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Birthday Cakes Made Easy

Updated on April 28, 2015

Tips on making a spectacular Birthday Cake

Making a birthday cake is easier than you think and makes a wonderful birthday gift for a loved one.

You don't need to be a big time baker or have any special skills to make a beautiful delicious birthday cake. With a few baking tips and some frosting and decoration ideas, you can make a very special treat!

This lens is designed to help you with each step of making a memorable birthday cake.

How to Begin

A box mix cake is the quick and easy way to begin your cake. Many flavors are available, so you can pick one that the birthday boy/girl loves best.

Also decide which shape you want your cake. A basic rectangle pan is the easiest. Using two round pans allows you to put a layer of filling between the top and bottom. Or maybe you want to go with something different - Wilton.com is a great resource for birthday cake ideas and uniquely shaped cake pans.

Make sure you have all the needed ingredients on hand for both the cake and the frosting. There's nothing worse than getting halfway through adding ingredients and realizing you've run short on something!

Tips to Make a Cake Easy to Remove from the Pan

1. Prepare the pan before baking. Place the pan onto a sheet of parchment paper and trace with a pencil. Cut out the shape and place it into the bottom of the pan. Apply baking shortening evenly onto the paper and along the sides of the pan.

2. Set pan on a wire cooling rack after baking. Allow to cool according to the recipe. Different types of cakes require different cooling times.

3. Run a knife between the side of the pan and the cake. Move slowly and go around the entire cake breaking any contact the cake has to the pan.

4. Shake pan gently up and down to loosen cake from bottom of pan.

5. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the pan. Flip the cake and pan over and let the cake slide out onto the rack. Remove the pan, peel off the parchment paper and allow the cake to finish cooling.

Bake a Cake from Scratch!

You can do it!

Yes, baking a cake from a box mix is easy and convenient. But baking a cake from scratch assures your cake is preservative free and is sure to impress the recipient!

It's easier than you think! Just be sure to measure accurately and follow the recipe exactly. Below are some basic recipes.

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YELLOW CAKE

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 3/4 cup white sugar

* 1/4 cup shortening

* 1/2 cup milk

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 whole eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating just to combine. Finally, stir in vanilla. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

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CHOCOLATE CAKE

* 4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate

* 1/2 cup butter

* 1 cup water

* 2 cups flour

* 2 cups sugar

* pinch of salt

* 1/2 cup buttermilk

* 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda

* 2 eggs, beaten

* 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large saucepan, melt 4 squares chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in the hot water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour, sugar and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk or eggbeater.

3. Then stir in buttermilk, baking soda, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour into 13x9" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the top springs back when touched with a fingertip.

Box Cake Mix or from Scratch?

Do you prefer to use a Box Cake Mix or prepare one from scratch?

I like the convenience of a Box Mix

I like the convenience of a Box Mix

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No comments yet.

I prefer making a cake from Scratch.

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  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Both are good, but homemade is best.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I can not tell or I would have to kill you

Icing on the Cake

After the cake has completely cooled, it's time for the icing.

For convenience you can use the tub icing at the grocery store. There are tubes of decorating icing also available in a variety of colors, some even coming with various tips for writing and decorating.

If decorating with icing sounds out of your league, you can still make a fantastic looking cake! Use candies (such as M&Ms, licorice, skittles, etc.) or crushed cookies on the sides of the cakes. Small toys can be used on the top of the cake to match a birthday theme. Dye coconut to make grass scenes. Crushed Vanilla Wafer cookies make a great beach scene. Check your local craft store for fun cake toppers and props.

If you prefer to make the icing yourself, below are a few basic recipes.

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Buttercream Icing

Perfect for spreading or decorating.

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

* 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

* 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

* 2 tablespoons milk

Makes: About 3 cups of icing.

Instructions:

(Medium Consistency)

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

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Chocolate Fudge Icing

Ingredients:

* 2/3 cup butter or margarine

* 1 1/3 cup cocoa

* 6 cups confectioners' sugar

* 2/3 cup milk

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Makes: 4 cups of icing.

instructions:

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and heat just until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour into mixer bowl. Cool. Alternately add confectioners' sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Blend in vanilla.

Decorating Tips from Wilton.com

Everything you've ever wanted to know about decorating a cake can be found at Wilton.com Great articles with illustrated step-by-step instructions and videos are just the few things to help you along your way of creating the perfect birthday cake!

Cake Keepers and Stands

If you are planning on taking your cake to a different location, you'll surely want a cake keeper. They allow you to travel with your cake without worrying about ruining the frosting. Don't forget the cake knife and server! Keepers are also great for keeping left-over cake fresh.

Stands are a great way to present your cake, and allow you to frost all sides easily.

Share your birthday cake tips!

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    • simoza01 lm profile image

      simoza01 lm 4 years ago

      Very informative lens .. thanks for sharing ...

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      Especially love the video and resource links from Wilton for decorating the cake. You covered everything in this lens....great job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is wonderful, a treat to stop by and visit, and pick up some helpful tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens on making cakes. Blessed by your neighborhood Squid Angel

    • profile image

      LaurieBeth33 7 years ago

      You're aggravating my sweet tooth, madam. ;) 5*

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Lots of good tips. Well done.