Sandra’s Aries Birthday Cake Recipe

April 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm 1 comment

Birthday cake for the Aries in my life - of which there are remarkably many, starting with the two men in my husband and son.

Birthday cake for the Aries in my life

At risk of this turning into a food blog – and what would be so bad about that, you’re saying? – I’m passing on the steps and ingredients to create the birthday cake you see above. Caution: You need 2-3 hours to put this together & clean up.

3 – 9″ cake pans
parchment paper (not necessary but works better than greasing pans)
electric mixer
double boiler – or saucepan that can balance inside a larger saucepan
        note: smaller pan must hold at least 5 liquid cups.
small frying pan
2 shelves in oven
several size mixing bowls
measuring cups and spoons
rubber spatula
wooden spoon
flat blade (for spreading frosting)
bread knife
recommend heat resistant glove

without measures:
vegetable oil
powdered sugar
granulated sugar
cocoa powder
cream of tartar
vanilla extract
slivered almonds
raspberry jam
chocolate cake mix (Yes! I CHEAT!)

Ingredients by steps:

Chocolate Cake:
I prefer Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Fudge. You can make from scratch, but really not worth it. IMHO
vegetable oil (not olive)
3 eggs whole

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 c butter (1 stick) ROOM TEMPERATURE (softened)
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder (my preference is Hershey’s)
2 c powdered sugar (sifted)
1/3 c milk (minimum – you’ll need a little more)
    note: WARM slightly in microwave
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Red Raspberry Jam – I love Stonewall Kitchen, but other brands will do.

3 oz (half a package) Slivered Blanched Almonds (to be toasted)

Meringue-like Topping (known as 7 minute frosting):
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 c water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put it together:


  • grease 3 cake pans. Coat with cocoa powder instead of white flour. MUCH easier if you use parchment paper so guaranteed not to stick. Use both.
  • mix according to directions
  • using 1 cup measure, distribute batter evenly in 3 pans
  • bake in 350 oven. Put shelves close together so baking as even as possible
  • took about 18 minutes for 2 on top. Bottom shelf took couple of minutes longer
        note: I use toothpick to test
  • remove pans to rack or gas burners on top of stove and let cool 15 minutes. No more.
  • remove layers from baking pans and set aside

TOAST ALMONDS while cake is baking.

  • heat small skillet to hot on stovetop
  • put almonds in pan – NO OIL
  • stir constantly with wooden spoon
  • lift up and down from fire if getting too hot
  • keep toasting – KEEP TURNING – as almonds turn golden.
  • remove from heat and keep stirring.
    almonds will continue to toast in hot pan
  • when desired color is reached, turn onto a plate and spread almonds to cool

CHOCOLATE FROSTING (makes about 1 1/2 c)

  • soften butter in a small-medium mixing bowl (room temperature or few seconds in microwave)
  • mash with rubber spatula
  • stir in cocoa and salt, blending with rubber spatula until smooth paste
  • using low to medium speed on electric mixer, alternately add sifted powdered sugar and warm milk
  • beat on medium speed until spreading consistency and very smooth
  • blend in vanilla extract at end


  • Choose layer with highest top and set aside
  • Using a bread knife, slice off rounded top of two remaining layers so they are relatively flat on both sides
  • put one layer on cake plate

DRESSING the cake layers

  • spread chocolate frosting generously on top of layer 1 (on cake plate)
  • spread carefully (not thick) red raspberry jam on top of chocolate
  • place layer 2 on top
  • spread chocolate frosting generously on top of layer 2
  • sprinkle toasted almonds, covering surface well
  • place layer 3 (with rounded top) on top of layer 2

TOPPING with 7 minute frosting
   note: this makes enough frosting to cover a cake. I pile it on top to show the layers. If stiff enough, topping will stand on its own and hang over the edges as above.

  • place sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water and egg whites in the top of a double boiler (or smallish saucepan over larger one)
  • beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute
  • place pan over boiling water.
        note:  to avoid grainy frosting, make sure water doesn’t touch bottom of the top pan.
  • beat constantly on high speed for 7 minutes (this is when I recommend a heat-resistant glove)
  • remove from boiling water (heat) and beat in vanilla
  • check consistency – MUST stand in peaks. Beat more if necessary.
  • spread on cake right away
  • sprinkle toasted almonds before frosting sets
  • when frosting sets, it forms a delightful soft crust while the inside remains gooey – thus I call it “meringue-like”

Be sure to cover remaining cake under a cake dome, as the meringue frosting will get gooier over time.

Store any left-over almonds in an airtight container to sprinkle on salads etc.

Whew! Did I really do all that????

Entry filed under: Recipes and Food. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Sandra’s recipe for Wild Boar Tajine Sex and the Zen of Shopping now in COLOR ebook for Kindle Fire

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ann Calhoun  |  April 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Pardon me while I drool. It’s a beautiful cake!


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