60th Birthday Cake

My  dad is turning 60 today, so I wanted to make a fancy  cake for his birthday.

I chose a 6″ cake, but I made it a four layer cake. For my previous four-layer cakes, I’ve actually just cut two layers in half to make the four layers, but I decided I wanted to try a tall cake this time so I baked four full layers of cake.

The layers came out fully done but a little soft, so I think next time I’ll increase the baking time even more. My oven is still giving me some trouble, and I’m still baking for longer than my recipes specify, but I suppose I should extend that time even longer. Normally I really like having moist cake layers, but I was moving this cake around and it kept getting stuck to my spatula!

My dad chose a chocolate cake (I think we all pick chocolate cake for our birthdays in this family). We are pretty consistent with our choice of chocolate with orange icing, but I gave my dad the option of a dulce de leche buttercream and he decided to give it a try. I really like adding caramel to buttercream, it gives it a great golden colour.

I tried to stay fairly thin with the icing this time. I’ve written before about my parents preferring to go light on the icing, but on the last cake I made for them I still went a little thick on the buttercream. So I aimed for a higher cake-to-icing ratio. Hopefully this will be better for my parents!

After coating the cake in buttercream, I put the cake in the freezer. Here’s where I made a small mistake, in that I didn’t leave it long enough. There was a heat wave this weekend and I think it was up to the mid-30s on Sunday when I was decorating the cake, so my buttercream was very soft (and, as I said, the cake layers were a bit moist too). I should have set it longer before the next stage.

I decided to do a partial mirror glaze om this cake. Ove been playing around with chocolate mirror glazes recently and I love the look and the flavour. I’ve been getting better at making a smooth glaze (the key is straining, blending, and straining), so I’m getting better mirror finishes each time I try.

One the cake had been in the freezer fir a few minutes, I took it off the cake board and set it on a rack over a baking sheet. I tried to pour the glaze over the less neat side of buttercream to hide any flaws.

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As you can see from the picture above, I also took my tiny number cookie cutters and poured in some mirror glaze using a squeeze bottle. I let the glaze partially set before removing the cookie cutters.

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I had some leftover buttercream at the end, so I added a shell border along the bottom edge. This also helped cover up some minor breakage in the cake; I managed to pull a bit of cake and buttercream out while transferring the cake from the rack to the cake board (the spatula got stuck). Next time I want o freeze my cake until it’s a little more solid before doing this step.

Overall, though, I’m quite pleased with this cake and I love how shiny the mirror glaze looks!

As a bonus, I made some cookies for my dad. He’s a mathematician, but he also made the mistake of telling me that he didn’t want to make a big deal about this birthday, so I made some cookies with equations that all add up to 60 as a bit of a joke (“Well technically, dad, I didn’t write out your age on them…”):

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Even if he doesn’t enjoy  my sense of humour, I’m sure he’ll enjoy eating these 🙂

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