Bake that Birthday cake yourself

Birthday cakes have been a requisite part of birthday parties since at least Roman times, when the emperors offered cake all around on their birthdays. But it takes just two to make a birthday party—two people and a cake!

A birthday cake, dedicated and sung over, is a big deal. It may be the magic of icing and candles that people remember best, but a birthday cake is crucial for the celebrant. Cakes are easy to make and fun. The following triple-tested, tried-and-true, birthday cake recipes are from Old Farmer Almanac — each worth a chorus of ooohs and aaahs:


Kids’ style 

Chocolate Cake

This cake eliminates waiting turns for pieces to be cut from the birthday cake at a high-energy children’s party. Every kid gets a cupcake and the “mountain” gets squeals of excitement when it appears, chocolate-frosted, decorated with M&Ms and colored sprinkles, and blazing with candles. The recipe is an easy yellow cake; use paper liners for the muffin tins.


1/2 cup butter

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-1/4 cups flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare muffin tins with liners. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Fork-sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk to the creamed ingredients until well mixed. Fill 15 liners 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes or until cupcakes are brown on top and test done with a toothpick.
 Cool and frost with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. 

When the frosting is dry, arrange cupcakes in 3 or 4 tiers, building a pyramid that is a cake of cupcakes. Begin with 7 cupcakes arranged in a circle on the bottom. Scatter this layer with M&Ms. Then add a tier of 4, then 3, then 1. Scatter M&Ms and sprinkles to decorate. When serving, keep a knife handy to respread any frosting that sticks to the bottom of the liners. 

Makes 15 cupcakes


Chocolate Butter

Cream Frosting

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/4  teaspoon salt

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add butter and stir until blended. Pour into a mixing bowl. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and salt alternately with a few drops of milk at a time until frosting reaches the proper consistency. Beat in vanilla.



Angel Food

You can really cheat with this “homemade” cake and begin with a store-bought angel food cake — or buy an angel food cake mix. Adorn it with fresh berries. 

Bake and cool one angel food cake according to directions. Remove from pan and slice crosswise into 3 layers. Spread frosting between each layer and cover sides and top of cake with it. Chill before cutting.
             Serves 10


Filling and Frosting:

1 teaspoon gelatin

1 tablespoon hot water

1 cup thick raspberry jam

1 pint whipping cream

In a mixing bowl stir gelatin into hot water and continue stirring until dissolved. Stir in raspberry jam. When partially set, whip the cream and fold into jam.