Monday, May 27, 2013

Thing #88: Make a birthday cake for someone



Peanut Butter Birthday Cake, pictured with Marie’s famous brownies

Marie makes the cakes.  That’s how this whole thing stays together.  If there is a cake that needs baking… a birthday,  an engagement, a new job?  Marie has a cake for that.  There’s no big fuss about it either.  If you walk into Marie’s apartment when she’s baking, she doesn’t look like a hot mess and she doesn’t tell you to come back in an hour when she has her shit together.  She can hold a proper conversation with you, while she carries on weighing and measuring and beating and folding (that’s a baking word I learned from Marie).  I think she actually likes it.

The other thing is that everyone loves Marie.  Really, everyone.  She’s a crowd-pleaser type of person.  I should be clear that this has exactly nothing to do with her baking skills.  Marie, as a person, is sweeter and lovelier than any of the cakes she’s produced.  Even the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I tell her all the time how glad I am to have her in my life.  But that’s not enough.  She deserves more.  On her birthday, at the very least, she deserves a cake that she didn’t have to make herself.

So, that is what I gave her.  I knew I couldn’t pull it off with the same panache as Marie, but a cake was called for, and a cake I made.  I put on some old school Smashing Pumpkins and followed the goddamn recipe.  I listen to The Smashing Pumpkins while I bake cakes.  That makes me a badass.

It’s a tremendously easy cake to make.  In fact, the most difficult part of this recipe is not eating too much of the frosting before you are entirely sure you have enough to cover the cake.  That requires willpower beyond my limits. 

Anyway, here it is.

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

This recipe is adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook and makes one 8 or 9 inch round cake.  The original version is a double layer cake, which I also made, but wasn’t entirely happy with the result – I felt it wasn’t the right cake to frosting ratio, but maybe that’s just me.

What you’ll need:

for the cake

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

100g peanut butter

50g unsalted butter, softened

60g caster sugar

60g brown sugar

2 medium eggs

150ml buttermilk (I used this substitute)

for the frosting

300g cream cheese

100g unsalted butter, softened

100g peanut butter

250g icing sugar

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

pinch of salt

Here’s how:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).  Grease the cake tin.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together peanut butter, butter and sugars for about 3 minutes (I use a hand-held mixer because that’s all I have).
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for 1 minute between each addition.
  • With the mixer on a low speed setting, add half of the flour mixture. Slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. When it just starts to come together, add the remaining flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a metal spoon.
  • Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, just beat all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth.  Use immediately (at room temperature) to frost cake.  If you need help, here’s how to frost a cake.


€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’.  Click here if you too would like to donate online.


MissLeote ♡ said...

looks YUMMY ♡

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miss b said...

It's always thoughtful to bake a cake for someone and I'm sure this one was really appreciated!

Ashley said...

People still make cakes from scratch? Maybe if I had the patience ;)

No but really, I wanna try this recipe on a lazy Sunday. It sounds delish!

Karolina said...


Erin said...

Is it really shameful I learned the term "folding" in baking from "Sleeping Beauty"? You know, when the fairy godmother's try to make a cake for Rosebud's birthday and she just puts three un-cracked eggs in the dough and folds 'em on up!

Your friend Marie sounds like a joy to know. xo

fluff and fripperies said...

You had me at peanut butter. And lovely as this cake sounds, I'm sure this post and your lovely words were her best gift ever xo

EMA said...

I want to meet Marie... And taste her cakes!

I can't wait to try the recipe, it looks delicious!!

Marlen said...

I must meet Marie, she's an inspiration. When I bake there's a lot of sweating and arm aching and quiet cursing haha. Also, I literally LOLed when you said "when Irish people travel abroad they got to...Irish bars". Amazing, hahah

xo Marlen
Messages on a Napkin

little t said...

That's so funny Erin, I must have missed that reference.

Me too Marlen. Curses! This one is easy though, really. If I can, you can.

maria said...

AMAZING!!! I'm going to be trying this recipe out.
You're pretty lucky to have a talented, simply lovely baker-friend like Marie!

trishie said...

So sweet of you to bake her a cake. Looks great!

Paulina said...

look very tasty !

great blog would you like to follow each other ?