My daughter’s 15th birthday celebration involved several sweet treats. All of her requests were granted! 🙂 We enjoyed crumb cake, salted brown butter blondies, number cookies, of course, and this cute cake. She asked for a frog cake after falling in love with others she had seen while perusing Pinterest.
For dinner, we had Summer Corn Pasta with Sausage & Basil– her favorite dish from our summer vacation in Rehoboth Beach. I was surprised by this request because we usually have calzones!
The recipe for the yellow layer cake was adapted from The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. We also enjoyed this cake on her 13th birthday. I used the vanilla cream cheese frosting with Oreo filling from her 12th birthday cake– it’s her favorite.
Yield: One 9-inch layer cake, generously frosted
For the Cake:
- 7 oz (1 3/4 cups) plain cake flour, sifted, plus more for dusting pans
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 16 pieces
- vanilla cream cheese frosting, recipe below
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans and cover the pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Grease the parchment rounds and dust the cake pans with flour, tapping out the excess. (I would consider using 8-inch pans next time to elevate the cake slightly.)
- Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla with a fork in a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout. Measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.
- With the mixture still running at the lowest speed, add the butter, one piece at a time; mix until the butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, about 30 to 40 seconds after all the butter is added.
- Add the reserved 1 cup egg mixture and mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, about 5 to 10 seconds.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in a slow, steady stream, taking about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
- Beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and the batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds.
- Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. (about 1 lb plus 2.5 oz per pan) Spread to the sides of the pans and smooth with an offset or rubber spatula.
- Bake until the cake tops are light gold and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 27 minutes. The cakes will mound slightly but will level when cooled.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife around the pan perimeter to loosen. Invert one cake onto a large plate and reinvert onto another wire rack. Repeat for the other layer. Cool completely before frosting.
For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting and Oreo Filling (as well as Frogs & Mushrooms):
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 to 6 full-size Oreos or 15 mini-Oreos, crushed in a food processor
- green gel food coloring, plus additional colors for mushroom caps, as desired
- chocolate chips, for frog eyes
- chocolate sprinkles, for frog mouths
- sugar pearls, for mushroom caps
- Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low-speed to combine.
- If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.
- Remove about 1 cup frosting and set aside for mushrooms and frog cheeks.
- Remove 1 1/4 cup of frosting for the Oreo filling and place in separate bowl.
- Incorporate the crushed Oreos in the reserved 1 1/4 cups of filling frosting. Spread on one of the layers.
- Place the second layer on top.
- Tint the remaining frosting pale green with food coloring, mixing well.
- Cover cake with a crumb coat and chill briefly, if necessary before continuing.
- Using an offset spatula, ice the sides of the cake with the pale green icing.
- Tint the remaining frosting deeper “frog green.” Place the majority of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, for the frog bodies. Place the remaining frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, for the frog eyes, arms, and legs.
- Pipe the frogs on the cake, as desired, using the large bag/tip. Add eyes, arms, and legs using the small bag/tip.
- Divide the remaining frosting into 4 bowls. Keep one bowl of frosting white for the mushroom stems.
- Tint one bowl red, for the frog cheeks and mushroom caps.
- Tint the other 2 bowls of frosting, as desired, for mushroom caps.
- Pipe mushroom stems around the sides of the cake. Using a variety of pastry bags and tips, pipe decorative multi-shaped mushroom caps on the stems. Decorate caps with sugar pearls.
- Pipe rosy cheeks on each frog with the red frosting.
- Place 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate chips in a sandwich sized ziplock bag. Microwave until melted. (I check the progress in 30 second increments.) Cut a small corner off of the ziplock bag; use the melted chocolate to pipe eyes onto the frogs.
- Add mouths onto the frogs with chocolate sprinkles.
- Chill prior to serving and store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.