Bundt and Birthday Cakes

Since I’m catching up on a little backlog of bake photos I’m going to cover my three most recent cakes in one fell swoop.  First up was a birthday cake for Jim (made the same day as my dough post– the kitchen was busy on August 27!)  The order of the day was a Triple Caramel Cake from Fine Cooking.  

Even as I’ve gotten more experience with it, caramel still scares me.  I have a tendency to take it a little too far and burn the caramel (though that can still be tasty as was the case with my slightly burnt salted caramel ice cream), so this time I was determined to take it off of the heat in time despite the instruction of waiting until the caramel was a “very dark amber.”  In my opinion it still turned out pretty great!  In fact, I had a hard time actually reserving some of the caramel for the sauce for later because I just wanted to gobble it up!  My only other hiccup was that my bundt pan wasn’t 12 cups, so I reserved a little of the batter and made 2 cupcakes with it.  That was actually the perfect way to make sure it tasted good before serving to the group (it did).

Next up is a Peanut Butter Cup Cake (also bundt) made to celebrate a work milestone for hubs.  My only notes here are that I would put more Reese’s cups in the batter next time.  I didn’t find I had issues with them sinking, in fact just the opposite.  They tended to concentrate near the top (even though I did poke some of them down to the bottom of the cake).  

I do like peanut butter, but the sort of stickiness you get in the back of your throat from eating a ton of PB might’ve been offset if we had some more chunks in the middle to break it up.  For the glaze I decided to use Ghirardelli 60% chips (my go to), but the flavor was too sharp and contrasting compared to the lighter peanut butter.  In hindsight, milk chips would’ve been better.  It’s not my most attractive cake ever, but even though there were only 2 of us eating it we had no trouble polishing it off in short order!

 And last, but not least, is my second time making what I view as the quintessential yellow cake: Vanilla Cake with Whipped Rum-Ganache Icing

 I originally made this for a birthday in January and it was delish, so when my uncle requested a yellow cake with chocolate icing for his September birthday, I went straight for this one again.  The first time I made it I was nervous about the rum in the ganache (I’m not usually a fan of boozy chocolate), but you can’t really taste the rum– it just makes the ganache that much richer and creamier.  I forgot to use my cake strips this time, so the layers had a bit of a dome (which is visible in the photo below).  

The instructions stipulate putting 2 whole cups of ganache in the middle of the cake!  I was skeptical that using that much would leave me enough to ice the rest, but I was fine and it gives it a nice thick filling that’s awesome.  I probably should’ve warned the crowd that the icing would be pretty rich/bittersweet (again, I used Ghirardelli 60%) because they were expecting more of a traditional fudge icing, but once they were used to the taste reviews seemed to be great!  The cake is flavorful and light so it goes well with the rich icing.  This is one I will always keep handy for when I want a slight upgrade on a very traditional birthday cake.


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