Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From That, To This: The "Bee-Day" Cake

More so than cooking, I love to bake. Not only is it a de-stressor, but it is also a great procrastination tool. My friends in undergrad used to tease that they could tell when I had a big assignment due because I was making cookies or a cake or a pie. They didn't directly encourage the habit, but let's just say they never turned down the Nutella cookies when they came around.

With the semester coming to a close, I jumped at the chance to put off my studies and bake a cake for my roommate's birthday this weekend. We both have a shared love for puns and he has an affinity for bees [inside joke], so the decor was an obvious choice: A "Bee-Day" Cake

For the cake itself I used a chocolate cake recipe that my friend Sara shared with me a few years ago. Normally, I'm not a fan of chocolate cake (cue looks of shock), but I love this recipe. 

1 cup cocoa powder 
2 cups boiling water
2 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (at room temp.)
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs (at room temp.)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  • To begin, preheat your oven to 350. 
  • Bring two cups of water to a boil and add cocoa powder and stir until smooth, then set aside to cool. 
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix butter until creamy (I usually just use a spoon, but a mixer on medium speed will make the job so much easier). Add sugar to butter and continue mixing until it is light in texture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each egg, and then stir in the vanilla. 
  • Begin to add in flour mixture and cocoa in sections (about one quarter of each at a time) and mix until well combined. (Again, a mixer will make this easier, but it can be done by hand.)
  • Add batter to greased baking sheet (or sheets depending on the size and layers you want). I used a pan slightly bigger than 9x13. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick can be pulled clean from the center of the cake. The sides should begin shrinking from the pan at this point too. Remove from oven and let cool.

Once your cake is cool, you can decorate it however you choose. Honestly, this is probably my least favorite part. I am horrible at icing cakes, and I really don't like icing (there are no exceptions for this one). Plus, I can never get the icing to be smooth and never like the way it looks (perfectionist probs). But what's a cake without frosting, right? So, I frost the cakes I share :)

This time I used a cookies 'n cream frosting which was a nice compliment to the chocolate cake. Betty Crocker has fun pouches of icing for writing on desserts, which is what I used to scribble write "Happy Bee-Day" on the cake. The icing I used is technically for cookies, but it worked for the cake too. It also came in handy for the candy bees I found on pinterest.

Yellow Peanut M&Ms
Black Icing
Almond slices

As you can probably see from the photos, the bees were easy to make. All you need to do is use the icing to make stripes on the peanut M&Ms and also use it as an adhesive for the almond slice wings.  

I made each bee separately and randomly placed them on the frosted cake and it was good to go. Voila, the "Bee-day" cake is complete and ready to share.

What's your favorite birthday treat to bake? Do you have any decorating tips to share?



  1. This is adorable! I really like the pun and may have to steal this idea in the future. I'm personally a fan of pies over cake, but maybe this cake could change my mind?

    Roxi -

    1. I wouldn't call it better than pie, but definitely worth making! Peace, Sarah