Category: alipyper likes birthdays

italian buttercream

In the spring of 1993, Martha Stewart Living magazine published the recipe for a pansy shaped cake that was layers of baked meringue, angel food cake, whipped cream, and blackberries. The cake was frosted with Italian buttercream that was tinted and brushed to look like an actual pansy flower. The minute I saw that cake I knew I wanted to make it. Conveniently, Mother’s Day was the perfect excuse for me to try despite the fact that I had never made any one component of this cake before, except maybe the whipping cream.

alipyper - serving mothers day pansy cake 1993

It was a cake that tested our families provincial palates – we’re Americans with an addiction to too much sweet – but it is still talked about in my family and every so often I have the strong desire to make it again. After my mission, my next big baking project was the Mr.’s birthday in our first year of marriage. I thought I was very clever to combine the Mr.’s favorite flavors of chocolate and raspberry in his cake. I rarely make cakes for the Mr. and the kids birthdays anymore – I just don’t have the energy!

alipyper - basket of raspberries birthday cake 1996

But for his birthday this last Sunday, I again returned to his favorite flavors and made him a dark chocolate cake (using both the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and Magnolia Bakery’s recipe – I couldn’t decide, so I made them both and layered the results!) and raspberry Italian buttercream for the frosting. I was inspired by The Mighty Baker here in Provo and the result was amazing!

alipyper - happy birthday to the mr 2016 abbreviated

The pairing of raspberry buttercream and dark chocolate was pretty darn good. There was no way I was going to throw out the little bit of frosting that was leftover from the cake, so I made my favorite chocolate cut-out cookies and frosted them with the buttercream. Wow. I didn’t have enough frosting to frost the whole batch of cookies – so more buttercream was made!

alipyper - chocolate cutout cookies with italian buttercream frosting

Chocolate Cut-out Cookies

For the raspberry Italian buttercream, I added 2 oz fresh, pureed raspberries (that was pressed through a sieve to remove the seeds) to 1-1/2 cups of buttercream. Use a hand mixer to whip the raspberry puree into the prepared buttercream completely.

For the lemon Italian buttercream, I added 2 Tbsp lemon curd to 1-1/2 cups of buttercream. Use a hand mixer to whip the lemon curd into the prepared buttercream completely.

Cookies should be eaten at room temperature.

esprit folk tunic

alipyper - siena in the garden

alipyper - siena sitting in the garden

alipyper - siena esprit folk tunic

The end of summer has flown by and I feel a little shell shocked and exhausted now that the kids are in school again. {G} had an amazing time in China and I still have a ton of pictures and thoughts to share from her trip. After she got back we took an impromptu family trip to San Diego for my birthday as a last “hurrah!” as a family. Getting {G} ready for her senior year, {I} ready to start high school as a freshman, and {K} ready to start junior high as a 7th grader has been intense! Today was the first day everyone had all-day classes and I just want to sleep for hours in the quiet house.

But I got pictures yesterday of the finished Esprit Folk Tunic I knit for a friend in exchange for both my boys to attend her week long art camp this summer and they are too cute not to share (this is the first of two sweaters I owe her).  Go here to get to the nitty gritty (please insert Nacho Libre voice here) on what yarn I used and how I adjusted the pattern. I’d really like to adjust the math to make an adult version for me. But that will have to be put at the end of a VERY long list of wip’s and other projects that have to take precedence. I wish I had Hermione’s time turner sometimes.

embroidered birthday badge

I’m working with the Young Women in our neighborhood now. We wanted to recognize the girls on the Sunday before their birthdays. I couldn’t really find something that I liked online, so I came up with this.

The badge measures 7″ x 9″ and hangs around the neck like a lanyard (didn’t want a pin or crown or cape to interfere with Sunday best outfits). It’s made from muslin, fabric and felt with a grosgrain ribbon. I actually made two, and might need to make more, just in case we have more than one birthday in a week.

Crocheted flower and leaf pattern here.

Hiking with Birthday Cake

Park City, UT overlook from Millcreek Canyon, Salt Lake City, UT
Turning 40 has been somewhat of a traumatic transition, so I made myself TWO birthday cakes. On the morning of my birthday I ate a piece of Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake for breakfast, packed a piece of chocolate cake to eat for lunch on my hike, and ate another piece before the Mr. and I went out for Indian food for a dinner celebration. 
Did you know that Martha and I share the same birthday? Well. We do.

Eating chocolate cake on your birthday, on a hike, doesn’t count for calories. Right?

Mountain meadow – Millcreek Canyon

The boys and I met my sister and her kids in Salt Lake City and we hiked up Millcreek Canyon to the Park City Overlook – which was so gorgeous! Being in the upper mountain meadow, breathing fresh mountain air, was tremendously cathartic and with every gentle breeze I felt the anxiety and fears of getting older and entering a new chapter in my life float away. It was a very clearing and calming experience. I LOVED being in the mountains on my birthday.

My sister Sarah and I on the hike.

A few days later for our monthly Sunday family dinner, I made a super yummy lemony lemon cake. I was so pleased with how it tasted and I’m now obsessing over lemony desserts! I adjusted this lemon buttermilk cupcake recipe and baked it into two 9″ cake rounds. I then filled the inside layer with fresh lemon curd mixed with sweetened whipped cream and covered the cake with a yummy cream cheese lemon frosting. OH MY GOODNESS! It was yummy. Like super yummy. Like, wake up and eat lemon cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner when it’s not your birthday anymore, yummy.

Please proceed with caution because you might end up eating this whole cake by yourself.

Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F. Makes approximately 7 cups of batter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Butter two 9”x2” round cake pans. Put parchment circles in pans, butter parchment, then flour pans, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and lemon extract. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter. Slowly add sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat until the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, mixing on low and frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is nice and smooth with no lumps, without over mixing. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes before removing cakes to cool completely on wire racks. Double wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, or up to one week.

When you’re ready to frost the cake, remove layers from freezer. Place bottom layer on cake plate. Pipe a thick bead of Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting around edge. Fill the inside with Light Lemon Curd Filling. Carefully place second cake layer on top and cool 1/2 hour in refrigerator.

Remove cake from fridge. Crumb coat the two cake layers with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Return cake to refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Finish frosting the cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Serve completely chilled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 4 cups
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely shredded lemon zest
5 1/2 to 6 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest and two cups of powdered sugar. Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach a spreading consistency.  Frost tops and sides of two 8-inch or 9-inch cake layers.
Light Lemon Curd Filling
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup lemon curd (good quality store brand or home made)
1 cup prepared sweetened whipped cream
Carefully fold lemon curd into whipped cream. Use immediately.

Here’s a link to an easy to print recipe:
Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe

Want to know what to do with the left over Light Lemon Curd Filling? Go here for the easiest and best dessert EVER!