I have always baked my kids birthday cakes. I’ll admit, it’s a little bit because I am cheap and don’t want to pay for one, but also because it’s special to me to bake their cake. They are still young and probably don’t think much about the fact that I fuss and try to make their cakes special, but I am hoping that as they grow, it will be a special touch to them each year that their Mommy took the time to bake their cake.
This year, the birthday girl, who turned 4, wanted a Barbie cake. So, Mommy went to work.
I knew that we’d need a colored buttercream frosting to make Barbie’s dress, so the birthday girl and I decided chocolate cake would be best. And not just any chocolate cake. It was going to be Red Velvet cake-a family tradition and my hubby’s favorite. I was so thankful to find a gluten free red velvet recipe that we really liked for my hubby’s last birthday, so I went back to that recipe. I have modified it a bit so it more closely resembles the recipe I was given by my father-in-law as the family recipe. It still needs a bit of tweaking with the oil, so I’ll be playing with the recipe more, but it’s still yummy and passes the taste test.
Barbie cakes require a lot of cake. I made two full recipes to create the cake. I baked one full recipe in my 2 qt. Pampered Chef batter bowl to create the skirt and the other recipe was made into 2 round cakes (I honestly don’t know if mine are 8 or 9-inch pans – they are traditional round pans?) to add height to the cake so Barbie was covered in the cake. I still had a litte gap at the top up to her waist, but frosting helped hide that. The skirt cake gave me a really hard time. The center would NOT set! I don’t know if it was a temperature thing – like I should have baked at a lower temp for longer time? – or what, but after over an hour and 10 minutes, I finally just pulled the cake out. I thought it had finally set, but when I pulled it from the fridge to assemble it the next morning, I discovered the very center was still underdone. No fear though – I cut out the center of the cake, which is where Barbie needed to be anyway! Here’s how I assembled the cake:
Two round layers, stacked, and frosted in between and on top. I also put a little frosting under the bottom layer to help it stick to the cake pedestal.
Then I stacked the skirt on top, “gluing” everything with frosting.
The entire cake got a crumb coat of white buttercream and then went into the fridge to set up for a bit. Let me just say, it was sort of fun sticking Barbie into the cake. ‘Bout time she got a little cake on her thighs. ha ha
The birthday girl wanted purple and pink frosting, so that’s what she got. I used two different Wilton tips to pipe her skirt on. The bottom layers are just more white buttercream that I spread with an off-set spatula – wasn’t going for perfection here. She could have used a bit more frosting around her waist, but I had already made two batches of buttercream, and the birthday girl didn’t seem to mind. Ignore the clashing pinks going on here…it looks a lot worse in the picture than it did in person!
So, there she is. It was worth all the work when I saw how excited my daughter was, and, it tasted good too! Here are the recipes. Let me know if you give them a try!
Red Velvet Cake
1 2/3 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten (room temp)
1 c. brown rice flour
3/4 c. sorghum flour
3/4 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp cider vinegar and 1 c. milk substitute) *I used the vinegar and milk substitution
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring
1/4 cup cocoa
Instructions for 2 round cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Use a mixer to cream oil and sugar. With the mixer still going, add one egg at a time and beat until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated. (This step creates an emulsion that holds the batter together)
3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Make sure they are well mixed, either by sifting the flours or whisking them.
4. Add the flour to the oil and sugar mixture in four parts. Alternate the flour with the buttermilk. You should begin and end with dry ingredients and each part should be mixed in completely before you add the next. (If you were to start with the liquids the emulsion would break.)
5. Make a paste of the cocoa, red food coloring, and vanilla and gently stir it into the batter.
6. Pour the batter into two greased and floured round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes. (A toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake should come out clean when the cake is done)
2 sticks softened butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Splash of milk, as needed (approx. 1 tablespoon is typical)
Food coloring, as needed
1. Beat butter until smooth and fluffy
2. Add vanilla and powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth and proper spreading consistency
3. Add small amounts of milk as needed to get proper smoothness and consistency
4. Add food coloring if wanting colored frosting