Homemade Birthday Cake

Today is Lydia's birthday! She is five. We actually celebrated her birthday last weekend because the Miller clan were all here. So, last week I asked her, "What kind of birthday cake do you want?"By "kind" I meant flavor, you know chocolate, white or maybe marble. But "kind" to her meant "What character do you want on it?" Her answer, "Strawberry Shortcake."

In years past we have always bought decorated birthday cakes. The kids have usually picked some sort of character to grace their cake. I have been trying to get away from this habit and make homemade birthday cakes. Store bought cakes aren't cheap and with the number of birthdays we have around here, we can save quite a bit by making our cakes at home. Plus, homemade is just better!

Here we come to the problem though. I can bake, but decorate? Um... not too confident (or willing to try) in that category. Could I really come up with a cake decorated with Strawberry Shortcake? No! But I could make a strawberry shortcake.

I have a set of recipe cards that have very nice pictures. I found one that had a strawberry shortcake recipe. I showed it to Lydia, "How about if we make your whole cake a strawberry shortcake?" She was agreeable.

Strawberry shortcake to me, usually involves some sort of biscuit type cake, but this is different. The cake is one layer of yellow cake with orange peel. There was a recipe, but you could use your favorite and add the grated peel of one orange.

Cut the cake in half.

On the bottom layer scoop on two pints of vanilla ice cream.

Top with 2 pints strawberries. (I used frozen ones packed with sugar.) If you use fresh you will want to put them in a bowl with about 1/3 C sugar and let sit for a little bit before you add to the cake.

Then add whipped cream, the top layer of the cake and more whipped cream. (and birthday candles if it fits the occasion!)

Lydia was satisfied and we all enjoyed the cake. I was happy to not have to buy a cake. I had most of the ingredients on hand. I only had to buy ice cream (which I would have even if I had bought a cake) and cream to make real whipped cream.

I only hope this transition goes as smoothly with the rest of the kids. Vivian's birthday is next. I think she will be agreeable to any kind of cake. (She will turn one!) Maybe a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! YUM!

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