Joe is probably the person I see most in the world other than my husband. We’re neighbours at work and at home. That’s right, he’s in the office next door at work, and lives in the condo below mine. If we ever have an epic rivalry where I decide I can’t stand him, I will have major problems avoiding him.
Luckily, he’s a pretty cool guy. And even better, his wife Erin is even cooler. So when she asked me to make Joe a birthday cake for his surprise party, I was completely on board. Now it was just a matter of figuring out what he’d like.
Because of my weekly baking at work, it wasn’t too hard to find out what Joe’s opinion was without giving away the surprise. I just told him I’d be customizing the weekly baked good to his preferences for his birthday. His response was quick.
Joe is a huge fan of cream soda. However, neither of us were entirely sure how to apply cream soda to a baked good. Joe gave a few more ideas, but the cream soda idea stuck with me. After a few internet searches, I discovered that cream soda in a baked good was relatively uncommon, with one exception. Cream Soda Cake.
However, it was a shortcut cake, which isn’t often my thing. Box cake mix + cream soda + strawberry jell-o + cool whip + instant pudding = cream soda cake. I’m all for convenience, but I avoid shortcut cakes. I find that homemade cakes are just too delicious to use a box!
So I subtracted the box cake and applied a from-scratch yellow cake to it.
And also subtracted the cool whip and instant pudding and added a fluffy light frosting.
But white is boring, especially for a goofy guy like Joe. So I went with green. Green doesn’t get used enough on cake!
The best part about a yellow cake with a surface of bright red jello and bright green frosting?
Before the last layer of frosting goes on, the cake looks like a hamburger! It made me smile.
But the smile faded quickly once the cake was totally frosted. Because it was time to pipe on the birthday message.
I suck at piping.
I really suck at piping.
Don’t believe me? Check out this B.
It’s not wiggly, it’s dancing. Yeah. Dancing. To the Happy Birthday song. Or something. *ahem*.
But it’s cool, it looks fine from afar. Sort of.
Whatever, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Happy Birthday Joe!
Cream Soda Cake
Yellow Cake Recipe from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Frosting Recipe from Allrecipes.com
Yellow Butter Cake
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (300 grams) sifted cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
Cream Soda Soak
- 1 16oz. can of cream soda
- 1 3 oz. box of strawberry jell-o
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food colouring (optional)
- Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Grease two 9-inch x 1 1/2 inch (23 x 4 cm) cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, then grease and flour again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and mix on low-speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk. Mix on low-speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.
- Divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula. (Pans will be about half full.) Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.
- Cream Soda: Mix together cream soda and jell-o. Wait for the cream soda foam to subside (jell-o tends to get suspended in the foam instead of incorporating). Warm mixture slightly if not combining well.
- Pierce warm cake layers all over with a wooden skewer. Pour cream soda mixture slowly over each layer, giving the liquid time to absorb into the cake, making sure to evenly distribute the liquid between the two layers.
- Refrigerate cake layers until cold. (I left it overnight)
- Frosting: In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Whip in food colouring if desired. Frost cake as usual.