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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Birthday Cake

This is a very old family recipe.  Traditionally, it's called "Firewood in the Snow" and arranged as a pile of "sticks," in a pile of creamy frosting.  Here how it usually looks:

I decided to arrange the "sticks" in a square gift box shape and decorate with a ribbon.  Ah, it did not work as envisioned.  Hmmm, just like the intended recipient of this cake...  lol... Stubborn sticks kept, well, sticking out!  The frosting kept sliding!  It resembled a pile all right but, unfortunately, nothing like what I wanted.  Frustrated, I stuck it in the fridge last night.  This morning, though, the frosting saturated crumbly sticks and wasn't as runny on the outside.  I was able to slice off the stubborn ends and achieve a somewhat square box shape.  Then I wrapped the ribbon and here is what is awaiting the birthday guy, who is not home yet.  I sure hope he likes it! :)

Dough Recipe:
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour (to make a cookie consistency dough)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Note:  I was not happy with this dough.  The ingredients are not the same in quality as when I was growing up and it's difficult to guess just the right combination, so I think I added too much flour.  The dough was easy to roll out but too tough, in my opinion.  Next time, I will make a much softer dough and just shape "sticks" by hand, folding cherries (or preserves) inside.
  • filling:  very thick cherry preserves or sweet cherries in heavy syrup, drained
Frosting Recipe:
  • 32 oz sour cream (I always use Daisy because it's thick and creamy), drained overnight to thicken
  • 16 oz heavy cream
  • 2-3 cups confectioner's sugar
  1. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add sour cream and salt.
  3. Mix flour with baking powder, then slowly fold into the mix.
  4. Make the soft dough -- see my note above.  It will be sticky and very soft but, as long as you can roll little balls, enclose preserves or cherries, and roll out (in your hands) into sticks, it's fine.  You need to make 15-16 sticks.  Alternatively, you can make filled cookies (round shape) and make a snowball pile.
  5. Bake at 400 until golden brown.
  6. To make frosting, beat heavy cream until thick. Add sour cream and sugar and beat until thick.  It won't be as thick as cream cheese frosting, for example.  It's OK -- the dough needs to saturate.
  7. Arrange in a pile, generously covering each layer with frosting.
  8. Refrigerate at least overnight.

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