Jeff's Birthday Cake And Cupcakes

October 21st was a BIG birthday for my boyfriend, so I knew I had to go all out. I have a friend (we met working at Flour together) who makes incredible cakes -- I mean... he's done a takeout food box complete with steamed dumplings, a Hello Kitty purse, an army tank, wedding cakes, and more.  I bet someday he could have a show like Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes!

In the months leading up to the big day, I gave him all sorts of ideas of what kind of cake would be good for Jeff. I tossed out things like his favorite beer (Fat Tire), his favorite sports teams (the Bruins, the Red Sox, and the Patriots), his favorite character (Bugs Bunny), and the most important thing in his life: Gunner.

We left it that he would choose one of these things or a combination and make an amazing cake for Jeff.

While my friend had never done any dog cakes before, he decided to push beyond his comfort zone and give it a try. I thought the cake was so incredible that I wanted to share it with all of you.

It was so cute, I felt bad having all those candles in it!

And it didn't just look amazing -- it tasted great too. The cake was super moist! And the filling was buttery and delicious.

I made some simple vanilla cupcakes to go along with the cake -- you know, in case there wasn't enough. (Am I crazy?!)

The cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart and the frosting recipe is from Ad Hoc at Home. Jeff really likes this frosting because it's not overly sweet, and he likes yellow cake best so vanilla-vanilla cupcakes were a good bet for him. You can go on the Martha Stewart Web site for the cupcake recipe, and I've included the frosting recipe below. I found that I had to paddle the frosting for much longer than the recipe said. My times are included below.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Ad Hoc at Home)


1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (from about 6 large eggs)
3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla


Select a pot that the bowl of your electric stand mixer can sit in and not touch the bottom. Fill the pot with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Combine sugar and egg whites in bowl of stand mixer, set the bowl over the simmering water, and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved completely and mixture is hot to the touch.

Remove the bowl from the heat, and place it on stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until whites are thick and hold stiff peaks and the bowl and whites feel cool to the touch, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. Add butter a few pieces at a time while beating on medium speed. Make sure butter is incorporated before adding more. Continue until all the butter has been added.

Once the butter has been added, check the consistency. If the frosting is too thin to pipe, continue beating it until it has thickened. The recipe says a few more minutes, but for me it was more like 15 minutes.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla.

Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes, and top with sprinkles if desired.

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

What was your favorite birthday cake or birthday memory?