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Celebrating Birthdays and Strawberries

Memorial Day weekend was extremely hectic this year.  My uncle turned 60 and threw a big clam/lobster-bake bash at my parents’ house, then we celebrated my mom’s birthday the next evening!

To top off the biggest meal I have ever experienced in my life, I made my uncle’s birthday cake.

Tip #1: Be wary of trying new recipes in a public setting

I made this frosting based on rave reviews from my sister.  It was a failure, as it’s not meant for decorating (other reviews warned me, but I tried anyway).  It was super soft and impossible to pipe.  I also found the flavor and texture lacking but that was my fault, substituting half of the butter with shortening.

Tip #2: Value the power of cookie borders

My cake design included a pirouline cookie border, so neatness was salvaged and it ended up looking quite trendy against the messy icing.

Tip #3: It IS possible to put fresh fruit in a cake

I was very nervous putting fruit inside a cake – it can run, turn brown, or sometimes even mold.  I waited until just a couple hours before to assemble.  Squeezing lemon juice on the bananas and then nestling them in the cream was extremely effective.

Tip #4: Syrup ahead of time, or figure out a better wrapping method

The cake was a bit dry – my parents’ oven is broken so I had to bake the layers and bring them over 2 days ahead of time.  I should have poured the simple syrup on before wrapping the layers in plastic and foil instead of waiting until the day I assembled the cake.  I still haven’t quite figured out a good way to do this.

16″ yellow cake filled with strawberries and bananas nestled on vanilla pastry cream

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