Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mommy, I want a Cheese Burger Cake!

I have questioned, I have doubted, I have spent sleepless nights, shed tears  and laughed out loud, loved with all my heart and soul... for 5 years, I  have been up and down this roller coaster, every day and loved it.

The young 'un turned 5, so very quickly. From butter ball to a smart and handsome boy with a merry twinkle in his eye.

We celebrated his birthday in a quiet way at home as it was a weekday and the poor baby was unwell, a day earlier, he had 'water and sand day' in school and he caught the bug there. The nurse called me  from her office saying that he had thrown up and was running a temperature. I rushed to school, full of anxiety, he was sleeping in the nurse's office, curled up, looking tiny and his backpack on his shoulders and a paper crown on his head ( he distributed treat bags on that day as it was a holiday on his birthday and the teacher fitted him with the usual paper birthday boy crown and everyone sang the birthday song). 
I felt a stab of pain, looking at him, laying down on his side, the nurse could have had some sense and taken his backpack off his back! I gently lifted him in my arms and he hugged me  and lay his hot, fevered brow  against my neck and said,  "it was the Popsicles Mommy, they made me eku (throw up)".

A day later, on his birthday, he was better, but weak and no appetite. but he wanted to cut a cake! 
So when he was napping, I made a small cake, no fuss, and quick (we had planned a party over the weekend with his little friends and their families)

This was a simple layered Vanilla cake layered with whipped and cream cheese frosting and strawberry jam/ jelly, the chocolate words were made by melting candy melts, putting the melted chocolate in a piping bag and tracing the letters.

By the day of the party, he was fine and up to his usual antics! For once, I did not complain, well, not too much and only once threatened to 'cancel the party if you do not stop jumping from chair to sofa'. What can I say in my defense? I had a lot on my hands, with his illness, the party planning, prepping....

This year, he wanted a Cheese Burger Cake. Unlike most 5 year olds, who want a super hero cake, my sonny boy had cheese burger on his mind. we took inspiration from youtube- Rosanna Pansino, a video that my son watched, repeatedly, fascinated, first because of the cat and later for the cake.

The idea of the cheese burger had taken firm hold. I was happy, this is an easy cake to make!
Here is a look at the cake, just as I finished it, right in time for the party (minutes before the party, actually!)

I used 2 Butter cake (box) mixes.

The bottom of the 'bun' was baked in a 9 inch round pan as was the brownie 'meat patty'
The top of the Burger bun posed a challenge, the 2 quart Pyrex bowl was not big enough, so I used a 'Kadhai'(Indian wok) that I have. It was a perfect fit (whew!)

The cakes and the brownie patty were cooled. The cakes had to be leveled. The Frosting was my usual,whipped and cream cheese frosting.
The frosting is perfect for us, it has slight tanginess that is not unwelcome, it is mildly sweet and light and airy, unlike butter cream frosting that uses a high ratio of butter to sugar ratio (1:4), yikes!
The cream cheese gives it sturdiness and the frosting did not melt or misbehave in any way, despite the heat.

I used Wilton's Brown color and added it slowly to the cream to get a tan shade to resemble a bun.
I skipped the 'sesame seeds' on the bun as I could not find any candy coated sunflower seeds and felt no inclination to make any at home.

The 'lettuce, tomato and cheese' slices were fruit roll ups ( found in any grocery store), I used a leaf pattern cutter (from my Wilton kit) and pulled the leaf a bit to give it a lettuce-y look and round cutter (use any cookie cutter) to cut out the tomato slices.


  1. Bake the cakes and brownie a day ahead. chill in the fridge and then level. this reduces the crumbs
  2. Brush the cakes (leveled side) with a simple sugar-water mix, to seal in the crumbs and keep the cake moist. don't overdo it.
  3. Chill the mixer bowl and beaters in the freezer until you are ready to frost.
  4. Pull out the heavy cream and cream cheese at the last moment.
  5. Frost the round cake ( bottom part of the burger bun)  and place the brownie 'patty' on top. make sure the patty and cake are aligned perfectly.
  6. Gently, place the 'lettuce leaves' under the brownie patty .
  7. Alternate the 'tomato' and 'cheese' on the brownie and press the corners to make them stick ( they will stick as the fruit roll ups are - well, sticky)
  8. Frost the top Bun, separately and use a big, flat spatula ( pancake spatula) to pick up the bun and VERY carefully place it on the brownie patty, aligning it perfectly, you get one chance to get it right! 
  9. Top with candy coated sunflower seeds, this is optional.

The cake was a hit and most importantly, the Birthday Boy was thrilled! His eyes reflected the  happiness and I felt like I had won a billion dollar lottery!

Our guests made the party really special with their wholehearted participation and the love and good wishes they showered on the birthday boy (and the generous gifts they gave made him one happy boy!)

Here are a few pictures of the party I'd like to share with you all and a small flashback ( thanks to my Mom!)
The Venue ( left) and our little guests ready to play games (right)

Enjoy the rest of the week! See you soon.
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  1. Happy Birthday to your handsome little guy! 1/2 a decade is quite the milestone.

    The burger cake is beyond adorable. And very clever of you to use a kadhai as a mold. Beautiful job!

    1. Thank you so much, Nupur (maushi).
      Initially I had planned on using a Pyrex bowl, but that looked inadequate. I did not have anything else, so I used the good ol' desi kadhai!

  2. Happy birthday to your little one, Mansi.. the cake is awesome.. I know how much effort you must have put into it.. very very cool cake..


    1. Thank you, Archana. I must admit, this cake is easy, a little thought and prep and you have a great cake on your hands!

  3. Belated birthday wishes to handsome star! I am glad that he has recovered from stomach bug. Poor baby!

    And cheese burger cake?! Seriously WOW!

    PS: you look like a doll in that old pic of yours. very, very cute :)

    1. Thank you, Sia! Oh he bounced back, but it is heart breaking to see children under the weather.
      I love looking at old pictures, the wonderful times and the happy moments
      ( and that, there was a time I was cute;) )

  4. Mummy's second birthday photo in flashback and son's fifth birthday photo.Very cute idea.

  5. Lovely cake and birthday wishes to the prince

  6. belated birthday wishes! and cool cakes you have made. By the way..the new header luks great too, Manasi. :)

    1. Thank you, Sona, for the birthday wishes and also for the header.

  7. This is really looks beautiful ..nicely done ...Happy Birthday to your lil one ..

  8. After reading this post I feel like extending my arms inside your blog and giving you a tight hug! :-) The frosting you've used might be just what I was looking for, please advice if it will stay well 1 hour in transport (in an airconditioned car) and 2 hours at the party venue(indoors) without refrigeration? How long was it kept outdoors? Was the frosting still in shape when you packed the leftovers (if any). Please reply. I am keeping my fingers crossed! :-)

    And a Belated Happy Birthday to your lil' boy! What a sweet picture of yours next to his at the same age :-) Kudos to him for thinking out of the box for the theme rather than sticking with the regular ones everyone has. Certainly challenging for you (using kadhai was a brilliant idea!) but oh so much fun! :-) The cheeseburger looks so amazing! Great work of art!

    - Priti

    1. Hey Priti! Long time! how have you been?
      Thank you so much for your wishes! Hugging you right back :)
      Now to answer your question, the frosting is really, finger lickin' good. Mostly because it is not cloyingly sweet and cream cheese adds a nice tang and sturdiness.
      The frosting should last ( I live in Texas and the heat on the day of the party was in 90's) since the party was outdoors, we had no fan, ac, obviously. here is what happened, we cut the cake within 10 minutes of bringing it out, there were no leftovers ( that cake is good for 30 people- my number of guests
      ) but I had a batch of cupcakes- on the safe side (same base and frosting, just not elaborate) sitting under the table for about 45 mins, the frosting 'sweated' a bit, but did not slide down to a gloopy mess. Neither did the frosting turn sour ( I have 4-5 cupcakes still sitting in the fridge and they are still perfect.

      You could try this: use a big box,cardboard one and cut the side of the box so you do not have to pick the cake up, just slide it out. line it with ice packs - not ice cubes and then sit the cake on it. Depending on the size of the cake, you could cover it with just the dome cover of a cake carrier.
      That should keep it safe during travel. Just hold on to it like a lifeline :)
      The ice packs should keep the cake cool and it can then last indoors as well as there will be ac ( i am assuming).
      I hope this answers some questions, if I have missed out anything, please leave a comment, I will answer promptly.

  9. Happy Birthday to your lil one......cake looks wonderful n amazing...

    1. Thank you for the wishes and your compliment about the cake, Divya !

  10. Hi Pallavi,
    Mala hava aahe ha cake, the fruit roll ups is a clever use for the lettuce, pickles and the colors are bang on for rest. Loved loved the kadhai idea, I struggled with the bun top idea so i had a flat top with my cake, u can use almond shivers as sesame seeds, they look cute, just chop and sprinkle. Over all, purrfect cake, son and amazing you...S looks so much like you in the pic's.. Priceless. Happy 5th Bday dearest S, rock your moms dreams and life forever.
    Love Ash.

    1. Thank you, Ash! I had almond slivers, but they looked a bit too big, so i left them out. I wanted to use white whipped frosting to pipe it on, but forgot at the last moment.

  11. Hey Manasi! Thank you SOOOOOO Much! I am so happy to read your positive 'go ahead' reply that I feel like doing somersaults! :-)) YAY!!!

    I was not able to reply to your comment above due to some unknown reason so posting a separate one here. I just HAD to thank you, your comment not only answered everything but also gave me more helpful tips on transporting the cake. Loved the idea of using ice packs, thanks to our camping days I have plenty!

    I would love to share a picture of our cake (in July) with you since you've been of such great help. If you don't mind, could you please share your email address?

    Many Thanks!

    1. Yaaay! I hope it all works out perfectly!
      Do email me the picture, I'd love to see it and get new ideas.
      My email id is:

  12. A great cake! It really looks like a burger. Well done.

    Happy Birthday to your son!



  13. I loved reading about the cake P. It looks so cool. Isn't it great to see the twinkle in their eyes when they see their favorite cake? Your cake is perfect. I am sure Soham had so much fun.

    1. Thank you,Shilpa! You are right, their smile and twinkle is the best thing in the world!Soham loved it and I was so happy that I could make it just the way he wanted.

  14. Belated birthday wishes for Soham! Nice idea of the burger cake! You really had to do that balancing act with a unwell child and getting the bd preps. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Anjali! Thankfull I had prepped a bit, the invitations had gone out 3 weeks in advance and after that, I began. So it was not so bad, but yes, I was really tensed about the stomach bug, luckily it was a mild one and he recovered fully by the day of the party :)

  15. Beautifully made cake! Lucky young one! Birthday greetings to him!

  16. cake looks fabulous...birthday wishes to your son

  17. Belated birthday wishes to ur rocking star, omg mindblowing cake and can see the efforts u have put in..Rocking!


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