Summer to me is a time to celebrate – the weather, memories, childhood reminiscences and then, birthdays. In our small household of two, we sort of trip over and follow each other. It’s the blink and we’re there kind of feeling.
So much for a primer on personal birthdays! This year marked an important decade in my husband’s journey; he turned 30. The midnight cake cutting has become a custom we almost always follow. For this year’s birthday cake I decided to go the extra mile and dress up my go to cake. Strawberries and blueberries accompanied by a filling made with greek yogurt pudding, strawberry preserve and vanilla icing, had us licking our fingers clean. Yes, sometimes boasting about your own handiwork is justified 🙂
The cake isn’t the only thing I am proud of, the DIY cake stand was another last-minute stroke of brilliance (I think so!). Well, at least at that time it was. So, here is my idea.
Make you own DIY- Wine Lover’s cake stand
Things you’ll need:
1 dinner plate
1 flower vase
Wine corks (optional)
Decorations (as per theme)
We started collecting wine corks over 2 years ago, maybe even before that. Ever since we’ve begun drinking wine and have started appreciating its complexity and beauty, most occasions have been graced by at least one type. Borrowing from a ritual a friend practised, some of these are dated as souvenirs. So, I had this vase ready and waiting to be put centre stage. In case this isn’t your hobby, then use potpourri to fill up a vase at hand or coloured paper ribbons, confetti; fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges or tangerines for a citrus mix or a mix of berries. If using fresh fruit, be sure to remove them from the container at the earliest and refrigerate or use shortly after. For starter households with a shortage of all kinds of serve ware, this is a simple solution. Come to think of it a cake stand is not used too often.
Now for the berry berry birthday cake.
Prep time: Baking: 45 minutes, Decor & presentation: 20 minutes.
- Vanilla cake (Best two egg cake)
- 1 Greek yogurt pudding (optional)
- 1/2 cup Strawberry preserve
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh strawberries
- 1 cup vanilla icing (store-bought)
To start with I baked a plain, vanilla cake. Find the recipe and directions here.
Once the cake is baked, i.e. a toothpick or a skewer comes clean when inserted in the center of the cake, let it cool. Keep a plate on the mouth of the cake tin and flip it over. I have a springform cake mould. These are the kind with a border that locks and can be loosened to remove. The plate remains as the base. So, I let the cake cool for a few minutes, then use a butter knife to run along the sides to separate it from the walls and then open the mould. Finally, flip it on a plate along with the base, keeping your hand firm. Once again use a butter knife or a silicon spatula to separate the cake from the base. This care will ensure the cake doesn’t break.
Then use a serrated knife to slice the cake into two disks, right in the middle, laterally. The idea is to have two slices to lay one over another, like a sandwich.
Next, mix the pudding and refrigerate it while you spread jam on the cake. I used a greek yogurt instant pudding mix. But, you can use flavoured fruit yogurt or plain custard. Simpler still is the option of using jam alone. The pudding adds some moisture.
While making cake sandwiches it is important to be careful about the amount of filling. Too much and you will have a mushy mess on your hands.
After putting on about a quarter-inch of filling I topped it with the other piece of cake.
If you are using store-bought icing, as I was, keep it out of the fridge until it reaches room temperature. The icing softens and makes it easier to spread.
While the icing warms up, get your fruit ready. I used 2 cups of blueberries and about 1 1/2 cups strawberries. Wash and strain the fruit and pat them dry with a paper or a kitchen towel. Then start slicing the strawberries. Make incisions diagonally moving from crown, just under the leaves until the tip. Do not cut through. You want to keep them intact on the top so that they can be spread, gently, like a fan.
Next is the fun part. Using a butter knife spread the icing on the cake, all over the top and the sides. The layering doesn’t need to be perfect or even. The homemade feel of little crowns here and there lends character to the piece.
Once the icing is done, place the fruit. I put blueberries all around the base of the cake, I rather like their pearl like appearance. The strawberries fanned out around the outer diameter, filled in with blueberries and finally the center finished off with more strawberries.
This cake can sit in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve and celebrate. I had to be very clandestine about it all, since I was making it at home and the husband had unpredictable timings: doctors on call! If you need to keep it in the fridge, keep it on the lowest shelf. Use the bread loaves, milk and juice bottles to keep it hidden. Place the stand and lay the table when the time is right.
And an extra little something with this post.
The party carried forth at another venue where we put together a beer cake. Well, truly it was our good friends, Aman and Ankita, who obliged my indulgent self and created a beer tower cake for hubby, who is a beer lover and connoisseur. A neat idea and very easy to do. You need about 2 dozen beer bottles and cans. Keep same sized bottles for one level, top with a cake base or plate; you can find these at hobby stores. Or use stainless steel/ aluminium plates. Then onto the next level, reducing the number. On the top keep 3 or 4 bottles of varying heights to create some visual interest. That’s it! Decorate with ribbons, confetti, messages, whatever you please.
P.S. Keep a few in the fridge to get started!
Hope you enjoy these ideas!
Drop in a line. ❤️