About once a month, our office has some kind of food-related social event, usually a potluck lunch with a theme. This month, we settled on a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and I signed up to bring an Un-Birthday Cake.
As a general guide, I used the classic Alice in Wonderland cartoon cake design (as in this adorable gif). I wasn’t able to come close to copying it, but I got the color and the general shape right, at least. I used a tube pan and made a 1-2-3-4 cake, which is a little more solid than a typical cake mix cake. I got super lucky and found some hot pink frosting, so I wouldn’t need to deal with food coloring. (It even came with pink sprinkles to make things super glittery!) I also got some cream cheese icing for the trim.
I’d never made a tube cake before. I was most concerned about turning the thing over once it was done, since I needed it to be wide-side-up. I made the cake a day ahead, so it would have plenty of time to cool before I took the frosting to it (and also in case it fell apart completely). It came out great! Here’s the cake:
And here’s the final frosted version (complete with lettering that looks like it was done by a Mad Hatter):
Finally, here’s the recipe. This is an easy to make (and easy to remember!) recipe for a basic yellow cake. My grandmother made this for everything when I was growing up, usually with 7-minute icing. Yummy! (This version came out a little dry, so I’m going to play around with things a bit: self-rising White Lily flour, and possibly shortening in place of part of the butter.)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour*
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, one 13 by 9 rectangular pan, or one tube or Bundt pan.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each one in completely. Add flour alternately with milk, blending each addition completely. Add vanilla and mix just until smooth. Do not overbeat.
Pour batter into pan(s), spreading with spatula as needed to even out. Bake 20 to 25 minutes for round/rectangular pans, 40 to 45 minutes for tube/Bundt pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then remove from pan(s) and set on rack/plate to cool completely before frosting.
*Sift the flour before measuring. You can also substitute self-rising flour and omit the baking powder and salt.