Birthdays and boyfriends -- the two go together like silly and putty. It's so much fun to fuss over another person. If you are intimately familiar with your boyfriend's likes and dislikes, cooking and baking for him can be not only nurturing but a challenging creative exercise. When it comes to making a birthday cake, letting your creative juices flow will allow you to open your mind to truly original ideas. Bring the brainstorming down to earth only to accommodate preparation time, cost and availability of ingredients.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Find out his favourite foods and flavours. Maybe he is a chocolate fanatic or maybe he favours fruit flavours. If he likes the nuts, maybe he likes the tried-and-true like peanuts or cashews, or perhaps he prefers more exotic nuts such as pine or macadamia. Sentiment can also play a part. Perhaps he has told a story of how loved and comforted he felt when his grandma made him classic burnt-caramel iced cake.
Discover his taste in textures. This may seem offbeat but, for example, if you know he prefers desserts filled with chunks or nuts or even if he prefers chunky to smooth peanut butter, you may be able to accommodate his preference both in the cake itself and the choice of frosting. If, on the other hand, you have seen him enjoy a bowl filled with fluffy whipped cream or meringue or a doughnut filled with custard, head in the opposite direction.
Decide on a flavour and recipe for the cake itself. Sufefire options include devil's food cake, angel food cake, yellow (vanilla) cake and chocolate cake. Other options include carrot cake, rife with shredded carrots and black or white raisins. Or a sour cream cake, with its smooth texture, distinctive flavour and creamy mouthfeel. The intensity of molasses or spice cake can be a sweet surprise to the unsuspecting significant other.
Pick a frosting flavour and texture. Whipped cream, flavoured with vanilla, chocolate, fruit flavours, or spices may be in order to both fill and top the cake. A stiff meringue may also be ideal, its tufts adorned with coconut, mini-chocolate chips or nuts. Cream cheese-based frosting makes the ideal foil to a molasses or spice cake recipe.
Choose a filling. If you are really in love with the element of surprise, consider an interesting filling to contrast with the outer frosting. Try mocha-flavoured custard filling with a yellow, marbled or chocolate cake. Consider strawberries and whipped cream to fill dark chocolate, white or berry-flavoured layers. Lemon curd, either alone or mixed with cream, can be a delightful filling choice for sour cream, spice, yellow or citrus-flavoured cake.
Top it all off with nuts, candies or special decorations. Coarsely chop his favourite type of nut and embed the pieces into the cake's sides, then add a few whole nuts to the cake's top. For another take, chop chilled peanut butter cups, chocolate kisses or chocolate-covered mint candies and press them into the sides of the cake. Embed small pillow mints in assorted colours along the top and bottom outer edge of the cake. If your boyfriend doesn't like surprises, fill a hollow mould with the cake's filling choice, freeze or refrigerate it, remove the mould, and place the moulded bit of filling atop the cake just before serving.
Tips and warnings
- Whipped cream, custard-filled or frosted cakes require refrigeration. If your refrigerator cannot accommodate the size of your cake, frost it just before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers in quarters or slices.
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