How to Make a Stunning Birthday Cake (With a Little Help from Pinterest)


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I love to bake, but I am by no means an expert.  I’m not even a high level amateur.  I really just like to make things that taste good, and are very simple to make.  Including birthday cakes.

However, your daughter only turns 5 once, right?

Would you like to make a gorgeous, professional looking birthday cake for your child or spouse? You don't need to be an expert - trust me! Here's how I, with a little help from Pinterest, made a stunning birthday cake for my daughter's 5th birthday.

We decided to hold her party at a local kid’s gym, so all I had to do was make the cake.  Could I have gone to the grocery store and gotten a cake there?  Sure!  But where’s the fun in that?  And when our guest list grew to 14 kids (and their parents), I decided to go all out and make my own, not nearly as impressive version of a Katherine Sabbath cake.

Have you heard of Katherine Sabbath?  She’s a cake wizard.  She’s like the Fairy Godmother of cakes.  Her cakes are beyond beautiful – they’re magical!  If you’re not following her on Instagram, you’re missing out.

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Anyway, before I start gushing… I decided to make something inspired by Katherine Sabbath for Miss O.  And while I’ve made cakes before, I’ve never done one like this.  So where does a girl in need of some help/ instruction/ inspiration go?  Pinterest, of course!

The Cake

I’m a boxed mix kind of girl, but that doesn’t mean I want it to taste like box mix.  I thought about baking from scratch this time, but I didn’t have enough time and I didn’t want to use an unknown recipe for Miss O’s birthday.

Budget Savvy Diva shared this post on how to get a boxed cake mix to taste homemade, and she’s totally right!  I didn’t use the extra egg this time because I wanted it to be denser for stacking.

Pin the directions here:

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For this cake I needed 4 layers, so 2 boxes of Devil’s Food cake mix and 4 sticks of butter.  Good golly!

I used 9″ round cake pans, lightly greased and floured, and these amazing inventions that go around the cake pan that help them rise evenly.  This is a must if you’re making a layered cake.

The Frosting

I have a regular go-to frosting recipe, but it wouldn’t hold up a 4 layer cake, so I had to look for an alternative.  I found this recipe from Add a Pinch and was sold.  One day I’ll try it in white, but for this party, we needed color.  If you’ve never tried Americolor food coloring, it’s amazing!

I made a batch and a half of Robyn’s frosting and it was just barely enough to cover my 4 layers.  If not for the ganache, I probably would have been short.  First, I put on a skim-coat of frosting using a large spreader.  Once that set, I put on the final layer.

I assembled my cake on Friday, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then topped it the day of the party.  The frosting was a little crusty in the morning, which I was hoping for.  Don’t ask me why.  I just felt like that little bit of stiffness would help keep the cake up during transport.  Yes, I realize how ridiculous that is.

Pin the frosting recipe here:

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The Topping

I have never in my life made a ganache.  I actually had to look up exactly what it is before making it.  It turns out it’s a mixture of cream and chocolate.  Now you know.

I found a post featuring Miss Katherine Sabbath herself that told me a ganache is a 50/50 mix of cream and melted chocolate, so that’s what I did.  However, I used Wilton Candy Melts for my chocolate and I’m guessing they’re not quite as thick as typical chocolate and my ganache came out too thin.  I was bummed, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone else.

To add the ganache to the cake pour it on top of the cake in the center.  Use a small spreader to gently guide the ganache toward the edge.  Let it drip over the edge slowly.

On top of the ganache Miss O and I dumped on a pile of sprinkles.  They spilled over the side and down onto the counter, which made for a pretty cool effect, and Miss O was thrilled!

Pin the interview post here:

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The Outcome

I’m pretty pleased with how the cake came out, though it’s certainly nowhere near as gorgeous as Katherine’s.  It tasted fantastic and a parent at the party offered to pay me to make a cake for her daughter’s party (which I respectfully declined).

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Would you like to make a gorgeous, professional looking birthday cake for your child or spouse? You don't need to be an expert - trust me! Here's how I, with a little help from Pinterest, made a stunning birthday cake for my daughter's 5th birthday.

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