My hubby turned 24 on the 5th of September, yesterday we celebrated with friends by having a Murder Mystery Party. We weren't sure before hand just how many folks would show up, so we were planning for a generous 25. I decided to make my first two tier cake for the event to ensure that we wouldn't run out of cake. We ended up only having 14 guests and one tier would have been plenty, but I must say, I was excited and thankful for an opportunity to try my first two tier cake!
The hubby requested I make a spice cake, so I made a Buttermilk Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. It was quite yummy! I tried a technique of wrapping wet dish towels around the can pans while they baked to help them bake more evenly. It worked like a charm! I didn't have to level the cakes at all. I always hate having to level cakes as the crumbs make getting a nice crumb coat more difficult and I always end up tossing out the extra cake (terrible, I know). Not only did using the wet dish towels keep the cake level, it helps the edges cook evenly and not get overdone as typically happens. The photo above is the cake setting up in the fridge after I crumb coated it.
And here you can see the final frosting on the cake. I made the entire cake from start to finish in about 3.5 hours which, with cooling time, isn't much. I was incredibly rushed and didn't get to spend as much care frosting the cake as I would have liked. It is certainly imperfect but I don't think it looks half bad. If you look to the right in the photo you can see my inspiration picture. I wanted to add pretty gum paste flowers to the cake, but the hubby wouldn't have it.
Instead I added some gnomes for decoration. Gnomes are about as manly as I get with my decorating. I think they are cute!
I wanted to add a little mushroom on top as well, but the hubby wouldn't let me. Mushrooms apparently are feminine.
I am smitten with this little guy sitting on the edge of the first tier. Isn't he adorable?
Buttermilk Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Buttermilk Spice Cake
Adapted from Pittsburg Needs Eated
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack in the lower third. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves onto a sheet of wax paper. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a small pitcher.
2. In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the light brown and granulated sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour mixture at low speed in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, just until the batter is smooth; stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl.
3. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Transfer the pans to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes begin to shrink from the sides. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then turn each out onto a rack, invert onto another rack and let cool completely before frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
From Smitten Kitchen
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1. In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.
2. Frost cakes as desired and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, until frosting is set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.