 350.

Bake the cake 25-35 minutes depending on the size and type of pan (non stick, glass, etc) after the 25 minutes do a tooth pick test. if it comes out clean take the cake out. If it comes out with batter on it, leave it in 5 minutes at a time. Unless the toothpick was covered a lot in batter. then leave it in for 10.

Let it cool in the pans for 15 minutes. No longer. No less. Then flip them onto a cooling rack and leave them be for a while. 30-60 minutes usually.

Don't have a cooling rack? That's fine. If you have 2 oven racks take out the top one, and prop it on your table/counter with some canned vegetables as legs. it may look weird but hey, it gets the job done right?

After the cake is completely cooled:
Put Cake 1 on the pretty plate, ice the middle and sprinkle coconut on the icing.
Put cake 2 on and ice the whole thing completely. Sprinkle coconut on top. To get the sides, pour coconut into your hand and quickly press it to the icing on the sides of the cake.

Viola! You have a coconut cake ^_^

I made my Roomate's 11/2011 Birthday cake. Fudge Marble with Vanilla buttercream icing. I usually use milk chocolate buttercream, but wanted to try something different.
I made my Roomate's 11/2011 Birthday cake. Fudge Marble with Vanilla buttercream icing. I usually use milk chocolate buttercream, but wanted to try something different.
Your's will not look the same, but it should look similar.
Your's will not look the same, but it should look similar.

Fudge Marble Cake

My family traditional birthday cake.

When I was growing up I lived off of this cake for every birthday in the family. There were quite a few.

Its relatively easy to make and is exactly like the coconut cake's recipe except for the coconut. You will need cocoa powder.

Use the yellow cake recipe from above, reserving 1/4 cup of the cake batter. Pour the rest of the cake batter into your pans. If your bowl you saved the 1/4 cup of batter is large enough to do a little mixing great. If not, scrape it back into the large bowl your other batter just came from. Add in cocoa powder until its as chocolaty as you like. I usually put a tbsp or so. Use your judgement.

Now, here's where you need to get creative. Pour the chocolate batter into your two pans. Try to pour it around the entire pan to make sure you have chocolate everywhere. It does not have to cover the whole pan, just enough to get around.

Take a butter knife, and without scraping the bottom of your pan, make little swirls in the batter by dragging the knife around in little patterns, make it looked marbled.

Bake like normal following the yellow cake recipe. Ice it how you like, once its cooled completely.

German Chocolate cake. Drool.
German Chocolate cake. Drool.

German Chocolate

Last but not least... German Chocolate.

If your loved one is not allergic to pecans, then by all means make this cake ^_^

Little tidbit of trivia to wow your friends... German chocolate cake is not German. It was made in Texas by a lady using German's brand chocolate to make the cake. Now you know ^_^

Again, I will not Judge if you want to skip all the rigmarole, and get the cake mix, and store bought icing ^_~

Be brave, Its a huge accomplishment to make a cake from scratch, and you can say its a birthday gift! ^_^

Here's what you'll need:

Non Edibles you will need:
Cake pans
Cooking spray
Double boiler (to melt chocolate)

Make a double boiler:
Sauce pot, low simmering water, and big heat safe bowl (I like glass)

Spoon for the chocolate sauce

4 ounces German chocolate, roughly chopped (or chocolate of preference, some of my friends like dark chocolate)
2-1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups regular sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
If it seems too dry and not cake batter looking add some more milk.

Icing: Again, won't judge if you want to get store bought ^_~
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup regular sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 seven ounce package (about 2-2/3 cups) sweetened coconut
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Melt the chocolate first so it can get to cooling while you make the rest of the batter. To make the chopped chocolate into something usable, get your double boiler going, and melt the chocolate, stir it a lot, til smooth. Let it cool (try putting it in the fridge). After you get the cake batter together, fold in the cool melted chocolate.

Ok, Follow the directions for the yellow cake recipe in regards to sifting and mixing the ingredients for the rest of the batter.

Bake it 350 for 30-35 minutes using the toothpick test method after the initial 30 minutes. If you know your oven and have baked a lot of cakes, and trust your oven, use your judgement.

Allow the cakes to cool. Ice like you would the coconut cake.

Making the icing:
To toast the pecans, spread them across a cookie sheet and place in your 350 oven for at least 15-25 minutes. I tried broiling them once.... Yeah... Do not do that.

In a large saucepan (you can even reuse your double boiler sauce pan so you're not dirtying up a lot of pans), whisk together egg yolks, evaporated milk and vanilla until well blended. Add both brown/regular sugars and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 12 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Mix in coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature.

Tada! You have a German Chocolate cake! And you lived to tell the tale! ^_^


Any of these cakes can be made into sheet cakes.

Also, For the German Chocolate, I have used almonds instead of Pecans, because I am allergic to Pecans.

You can also substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate or just regular chocolate for any of the cakes that have chocolate in them.

I Hope this helps you out! ^_^

Let me know how these turn out for you, in the comments below ^_^

Good Luck! ... And go get your cook on! ^_~


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    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Michelle,

      Still noting beats traditional. I've tried blending some of my mother's old recipes to the new ones we have today and the new-fangled flavors were simply amazing. It brings out a new attitude of sweetness. Loved that traditional family Fudge cake you have and your vanilla buttercream icing is intriguing me. I've actually been looking for a taste from one of my godmothers' icing cakes before. Your icing recipe might be an answer:=) she used butter too! Loved your photos. I see how lucky your friends to have you. Thank you for sharing Michelle and blessings!