Birthday Cake

by Marla on October 25, 2010 · 74 comments

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Birthday Cake with Sprinkles on Family Fresh Cooking blog

How could something so simply named imply so much?

Birthday Cake. Let’s break it down. Birthday. Birthdays are beautiful, they celebrate life. They bring people together, they encourage laughter, giggles and smiles. They get my folks to fly from NY to CA for a much anticipated visit.

Grandpa playing with grandson, grandma playing with grand daughter

Cake. Sweet, creamy, crumbly, pretty, ceremonial – PERFECT. Who doesn’t like cake? Layers of baked greatness. With creamy fillings that can be any flavor you can conjure up. Soft billowy frosting that you lick off a spoon, some folks do this with precision some with reckless abandon. How you handle your cake really just depends on your mood, yes? I could go either way.

Cake buttercream frosting and sprinkles for Birthday party

Our beautiful daughter just turned 7 years old. Driving her to school recently I asked what she wanted me to bake for her party. I told her the sky was the limit. Her response was perfect, simple and to the point. The theme of her party this year was ice skating. She said “Mommy, I want a soft blue  layer cake that matches the ice we will be skating on.” DONE. Ask and you shall receive my sweet little princess flower.

Mom and Dad ice skating with small children.She got what she asked for.

Whisk attachment for Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on Family Fresh Cooking

Those of you who visit Family Fresh Cooking regularly know that I am not much the baker. The thing is – when I do traditional baking for birthday parties I go XXL. I go with all the butter, sugar,cream, chocolate, sprinkles a girl can find. Go BIG or go HOME. As soon as that oven is revved to 350˚F I am on fire. This GORGEOUS cake from Sprinkle Bakeshad me reeling with anticipation to bake & use lots of sprinkles.

Big layer cake for little girl's Birthday Party

Before embarking on this task I tweeted this- “Who has the best chocolate & vanilla layer cake recipes?” Within seconds my great pal Amanda fromI Am Baker came back with her favorite chocolate cake ever. She swears by Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake. I am a huge Ina fan, so I trusted Amanda’s opinion. I was just about to go with this & then I diverted. I own so many dang cookbooks that I never use, the time had come to pull one out. I went with recipes from the The Whimsical Bakehouse.

Chocolate and Vanilla homemade layer cake

I case you are wondering, yes I still  try to use mostly organic ingredients when I do traditional baking. I use my favorite Scharffen Bergerchocolate too. In this recipe I went with their unsweetened cocoa powder and 62% chocolate bars. The blue dye & sprinkles were or course the real/fake deal. They were fun and they made my daughter proud.

Homemade birthday cake at Family Fresh Cooking food and recipe blog

As far as flavor she wanted traditional Birthday Cake – vanilla and chocolate layers. When I bake cakes I want huge, pronounced flavor. I am not into spongy and delicate when it comes to cake layers. I like dense, intense flavor. Instead of reinventing the wheel I was OK to use cake recipes straight from the source-bakers. In between each layer was thick and creamy chocolate ganache.

Homemade birthday cake on Family Fresh Cooking food & recipe blog.On Family Fresh Cooking 99% of the time the recipes are my own creations. This my friends was a huge leap of faith. Thank goodness the results were amazing.

Little girl blows out birthday candles on frosted layer cake.

Both the white layer and the chocolate were dense, but very moist. The flavors were well pronounced. There was a hit of coffee in the chocolate layer that heightened the flavor & gave a mocha edge. Next time I think I might even throw in some chocolate chips….hmmmm.

Homemade layer cake at Family Fresh Cooking food and recipe blog

For bigger cakes like this I always prepare the cake layer’s &  fillings the day before the party. Celebration morning I decorate. I don’t go over the top fancy, a bit more Hummingbird or Magnolia Bakery as far as styling goes.

Giant slice of homemade birthday cake with frosting and sprinkles

The kids had so much fun on the ice, our guests grinned from ear to ear & the cake was a hit. There is nothing more thrilling than celebration with family and friends.

When Penny De Los Santospresented at BlogHer Food – the message was clear. We need to think beyond the lens & pretty pictures. Food brings us together, unites us, fuels us and goes way beyond the plate.

White bags with colored tissue paper and tulle ribbons

Cake Recipes for Reference

Without publisher permission, I will not post the recipes – I will however add the link to Kaye’s Buttercream and the Golden Butter Cake which The Whimsical Bakehouse has posted online. They do not have their Chocolate Cake posted so I linked to Ina’s. You can also purchase The Whimsical Bakehouse cookbook here.

There were 4 parts to this cake:

Birthday Cake Recipe Links

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet October 25, 2010 at 6:00 am

What an incredibly FUN cake! Marla, you are so, so talented! I love the colors.


2 Maria October 25, 2010 at 6:08 am

Wow that is a colorful cake! So fun! Nice job! Happy birthday to the birthday girl!


3 Angie's Recipes October 25, 2010 at 6:09 am

What an Angel your daughter! I love her smile and she is such a beauty. Like mother, like daughter.
And the cake….happy, festive and delicious! You are an awesome mum.



4 Paula October 25, 2010 at 6:25 am

what a colourful party! love this!

have a nice time,


5 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. October 25, 2010 at 6:42 am

This cake is adorable, and your family looks so happy and awesome! Your daughter’s smile is priceless!


6 Amanda October 25, 2010 at 6:43 am

You are the best. I think you did the right thing… this cake is just delightful!!!! And I love the pics of you and your family… I just love everything about this post. :)


7 Sara October 25, 2010 at 6:53 am

What a gorgeous colorful cake!!! Happy Bitrhday to your sweet adorable daughter! :)


8 judy meridith October 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

What a fun Birthday Party that must have been. Sorry I missed it. Your cake is so festive and yummy looking. You did a great job. The kids look like they are really enjoying themselves.


9 Karen Hall October 25, 2010 at 7:15 am

Makes me want to be a kid again! You created a celebration of food with a Big Dash of fun. I love your website! It is an adventure each time I open the pages to see your lastest posts, parties, and favorite foods. Very enjoyable and informative.


10 Rosa October 25, 2010 at 7:21 am

That is such a pretty cake! Happy Birthday to your cute daughter!




11 Deeta October 25, 2010 at 7:22 am

Beautiful cake! Beautiful photography! Beautiful FAMILY!!! Good job Marla!


12 Heather (Heather's Dish) October 25, 2010 at 7:33 am

WOW! that cake is every kid’s dream :)


13 Katrina October 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

This cake is AWESOME! It’s so colourful and pretty!!


14 the urban baker October 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

that looks awesome. i love the blue frosting and all the colors! birthday’s are so much fun, regardless of ones age! x


15 Jenny Flake October 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

Adorable!! What a gorgeous post, Happy birthday to your cutie pie, what a gorgeous cake too :)


16 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking October 25, 2010 at 9:31 am

What an amazing cake, Marla, and happy birthday your little girl! I hope she saved your readers a piece!! :)


17 Jennifer K October 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

I’m not much of a baker myself, BUT I almost always bake cakes for my children’s birthdays (except I didn’t bake the party cake this year because I was 9 months pregnant and not in the mood). I LOVE the way you made the cake look with all of the sprinkles and pastilles! Looks so yummy.

You are totally right about go big or go home. I tend to go too big, but it’s all worth it.


18 Marilyn October 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

What a wonderful cake!!!! What a lucky girl she is and what a great Mom.
Happy birthday to your little sweet heart.


19 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather October 25, 2010 at 10:02 am

A birthday girl’s dream cake, I love the sprinkles with the pretty blue. Great job!


20 Anja @ AnjasFood4Thought October 25, 2010 at 10:14 am

Happy Birthday! And what a gorgeous cake!! I chickened out last week when my boy turned 5, and got yet another one from the bakery. But your post and your cake encourage me to do better next year.


21 Amanda :) October 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

Oh my goodness Marla, that cake looks insanely incredible!! Happy Birthday to your daughter! :)


22 Angie October 25, 2010 at 10:23 am

So cute, it looks like it was a wonderful celebration!


23 Cookin' Canuck October 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

I can’t think of a better cake for a little girl’s birthday. The look of joy on her face says it all! Your post is really lovely and you have such a happy, beautiful family. Please wish your sweet girl Happy Birthday from your blogging friends.


24 Cristina - Teenie Cakes October 25, 2010 at 10:37 am

What a lovely post, Marla – and I hope your daughter had a memorable birthday. For not being a baker, you certainly made an awesome cake. :)


25 Angie October 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

So beautiful. Cake , especially birthday cake , is one of my favorite posts! I was lucky enough to have a slice (truthfully two) and it was amazing. So moist and delicious. The icing was perfect and it was really beautiful.
Great party…..oh, to be young again!


26 Kim October 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Happy birthday to your daughter! Beautiful cake. I made one last week, too!!! And I also used Ina Garten’s Beatty cake for half of the layers. It’s always my go-to chocolate cake.




27 CookiePie October 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

What a gorgeous, magical cake for your beautiful daughter!!! Hope she had a wonderful time celebrating. Lovely post!!


28 A Canadian Foodie October 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Great cake – lovely photos and anticipation over the goody bags must have been almost as much as over the cake. Would you believe that I still celebrate my birthday, and that of my friends, every year? We have done this since we were 12 and just never stopped. Yes, now it is a dinner at someone’s house, we all bring a part of the meal. We all bring wine and a gift for the birthday gal as well as a gift of the hostess. The birthday gals has the most wonderful goody bags for us. It is great adult fun and wonderful to grow old with the childhood friends.
Food does bring people together. No doubt about it.


29 Daydreamer Desserts October 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Marla, looks like your daughter had the most magnificent birthday… and, way to rock those baking skills! Her birthday cake not only looks beautiful, those slices are mouthwatering!


30 Faith October 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Wow, that is a gorgeous cake, Marla! The whole party looks pretty perfect, which is reflected in that huge smile on your little one’s face!


31 Sonia{7spice} October 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm

What a beautiful celebration, Marla!! Your daughter must be very happy with your plan. Cake is just gorgeous and totally kid-lover! Your daughter looks so lovely and delighted in pics. Beautiful pics as usual. :)

Belated Happy Birthday to your sweet! xox..


32 Barbara @Modern Comfort Food October 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I feel like the most absurd person in the world saying this, but I feel … so proud of you, Marla! Was the cake delicious? I’m absolutely sure it was. Was your daughter thrilled and delighted? There appears to be no question about that. And the way you put your heart, soul, and all your love into this event and this post made me a bit misty eyed. Family and love really are what we’re all about, no matter how many hats we wear in life.


33 Marla October 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Barbara: Your comment made me teary eyed. It is wonderful that I could share this special part of our lives with you guys. Life is all about the connections we make in our lives. Birthdays connect & so does cake for that matter!


34 Amanda October 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm

OMG what a beautifully fun cake Marla! I LOVE this!


35 Nancy@acommunaltable October 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm

hi Marla!!

What a decadent cake and wonderful cake – as you said “go big or go home”!! Just yesterday my 14 yr. old and I were in the car and he started talking about all the birthday cakes I’d baked for him and which ones were his favorites. It amazed me how clearly he recalled each and every cake. Not only are you providing a wonderful celebration for you family, but you are building precious memories for you children!!!


36 Joanne October 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I totally agree with you on the going all out thing. If I’m going to bake…then I’m going to BAKE. No holds barred. That cake looks glorious. You did a fantastic job!


37 Anna Johnston October 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Awwhhh, Happy Birthdays & what a awesome cake you’ve made Marla. They were the best birthday parties when grandparents & family all had a day out together, such good memories. Lovely pics too.


38 Melissa October 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Beautiful…cake, party and CHILDREN!! Oh, so grown up! Happy Birthday to the Birthday Princess!! xo!


39 Tara October 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

That cake looks fabulous, Marla! My boys are all about sprinkles right now – it was the only decoration they wanted to put on their Dad’s birthday cake this week. They would have LOVED your daughter’s cake! And I love the sentiments of this post. Birthdays (and the cakes that go with them) are some of my favorite occasions, since they’re celebrations of life and love and family and friends. All my favorite things. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter, and thank you so much for the link!


40 Marla October 26, 2010 at 5:06 am

OK friends, think I need to start baking more big cakes and throwing more parties. Your comments make me so happy. Not only are you looking at the photos but actually reading my text! The fact that we can stir such excitement and emotion through our blogs is amazing!

Anna: I feel so blessed that my folks and my hubs parents are actively engaged with our kids. The relationship I had with my grandparents was honored and treasured. I could go to them with things I would never tell my parents. Grandparents ROCK!

Heather: Such and honor to have Miss. Sprinkle Bakes compliment my cake!

Tara: Your post inspired me to speak from the heart. Your post about your son’s party was gorgeous, happy and thought provoking. Love that they are all about the sprinkles for their Dad’s cake. Life should be about creating beautiful memories!

Josie: It is my pleasure & honor to link to you guys. Not only are you brilliant bakers, but you are great friends and people I adore.

Nancy: That thrills me to read about that conversation you had with your son. Precious memories indeed. I could imagine you driving and grinning from ear to ear :)

To all of you that say my little gal looks like me, thanks! I always tell her I want to grow up and look like her someday!


41 Heather October 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm

This entire post fills me with glee – for so many reasons! Happy birthday to your gorgeous girl! She looks like her mama. : )

(PS – That cake is b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I want it!)


42 susan hensey October 25, 2010 at 11:07 pm

A day late as usual.. but want to say how wonderful it is to see the love, celebration, happiness in these beautiful pictures! I’m sorry our clan was not there to celebrate her big day… our loss in so many ways -she’s growing up fast!
You are doing so well with this site and allowing yourself to blossom through it!! I’m so proud of you!
(happy birthday) :-)


43 meaghan (the decorated cookie) October 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Quite possibly, the world’s most perfect cake. This is fantastic!


44 Marla October 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

Meghan: I am so not worthy! “The world’s greatest cake” Thanks for those uplifting words.


45 Lori @ RecipeGirl October 26, 2010 at 8:33 am

How sweet!! You did such a wonderful job on the cake. Looks like great family fun :)


46 Kathy - Panini Happy October 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

FUN, beautiful birthday cake, Marla! I have fond memories of ice skating parties. Your little girl will definitely have fond memories of this one. :-)


47 My Man's Belly October 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

GORGEOUS! I can’t help but imagining you bouncing off the walls from eating all of that sugar – lol (knowing that you don’t normally consume much of the sweet stuff).


48 Marla October 26, 2010 at 11:37 am

Pamela: It is amazing how well you know me. I bounce off the walls more than the kids when I eat sugar!

Valerie: Love the special birthday celebrations you spend with your gal pals. Not to mention it is nice that you don’t have to wait for these kind of celebrations to happen just one time a year. I bet you gals make awesome meals and those goodie bags must be extravagant indeed!


49 Erica October 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

WOW- now thats what I call a cake! Great work. The party looks like a total blast. I wish I had your creativity 😉


50 rebecca October 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm

wow super cake and sweet family post


51 Louise October 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

beautiful post marla, i think these might be some of your best photos-gorgeous. so funny, my little one had a party for his 6th and my favorite recipe is the same chocolate one you used. for the coffee i use hazelnut coffee and add some hazlenut to the cake… isn’t it perfect? your cake looks professional- good job. i bought some vanilla stevia today, thought of you…
have a great week,


52 Jamie October 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I love your site. Mom Central Foods had a link on her page and I am glad that I followed it. You really have some nice things on you site. See ya soon.


53 Cara October 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

What a beautiful cake, Happy Birthday to your girl!


54 Mandi October 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Marla that cake is beautiful! I wish I had that kind of talent! What a fun birthday!


55 Blond Duck October 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

That’s so cool! I’m so glad you made a homemade cake and didn’t buy a fancy store one!


56 Marla October 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Blond Duck: Fancy store ones are cool, but then I would have felt guilty. No way I could have posted that!!

Louise: Interesting that you use the same chocolate cake recipe for your little guys 6th b’day! I really like the idea of the hazelnut coffee, I will try that next time. I hope you like that vanilla stevia – I am wondering how you will use it.


57 grace October 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

what a gloriously colorful cake–it’s most certainly worthy of such a celebration!


58 Lentil Breakdown October 27, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Wow, what a big cake for a big birthday! Congrats to mother, daughter and baker!


59 Mags October 27, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Pretty, pretty, pretty! What a wonderful birthday cake!


60 teresa October 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Marla! Marla! Marla!
I only passed out 3 times while reading this BIRTHDAY CAKE post!!!!!!!!
That is my kind of BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!!!!!!
I am so in LOVE with you that you made that!
I mean seriously!
That cake just exudes MAGIC and WISHES!!!!!!!
I know your little BUNDLE LOVEd her cake!!!!!
you are a DREAMY mommy!!!!!
And you and I seem to LOVE all the same things!
I will be back when I can Study this cake…..big time!


61 Marla October 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Teresa: Your energy & enthusiasm astound me!! if you and I had the opportunity to meet it would be one HAPPY day. Gotta go visit your bloggy to see what you have been up to. xxoo


62 lisaiscooking October 28, 2010 at 8:30 am

That’s a great cake for a birthday! The color and candies and sprinkles are as cute as can be. Your daughter must have had a great day.


63 Elizabeth October 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm


I’ve seen a lot of cakes in my life. This cake looks incredible. It’s beautiful! I want it! No one made me a cake for my birthday this year (I was in Malaysia, and didn’t even get anything with a candle on it (boo)), and so I’m living vicariously through this one.

Seriously, I just sent my bff, the one I always bake cakes with, this link. And let me tell you, we’ve made some pretty great-looking cakes over the last twelve years. The email I just sent her said this:

“Look at this ****ing cake. Have you ever seen a better looking cake? That’s what I thought.”

So thanks for brightening my evening with this amazing picture!


64 Marla October 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Elizabeth: You are such a doll. That is one of the sweetest comments I have ever gotten. I am happy I made you & your bff smile. My goal is to inspire happy times and great eats. I hope you had a wonderful b’day despite the lack of cake….perhaps you can make up for it by baking something special this weekend. XO


65 Betty @ scrambled hen fruit October 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

What a gorgeous, fun cake! I love that baking makes such special memories. :)


66 Grace November 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

Wow, what an amazing cake Marla!!! Happy Birthday to your sweetie, hope she had a fantastic day. Love the goodie bags. I used to have so much fun putting those together.


67 Jess March 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Hahhaha! COOL! That’s ridiculously awesome, I love the sprinkles! It reminds me of my birthdays not too long ago.


68 Marla March 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Jess: Glad you like the sprinkle b’day cake. I had gobs of fun baking it and splattering it with sprinkles. My daughter and her buddies loved it!


69 teresa June 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hey Sweet Girl!
Now that I have a Pinterest board…{addicted}…just had to come back and PIN my favorite all time HAPPY cake!
Wish we could get together and create~bake this cake!
Make me SMILE!
I pinned this like 1000 times! xo In all my categories! ;o)


70 Marla June 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Teresa, I am happy you are having so much fun with this cake! Thanks for pinning it beaucoup times :) For some reason I have been invited to Pinterest multiple times & they have not set up my account. Hmmm. Looks like fun over there. I always love when you stop by for a visit!


71 Nadia August 21, 2011 at 7:02 am

Wow Amazing!!


72 barbara June 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

This birthday cake will be perfect for my son’s birthday next Saturday, and I’m glad I visited your page.


73 Valentina June 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

saw this in your “sprinkles” post — such a fun cake, colorful, delightful cake! :-)


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