It’s that time of year again. But this is a special year. My little guy will be 13 and we’re having two celebrations in two different cities! An early birthday here with his school friends and one in Chicago for his actual birthday.
Of course, each year comes with a birthday cake challenge and this year he requested a Hylian Shield that Link uses from Legends of Zelda with a red velvet batter. I was kinda bad this year. Since my new job is in the city and not the suburbs, I couldn’t run errands on my lunch hour like I used to and had to order most of my items from Amazon. It turned out to be very convenient. I also bought colored fondant to save time with the exception of silver. I couldn’t find any, so I thought I would paint a silver glaze on top instead of kneading it.
I was feeling pretty confident on my ability to put this cake together. It was going to be a simple two layer cake and most of the fondant pieces were geometric and easy to cut. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In my first attempt to bake the cake in my 14 x 14-inch pans, I only used a single recipe, so the cake was very thin. I thought, no problem, I’ll make three thin layers, it’ll be fine. When I finished the cakes were a little on the dry side, so I baked the cakes again doubling the recipe for each pan. They turned out better however, I ran out of food coloring in the middle of the process, so the cakes weren’t completely red. Ugh!
Also, last week was probably the most humid, rainy week ever, so my fondant kept melting and softening while I tried to cut and shape it. I decided not to stress about it and put the cake in the fridge, hopefully to set. In the morning I applied the glaze, but the fondant was tacky and the glaze seemed to melt the fondant. Oh my! I applied the glaze as quickly as I could, put it back in the fridge and hoped for the best. Looking back I think Miles would’ve been ok with a white border instead of silver/gray, but I was going for authenticity.
I showed the cake to Miles on party day and he loved it. I set it out on the table so his guests could see it when they arrived and also give the cake a chance to get to room temperature while we went go-kart racing and played ping-pong. I kept the temp in the apartment ice cold, but before we left the fondant started to buckle, so I popped it back in the fridge until we returned.
Despite all of my troubles, the cake was still a success! The boys loved the shield and the red velvet too. Miles decided this was his favorite cake so far. That made me happy 🙂
- Makes two 9in round cakes, I doubled the recipe for a 14x14 square pan.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I use Guittard cocoa rouge)
- 2 ounces red food coloring (I start with one tablespoon of gel color and go from there)
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup marshmallow fluff (optional)
- 16 oz (1 box) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together (if you’re using a gel color, add a little water) and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
- Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl. Add marshmallow fluff and sugar and blend. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cooled cake.