My old and faithful blogfriend Cakespy was kind enough to guest post! (If you've been about these parts for a while, you'll surely have seen some of my links celebrating her scientific commitment to all things dessert related--for example, check out her bread pudding face-off, or her Brownies Behaving Badly unusual ingredient research.
Thanks to Jessie (Head Cakespy) for bringing a little of her relevant science to Ed Ass! She's provided her favorite birthday cake recipe below, not to mention all the awesome artwork.
Here's my birthday cake recipe, the one that I grew up with (here's the recipe right from the cookbook my mom uses). It may not be the fanciest recipe, but for me it will always be the one against which all other cakes are stacked. In our house, birthdays never warranted a mere sheet cake--it was always a three tier, wedding cake-like confection, made of white cake with pink frosting (always pink frosting). And no, that's not a misprint--it has shortening in it, as much as that may appall the true gourmands out there.
For the frosting, she never actually measured things out, but I remember that the first time I tasted a cupcake at the Magnolia bakery, I thought "It's my mom's frosting!" and so when I make it I use their recipe for frosting (from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook). I always make the "for a three layer cake" one though because it leaves you a bunch of extra frosting for flowers or piping etc. Here it is:
Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*Note: If you are icing a 3-layer cake, use the following recipe proportions:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 to 10 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract