Didn’t I say I was dreaming of baking this cake on Friday? Well I forgot to mention the little tid bit of information that there was actually the perfect occasion for that to happen – Mama’s birthday.
Now, Mama might not have wanted to celebrate this year, especially not two days in a row, but when you have a daughter like me, it is pretty damn difficult to avoid sweets and birthday candles. However, as much of a birthday princess as I am, for the first time I kind of understood the feeling. I’ll remind you all that this year was the beginning of the end, the year I didn’t welcome turning another number older with open arms – yup, from here on out we are just getting, dare I say that we are actually getting, old? Oy vey.
However, I think I have the perfect fix for the dreaded birthdays that all of us 21 and overs will face once a year… The beautiful birthday cake. Ruffles, the quintessential little girl’s fashion dream, and the perfect celebratory cake accent.
Of course this wasn’t just any kind of ruffled birthday cake. This was a ruffled carrot cake, with a cinnamon cream cheese center, and the most delectable almond milk buttercream. Yes .. almond milk, ladies and gents. I used my absolute favorite carrot cake recipe from Flour bakery, threw together the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and conjured up the almond milk buttercream out of necessity. To call it a masterpiece is a little cocky, but to not say that it was anything less than perfect would be an understatement. The cinnamon, the tangy cream cheese, the crunchy almonds, the juicy raisins, and the crazy crumbly cake… there’s that sweet smile I know you have on your face right now.
This is a link to the recipe for the Carrot Cake. (Click HERE to read and print). In 8 inch round pans I make 1 1/2 batches of this recipe. I find that just one batch makes cakes that are too thin. Also, do not bake for the described 60 minutes. I would put the timer on for 35 and do the toothpick test to determine how much more cook time is needed. I was around 40ish minutes in the oven. Also – I used toasted slivered almonds instead of walnuts, and saved the step of shredding the carrots and bought the pre-shredded kind.
Onto my cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
This frosting was used not only for the filling, but also to dirty ice the outside of the cake before I did the piping. You can choose to remove 2 cups of frosting and keep it cinnamon free (which I did) and use that for the outside of the cake – to keep it a plain white – and then add 3 tablespoons of cinnamon to about the cup or so that is left in the stand mixer for the filling. I then put the cinnamon frosting in a piping bag and properly distributed it between the cake layers. You will also want to set some of this cinnamon frosting aside for decorating purposes if you so desire …
And then there is the almond milk buttercream frosting. I adapted the recipe from a tasty kitchen entry, and it is truly a GEM of a recipe when it comes to icing. I normally used to decorate cakes with a swiss buttercream which involves whipping egg whites and driving yourself up the wall with proper temperatures… but this recipe puts the kabash on all of that.
If the almond milk aspect freaks you out, please substitute 1% milk. This recipe is way too good to pass up due to fear of the process… The flour holds everything together and goes completely unnoticed in the taste. Ah. Mazing.
Finally, onto the piece de resistance, the beauty of it all … The ruffles. All you need is a great frosting recipe, which I have provided you, and a little trip to the kitchen store to pick your up a rotating cake stand, piping bags, and one of several Wilton petal tips (I like 104 but go as big or small as you want) to get the job done.
Two or three drops of deep pink food coloring. Buttercream into the piping bag and you are ready to go.
After you have roughly iced the outside of the cake just so that the piping has something to affix to …. and make sure to ice the top of the cake the same color as the ruffles … begin your first line. Holding your piping bag tip down, so that the fatter side is up against the iced cake, skinny side facing out toward you, begin the uniformed side to side motion all the way to the top of the layer. Continue this spinning the cake plate around until you are totally ruffled.
To finish off the masterpiece, with the skinny side facing you again, repeat the motion around the top of the cake, where the ruffling end. And then, with a steady hand, and a pair of sterilized tweezers, feel free to add tiny pearls into each crease.
A beautiful cake for my most beautiful mother.
Here’s to wishing my Mama and our family a healthy and happy year. We are so lucky to have so much love … To making many more memories with many more beautiful cakes 🙂
Happy Birthday Ma.
Thanks again to Sweetapolita for the constant inspiration.