My First Homemade Birthday Cake Attempt and Reflections on Being a Year Older

Well today, I turn 28 years old. I usually like to make a big deal out of other people’s birthdays and I try to apply the same passion to my own, but this year I am struggling to be as excited as I have been in the past. I am incredibly grateful for all of the many blessings I have, my family, my friends, the animals in my life, my incredibly kind and hardworking husband, my career – but there’s something that makes me sad as I age because I feel like I’m losing time each year I get older. And, I like having time to enjoy all these things I love in my life.

I think I need to stop chasing time and the way I treat it as a loss as I lunge further into my “late twenties.”  For my birthday and the year ahead I’m going to work on enjoying these wonderful seconds I am alive on this earth to be as productive or unproductive as I want be. I am going to try to also think of the time I spend as something I am gaining (not losing). I am going to take more risks/try new things and stop fearing and start loving and letting things go that don’t matter. That is something I am happy to have embraced this past year. I still have lots of learning and personal growth ahead of me…and patience is my weakness which I need to grow a lot of. My lack of patience is very evident in the first ever homemade birthday cake I made…I was so focused on EATING the cake, that I haphazardly decorated and assembled before the cake was 100% cool – and you know I’ve seen way too many cooking shows to know better…

The batter I made a is from an awesome recipe I found on Pinterest by the Stay at Home Chef! The batter was light and fluffy and baked up quite beautifully. I opted to do a two layer cake instead of the recommended three layers since I only had two round cake pans.

My husband said the cake smelled and tasted like pancakes and I blame the buttermilk on that but I also love pancakes and baked goods made with buttermilk so I say it’s a winner.

I also whipped up some homemade buttercream frosting – and I made WAY too much of it. The sallow final result of the color was not the original goal (next time I’m sticking with white frosting and sprinkles). I get a little happy with the food coloring dropper without having a good understanding on the science behind the amount of color I actually need.

I wanted my cake to be a bright pumpkin orange, but as I mixed the yellow and red food coloring it kept looking like a peach. I then thought I would turn it into purple…and well, grey concrete color is what I got.  It’s kinda “gothic” right?

The frosting batch could’ve been scaled back significantly. I used:

  • 4 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream

I beat the butter until it was fluffy before gradually adding in the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

As I was frosting the cake all I wanted to do was EAT THE CAKE so my “spider web” decor was quite messy and I know Duff Goldman (Team Duff!!) would be disappointed by my rushed work and lack of realism. I mean, the kids on Kids Baking Championship produce MUCH prettier works and they’re at least 17 years younger than me…BUT everyone has to start somewhere!

The black decorating frosting is store bought from Walmart and I squeezed it into a sandwich bag (my makeshift piping tool!). I BARELY snipped the corner off to get the right amount of frosting out for decorating and I’d say if I was more patient, I could have done wonders with my homemade piping bag (but alas, there is cake to eat!!!).

As you can see in the cross section, the buttercream melted in the middle since I broke a sacred rule of cake making – DO NOT FROST UNTIL COMPLETELY COOL. Still tastes good though…and I think my husband and guinea pig fed my ego a bit by saying “tastes better than anything store bought!” So although it looks unappealing, the end result is sweet.

Perhaps that is the same with birthdays…getting old is unappealing, but being alive to celebrate the day you made your grand entrance in the world is the sweetest thing! (And yes, if I was more patient, the cake would have been more up to Duff’s standards…BUT I would never have came up with this awesome analogy on aging…)

I’m celebrating today with a crazy little impatiently made cake and my favorite people in the world and that is a great way to turn 28!

Stay spooky,

Callie Jo

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