Saturday, June 21, 2008

Emma's Birthday Luau! (Barbie Cake)

Our little hula girl turned 5 a few weeks ago, so the Saturday after preschool ended, we had a Birthday Luau for her! I was temporarily insane, and invited her entire preschool class, plus friends and neighbors. And siblings were invited too. I suppose I should feel lucky that only 20 kids came, with 11 parents. We were panicking on the morning of her party when we woke up to rain. We rented a bounce house for the entire weekend, and didn't have a back up plan! So the morning of the party, when I was supposed to be taking my time, icing the hula barbie cake, Scott and I were clearing the house of any uneccesary furniture, and setting up games for the kids to play inside. LUCKILY, the skies cleared just in time for the guests to start arriving, so the bounce house went up, and the kids went outside! But since I'm a disorganized mess everyday, and our morning plans were changed that day, I was left to finish icing the cake with party guests there.
I made a Hula Barbie Cake, which I found the design plans for on various sites on the internet. It required a cake baked in a big batter bowl (I used my 8 cup Pampered Chef bowl), and 2 layers of a 9" cake underneath. Most recipes were with boxed cake mix, and I wanted to make it from scratch. Emma, aka birthday girl, requested chocolate (for her friend Ella who loves chocolate cake), and white cake for herself. When asked if it could be yellow cake, she said NO - WHITE CAKE PLEASE. So I found a recipe for white cake from Martha's website, and the chocolate cake from the Food Network website. I baked the cakes the night before (TG!) and they turned out pretty well. I think the chocolate cake was a little dry, but I based my recipe selection on what ingredients I had on hand, so no buttermilk or sour cream to moisten the cake. The white cake was way better than I expected - I'll probably make that again! The recipe makes 2 cakes, so I made cupcakes out of the rest of the batter. They weren't the prettiest cupcakes because the crust that is formed on the cake comes apart and you're left with a muffin cup that is pulled off the cake. But they were moist and delicious anyway! Just put extra frosting, and no one will know!
White Cake (for batter bowl portion of barbie cake)

Makes two 9-inch cakes
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
8 large egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter your batter bowl; dust with flour; set aside.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
3. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
4. Divide batter evenly between batter bowl and muffin cups, smoothing with an offset spatula.
5. Bake bowl cake about 50-60 minutes - until cake tester comes out clean. **I had to tent some foil over the bowl after about 40 minutes to prevent the top from getting too brown. Transfer bowl to cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Then invert and the cake should pop out.
6. Bake muffins about 20-30 minutes - until cake tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Layer Cake

2 cups water
1 cup unsweetned cocoa powder
2 (4-ounce) sticks unsalted butter, cold
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, turn off heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Place the rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.
3. Butter 2 (8 by 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with circles of parchment and butter the parchment. Dust them with flour, shaking off excess flour. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cold butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat on slow to combine and raise to medium-high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the butter is almost completely incorporated into the mixture.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the cocoa liquid in 2 additions of each, stopping to scrape the bowl occasionally, mixing just until combined.
6. Evenly divide the batter between the 2 cake pans. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans 10 minutes, then place on wire racks to finish cooling completely.

Vanilla Frosting
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temp.

Assembling Barbie Cake:
Place one layer of chocolate cake on cake stand, and put pieces of wax or parchment paper underneath the cake (so you can pull them away without moving the cake). Ice the first layer of cake. Then place the second layer of chocolate cake on top, and ice the cake. Next put the bowl cake on top and center. **I had to cut the bottom of the cake to level it before I put it on the 9" cakes. Stick some wooden dowels (or wooden skewers like I used!) into the cakes to keep them together, then cut them off at the top so they will be underneath the surface of the cake. I recommend cutting a round hole in the middle of the cake using a bread knife before putting barbie in the cake. I didn't do this, and my cake started splitting apart!! Wrap Barbie's legs in plastic wrap, then stick her in the hole! I also recommend putting her hair up so it doesn't get frosting on it, and wrapping her upper body while icing the bowl cake. This will mean less icing on barbie that has to be cleaned up! Put a layer of icing on the bowl cake. Then fill your icing bag/pastry bag with more icing, put the tip on that you want to use (I had one that make grass, but couldn't find it for the party, so used the ridged tip instead, then used a fork to make grass). To finish it off, I made pink icing and used the star tip to make little flowers to go around Barbie's waist, and on various places on her grass skirt. Then I used the rest of the pink icing on the cupcakes.

I think almost 3/4 of the cake was eaten at the party - I'm glad I made the 2 extra cakes at the bottom.

We enjoyed the cupcakes for the rest of the week. They weren't very pretty - the cupcake wrappers pulled off the cupcake, which was sloppy looking. But they tasted great!


Big Boys Oven said...

Lovely, lovely such a besautiful cake, adored by those children, such a memorable birthday party, well done to you! :)

Shelly said...

wow, what a gorgeous cake! We are hosting a party for our adopted neice who will be turning 5 next month. I am going to try this as she is a big barbie fan and your directions are simple to understand!