More Birthday Cake

Since summer started, I've run in to a few friends from the wide world out there whom NES and I don't see regularly.  And several of them have asked us how we manage to eat so much ice cream and not gain a million pounds.  The answer to that is that when I blog about ice cream, those are the most of the times we actually eat ice cream.  Because ice cream is always exciting enough to write about.  Always.  Oh, and we run.  Sometimes.  And then there are weekends like this one.  When you probably just shouldn't ask.

However, I've been wondering if the same question should be asked about cake now.  The day after we finished the last cake, I washed out the cake keeper and started a new cake.  Phew.  Thankfully, less that 1/4 of this one was left over!

This cake's story started last week with NES's birthday.  Since it was a weeknight, we went to a movie and dinner and he opened my present.

PLS's birthday was also this week, and HS and CS's birthdays are also coming up soon!

So this weekend, we celebrated them all at once with a lovely day by the lake.  We enjoyed typical barbecue food, along with a beautiful rainbow salad, tortellini salad and Brazilian potato salad, and also a fancy punch in a fancy punch bowl.  (Thanks KEB, RB, LB, HS and JM for the food, and to PLS and GWS for all your help and food!!)

Shockingly enough, my major food contribution was the cake.  Surprising, right?  Especially since this post is about birthday cakes.

I started with the idea of a cookies and cream cake.  But then suddenly, there were 21 people coming.  I am not used to making any type of food for that many people, let alone cake.  And I didn't want to go with a sheet cake, because, I'm sorry, but sheet cakes have never been as fun.  So I went on a mission to find cookies and cream cupcakes to compliment the cake.

I did find some, and they were chocolate to boot!

So began my newest baking adventure.  And it was an adventure.  It started late on Thursday night.  Mum came to the beach on Thursday, and besides a good sunburn, we had a lovely day reading on the beach, swimming, picnicking, wandering around downtown and eating seafood.  It was lots of fun. Then came the baking.

I started with the cake.  I decided to go with from scratch instead of the mix that the recipe called for.  I used the same white cake recipe I used for the white layers from the flag cake.  It's becoming my go-to white cake recipe.  Then, the easy part.  Putting 15 Oreos in a bag and pounding them into crumbs.  It's a good way to release stress!

I got that into the oven without much trouble.  One down.  Let me mention that it was about 9 pm by this point.  I still intended to make cupcakes and also some surprise zucchini bread for NES and not stay up all night.  Needless to say, not all of that happened.

I made the zucchini bread second.  I wanted to make NES a special breakfast and didn't even think of zucchini bread (NES's favorite!) until I found a ginormous zucchini at a farm stand and brought it home, and NES himself mentioned zucchini bread.

And I still had about a 1/3 of the zucchini left.  That means that the whole thing was over 3 cups of shredded zucchini.  I use PLS's zucchini bread recipe since NES adores the stuff.  Maybe some other time, there will be time for that.  Back to cake.

And then, I decided I had to go to bed.  I was still running on lack of sleep from the week, and didn't feel like staying up all night.

So, the cupcakes came on Friday morning.  NES and I spent a little time wandering the sidewalk sale downtown on Friday, but the majority of my day was frosting and assembling.  I was still in flag-cake-mode and thought I'd be frosting forever.  I wasn't though!

 I made the cupcakes first, and well, they didn't go as expected.  Oops.  I decided to try devil's food cake from scratch, too, and I might have forgotten the baking soda and salt.  I couldn't figure out why the first batch weren't rising, and then it dawned on me.  And this was even first thing in the morning, so I can't claim sleepiness.  Yeahh.

I did manage to add it to the second batch . . . and the unexpected third batch.  So, in the end, I had 2 dozen cupcakes with baking soda and 3 dozen total.  However, they all turned out a little flat.  NES and I decided to try one of the baking-soda-less ones, and it kind of just tasted like a brownie.  So, I went with it.

Oh, and the surprise about these cupcakes is that they have a cookie in the bottom!  Hence the cookies and cream part.

The cookies and cream also came in the frosting!  The frostings from each recipe were slightly different versions of a cream cheese frosting with cookie crumbles in it.

The cake frosting also had Cool Whip in it.  I liked it when I first made it, which was not a given (as much as I love frosting!) because I usually am not a fan of whipped cream-y frosting.  However, by the time it ended up on the cake and had been sitting out for quite a while, I wasn't as much a fan anymore.  However, NES and many others did really like it.  So I guess it's just me.  I was a little concerned about it starting to slide down the cake and not be solid enough, but it was fine!

The cupcake frosting was a traditional cream cheese frosting with cookies in it.  It was much more my style.  And I think I could have easily frosted 5 or 6 dozen cupcakes with it.  I have a bunch leftover.  I even saved some plain cream cheese frosting out for decorating the cake.

But what that starts with two blocks of cream cheese and two sticks of butter can end badly?

I ended up using two full packages of Oreos and at least a package of mini Oreos.  Lots of Oreos all around.

I attempted to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, but that didn't go so well.  It immediately clogged.  So, apparently, if you want to pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes, use a food processor to crunch the Oreos instead of your fists!  So, moral of the story, they didn't end up being my most beautiful cupcakes.  Hopefully they tasted good to make up for it!

And regardless of all the batter, frosting and mini Oreos I ate, I figured I should make lunch.  In order to use up said zucchini from the bread, I sliced some rounds, sprinkled them with garlic salt, and built little pizzas on top of them.  I just used jarred pizza sauce, mozzarella, a tiny bit of cheddar and some Italian seasoning.  I baked them in the toaster oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  I just waited till the cheese was starting to brown.  I thought they were pretty tasty.

And then I got a break.  In the evening, while NES, ZNS, DB and JK played their games, I made decorations.  I decided to break the pinwheel run, and KEB suggested balloons.  So, balloons and a "happy birthday" banner it was.  I love scrapbook paper.

And as much as this has nothing to do with cakes, PNS and I headed to the farm stand before the party to get corn and cucumbers, and their vegetables, flowers and bread were just too tempting.  I had to take pictures.  I love farm stands.

And then party!  Wooo!  It really was a beautiful day to be outside, and a great day to spend with friends and family.

Then cake and cupcakes, of course!

I did learn (and I was afraid of this) that everyone wants cake when there is cake.  Or at least almost everyone.  But I got at least 20 pieces out of that cake.  And most of us had a hard time finishing the tiny slices we did have.  It's heavy cake.
There are many, many cupcakes leftover.

And then NES and I wandered downtown to the parade this afternoon!  It has nothing to do with cakes or parties or anything, but we did have shakes.  And walk for two hours along the parade route and back.  And the parade was still going strong.

Cookies and Cream Cake


5 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 cups cake flour (or 3 cups minus 3 tbsp. flour plus 3 tbsp. cornstarch)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and line three 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix the egg whites, egg, 2 1/4 cup of the milk and vanilla.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the dry ingredients on lowest speed for 30 seconds.

Add the butter slowly, one piece at a time, waiting 10 seconds between pieces, and making sure the butter stays cold.  Mix until the texture is fine and crumbly.

Add the remaining milk, and mix on low speed until moistened.  Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

Add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds in between.  

Crush 15 oreos and add them to the batter.  

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out.  

Bake 20-30 minutes, starting with 20 minutes and checking every five minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes and flip out of the pan.  Allow to cool completely.  

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
16 oz. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
15 Oreos, crushed
1/2 tsp. vanilla 

Beat the cream cheese and sugar together.  Add the vanilla and mix well.

Stir (by hand, do not beat!) the Cool Whip in and mix well.  Fold in the crushed Oreos until evenly distributed.  

Frost cake with the frosting and refrigerate.

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

1 recipe/box Devil's food cake batter
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
24 Oreos

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare Devil's food batter and mix in chocolate chips.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners and place one Oreo into the bottom of each.  

Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter on top of the oreo.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

2 - 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt 
8 cups powdered sugar (approx. 2 lbs.)
2 tsp. vanilla 
12 crushed Oreos (in a food processor, if you want to pipe it)
Oreo minis (if desired, for decoration)

Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the salt.

Add the powdered sugar two cups at a time, beating between each set of two.  (If the frosting seems too thick, add milk or cream 1 tbsp. at a time.  If the frosting seems to thin, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time until correct consistency.)  

Beat on medium speed for 1 minute and mix in the Oreos.  Spread (or pipe) onto cooled cupcakes.  


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