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Happy birthday to me πŸ™‚

The best part of being a baker is making your own birthday cake, right? My only struggle was figuring out what flavors to use. The world was my oyster because I was willing to try just about any flavor combination. That was my main problem, however. I thought for a long time on what I wanted to make. The sad thing is, when the finished product is just for me or my family, I’d rather use things I already have in the house. I had leftover hazelnuts in my cupboard from a past protein bites recipe, so I made myself a hazelnut cake with white chocolate frosting.

Making the hazelnut cake was fairly easy. I just added roasted hazelnuts to the food processor and then added that to my vanilla cake recipe. Fun fact: it’s very important to roast and remove the skin from the hazelnuts. The first time I used hazelnuts, I didn’t do any of that. I just chopped them up and threw them in my recipe. Oh my goodness, that was such a bitter (literally) outcome. So, if you’re thinking of using hazelnuts in your recipe, learn from my mistake: roast those nuts (Sorry, I’ve got a dirty mind)! I just lay them out on parchment paper and stick them in a 400Β°F oven for about 5 minutes (watch them: burnt hazelnuts are about as bad as unroasted hazelnuts). After that, just rub them in a tea towel to separate the nuts from the skins. It can get a little messy, but it’s worth it.

I debated on the frosting because my first instinct was to use chocolate frosting (I’m low-key obsessed with Nutella). But, I had already decided I wanted to paint on my cake, and trying to get nice colors on a brown background is pretty difficult to do. So, my next choice was white chocolate! I added cooled, melted white chocolate to my vanilla frosting recipe. I also added a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg just to give it a little something extra. Next time I make this frosting, I’ll make sure all the ingredients I add to my frosting are room temperature (aka the heavy whipping cream). I ended up with some hardened white chocolate bits and it made it pretty annoying when it came to actually frosting the cake.

Once the cake was frosted, it was time to paint! I had drawn out the design beforehand, which is pretty essential for me, otherwise I make mistakes, I try to correct it, but end up making an ugly mess.

But I’m so happy with how it turned out! Just look at it!

(Please pay no attention to the greasy-looking cake board. Those aren’t meant to be the decorative cake boards, but I wasn’t going out and buying one just for my cake).

I’m pretty bad at identifying flowers. In the design process, I was just drawing what I thought looked pretty. So maybe I’ve made poinsettias? Peonies? Hybrids? Weeds? If anyone knows what I’ve painted, please let me know.

One more dramatic shot of the cake, just for fun:

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Now excuse me while I devour this cake!