Sunday, December 11, 2011


For the past 3 years, I have made the birthday cake for the boys I was a nanny for. I made a sea themed cake, a Wonder Pets cake, a Dinosaur cake and this year the theme was Pirate Mickey! In the past, I've spent countless hours thinking of the cake, drawing it out, then finally baking and decorating. Time was never as issue for me until this year. My mom came over to help out with Hayden, but a child needs his momma and I had to take frequent breaks to coo with him. Speaking of Hayden, my friend got mad at me for not sharing a picture of him a couple posts back, so here he is. This is one of my favorites.

The boys wanted a pirate ship cake complete with a flag, treasure chest, dolphin and sea turtle cupcakes. They wanted Donald Duck, Minnie and Pluto there too. Well I just couldn't commit to doing that this year so I did a dessert table instead. Yes, that's still a lot of work but it was broken up over the course of two days and I wasn't spending the bulk of my day decorating with mouse ears. I made a 9-inch Mickey Mouse cake as well as Oreo cupcakes, sugar cookie bars, a Giant m&m cookie and rice krispy treats. Today I will share the recipes for the cake and the cupcakes.

The main birthday cake was vanilla buttermilk cake with strawberry jam between the layers and iced in cream cheese frosting. The Micky decoration is made up of fondant. This is the same recipe I've made every year and the kids' mother just loves it and requests it every time. I've shared this recipe before but there's now a printable link below. The cupcakes start off with Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" cake recipe. I intended to put chopped up Oreos in the batter but forgot about it until I had already stuck them in the oven. Perhaps you can give that a try. The frosting was a basic buttercream with finely chopped Oreos in it. I used a mixture of shortening and butter for the frosting for flavor and stability. It was light and creamy, wasn't too sweet and really did taste like an Oreo. I'll be making these again!

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cupcakes

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  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups and set aside.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Makes about 24-30 cupcakes.

Oreo Buttercream from Monica H

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 14 Oreos, finely crushed in food processor

In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, vanilla, and milk.

Add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is achieved, anywhere between 3 and 4 cups. Mix in crushed Oreos until well combined.

If your frosting is too thick, add a tad more milk to thin. If it's too thin to pipe with, add more sugar until it's the texture you want.

This is enough buttercream to frost a layer cake or about 30 cupcakes.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

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Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing bowl, add the vanilla and ¼ cup of the buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients, and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the three prepared pan.

Bake the cake layers for 28 to 32 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners and let cool completely.

NOTE: This can be made in 3 9-inch pans, but the baking times will vary slightly, so keep an eye on them.


Jo Romero said...

Fantastic! Love the Oreo frosting on the cupcakes too, great idea!

Memória said...

I felt like a celebrity when you mentioned me even though you didn't include my name haha. Thank you for putting little Hayden on this post, and don't you EVER forget to put him on subsequent posts every again LOL. He looks soooooooooooo precious. My hearts bursts and breaks into pieces every time I see him and his eyelashes and pouty lips haha.

That cake looks unbelievably lovely and so professional. I'm so impressed and jealous of your cake decorating skills. I must try out that vanilla buttermilk cake. The amount of eggs it requires is crazy! I bet it's so good, though.

Happy birthday to the little boys! It's so nice of you to continue baking for them. I'm sure they (including the mom) look forward to it every year.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I,love thjat you are still baking for these special little boys in your life. Can't wait to see Haydens first birthday cake:D

Unknown said...

FANTASTIC work! I love baking my kids birthday cakes!

Miranda said...

Those cupcakes look amazing! I can not wait to try them out!!!

Janet said...

I know I'm not the first to say this but I want my turn (darn-it!)... Your cupcakes, (and EVERYTHING you do, including and especially Hayden) are perfect. WOW!

I miss you - I miss our chats, but good Lord I am thrilled for the reason that takes you away from the time we used to spend chit-chatting together! xxoo

the wild magnolia said...

Yummy recipes, holiday bling simplified, one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

They look so delish, the cupcakes, cake..How you find time to do all you do and still be & adore, love your baby Hayden is really amazing, congrats upon your baby again..Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of New Years to you, hubby and baby doll Hayden.You are such a sweet, loving momma!!!!!

vanillasugarblog said...

oh girl the baby picture is just precious.
you have a wonderful life now--so happy for you.

From the Kitchen said...

That table looks delicious but not as delicious as that sweet baby boy! I'd just love to get my hands on him for a cuddle!!


Heather at Kitchen Concoctions said...

What a cute dessert table. I love the Mickey cake. And that adorable Hayden is just too precious for words!

Mona said...

LOVE this post!!! The cupcakes look yum!!
That little man of yours ....... Hayden is getting cuter everyday : )

Foodiewife said...

That boy has some lips! They are precious ones, at that! The buttermilk cake has me intrigued. So much, that I'm saving this recipe. You have a gift, girl, of making pretty food. Kudos to you that are still managing to blog, because Hayden is a lot of work, I am sure. It's fun watching him grow!

Mini Baker said...

look at those lips!! I wish i had those! your cupcakes look delicious :)

tamilyn said...

He is so adorable I want to eat him up! You are going to have such a fun Christmas with that adorable little boy!! Enjoy!

Janice said...

Hey Monica! I made your chocolate cupcakes w/ Oreo buttercream for my son's Employee Dessert Contest last Friday. He won 2nd Place!! The prize was a Wilton Baking Set which will be put to very good use because you are such an inspiration! Thank You! for sharing your baking expertise and pics of the Most Adorable Baby in the World!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous table my love! You did so good with that cake!!

Alisha said...

I've made these cupcakes a couple of times and they always turn out perfect! I recently made this batter into a 3 layer circle cake with your peanut butter buttercream and it turned out really good. I mixed crushed up reeses into the buttercream between the layers and it was yummy!

Anonymous said...

I made these the other day, and my family loved them! I've always enjoyed cake, but I am thankful for the portion control that cupcakes provide. LOVE this blog!

Anonymous said...

Just made these and they were a big hit! The frosting is delicious (I used 1 part Crisco and 3 parts butter). I added some crumbs to the batter before baking and it worked nicely - they stayed well distributed throughout the cupcake. I think next time I might even sprinkle a few more crumbs on top after frosting. Such a great recipe! Thanks for sharing :) Colleen

Cake delivery Philippines said...

Cute cake!=)

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