Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Homemade Birthday Cake

No eye rollin'.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not difficult to make a birthday cake - nor does it take THAT much time (I prefer cheesecake.)

Over the course of o
ne year, how many cakes do you think you order from your local bakery? Think about it for a second - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, showers. You name it, at any one event there is most likely a cake to be present. Unless you have a REALLY good bakery around, they aren't that tasty anyway (I'm extremely picky when it comes to cake and frosting textures - which is why I prefer cheesecake.)

How much does each one of those cakes cost? Depending on the size, I would say $15 to $25 (and I know many of you pay more than that!) Just in cake alone, does the average family spend $100 to $150 per year? Doesn't sound quite so good anymore, does it? I can think of many other items I would rather spend that amount of money on (like an airline ticket or a night away somewhere - or given to a local charity!)...or a boatload of cheesecake.

If the thought of baking and decorating a cake from scratch freaks you out then follow these easy steps:
  • Pick a theme. Don't go out and buy those fancy little cake topper toys; find them in your kid's room! Army men, Polly Pockets, Monster Trucks - whatever "hard" toys you can find. Wash them up and you are ready to start.
  • Grab yourself a box mix and bake. I prefer to make my cakes all the way from scratch, but when using a box mix, the key is NOT to OVER MIX. It will be hard and rubbery if you do. Many people just mix the batter until it looks "right". No - don't do that. Just follow the directions. If it says mix for 45.78 seconds, then mix for 45.78 seconds.
(Printable coupons for cake mix and frosting can often be found here.)
  • I don't prefer pre-made frosting either - but it does work. Plain and simple - frosting a cake takes practice. If you feel you aren't "very good" at it, then don't do it. Many layered cakes aren't even frosted down the sides. Also, you can use Cool Whip instead of frosting (on more of a non-themed cake.) One of the prettiest cakes I've ever made was a round layered cake, sloppily frosted with Cool Whip (looked like a cloud) with 3 pacifiers placed in the center on the top (for a baby shower.) It barely cost me anything, especially compared to the $25 bakery cake I could have bought.
Here's one I made for my son's birthday, which was an Indiana Jones theme. I used a round cake pan, a loaf pan, a few toys and a little creativity.

Not too bad, right? The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever. That's all that really mattered anyway. Not to mention, it was banana on the inside...mmm...

(Never mind the almost empty bottle of Jack in the's not don't see anything...even though it goes very well with Pecan Rum Cheesecake)

Homemade memories are much better than store bought ones any day!

Post is participating in Thrifty Thursday and Birthday Cake Round-Up


Coupon Teacher said...

Great cakes, I wish I had your talent. I am lucky if my two layer cake isn't crooked!

Miranda said...

Cute cake, love the Indiana Jones theme. One day I'll attempt a real cake. For now I make cupcakes for my kids' birthdays.

I've found that making my own cupcakes from a boxed mix, buying or making some cute cupcake toppers, making my own butter cream frosting, and using a frosting bag with a nice tip is what works best for me. It's minimal effort, cheap, and then i don't have to worry about cutting cakes. Maybe I'm just a lazy mom? I don't know LOL