Colorful Campout, Cake Edition

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase something, I'll receive a small affiliate commission at no cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting my efforts with this blog!

As I said the other day, I'm going to tease you with these party details just a little bit, since I needed to cut the bazillion‐page birthday party post down to a more manageable size.

Today's focus is on the cake.  Since last year's cake didn't hold up well in the Florida heat, I was determined to learn from the experience and do better this time.  

First of all, I would not hide M&Ms away inside this thing.  Those colorful chocolate treats might not melt in your hand, but apparently they do melt inside a humid cake that's been sitting outdoors in the heat all afternoon!

Secondly, I would try to make more of a typical cake this year.  Since last year was Gv's first birthday, she hadn't actually had any sweets yet, and so we wanted what little solid food she was consuming to be as healthy as possible.  Besides that, we're not used to a lot of sugar, so we wanted something that would suit our taste buds, as well.  This year's version ended up still being a little healthier than probably most people are used to, but I felt I struck a better balance between healthy and "normal."

Our St. Patrick's Day crafting adventures gave me the idea for this rainbow (I mounded up the frosting as clouds to stick the ends in)...then I added some folded paper for a tent and a few pretzel sticks for a campfire!

I needed the cake to feed about 50 people and the only cake pans I had were lasagna‐type dishes.  I decided to bake two of these in order to create two layers.  The recipe I was loosely following was for two 9‐inch round cake pans, so I had to fiddle with the amounts to make it all work (which explains some of the oddities, like the chia seeds (can't cut an egg in half) and the salt).

What You Need (Cake):

1 1/2 cups butter

3/4 cup palm shortening

3 cups honey

7 eggs

1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds (plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons water mixed in)

4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 teaspoons baking powder (make your own!)

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup buttermilk (I just used regular milk with a Tablespoon of vinegar added)

3 teaspoons vanilla

What You Do:

1.  Cream the butter and shortening in your stand mixer until fluffy. 

2.  Add in the honey.

3.  Add in the eggs & chia/water mixture (one at a time).

4.  Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

5.  Mix together the milk, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

6.  Alternate the flour and milk combinations while you continue to run the mixer.

7.  Grease two 9x13 baking dishes and divide the batter between them.

8.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees, until the centers are done (when I tried testing these with a knife, it came out clean, but the cake was still undercooked, so I ended up having to cut a little section out of the middle to check it more thoroughly).

9.  Frost and assemble the cake after it has cooled completely.

I was most concerned about the frosting holding up in the heat, so I went with a variation on my mom's classic Christmas cookie frosting, which always got a nice little crust on it after it sat for a bit.

What You Need (Frosting):

1 cup butter

1 cup palm shortening

4‐5 cups powdered sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla

4‐5 Tablespoons milk 

What You Do:

1.  Cream the butter and shortening in your stand mixer until fluffy.  

2.  Add in the sugar, a little at a time.

3.  Add in the vanilla.

4.  Add in the milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until frosting is at the desired consistency.

5.  After the cake has cooled, frost the top of one sheet.  Then, carefully place the other sheet on top and apply frosting to the outside of everything.

Due to the whole wheat flour, this cake is a little more dense than a typical cake.  You can definitely taste the honey in this cake, but we really liked that flavor.  The frosting held up beautifully in the heat and tasted pretty much like typical frosting.  Several guests claimed it was delicious!

Are you in the make‐your‐own‐birthday‐cake camp, or the pick‐it‐up‐from‐the‐store camp?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.

Linked up with: Merry MondayMotivation Monday, Thoughtful SpotMom 2 Mom Monday, What'd You Do This WeekendTotally Terrific TuesdayTwo Uses TuesdayDo Tell TuesdayLou Lou Girls Fabulous PartyTell it to Me TuesdayGrandma IdeasFluster's Creative MusterWordless WednesdayA Little Bird Told MeWFMWHit Me With Your Best ShotThe Mommy ClubSummer Family Fun PartyThe Ladies CollectiveThis Is How We RollFrugal Family LinkyCreative WaysHearts for Home,  Creative Exchange,I'm Lovin' It,Kitchen Fun & CraftyInspiration SpotlightHome MattersPretty Pintastic PartyFront Porch Friday,Weekend Potluck,