Take the cake
April 29, 2020 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I need help with two more birthday cakes, particularly concepts/recipes/decoration ideas. Cake #1: Theme is nuclear (reaction?). Cake #2: Chocolate/peanut butter flavors. More details and challenges below.

Cake #1
Pretty much what it says above. Birthday kid just says they want a "nuclear cake". My only notion here was Yellowcake as a precursor form of Uranium. See? I need help. Flavors/forms/decorations please!

Cake #2
The birthday celebrator would like the flavors of chocolate and peanut butter. However, the recipes I'm finding online use frostings to add a layer of flavor and the individual doesn't really like frosting, or anything too too sweet. Any ideas/suggestions for a birthday cake with those flavors that doesn't rely on frosting? A small amount of buttercream frosting is tolerable.
Bonus: suggestions for how to decorate that celebrate the flavors
posted by papergirl to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For cake 2 - I'm thinking maybe a bundt cake? Bundts tend to go easy on the frosting (because the fancy pan makes it look pretty and you don't want to cover that up), and often have a "tunnel" of something baked into it instead. This recipe has a chocolate cake with a tunnel of sweetened peanut butter shot through; it also has a peanut butter glaze that can easily be left off, or halved for a lighter coating. For the decoration - they make super-mini Reeses' cups, that are the size of chocolate chips; maybe go with half the amount of glaze and sprinkle a handful or so of the mini-Reeses on top.

For cake 1 - I'd actually ask for a bit more clarity on what is meant by "a nuclear cake". Because that could mean "a cake that looks like a cell's nucleus" or "a cake in the shape of an atom bomb", and since those are way different things I'd want to double-check about more detail to be certain.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Ooh, additional thought on the chocolate-peanut butter bundt - you could also stir some chocolate chips or super-mini Reeses cups INTO that tunnel of peanut butter in the filling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:06 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify: I'm pretty sure he's thinking nuclear reactor/nuclear bomb, but I'd be fine messing with him on that and going a different direction just to be annoying. Thank you!! The bundt idea seems very promising, and I have a new Bundt pan too!
posted by papergirl at 12:19 PM on April 29, 2020

This person made a Chernobyl cake. Here is a tutorial for a mushroom cloud cake.
posted by shadygrove at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2020

Best answer: For nuclear, a couple of simpler possibilities:
- the radiation hazard symbol on a sheet/flat-topped cake?
- a cake with some kind of exciting center, eg green-yellow goo or frosting or dyed-green cake?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You should use pop rocks on top of the nuclear cake! (I’m not really sure how pop rocks = nuclear, but they’re awesome and fun and any excuse is a good one!)
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:37 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

For the nuclear cake, how about making white cake with a little green and yellow food coloring added until the color is sufficiently "nuclear" looking, then maybe black icing with a bright orange nuclear hazard symbol on top?

On preview, I see LobsterMitten has mostly suggested the same idea.
posted by briank at 12:44 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm just piggybacking on EmpressCallipgyos...if it were me, I'd love that bundt cake, but without the tunnel of peanut butter. Instead, I'd bake a chocolate cake and scatter some mini chocolate peanut butter cups in batter. Can be decorated with a little chocolate glaze and chopped peanut butter cups for decoration.
posted by biscuits at 12:59 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want a delicious chocolate cake that's not too sweet, you can try the Hershey's recipe here. It has a ton of sugar, but somehow is not overly sweet. I've never had it with frosting, as I don't like frosting, either.
posted by 8603 at 1:26 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

For the nuclear cake, if you had two different sizes of spherical sweets, you could decorate it with the classic diagram of nuclear fission with neutrons flying between atoms (like this one). And making the cake itself yellow is too good a pun to pass up.
posted by offog at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2020

Best answer: Yellow cake! Take vanilla and dye it till it’s uranium yellow.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2020

Best answer: I made this chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting last week for a birthday--it was a hit! I didn't make the chocolate frosting, I used the peanut butter one for the whole thing.
posted by assenav at 3:15 PM on April 29, 2020

I was going to suggest something similar to offog’s chain reaction idea, but using cupcakes for the individual pieces.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2020

For the chocolate peanut butter cake, perhaps a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter between the layers only. That way you can omit or reduce frosting elsewhere. The PB could be straight from the jar (heating might make it easier to spread), or thinned out somehow.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:44 PM on April 29, 2020

For Cake #2, piggybacking off devrim's idea: what about a marble cake? Chocolate batter and peanut butter batter.

I'd often decorate brownies with a marble glaze effect too; I know I've done a dark chocolate/peanut butter combo.
posted by invokeuse at 4:49 PM on April 29, 2020

Best answer: What if you modified this volcano cake to look like a nuclear bomb? But be careful!

Cakes with lots of frosting seem to be a very American thing. This cake looks like a peanut butter cake without too much sugar; you could add some extra cocoa to the sponge to make it more chocolatey.
posted by eierschnee at 11:43 PM on April 29, 2020

Best answer: make a mushroom cloud out of cotton candy, and put an LED light or glowstick in the middle of the candy so it glows!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:10 AM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ha, I came in here specifically to recommend that Smitten Kitchen cake! It is VERY good, and I agree about leaving off the ganache.
posted by catoclock at 6:57 AM on April 30, 2020

This is the absolute best chocolate cake ever, I can't recommend it enough. It's really moist and not overly sweet because of the coffee in it. I always make it in a bundt pan and have melted just peanut butter by itself in the microwave to drizzle over the top, which turned out to be really good.
posted by Eyelash at 7:08 PM on April 30, 2020

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