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What's your "go-to" birthday cake?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I got a request last night for a birthday cake. It's kind of a last minute request, so she said "just do whatever is easy for you." The only info she gave me to go off of was that it's for her sister who's turning 40 and that she's not a girly girl.

Honestly, I'm not used to designing cakes. I usually just match a picture that the customer brings me. Do any of you have a "go-to" birthday cake design?
post #2 of 12
I thought you meant what kind of cake. (The answer to that, for me at least, depends on the recipient: chocolate [Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate mix, with canned frosting] for my mother, pound [Betty Crocker mix, in a Bundt mold] for my father, or either spice [Duncan Hines spice mix, or a spiced up Duncan Hines yellow mix, either way with a maple or maple-cinnamon buttercream] or my own strawberry marble [based on a Duncan Hines white mix, with strawberry jam buttercream] for myself.)

As to design, well, I usually use whatever is the default design for the type of cake (piped strawberries, for strawberry marble, no frosting at all for a pound cake, or the family leaf pattern for anything else), with a blank panel for whatever I'm adding (in the case of my own birthday, just the number).

See my "Baked Goods" set for what I'm talking about. They're all simple designs, easily executed, with plenty of room for candles.

http://www.flickr.com//photos/64159238@N03/sets/72157627517153286/show/

Of course, "frosted and served in the pan" single-layer sheet cakes are rather informal, but I don't stand on ceremony, and I haven't yet figured out how to tweak a strawberry jam buttercream so that it isn't sticky, so the pan provides enough protection that I can just cover it with foil, instead of putting it under a cloche, dome, bell-jar, or cake-safe.

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply
post #3 of 12
My go to is the oval. A tad bit fancier than the round, easy peasy to frost with buttercream, using swirls w/o/worrying at all about smoothing, and then just pipe simple border along the bottom and top, write Happy Birthday, throw on a couple of buttercream piped flowers (they don't have to be realistic), add a green stem and some leaves, and you're done.
post #4 of 12
For future requests, why don't you take some time to go through the galleries and find a cuple of designs you think will work for different people. Having a couple ideas on hand will help your 'thinker' alongicon_smile.gif
I often used fondant cutouts - diamonds or circles - to create something like you have been requested to make.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
My husband says I am over-thinking things :/

I just didn't want to do the generic sheet cake with a couple of balloons and "Happy Birthday!" on top.

Kakeladi- I actually did go through the galleries. Everything was so... themed. I couldn't seem to find anything generic WITH a special flare, if you will, lol.

My husband is probably right (as usual...)
post #6 of 12
I always do something I just want to try! Make is seasonal instead of themed. Right now--I am on the look out to make a ruffle cake for someone!

Have you tried the buttercream petal technique yet? It looks cool, isn't hard, and would have a special flare!
post #7 of 12
Like this..
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2173222/pink-and-white-50th-birthday

or this...
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2184130/yellow-sunflower-cake

NOTE: I didn't make these cakes but I think that they are awesome!
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Aww, I really like the pink one! She's not a girly girl, but I could definitely change it up a bit and make it less girly. Thanks for your input!
post #9 of 12
I looked at the sides of both cakes. How do you manage to get what appears to be an endless overlapping shingle pattern in what appears to be buttercream?

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply
post #10 of 12
Research petal technique. I think that there is a tutorial on the cake school. Really, all you do is pipe a vertical row of dots and then take a clean spatula and lightly smash and drag each dot to the right. Then pipe the next row on top of where the last one ended. Kinda like basketweave.
post #11 of 12
post #12 of 12
I agree with bluerose....if they dont say alot or dont mind, I go with what i have been wanting to try..I try to push my self with everycake...your not overthink, the world of cake is so open to imagination
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