One of the grown-ups in our family had a birthday this week (not me). I like to have homemade cakes for birthdays, but when they fall on a weeknight it can be tricky to accomplish. Enter the Whipped Cream Cake. Or Yellow Cake with Whipped Cream. Whatever you call it, it’s simple, delicious, looks great and is easy to tweak for variety. Everyone needs one of these in their baking arsenal. I’ve even sent it in for cake walks and teacher dinners to rave reviews. Or maybe they were just being nice. At any rate, we like it.
For yellow cakes, I often use a boxed mix. Not any boxed mix, mind you, I’m picky. I’ll only use Trader Joe’s Vanilla Cake Mix. Once you make it you’ll never use anything else either. It doesn’t taste like boxed cake and it doesn’t have a boxed cake texture. There are vanilla bean flecks throughout. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s (poor you), here’s my favorite from scratch recipe.
The birthday boy is partial to lemon curd and blueberry pancakes, so I incorporated those flavors into the cake. Once you’ve baked and cooled your layers (which I do in the morning before I leave) there’s really just a few steps, all of which can be completed in about five minutes, even with some helpers, which makes this feasible for work days.
- Whip cream. It’s important to get your faces as close to the mixer as possible during this step. Everyone knows it won’t whip correctly without the proper germs. I also like to add a tablespoon or two of sugar and a slurp (technical term) of vanilla.
- Spread a layer of lemon curd on your first cake layer. Don’t be stingy.
- Plop (another technical term) about half the whipped cream on top of the lemon curd. Smooth it out a little, but don’t worry about it too much.
- Throw some blueberries on top of the cream.
- Add the second layer, pushing down slightly so the cream in the middle squishes out the sides, and repeat steps one-four.
That’s it. Present your cake, with or without candles. “Look I cared enough to make you a homemade cake for your birthday even though I had to work today. And it’s delicious and beautiful. Aren’t I amazing?”. Remember, it might be someone else’s birthday but you still have an opportunity to gain accolades. And isn’t that what someone else’s birthday is really about?