Paging Dr. Google. | Home | Vive le Cassette Tapes.

23 Mar 2009

Larry’s Unbeautiful Birthday Cake.

Written by sally @ 8:09 am — Section: sally

Two years ago I made Larry this cake for his birthday. Last year, I made this cake (description only; I dumbly did not take a photo, but if I recall correctly my ankles were the size of my thighs this time last year and if you ask me, that is a great excuse for pretty much anything). This year I decided to make him a real cake for his birthday, but instead of a standard, uncomplicated cake, I aimed higher.

I used to say that I loved to bake. Now I understand that what I mean is this: I love to eat baked goods. While I am relatively neat in other aspects of my life, I am a messy baker. Flour is all over the counter, often there are globs of batter on the cabinets, and this time, I managed to drip egg whites ON MY FOOT. I also tend to lose my place when following a recipe and usually end up screwing something up; usually I dump a bunch of stuff in a bowl and then realize I was supposed to blend two of those ingredients first, separately.


I have been eyeing Deb’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake for months. Here is what the cake should look like:

deb's cake

Shiny ganache! Two icings! Perfect, magazine-styled drips cascading down the sides! I realized mine wouldn’t look like that, but this did not deter me.

The first problem was that the cake was very, very soft and two of the three layers broke completely in half coming out of the pan. The second problem was that I am not good at doing things with any sort of precision or care and even though I put the layers in the freezer for awhile (as Deb instructed!) big hunks of cake still came off while I was sort of haphazardly slapping icing on, which I then glued back on the cake with more icing.

Because I had two broken layers, I filled in the cracks with icing. And because of the not good with precision thing (see above), I didn’t line up my one intact layer very well and it was totally crooked. More icing!

Then there was the ganache part of the whole thing, which did not cascade down the sides lovingly as angels and bluebirds sang and floated around my head.

Anyway, here is the result:

peanut butter cake that doesn't look like deb's

It kind of looks like Pete made it, but it was delicious. I will probably never make this exact cake again — those stupid soft layers are still pissing me off — but I’ll definitely ice a chocolate cake with the insanely good peanut butter cream cheese icing. In fact, I may ice some Ritz crackers or a steak or my stapler with the insanely good peanut butter cream cheese icing.

So happy birthday, Larry! Sorry your dad ate five pieces of your cake this weekend and that there is only one left. It’s all yours.

8 Responses to “Larry’s Unbeautiful Birthday Cake.”

  1. liz said:

    This is so funny! I have actually been tasked with making this cake for Krista, so I will let you know how it turns out. I have the added excitement of adjusting it for high-altitude.

  2. sally said:

    Good luck! Send photos!

  3. Ruby said:

    Sally, it looks much better than I could have done.
    Me + Icing = Ugly Mess on a good day (How DO you get icing on there without crumbs getting in it?). I’m just jealous that you can make a ganache.

    It looks yummy!

  4. Elizabeth said:

    You do realize that the people who take pictures of food for mags and books use stylists who use non-food products to make us think we can make cakes, etc. look that good at home too.

  5. Elizabeth said:

    BTW, I am sure that Larry loved it anyway!

  6. poobou said:

    I think it looks gorgeous. Certainly better than anything I could do. But then, I once made a birthday cake for Dave with a red frosting heart on it, and he asked why I drew a picture of intestines on his cake. So there’s that.

  7. vendela said:

    i think it looks marvelous. you have to promise to make me one of these when i turn 40.

  8. larry ferrari said:

    I have to say all of Sally’s efforts were worth it. This was hands down the best cake I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.