A birthday cake is a gift that you give someone you love. Cakes can be anything you want them to be from simple to decadent, to match someone’s tastes and personality. A homemade cake is best when it’s an expression of the celebration and the person. When it’s the first cake that you’ve ever made for your new little one, bestowed on a first birthday, it’s even more special.
Before we knew it, it was time for a first birthday in our house. For weeks, I struggled with what kind of cake to make. I read recipes. I searched the web. (I annoyed people by talking about it.) I finally put together a combination that I thought would be both baby-friendly and delicious for adult guests. I baked it with love, iced it with great care, and placed that candle proudly. And then he refused to even eat a bite. Ah, that would be the irony of motherhood, wouldn’t it?
Baby’s First Cake
I chose a moist butter cake which makes nice layers and sturdy cupcakes. After much deliberating, I retained the original amount of sugar. The icing, however, only has 3 tablespoons! It’s tangy, creamy, and easy to use for decorating. I used a strawberry-rhubarb jam for the filling which complimented the tang of the frosting.
for 2 9-inch rounds
12 tbls. butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs, plus 2 more yolks
2 3/4 c. AP flour
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
- Cream the butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla with an electric mixer for about five minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs and yolks, beating after each one.
- Alternate mixing in the flour and milk. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl carefully.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 350F. (For a 9X13 sheet pan, bake for 35 minutes. For cupcakes, decrease the baking time to 20 minutes.)
Yogurt Cheese Frosting
64 oz. of plain yogurt
8 oz. cream cheese
3 tbls. sugar
3 tsp. vanilla (or to taste)
- Make yogurt cheese from the yogurt. Place a large piece of cheesecloth over a bowl and scoop the yogurt into it. Tie or rubber band the ends and hang for about 12 hours, letting the whey drip into the bowl.
- Before you are going to whip the frosting up, remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
- With an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla for a few minutes. (You’re looking for it to change consistency, leaning towards fluffy.) Whip in half of the yogurt cheese until completely blended. Then, gently fold in the rest of the yogurt cheese with a plastic spatula.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
1 jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam
2-3 tablespoons of icing, mixed with the jam to thicken.
- If you’re making homemade yogurt, know that:
2 quarts of milk yields 2 quarts of yogurt which yields 1 quart of yogurt cheese (or 32 ounces)
- For homemade cream cheese, see Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making.