White Russian Birthday Cake

I love to bake, but I have something to confess.

I hate making cakes.

I really, really do, and I’ll tell you why.

Cakes (and cupcakes) have become more like works of art to be marveled at than food which in a matter of minutes will disappear in bellies. It’s all about massive layers and fondant and glitter and transformation. Ideally, you’ve made a perfect cake if it is too pretty to eat.

I never want to look at food and have to pause to decide if I can eat it.

When I discovered this recipe on King Arthur’s website for White Russian Cake, I knew I had to make it for Hubby’s birthday, despite my lack of enthusiasm for cake making. Not only is a White Russian his favorite mixed drink, but it seemed like the perfect change up from ordinary birthday cake.*

*And I’m fairly certain I haven’t made one of those in…ever?

I knew it was going to be a difficult task, especially after glancing the recipe over and noting there were two different batters, technically two frostings, an icing, and a soak.


Once I started making the cake, I realized the reason the icing was optional is because it turns this already complex cake into a drip cake.

Something I’ve definitely never done before.

You know that moment when you’re attempting a new recipe and you think, “Gosh, I’m not sure if this is supposed to 1.) look like this, 2.) smell like this, 3.) taste like this?”, but then the moment passes and all is either well or you toss the entire thing in the trash and pretend it never happened?

Yeah, that moment lasted from start to finish with this cake.

It started with me questioning the small amount of vanilla batter and continued with my poor attempt at swirling my chocolate batter into the small vanilla batter. It returned as I hoped I was leveling the cakes properly and wondered if I was using too much or too little Kahlua soak. Perhaps the best moment was when I prayed that meringue powder was supposed to smell so unpleasant.


I persevered though, and was quite content with my results. Some of the drips blobbed together, but after taking one bite, I could ignore any minor imperfections.

All my doubts were eased in that first bite. The cake itself I could eat sans frosting, sans Kahlua soak, and I did. The bits of cake I shaved off to make the layers even provided me snacking throughout the week. I regret nothing.

That said, the combination of Kahlua flavor in the soak, the different frostings, and even that intimidating drip icing all brought together a dessert tasting like the drink for which it is named.

While a White Russian might be Hubby’s drink of choice, its cake counterpart might possibly be my new cake of choice.*

*But let’s be real, I didn’t really have one to start with.


Do you like making cakes? What is a unique flavor you have made?


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