I have no idea where the Mermaid Bakery is, but they sure know how to make great cake. This birthday cake is a scratch cake recipe that is comparable to the texture and taste of a box mix (very light)….only better. And secret ingredient is…. EMULSION (read more below under Emulsions)!
We’re celebrating my daughter’s 9th birthday this weekend and this is her birthday cake. It’s a Vanilla Butter Cake recipe from the Mermaid Bakery paired with Wilton’s Whipped cream buttercream icing and fondant accents (see recipes below) – a truly fabulous cake and icing combo! If you are looking for birthday cake ideas, look no further!
Christmas in July:
Abby wanted a “Christmas in July theme” because she wanted her elf pet (“Drummer”) immortalized on the cake. I love that she still embraces “the magic” of Christmas and I am well aware that it won’t last long. In fact, the end of grade 3 basically signals the beginning of the end of this era of innocence. I’ll be sad to see it go, so I am milking every moment…..We had an amazing bonding time making our “Drummers” out of fondant.
Above is the Drummer cake topper (left) ‘The Real Drummer’ in the middle and Abby’s ‘Baby Drummer’on the right.
Making Edible Figures for Cakes:
We made Drummer by mixing fondant and a powder called gumtex together, which you can buy at Michaels Arts & Crafts. It helps the fondant dry faster. For 1 pkg of the brown fondant (from the Wilton box of 4 fondant colors, available at Michaels Arts & Crafts) , I would use about 1 Tblsp of gumtex. Alternatively, you can use gumpaste (or mix it 50/50 with fondant), but then you have to color it. And the gumpaste dries faster than I work, so I’m not a huge fan of gumpaste when working with figures.
TERRI’S TIP: Use shortening on your hands and on a non stick surface (such as a silicone sheet) to prevent fondant from sticking.
Exploding cake technique:
The technique I used here is the ‘cake explosion’. There are several tutorials online. Just make sure you use wax paper or parchment paper under the first layer of fondant or it won’t work – your fondant will stick to your icing/crumb coat underneath and it will not come out looking like this.
I’d have to say that what I love most about this cake is the addition of the ‘secret ingredient’: Creme Bouquet emulsion. If you haven’t ventured into emulsions yet, I would highly recommend them! Emulsions give more depth of flavour, compared to using an extract, especially when they are baked in. “Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion” (which is awesome in sugar cookies) is another one of my favourites. I also like to mix it up and sneak them into my icing once in a while for a change of pace. The Creme bouquet emulsion also pairs well with this icing recipe and the Old Fashioned sour cream chocolate fudge cake (future post or PM me for recipe) or any chocolate cake for that matter! You can buy some emulsions at “PM Hobby” in Calgary and likely at S.A.I.T. (their store has a pretty good selection of cake decorating/baking supplies but it’s only open Sept to April) or order them online from Golda’s Kitchen (in Canada) or Global Sugar Art (U.S) among other places.
I have also included the Wilton Whipped Cream buttercream recipe, which is my favourite buttercream icing (that actually has no butter in it). I am not a fan of butter in icing. I think butter belongs IN the cake, not on the outside of it. So, if you are a shortening based icing enthusiast, this is the icing for you! It’s the lightest and fluffiest icing around. Enjoy…
Vanilla Butter Cake
This incredible secret ingredient vanilla birthday cake from the Mermaid Bakery is light and airy; a homemade cake with the texture of a store-bought cake!
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup at room temperature
- 1 tsp Creme bouquet or 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, put oven rack into center of oven.
Grease and flour pans (9X13, 3=8″, 2=9″, or 1=10″)
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Mix the Creme bouquet or Vanilla into the milk.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
Add flour to butter/sugar/eggs in two parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition.
Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.
Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
TERRI’S TIP: “Cake Mate”is the product I use to keep my cakes from sticking to the pan. Shake well and apply generously. Use this if you want your cakes to come out of the pan looking flawless. It is available at Michaels Arts & Crafts
Whipped Cream Buttercream Frosting
1 lb. powdered sugar (sifted)
2 1/2 cups Crisco
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. Meringue powder (add 1 additional TBSP for slight crusting)
1/2 cup BOILING water (less 2 TBSP)
1 TBSP Vanilla (or flavor of your choice)
- Part one… put crisco in bowl and gradually add powdered sugar. Beat about 5 minutes until mixture is very creamy and fluffy. Set this aside.
- Part two… In a very clean bowl mix dry ingredients. Add BOILING water and immediately mix on high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. When mixture begins to get stiff add flavoring.
- NOW combine both mixtures and beat together for another 8 minutes. When finished, use a rubber spatula to down beat a little to remove some of the air bubbles. Frosting will be very light and creamy. Cover. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.
- The frosting may be kept at room temperature for 3 months. Whip with a spoon each time you use it to restore fluffiness.
Prep time: 20 -25 minutes
Total time: 20 – 25 minutes
Note: This post is NOT sponsored by any product or business- it is my own opinion