There’s been no shortage of celebration around here. With the school year ending, Mother’s Day, my anniversary, and a few family birthdays, we have been partying non-stop. Honestly, it’s been wonderful and exhausting. I’m simultaneously excited for a lull in our calendar and chomping at the bit to begin planning Charlie’s 3rd birthday. That’s kinda just how things work in our house, and I’m positive I’m not alone in that boat. There are certain types of people who live to honor the everyday (and not-so-everyday!) occasions. If that’s you, you’re going to love today’s post. I’m sharing a terrific half birthday cake tutorial and recipe in honor of this week’s celebration, the half birthday of my first book, Her Daily Bread. Cheers!
Say it with me: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Yes, my baby book is already 6 months old. Writing, editing, and releasing the book was such a labor of love that the aftermath has had a few baby blues attached to it. What should I be doing to help the book along? What in the world do I do next? Like any beginner in most things, I’m just kinda feeling this whole thing out, and that means occasional uncertainty and a few wobbly steps. The truth is, I probably haven’t done this all perfectly, so I’m currently focused on two things: first, learning from this experience in hopes that next time (PLEASE LET THERE BE A NEXT TIME!!) I’ll do it even better, and second, celebrating where I am in the process. So that’s us today: celebrating the process.
Half Birthday Cake
Today marks a half of a year with my book, and we’re celebrating with a half birthday cake. For a long time now, I have loved the idea of a half birthday, and, truthfully, this recipe has been a long time coming. Whether you’re celebrating 6 months with your newborn or honoring the 182nd day of the year, this happy little cake is the perfect way to do it. With just a single round vanilla cake and a bowl full of frosting, you can honor whatever (or whoever!) you have in process.
How to Make It
To make this cake at home, we start with one ultra-thick round cake. I used a homemade vanilla cake that came out sturdy and tender. Once cool, cut the cake in half to make two half moon-shaped pieces. Next, homemade American buttercream seals the two layers together before we begin to frost the tops and sides. Here’s where things get interesting.
You’ll want at least two different frosting colors here: one color to be the revealed faux cake layers, and another to be the frosting. I ended up with three different colors, because I wanted the edges piped and decorated in a different shade. Set aside a heaping cup of frosting for smearing on the flat edges of your cake and another 2 cups to serve as the frosting. You can use the remaining frosting to pipe and decorate in whatever color you prefer.
What You’ll Need to Make a Half Birthday Cake
I find an offset spatula helps to get the edges clean when frosting corners, but I’ll go ahead and warn you that frosting this shape of cake is not for the faint of heart. I spent a good bit of time to achieve the tidy edges and even frosting. Just be patient in the process. Once you have the flat edge frosted as the inside of you faux cake and the remainder of the sides frosted as well, use a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip to pipe a little wavy line for the center of the cake. I used a 1M tip to pipe the decorated edge around the perimeter of the cake in yellow, but you can decorate as you desire. This half birthday cake looks festive with or without the extra touches.
There’s no time like the present to celebrate wherever you find yourself, and if you find yourself somewhere in the middle, I hope you’ll consider making this half birthday cake. If you haven’t already, take a peek at my book or pick up a copy at Amazon or most major book retailers. Happy Saturday to you and happy baking!
If you like this tutorial, you should check out:Print
A Half Birthday Cake Tutorial
This recipe and tutorial for a half birthday cake is a fun and playful way to celebrate everyday occasions!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 180
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Category: Dessert
For the cake:
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1–3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces milk
For the frosting:
- 1–1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3–3/4 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1–1/2 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 7 or 8” round pan and cut a sheet of parchment paper to sit inside the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring briefly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and scrape the sides of the bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir half of those combined dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter, just until combined. Add the milk, stirring briefly, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated bits until the mixture is uniform. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes for 7” pans and 38-42 minutes for 8” pan. Allow to cool completely.
- To prepare the frosting, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in about half of the powdered sugar and the salt, adding the remaining dry ingredients once combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in the milk. Increase the speed on the mixer to medium and beat until fluffy and combined, about 30 seconds.
- Set aside 1 cup of frosting to remain white. This will cover the flat edge of the side of your cake, serving as the exposed faux cake layers. You can color the remaining icing however you’d like. I colored a remaining 2/3 in pink and a final 1/3 yellow to be piped as decoration.
- To prepare the cake, cut the cake in half to make two half moon shapes. Spread a dollop of your frosting-colored frosting to a cake board or serving platter and place the first cake pieces on top. Spread a thick layer of that same frosting on the first piece of cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Top it with a second piece of cake and continue frosting the top and rounded edges, being sure to keep the color frosting away from the flat edge. Next, use a clean offset spatula to cover the flat side with the white frosting. Clean up the edges as desired and then use a piping bag fitted with a small round (I used #3) tip to pipe a squiggly line on the flat edge. I used a 1M piping tip to pipe around the perimeter of the cake. Continue decorating the cake as desired, and enjoy!