Prepare yourselves! Both of September’s BB recipes are birthday cakes!  The first, Birthday Sheet Cake, was chosen by Susy of Everyday Gourmet to celebrate her September birthday and to give her kids a chance at decorating her cake.  She made two cakes from this recipe, one of them being a Caramel Apple Cake – doesn’t that sound incredible??

I wish I had thought to be more creative with this recipe but alas, I halved the recipe and made one 9″ inch square single layer cake.  Not so fun!  However, I did play around with Ina’s icing recipe, adding some powdered sugar to help thicken it up a bit as the original recipe yielded a loose icing that would not be conducive to frosting the sides of a cake.  All of my changes are reflected below.

Overall, this was an “eh” recipe.  Neither of us loved it but we didn’t hate it either and it certainly didn’t go uneaten.  As some of the reviews of the recipe recommended skipping the lemon zest, I reduced it by half and loved the flavor it gave to the cake.  The texture of the cake was a little off, maybe due to the cornstarch rather than the almost excessive amount of baking soda in the recipe.  I had read the reviews about the cake browning too quickly around the edges leaving the center uncooked so I covered the pan with aluminum foil halfway through the baking time for about 15 minutes then removed it for the remaining 10 minutes.

Up next (tomorrow) is Beatty’s Chocolate Cake so be sure to hop on over to the BB blog to see what everyone decides to do with this one!

Birthday Sheet Cake

For the cake:


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:


  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar), sifted
  • Chocolate candies for decorating (recommended: M&M’s)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9″ square or round cake pan.
  2. To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well.
  3. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. After 15 minutes of baking, cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil for 15 – 20 minutes and removed for the final 5 – 10 minutes. Cool in the pan to room temperature.
  4. For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and whisk until thickened.
  5. Spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Decorate the cake with chocolate candies.
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Leave a Comment

  • September 25, 2009 at 12:57 AM

    I made a lot of modifications on this one as well: took out the lemon zest (I know she loves them!), changed the amount of bk soda, and used Wilton buttercream frosting among other things. My hubby liked them, but it was ok for me. I also only made half of the recipe–and it was eaten up pretty quickly 😉 I love your decor though with the fall colors M&Ms!

  • […] needed to spread the recipes out a little further than two weeks apart.  But after not loving the Birthday Sheet Cake, I was really looking forward to the Beatty’s Chocolate Cake choice after hearing so many […]