September 1, 2014

Saving Money: Birthday Edition (Part Two)

Yesterday I posted about saving money on birthdays, specifically pictures.
Today I'm moving on to the second item on my list, make the birthday cake yourself.

The first birthday cake I made for my son was one of the most embarrassing failures of my life.

EVERY time I bake a cake we laugh about that cake.

The cake was very moist. 
The frosting was real buttercream.
 It was about 2 feet tall.
 I had no idea what I was doing. 

The cake crumbled. The frosting melted. 

It was definitely an event to remember.

My husband still swears it was the most delicious cake he's ever had.

I've tried repeatedly to re-create it (the flavor, that is, not the beautiful creation itself). I really think it was the Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix, other brands I've tried since haven't been nearly as good.
Since the above disaster, I've become a bit less ambitious. Single layer cakes only for now:)
However, for only a few dollars I've been able to create cakes for only a few dollars that make my birthday crowd just as happy as one from the grocery store bakery.

I search for decorating ideas on Pinterest and then choose a single layer cake that I'm confident I can make without fondant. I bake the cake the day before and then start decorating it first thing that morning so that I have time to come up with a backup plan if it fails.
Below are the links to the original cakes:
Basketball cake
Golf Cake
Combine Cake using these instructions to make the No. 3.

My other secret, is I use a springform pan (the kind used for cheesecake) to bake thick/tall cakes without having to bake multiples and stack them. I use this set, but any springform pan would work, I use the medium size for a single cake, but for the No. 3 I baked 2 cakes in the smaller sized pan.
I just use a cake mix and use the classic Pinterest hack to make a boxed cake mix taste like one from a bakery.
Add an extra egg.
Use Melted Butter instead of Oil and double the amount
Use Milk instead of Water.
(I can't figure out the original source to link to, if you know, I'd love to give proper credit to the person who came up with this idea)

Happy Baking!

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