My goddaughter Maureen turned five this weekend, and Mike and I made our annual trip to southern Maryland for a visit with her family. Her party was dog and cat themed, complete with this adorable cat cake. Before you worry about having some spectacular Pinterest fail, read the recipe below; this cake and its frosting/decorating are very simple. And while I deferred to my cousin Barb for the piping of the face – she’s Mo’s mom and an amazing artist – I suspect that amateur decorators could handle this one.
The cake was a big hit, with not a slice left at the end of the party. My cousin-in-law Robb, Mo’s dad, remarked that he’d never been to a birthday party where only cake crumbs remained. I take this as a major compliment and am glad everyone enjoyed not only the cake, but celebrating with the birthday girl.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray; line each with a parchment circle and spray the parchment.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.
Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans; bake for 25 minutes, until tops are golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool cake completely before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream & Decorations
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 5 to 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Black gel food coloring
- Pink gel food coloring
- Index cards, cut into triangles for ears
- Lollipop sticks, for ears
Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes using the paddle attachment.
Add 5 cups powdered sugar. With your mixer on low, incorporate the powdered sugar into the butter. (Hint: I find that placing a kitchen towel over the mixer during this stage prevents a powdered sugar blizzard.)
Increase speed and add 2 tablespoons vanilla and salt.
Beat for 3 minutes, then taste. If you’d like a stronger vanilla flavor, add the second tablespoon of vanilla, along with the additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Beat until combined; you want a fluffy texture that is easy to spread.
To assemble the cake:
Reserve two small portions of frosting; tint one black and the other pink. Set aside.
Flip one cake onto a cake stand and frost the top with a generous layer of buttercream. Top with the second layer and frost the top and sides completely, swirling the frosting to look like fur.
To make the ears, tape your index card triangles to the lollipop sticks and press into the top of the cake.
Fit a piping bag with a large plain tip and fill with pink frosting; pipe the nose.
Fit a piping bag with another large plain tip with plain frosting; pipe the cheeks.
Fit a piping bag with a small plain tip; pipe the eyes, mouth, and whiskers.
Line the edges and bottom of the ears with plain buttercream, then fill in the ears with the pink buttercream.
Here, Mike and I celebrate with Mo. Barb offered face painting for the kids, and this feisty girl sported a cupcake on one cheek and a snake on the other.