Birthday cakes for me are a labor of love and have been since I was a teenager. I loved shaped cakes. I loved frosted cakes. I had a whole collection of tips and bags and I could make quite respectable frosting roses. Back in the day, this was my birthday bible:
Cut ahead to today. As incredible as it may seem, I married a man who doesn't like frosting. At all.
So, since marrying him almost seven years ago, I have gotten creative with his birthday cakes in a different way.
This year, we had a bumper crop of rhubarb and strawberries in our new garden. While my love does not like frosting, he does enjoy a good upside down cake and also a good shortcake. Since I am crazy, I thought it would be fun to do both. In the cookbook below is a really good recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. It's delicious and simple, but not particularly pretty, which made me sad. So, I sliced up a bunch of our strawberries and threw those on. Then I 1.5 c of whipping cream with 1.5 T of vanilla instant pudding mix and slathered that on the strawberries. The result was amazing. The cake was not too sweet and syrup-y, as upside down cakes have a tendency to be and the strawberries complemented the cake nicely. The whipped cream added a subtle vanilla flavor that topped it all off nicely. No ice cream was necessary.