Unexpected Baker: How to Use Your Old Leftovers to Make a Birthday Cake
Baking cakes is an art form, or so I've heard tell-- it's hard to master and it takes time to perfect. Sometimes the average adult can't find the time to make their loved one's a hand-made birthday cake while trying to balance work or maybe even schooling. So I set out to combine both my own time at work as a dishwasher and my baking knowledge to create an easy no-bake cake out of leftovers. Waste not, want not! And honestly, who wouldn't want such a creative cake?
The foundation of your birthday cake masterpiece needs to be sturdy, compact and preferably cold. I used cold garlic mashed potatoes. To create a decently-sized cake, you may need several weeks worth of leftovers. I was lucky enough to have access to several thousand trays full of leftover mashed potatoes. Form your potatoes or cake base of choice into a neat rectangle, flipping the cake over once.
Once you have the foundation of your birthday cake all squared up, you can begin to embellish the bottom of the cake. I added cold tater tots around the edge of my cake to hide the unsightly plastic tray beneath it. You can choose to use fancy china for your leftover-birthday cake, but all I had at my disposal was this tray. The tater tots add a nice 'Je ne sais quoi' to the cake and create a lovely, eye-catching border. I began to add frosting to the top of cake every time leftover ketchup or spaghetti sauce came my way.
I found that mixing the two mediums together created a very nice color that smoothed easily over the top of the cake. You can mix and match your own ingredients to create a frosting specific to your's or your loved one's tastes. If you use leftover spaghetti sauce, you may end up with extraneous noodles in your cake's frosting. Never fear- when I tasted my cake, I found the noodles added a particularly pleasing greasy texture.
I had to work quickly on my cake, since I was also at work, but the thing about leftover birthday cake's is that they are so quick and easy to make, so it was no problem that I was multitasking! I finished frosting and picked out the larger pieces of noodles simply to make the frosting look smoother. Once I got my hands on some dried cranberries soaked in Italian vinaigrette, I decided to ring the cake with them, and I'm so glad I did! The purple color of the cranberries compliments the deep red of the frosting and creates a very appealing border. You can use any small snack-food as your cake border, but I highly suggest some type of fruit, as it adds a certain elegance to your leftover birthday cake. If your cake is for a child, chocolate chips might do the trick-- just remember that they have to be leftover! Try throwing them in the garbage for two days and then scoop them out for the right effect.
Since it is a birthday cake, you mustn't forget to add the candles! You can always use the age-old classic wax birthday candles, but the newness of freshly opened candles can throw off the whole mood you've been creating with your leftover birthday cake. I used fried green beans on my birthday cake and the deep moldy green offset the red and purples colors beautifully. I couldn't have been more pleased with my cake. Make sure you add the correct amount of candles and get creative! The older, the better! Dig around in your fridge for all sorts of old candle-shaped creations. You can always dip the tips of your candles in a little alcohol for the desired burning effect. Blowing them out might be difficult, but it will make the birthday all the more special and memorable.
Now you're reaching the last step- wasn't this an easy, rewarding process? Not only have you cleaned your fridge out, but you've finished an adorable birthday cake in record time! Don't try and spell out happy birthday or do any lettering unless you have stale leftover frosting, at which point, I suggest you mix it with a little dated ginger ale or other flat pop to make it sweeter and easier to squeeze. I didn't happen to have any such leftovers at my disposal, so I simply sprinkled some old shredded carrots on the top of my cake to create a very attractive spread of edible confetti. The orange contrasts ever so nicely with the frosting and cranberry rim and the finished product is both palatable and pleasing to the eye. Surprise your loved one's with your leftover birthday cake and embrace the recycling trend to its fullest!
Happy birthday to you or your loved one! Enjoy your cake and come back soon for the next installment of Unexpected Baker.