Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hubby's birthday cake

Never before did it take me this long to decide what kind of cake to bake for my husband's birthday. Do I go with a recipe that I've made before or do I take this opportunity to try something completely new but risk total failure and end up having to run to the store to "buy" a cake. I'm sure you've been there :o) I decided to throw all caution to the wind and go with something completely new. I narrowed down my choices to: Dobos Torte or a Chiffon Layer Cake. I figured that either option would be a challenge; the Dobos Torte for its numerous thin layers and finicky buttercream, and the Chiffon Cake because it seems almost impossible to bake one without a tube pan. The Dobos Torte lost :o)

Here's a sneak preview of the birthday cake :o)

If you like Medjool dates, you're going to love this post. I started thinking about a date-infused cake filling and frosting. I have a great recipe for a Filled Date Cookie that I thought I would transform into a filling and frosting for the cake. That pretty much drove the decision on what kind of cake to make: something with warm spices to complement the Medjool dates.

In my correspondence with Tish Boyle, author of The Cake Book, she assured me that her Chiffon Layer Cake recipe in The Cake Book would not sink. I have to admit, I've never been disappointed with any of her recipes I've tried so far, so I went for it. I chose her Spiced Chiffon Cake on page 67 of The Cake Book, which has cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. The only change I made is add freshly ground cardamom seeds from one cardamom pod.

I wish I could give you the exact recipe for the filling but I just kind of winged it. The base for the filling and frosting is a puree made from Medjool dates(dates), a little sugar, some water, cinnamon, some salt, and vanilla (cooked together for a few minutes until soft and sticky - stir often!). I like to call this "Date Jam".

For the filling, I added about 2-3 tbsp of the Date Jam to 1/2 cup of homemade pastry cream (made a small batch with only 1 egg yolk). To lighten the pastry cream, I folded in 1/2 cup of stabilized whipped cream. For the frosting and piped decorations, I added 1/2 cup of the Date Jam to one 8 oz package of cream cheese and folded in 1 1/2 cups of stabilized whipped cream (gelatin-based). My thought was that the tangy properties of the cream cheese would cut some of the sweetness of the Date Jam for a nice balance. I call that the Date Cream Cheese Mousse frosting :o)

Yay, no sinking. Tish, you rock!!!

Spread a thin layer of Date Jam on the bottom cake layer

Spread the Date-infused pastry cream over the Date jam

Frosted with Date Cream Cheese Mousse frosting


An inside view for your pleasure. Wonderful with a nice cup of Chai. Bon Appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby loved his birthday cake. He said the flavors worked really well together, and that the cake was soft. He gave it a 9.5 out of 10.
  • The date flavor came through really well and took no backseat to the spices in the Chiffon cake. They complimented each other nicely. The cake layers are soft (even when eaten straight from the fridge). They could be a bit more moist but that's my fault because I baked it for 32 minutes (the outer range of the specified time span) and might have overbaked it slightly. I was a little scared it would sink otherwise, ha ha. I know better now! So, needless to say, I loved this cake too. And I'm no longer afraid of Chiffon Layer cakes :o)
  • I shared this cake with a few friends who all loved it. One friend in particular was very sweet and gave me this detailed feedback: "I tried the cake, and it is very delicious! The texture of course is excellent as always, and I love the taste of the date in it; I did not think that I WOULD BE TASTING THE DATES. Also, I was thinking that the spices might be too strong, but the amount of spices is perfect so it does not taste like a spice bread; it tastes like a cake. I love it. Really great creation Miss Cake Boss".
  • We enjoyed this cake with a cup of Chai. What could compliment the spices in the cake better? I got the recipe HERE on Leslie's awesome blog. My only change was to double the water to make it less "milky" :o)


  1. Happy Birthday to him! It looks beautiful and professionally piped. Well done on 'winging' the icing. That's the sign of a good baker :)

  2. The flavor combination sounds awesome, and I'm in serious envy of your piping skills. That top border, wow!

  3. Happy Birthday to your husband!! Wow..your frosting skills really good like effortless. I have to try every hard to get that smooth and straight lines! lol!

  4. I'm the biggest cake-sinker of all (yeasty beasties over cake any time!) but I have the book and I will try to make a perfect layer cake. For once. So that's the cake... now I need piping skills LOL

  5. As always, your cakes is stunning, Hanaa. Happy birthday to your hubby!!


  6. Hanaa, it's gorgeous! Happy Birthday to your husband and glad he liked the cake.

    Your piping is excellent! We all need to take piping lesson from you :).

  7. Beautiful, as always, Hanaa, and thanks for trusting my recipe!! But I think it's your fabulous piping and writing that takes the cake, as they say!

  8. This cake looks delicious. I made something similar too but i just added the date puree to whipped cream and some vanilla. i really like it.I ll try this recipe next. Lucky husband :)

  9. i love all your creativity that went into creating this cake--it looks gorgeous and sounds delicious! like everyone else, i am in awe of your professional piping skills. wow!

  10. @Les Reves: thank you! I think I got lucky with the frosting :o)

    @Nancy: yeah, that flavor combination is definitely a winner. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Faithy: thank you! Coming from you I take that as a huge compliment. You never seize to amaze me with your fondant skills!!

    @BakingSoda: bake this cake and there shall be no more cake-sinking! Promise!!!

    @ButterYum: thank you so much!

    @Jenn: he loved it. Barely willing to share any of it (which doesn’t happen often). I have my doubts about you needing any piping skills from me (given your artistic creativity) but if you’re ever in MN, you got it!!

    @Tish: thank you very much, Tish! Your Chiffon layer cake recipe is a treasure. I see more Chiffon cakes in my near future :o) Thanks again for all your help and for convincing me to make it.

    @SnookyDoodle: ooooh yum. That sounds really good too. Let me know how you like “my recipe” if you get a chance to try it.

    @ECL: thank you! They say practice makes perfect. Mine’s not quite perfect but practice sure makes it look almost-perfect :o)

  11. Hanaa this cake looks amazing! My mouth is watering just reading your discription of each element. Your piping work looks perfect. My only request would be to email me a taste. :) Great job!!

  12. Well as always you outdid yourself. Brilliant! I can just taste the dates and the creation of all the spices - omg!!!

  13. Wow, Hanaa! You've done it again. Your customization of this cake was inspired. You may have "winged" the filling, but it sure sounds like you nailed it completely. I love the way you frosted it, too. It looks very professional and really appealing. I, too, have never had a problem with one of Tish's recipes. Isn't it nice to know she's out there and we home bakers can actually get her advice with things like this? She's a peach.

    :) Jane

  14. Hanaa, that cake looks spectacular! The flavor combination sounds absolutely amazing, especially for this time of year. I learned how wonderful dates are in desserts when we made the rugelach for ABC and I love the idea of using them in more baked goods.

  15. Happy Birthday to hubby! How lucky for him to have such a creative baker for a wife. The cake looks awesome and how nice to hear that he rated it so highly.
    As far as I"m concerned, you are the ultimate baker!!!

  16. What a stunning cake! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The spices sound perfect for the dates. I'm so glad you liked the chai!

  17. hanaa!!

    i've just realised and found out about your blog and absolutely love it!!

    I really liked your cake that you made for your hubby.. I'm planning to make this cake for my bestfriend's birthday!!

    I hope to learn from you. I haven't got Tish's cakebook but it is already in my wishlist!! Could I please have her recipe for the spiced chiffon cake? i'm sure she will LOVE it..

    my email is csu_mei@hotmail.com

    hope to hear from you!!:)


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