Our 3 year old girl loves to twirl. I think she spends a quarter of her day spinning.
So, when she saw one video of a ballerina, she was hooked. This made it no surprise that she wanted a ballerina birthday cake.
Order one, right? Wrong. We have food allergies in our family and have trouble finding a bakery that guarantees a peanut and tree nut free cake.
This ballerina cake needed to be homemade – a tall order.
Baking is not my strong suit. But I’ve been making an effort to learn and develop the skill because baking safe birthday cakes will be my job for years to come.
After much research, I decided to make this chocolate cheesecake layer cake from Recipe Girl. The recipe was well written, easy to follow, and the cake is delicious!
The recipe was modified to fit our needs as follows:
- Line the pan with Parchment Paper: After reading reviews of how to ensure each layer of cake releases easily from the pan, each pan was lined with parchment paper. Not only did it work well, it was less messy than greasing and flouring the pans.
- To line with parchment paper, spray the pan with cooking spray (I used PAM), then trace and cut out a circle of parchment paper to place in the pan. Finally, spray the top of the paper with cooking spray.
- Freeze all layers: Due to time constraints, all cake and cheesecake layers were baked 3 days in advance and frozen.
- Once cool, wrap each layer individually in a double layer of plastic wrap followed by one layer of tin foil. Place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready to assemble the cake. NOTE: To avoid freezer burn, don’t freeze in a frost-free freezer (that heats and cools to remove frost). I used our chest freezer.
- Use a decorator cream cheese frosting: Instead of the recipe’s chocolate sour cream frosting, this cake was decorated with this fantastic crusting cream cheese, butter cream frosting. With so much chocolate, the cake is plenty rich so skipping the chocolate was ok. Plus, decorating with sour cream frosting won’t work – the designs will just melt away. This cream cheese frosting is great for decorating a ‘girlie’ cake.
- FYI – my hand mixer started smoking and died while mixing the frosting – it gets thick before it is thinned out! My off-brand mixer wasn’t a very good one. I sprung for the Kitchen Aid hand mixer because it happened to be 20% off and similar in price to the one I had before. I was amazed by how much better it worked. If you feel like YOU are doing all the work when mixing this stuff, I recommend borrowing or buying a better hand mixer (or use a stand mixer). Your arms will thank you and it will cut the prep time in half.
- Assemble with frozen layers: Handling frozen layers is a cinch – they stack easily without crumbling, frosting is easy to spread, and the cake turns out super moist.
- Decorate with rosettes: After watching this Cake Trend video, I was able to decorate the cake with rosettes. The process was really forgiving! When things don’t look perfect, you can cover the edges with the next rosette. And because this cake used only one color, it was easy to blend and fill any gaps after finishing.
- This cake was assembled and decorated one day before the party and stored in an airtight container overnight in the fridge.
Now, didn’t I say she asked for a ballerina cake? Well, drawing a ballerina with frosting is simply beyond my skill level, so I needed something to stick in the cake.
I bought two sheets of glittery cardstock from JoAnn Fabrics (one gold, one pink). Then I traced and cut out ballerina figures. Each figure was taped to a wood skewer and stuck in the cake the day of the party.
I think she liked it and it was delicious!
Trust me, if I can make it, so can you!