My middle daughter’s 6th birthday was last week. When your income is low children’s birthdays can be somewhat stressful guilt-riddled affairs. I had gifts for her purchased off of clearance racks (she LOVES clothes…particularly dresses) and a toy purchased at an extreme discount after the holidays. That left the cake.
I didn’t want to buy a cake from the grocery store or have it made at a bakery…don’t get me wrong, those cakes are typically beautiful or fun, we just don’t have the money to blow on a cake. I also didn’t want to just bake a cake and slap on a container of store bough frosting, even though that may have been the cheapest route. Instead I decided to make my own fancy cake for my daughter who loves everything pretty and all things blue.
Problem is, I’m not a cake decorator…I am not even crafty. I did try to take a cake decorating class several years ago. One class was attended before life got in the way and kept me from finishing; however, I kept the gear. Sure I have used the tips and icing bags to throw a swirl of frosting on a cupcake but, I have never tried to make something…well…something pretty.
I am NOT writing this as a tutorial; you can find plenty of those on Pinterest written by people who actually know what they’re doing. I am writing this to encourage you to try something new. As you know I am tired of ordinary, and that extends to birthday cakes. So with the desire for extraordinary in mind I set out to give my daughter a beautiful cake on her birthday.
I bought a Duncan Hines white cake mix for $1.
The stove top and oven in the house we are renting is SUPER janky. These cakes were, in fact, baked at the same time…no matter, they worked and the texture of both were actually very soft and moist.
The buttercream frosting recipe I used is actually the best one I have come across so far, it was easy to work with and it actually had a good taste. The most expensive ingredient was the butter, but, I purchased everything at Aldi so nothing was too outrageous. As a side note the powdered sugar from Aldi is very fine so it is great to work with and doesn’t leave a grainy texture.
I did double the frosting recipe to ensure I had enough. The middle layer of frosting I left white.
I put a thin coat of the frosting on the entire cake.
The very bottom of the cake was the darkest shade of blue, as I went up the cake I added in more white frosting to the blue mix to make it lighter and lighter.
As you can see it is not perfect…it is not professional…if I had it to do over again I would make the ombre effect more extreme, but it was not just “ordinary”, and it made a 6 year-old feel very special on her birthday.
Don’t be afraid to jump outside your comfort zone in order to make life better.