Saturday 13 October 2007

A Birthday Cake

Baked a small birthday cake for my niece a few days ago. Apparently, I didn't do a good job at decorating it :(

I find it so difficult to make the cake surface smooth. Although I do not have a cake decorating stand, I could still manage to get the sides quite smooth and even (by placing the cake on a cooling rack and turn it, while holding the palette knife at the side). However, I have no luck for the top matter how hard I tried, there was still the impression of the palette knife all over :'(

My niece loves this Cinnamoroll, one of the many Sanrio characters. I tried piping some melted chocolate over a Cinnamoroll picture with the intention of using it as a chocolate transfer. Well it didn't work, even though I have chilled the chocolate to let it set, it refused to stick onto the cake surface. As I didn't have the patience and time to make another one, I piped the character free-hand! Quite a daring act, hehe! As a result, Cinnamoroll appeared to have over eaten, hence, the puffy looking chins, and his ears were totally off!

I guess the girl wouldn't mind, and proceed to pipe the words. It was only after piping the word 'happy', I realised that there wasn't enough space for the word 'birthday'! No choice, I got to settle with a short-form! I was only a little cheered up after I managed to pipe on the little blue stars...I would love to make those weaving patterns, but as of now, I can only do the stars. The stars really helped dress up the cake a little.

This time, I used another sponge cake recipe as I only wanted to make a 18cm cake. The sponge layer tasted good...soft and fluffy.

The only thing I could console myself was that the middle layer was filled quite nicely this time.

The cake certainly tasted good, judging by the fact that 1 adult and 3 kids could finish half the cake in a set!

(make a 18cm round cake)

3 eggs, bring to room temperature
90g caster sugar
100g cake flour
20g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh milk (I used low-fat fresh milk)
2 ~ 3 drops of vanilla extract

filling & frosting:
1 cup non-dairy whipping cream
1 can peach slices

  1. Sift cake flour, set aside. Melt butter, set aside. Grease and line a 18cm round pan. Position rack at the lower bottom of the oven. Pre-heat oven to 170degC.

  2. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on HIGH speed for about 5 to 7mins, until the batter double in volume and is ribbon-like (the batter should leave a ribbon-like texture when the beater is lifted up). Turn to LOW speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Whisking at low speed helps to stabilise the air bubbles in the batter.

  3. Sieve over the sifted cake flour in 3 separate additions, into the batter. With a spatula, gently fold in the flour each time the flour is added. Take care not to deflate the batter.

  4. With a spatula, mix about 1/3 of the batter with the melted butter in a separate bowl. Fold in this mixture into the remaining batter. This method will help to ensure the butter will be fully blended and at the same time will not deflate the batter.

  5. Add in fresh milk and vanilla extract, and fold in gently with spatula, until well blended.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently give the pan a few bangs on a work surface to release air bubbles that are trapped in the batter. Bake for 30 ~ 35 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Unmold, invert the cake on cooling rack and cool completely.
Assemble the cake
  1. With an electric mixer, whip the non-dairy whipping cream still stiff.

  2. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Brush the surface of the sponge layers with the syrup from the canned peach slices. This helps to keep the sponge layers moist.

  3. Place one layer of the sponge cake on a cake plate/board. With a palette knife, spread some whipped cream evenly over the layer. Arrange 2 concentric rings of peach slices on the sponge layer. Fill with some more whipped cream and spread it evenly all over. Top with the second cake layer.

  4. Spread the whipped cream over the top and side of the cake. Decorate as desired.
Recipe source: adapted from 点心达人, 轻松学 /小川智美著


Anh said...

I think the cake looks great, even if the surface is not as smooth as you want! I like the design a lot!

Anonymous said...

Lovely cake! I think the cross section looks especially enticing :)

Small Small Baker said...

I like the thick filling and the little blue stars. Looks so yummy!

zhengning said...

Yup! The cake looks good especially when you see the layers le haha.

how did you even the surface till so smooth?? Any tips? Haha, i always failed mine~ :(

Unknown said...

Hee, I think the cartoon looks cute! Btw, can I ask did you make the cream sauce for the pasta from scratch? Can I know how you make the sauce?

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks Anh for your kind words :)

Hazel, Lousy Baker, I like the filling too :)

Hi Zhengning, no,I didn't manage to get the top surface very smooth, it was very difficult, the more I try the worst it got,lolz!

Hi Jace, I like Cinnamoroll too...have drawn a few with pencil and paper for my boy to colour...he likes it too! but he prefers his brother, Milk ;p
Which pasta dish are u referring to, is it the mushroom angel hair dish? for that post, I made it with canned soup...I've also tried making it from scratch with fresh cream. Will email a recipe from a cookbook to u later.

Anonymous said...

the cake looks absolutely yummy!

Anne said...

The cake is so cute. Your sponge cake looks so soft and fluffy and you layered it really well :)

Anonymous said...

I like that the cake gives a very cheerful feel and u did very good job in sandwiching the feeling, I doubt I can do that! And you pipe that using freehand? *clap clap clap*

Anonymous said...

Nice! So sweet, light blue stars on white and the colourful sprinkles.
How come the choc transfer didn't work, do you know? What did you use to copy the picture on? Always good to learn from other people!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anne, thanks! This sponge cake recipe is quite good...the cake turned out very well, I was able to bake it within the recommended time, and the crust was not over baked, just nice :)

Elyn, haha, I was able to do it free hand, as I had 'experience' drawing the character with pen & pencil...I handmade a Cinnamoroll pinata for my niece's birthday last year, so I roughly know how to go about it. nothing to be proud off lah ;)

hi Kat, I piped the choc transfer on a parchment paper...I believe I didn't give enough time for the chocolate to it stuck on to the parchment paper, and when I tried to invert it over the cake, it simply refused to budge ;p I am not going to give up, will try it again next time!

Anonymous said...

I think it looks really cute! Ur freehand is very good! The inside looks so yummy!! Personally I also find it very hard to get a smooth surface that's why I always cover my cake surface with sprinkles or piping to hide all the problem area..hehe..

小敏 said...

A very nice birthday cake...I guess is the "thought and love of baking" make it so tasty!! Keep it up!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I can't pipe to save my life, so I admire your talent, sweetie!

Anna said...

I can't believe you're so negative about this cake -- I'd be over the moon to receive it!

Love the cross-section especially!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

Hah! Looks like another winner here ~~
By the way, I m just wondering, which texture is better here? as compared to "Peach Layered Sponge Cake"

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi BlurMommy, yes, I too rely on sprinkles, sponge fingers and whatever I can think of, to do the cover-up ;p

Min@faith, thanks so much for your encouragements :)

dear Pat, me too, I can't pipe, was just playing around with the cream =)

Indigo, hehe, I think it's because I really wanted to do something nice for my niece, and I think I didn't do justice to Cinnamoroll, which is such an adorable character :D

Hi Denise, I would say both are about the same. Just that this recipe caters to a smaller 18cm cake, and it uses

melted butter instead of oil. I looked thru my past photos, and did notice some difference...the cake crumbs for the peach layered sponge cake appeared to be 'bigger' while the ones for this birthday cake appears to be more fine, and compact.

Anonymous said...

how do you sprinkle the hundreds and thousands evenly on the side of the cake? won't they all fall onto the table or something? haha i wanna try doing that too, but i'm afraid i may spill the hundreds and thousands everywhere!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Stacie, I place some hundreds & thousands on a plate, hold the cake with my left hand above the plate, and sprinkle them onto the side with my right hand. The plate will catch whatever that spills over. If you have a cake decorating stand, it will be much easier.

Anonymous said...

hihi! Ur freehand still looked v good! I oso tried last time using choc for trf but never never succeded! Next time u do it can pls share?

I oso use free-hand but I found another way which helped..I used edilble markers to trf the design on rice papers and cut off the excess. Put on top on iced cake and pipe away!The rice paper will melt into the cream. Try it next time! :)

Anonymous said...

okay! thanks a lot! i will try that some time soon. btw, i tried baking the jam-filled muffins, and everyone said they were good. thanks for posting the recipe!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Cataleya, thanks so much for the tips! will sure try it if I can get the rice paper :)

Hi Stacie, glad to hear that you like the jam-filled muffins =)

InspiredMumof2 said...

Your bakes and pictures look great and tempting. Will return for more ;-)

Anonymous said...

hey i read somewhere for a smooth surface after applying a coat of cream take a piece of wax paper and put it on the cake and smooth out with your hands and then remove it... tho i havent tried it myself..

Janice said...

Heyy :D
I love your cake up there & I tried making one myself.
But somehow, when I made it the cake didn't rise at all and it was flat like a pancake.
Was it because I didn't use fresh milk or for some other reason? =/

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Janice, I don't think it's the problem with the fresh milk. I guess it's the beating of the eggs. Did u beat until the batter almost double/triple in volume? and when u lift up the beater, the batter should leave a ribbon like trail? as there is no baking powder used in this cake, it relies solely on the beaten eggs to rise. Do provide more details on how u went about making the sponge cake so that I can have a better guess on what went wrong.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the late reply.
I did beat the batter until it double in volume but im not sure what a ribbon like trail is suppose to look like. =X
however, i am also thinking that what I did wrong was I beated the egg yolk and egg white separately.
Im thinking of baking this cake again tomorrow.
thanks for your help ;D

Anonymous said...

Urms i saw a video on a website whereby she use another frosting..(not sure what frosting) she put in the freezer and harden the frosting then she used a paper towel and smooth the surface by pressing the impression and it can be use on the side of the cake as well...and if there's design on the paper towel , the frosting will have some design on it too

momo said...

Hello I am trying to bake a bday cake too but I am wondering if it's ok to use an all - purpose flour instead of cake flour?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi momo, it is best to use cake flour for baking a sponge cake, although you can still try with plain flour, but the texture may not be as satisfactory.

momo said...

Thanks!!! Cos I have got a lot of All - Purpose Flour left from the last experiment, so thinking to complete the mix. Nice work!

applemint_jackie said...


Anonymous said...


How big is 18cm round pan?
Can replace with any other square pan?
What size?


Happy Homebaker said...

A 18cm round pan has got a diameter of 18cm. You can replace with other square pan, but depending on the size, you may get a 'shorter' or a 'taller' cake, and you may need to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homebaker,

You are very talented and your husband and sons are so fortunate!


Anonymous said...


I'm new and want to learn from you on baking!
Forgive me as I have many silly questions to ask.

1) 'Melt butter' Does that means I need to bring the butter to melt it under fire?
2) 'Grease and line a 18cm round pan' How do you do that? what does line means?
3) 'Take care not to deflate the batter' What does this means?
4) 'whip the non-dairy whipping cream still stiff' What does stiff means? How many mins?
5) Where can I buy a palette knife in Spore?
6) Any idea what will the cost be?
7) How tall is your sponge cake? (before Assemble the cake)
8) Your cake has 1 layer of cream inside, how tall is your cake? Can I have it 2 layers?

Thank you.

Happy Homebaker said...

1) yes, melt the butter over low heat so that it becomes liquid. leave to cool before using.
2) use a little bit of butter (not melted) grease the base and sides of the pan. Cut parchment paper (baking paper) and line it on the base and sides of the pan. You need to grease the pan so that the parchment paper can 'stick' to the pan.

Alternative, for the sides, grease with butter, dust with some flour to coat the sides (knock out any excess). This way, you need not line the sides with the parchment paper. but , you still need to grease the base and line it with parchment paper.

There are many online step by step instructions with illustrations to show you how to go about lining a baking pan, just google and you will be able to find many useful information and tips.

3) when folding the flour to the batter, do it gently and quickly so that the air/volume of the eggs and sugar mixture will not be deflated. Sounds like you may not know the technique of google for video instructions for the right method of Folding. It is difficult to explain in words.

4) Whip the non dairy cream until the mixture thickens, becomes spoonable not runny. I dont have the specific time (most recipes I follow dont include it)...probably takes about 2 to 3mins on medium to high speed.

5) u can get it in Phoon Huat

6) not too sure about the exact price, a few dollars...not more that $5, I think.

7) Sorry, I dont measure the finished cake. Maybe around 5-6cm?

8) You can have 2 layers of, slice the sponge cake into three layers. The resulting cake will be taller.

I will like to recommend that you borrow baking books from the library to get yourself familiar with the basic knowledge of baking. For self taught bakers, the learning curve is much longer, unless you attend baking classes...took me more than a year of making simple cakes like cookies and muffins before I had the courage to make a sponge cake, I am a slow learner! There are also many video clips on baking, just google for it in youtube...and baking sites such as or provides very useful info and tips.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Maybe i'm too ambitious. I'll go library to find some books. Thank you for your kind advise.
You are never selfish to share. Would love to be able to bake like you one day!

Thank you once again! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I baked this cake a few days ago.
I thought it was a success....
till we tried it the next day, it was not soft and fluffy. It was a bit hard.

I baked in the night and stored in the fridge without any box. We ate only the next day after dinner.
Can you tell me what went wrong?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi SOLH, I suspect the eggs and sugar batter was not beaten to the right stage...did you beat the mixture until it turns pale, thickens, triple in volumen and leaves a ribbon like trail when you lift up the whisk? If you have done this step right, the cake should rise nicely upon baking, to around 2" height (without the layering and frosting).

When you layer (cut into horizontal layer) the cake, how does the texture feel like? The sponge layer should feel light and fluffy...not dense.

If you have stored the frosted cake without covering, for one night, it should be ok. The syrup that is used to brush the layers should be able to keep the sponge layer moist. I usually keep my frosted cake covered in a plastic cake container.

Fi Fi said...

Hi HH,
I tried this cake recently for my friend's Bday, however it didn't turn out satisfactory, in fact it was harder than kueh!

First, I used all-purpose flour as I didn't hv cake flour. Then when applying the whipped cream, it started to 'melt' and was so messy....So I placed the cream in the fridge a while b4 applying assemble the cake.

Then I realize the cream started to give way again probable due to the room temp. So I put the whole cake in the fridge for 3-4hrs before cutting. Guess that was a mistake as the cake was hard and the texture was not at all fluffy. Quite embarrassing as the cake was nice to look only.. :(

I would like to know:
1. Do you keep your creaming cake at room temp or fridge?
2. How do I bake a moist and fluffy cake?
3. How do I make those whipped cream that can stay at room temp?
4. What could have caused a 'kueh-like' cake?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Fi Fi
There could be several reasons why your sponge cake was not light and spongy.

Did u beat until the batter almost double/triple in volume? and when u lift up the beater, the batter should leave a ribbon like trail? as there is no baking powder used in this cake, it relies solely on the beaten eggs to rise.

What about the folding of the flour to the batter? Did you fold or simply stir? You could have deflated the batter if the folding is not correctly. The finished batter should be thick and not thin and runny. It should fill up to at least 80% of a 18cm pan. you can google for demo video on how to go about folding the flour, or u can take a look at my video clip here ( which is on making a roll can take a look at the consistency of the finished batter.

Storing the cake in the fridge will not turn it hard or dry if you have already frosted it. The brushing of syrup on the sponge layer will help keep the cake moist.

All cakes frosted with whipping cream have to be kept in the fridge before serving...just like any store bought cakes frosted with cream. The cake will not melt away if left in the room temperature for less than an hour.

hope this help and wish you success in your next attempt.

Luther King said...

Gosh that an hell of a Cake and peaches in the middle whoa it is so good for aBirthday Cake. Thank you for the recipe