A Flurry of Cakes

I can go a month or more without baking. No, honest, I can. And then there’s a period of a few weeks where I don’t even bother putting the cake pans and food coloring away, because I’d just have to get them out again. Guess which phase I’m (I think) exiting now?

First my friend Kevin asked for a birthday cake for his 50th birthday. Hobbit themed. And the easiest thing to do there was Bag End, so that is what I did. It’s the first time I’ve carved a cake, but it won’t be the last. Small bits of fondant, but mostly just frosting. And it went over well enough that I think Bilbo would be pleased.


Then my friend Janna was in town, and a bunch of us were having dinner with her at Kit Kerr’s house, and: cake. Chocolate with white-chocolate frosting and raspberry curd filling. No picture, alas.

Then my older daughter had a birthday. It was suggested that chocolate cake with some sort of “interesting” flavoring would be good.basilcake

So I made her a chocolate cake with basil buttercream. Yes, basil buttercream. Next time I will use smaller leaves for the decoration–the big ones are too, well, big.

How does basil buttercream taste? On the front of your mouth it’s sort of a nice vanilla buttercream–and then there’s a burst of definite, but not overwhelming, basil flavor. And yes, it pairs gorgeously with chocolate cake.

And then this past weekend my friend Jeannie returned to our writing group (after a months-long sojourn in Australia), so we had a little party. With cake. Like you do. Jeannie has a series of semi-comic thrillers with a character whose nickname is Bluebird. So I made her a spice cake with cream cheese frosting, and a bluebird. She appeared pleased.

bluebird cake

I have to make a coffee cake (which really doesn’t count, because there’s no frosting involved) for a work coffee-event this week, and then, I think, we’ll let the baking subside for a while.

Unless, of course, someone needs cake. I wouldn’t want to be withholding of cake.


About Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine Robins is the author of The Stone War, Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner (the third Sarah Tolerance mystery, available from Plus One Press). Her Regency romances, Althea, My Dear Jenny, The Heiress Companion, Lady John, and The Spanish Marriage are now available from Book View Café. Sold for Endless Rue , an historical novel set in medieval Italy, was published in May 2013 by Forge Books


A Flurry of Cakes — 4 Comments

  1. Really lovely!

    The basil buttercream is fascinating … I am quite sure I would like it, but not sure about the pairing with chocolate.

  2. Are you willing to share the recipe for basil buttercream? I’d like to try it!

  3. Debbie: you’ll have to trust me. Chocolate with basil buttercream works a treat.

    Cgbookcat1: The recipe I used came from here: http://thevanillabeanblog.com/2012/05/chocolate-cake-with-basil-buttercream.html. I admit that I was a tad flummoxed by the notion of putting flour in frosting, but it stabilizes the whipped cream. And t worked. Really. Now I’m thinking about lime cake with Thai basil frosting (I think it was our own Chaz Brenchley who proposed that one).