no more cake! ok, maybe just a little piece...

Last Saturday, my friend KVO joined the 30 club which, in my opinion, is pretty awesome. And, it's about time (she's a young'un in our group). For her birthday, I made her a cake, another friend brought lunch over to her house, and another brought the makings for punch (non-alcoholic - it was the middle of the day, people), and her adorable nephew provided the smiles and laughs. We had a pretty awesome spread!

After lunch, we had the cake. Rewind 2 months or so... I told KVO that I found the recipe for Turtle Cake from Cafe Latte online. She loves this cake, so I told her that I would try making it for her for her birthday.

Fast forward 2 months back to present time... KVO has not forgotten the promise to make this cake for her birthday and is sure to remind me. :)  So, I start getting thinking about this, the ingredients, and the logistics... and for someone who has planned things for a living, I did not do a great job with this.
  • Round pans. I have one, but forgot... so I bought one. This turns out to be fine because it's a three layer cake, so I need to make 3 anyway and this cuts down my baking time. Win. 
  • Cake carrier. I do not have one because I never make round tall cakes, so I don't need one. Until now. After asking a few friends, I find a kind soul to borrow one to me. (thanks, Katie!) Win. 
  • Dry ingredients. I have all of these things at home - flour, cocoa, sugar, chocolate chips, pecans, baking soda.  I even had some of the other ingredients - egg and caramel . Win.
  • Milk. The initial recipe I looked up called for whole milk in the frosting, so I go to the gas station to get a small one because who needs a half gallon of whole milk? Not this girl. The recipe on the Cafe Latte site that I ended up using does not specify whole milk, so clearly I forget and use 1%. Anyone need a pint of whole milk? Fail. 
  • Coffee. I wanted to start making the cakes on Thursday so I could frost on Friday and eat on Saturday. I wish I would have looked at the recipe closer and realized I needed hot coffee when I stopped at the gas station to get whole milk on Thursday after work (see above) because I got home and was ready to start. No coffee. No baking on Thursday. I stopped at the gas station Friday to get coffee on my way home from work, instead. Fail.
  • Buttermilk. My mom gave me a great tip that if you use a tablespoon of vinegar to 1 c. of milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes, it is a great substitute for buttermilk. Awesome! So, I didn't buy buttermilk. I joked with mom, "watch - now I won't have vinegar at home... haha!" You probably see where this is going. No white vinegar at home. We have apple, balsamic, red wine, and even blueberry pomegranate vinegar... but no white. Fail. I tried asking two different neighbors  (which was kind of embarrassing). They didn't have white vinegar, either. Double fail. Online, it said I could use cream of tartar instead... sweet! Except I didn't have that either. I went back to the store.  Triple fail (I think the kids would call this an "epic fail").
But, once I actually got started, it wasn't so bad. The cake was pretty easy to make and I felt very Betty Crocker. The cake layers finished and I cooled them, per the directions. I made the frosting and started assembling the cake. Cake, frosting, caramel, pecans - rinse and repeat 2 more times. With the exception of forgetting caramel on the second layer and having to take the top off, things went smoothly. But jostling the top made it crack just a bit... but I don't think it had an impact on the taste. I was really happy with how it turned out, being my first attempt at a big layer cake thing.

Here's how it turned out:

The birthday girl & the cake.

The cake and it's ooey, gooey, layers of awesome.
It actually did taste like the cake at Cafe Latte, which, I suppose makes sense since it's their recipe. :) And, had I planned a little better up front, it would have gone a lot more smoothly. Case-in-point why I am a planner by nature, typically - I'm a mess when I don't.

I had one piece of the cake at Keri's party and I don't think I can eat cake again for a few weeks. It was SO rich, but SO delicious. When I came home, after wraps, salads (pasta, spinach, and fruit), punch, and cake, I came home and took a food-coma nap on the couch for a while. And it was worth it.

As an aside, happy birthday to my very good friend, KVO. She is smart, beautiful, funny, kind, thoughtful, responsible, trustworthy, and just plain wonderful. I think her 30s are going to bring all of the very good things she deserves in life. I'm fortunate to be her friend and look forward to celebrating with her (and the girls!) more in Colorado later this week. :)

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