Erin Bakes Cake - Review, recipe and giveaway

Erin Bakes Cake: Make + Bake + Decorate = Your Own Cake Adventure! by Erin Gardner is what happens when the game Twister (rainbow unicorn edition) and pure cake innovation come together. It is a brilliantly done collection of cakey components to mix and match to create stunning, must-make and must-eat cake.

Base cake recipes with multiple variations, crunchy, nutty add-ins for fillings, buttercreams, jams and more allow you to raise your cake flag high. For instance, the Sweet Bouquet Cake combines - Ginger Birthday Cake, Pineapple Lime Jam, Candied Macadamia Nut Crunch and Raspberry Buttercream to make a cake that would rival any bakery's version and worthy of any celebration.

Erin provides countless decorating tips and tricks, substitution guides, remixes (not box mixes) but ideas to turn your tall layer cake into a sheet cake, single layer or cupcakes. Her book is a explosive array of color and cake ingenuity meant to transform us into cake bosses. Note, throughout Erin does give instructions if using a box mix as well as tips for making that box mix taste more like homemade - but people - it's cake - it's special -  make it taste like homemade because it is - homemade. Seriously, do what you need to do that works for you - but don't be afraid of baking from scratch - there is a world of difference in taste.

I used the Chocolate Cake we are sharing here today for a birthday cake and it was perfect. Erin's Peanut Butter Cake and Vanilla Buttercream used in her Three-Ring Circus Cake - is next on my list. Erin Bakes is my new go-to for fun, delicious and anything but boring cake. I'm going to suggest that we bake from Erin's book in The Cookbook Junkies Cookbook Club soon.

Special thanks to Rodale and the author for sharing a recipe from this technicolor dream (I am resisting the urge to type "crumbcoat") of a book. Rodale is offering three copies of this book in our contest below - scroll down and enter.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Add this recipe to your Bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).


doctor, doctor! The boxed equivalent to this recipe would be a devil's food or dark chocolate cake mix. For a denser cake that more closely resembles homemade, add 1 large egg yolk and one 3.5-ounce box of instant chocolate pudding mix to the ingredients called for on the box.


10 cups batter
Two tall 8-inch round cakes
Three regular 6-inch round cakes

8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 large eggs
1 ½ cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups warm water
1 cup whole milk
4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for the pans)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray and flour pans in your chosen size.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt at medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure there are no butter lumps, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing and after adding the last egg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and warm water until combined. Once the cocoa powder has dissolved, add the milk and whisk to combine.

With the mixer on low, add half of the flour to the butter mixture until just incorporated. Slowly add half of the milk mixture until combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining flour and mix until just incorporated. Add the last of the wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans' positions halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch round pans or 30 to 35 minutes for 6-inch round pans.


The publisher is offering three copies of this title to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index are you excited to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on October 18th, 2017. 



  • mcrimmins  on  9/10/2017 at 11:13 AM

    Peanut Butter Cake sound delish.

  • mrmoas  on  9/10/2017 at 12:09 PM

    Ginger cake for sure!

  • jr0717  on  9/10/2017 at 12:11 PM

    The espresso birthday cake with white chocolate ganache. Hands down.

  • LaurenE  on  9/10/2017 at 12:42 PM

    Definitely ginger cake!

  • heyjude  on  9/10/2017 at 12:47 PM

    Mocha Birthday Cake

  • jezpurr  on  9/10/2017 at 2:20 PM

    I'm not sure which I'd try first. But there are lots I'd love to try. The coconut, the cashew, the espresso, the mocha, and more!!!^_^

  • lgroom  on  9/10/2017 at 2:27 PM

    Ooo -- ginger cake.

  • bstewart  on  9/10/2017 at 2:49 PM

    I love pistachio everything, so the pistachio buttercream on something!

  • LarissaPrusak  on  9/10/2017 at 4:01 PM

    Confetti cake for the grandkids

  • kmn4  on  9/10/2017 at 4:59 PM

    Orange clove birthday cake

  • motherofpearl81  on  9/10/2017 at 6:16 PM

    Black Velvet Cake... omg that sounds superb! My Chloe Pearl wants to be a baker when she grows up and I would be thrilled to give this book a whirl with her.

  • FireRunner2379  on  9/10/2017 at 6:36 PM

    I'd like to make the Espresso Birthday Cake and top it with the Chocolate Pastry Cream!

  • Shelley.b  on  9/10/2017 at 6:50 PM

    Chocolate toffee birthday cake

  • ravensfan  on  9/10/2017 at 8:53 PM

    Coconut birthday cake

  • Rosesrpink50  on  9/10/2017 at 9:02 PM

    Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake because I love a little chocolate.

  • smartie101  on  9/10/2017 at 9:17 PM

    Peanut Butter Cake!

  • kaluzwilliams  on  9/11/2017 at 7:40 AM

    I would love to bake the orange clove birthday cake!

  • nadiam1000  on  9/11/2017 at 8:05 AM

    Maple Pound Cake - I love maple syrup and pound cake so this sounds like a great combo

  • sgump  on  9/11/2017 at 10:27 AM

    Sign me up for mocha birthday cake!

  • melmaren  on  9/11/2017 at 11:35 AM

    Funfetti birthday cake for sure :) My nieces would go nuts for funfetti!

  • ktwalla  on  9/11/2017 at 2:40 PM

    Toffee Birthday Cake

  • lpatterson412  on  9/11/2017 at 4:01 PM

    I am going to try this chocolate cake first, after that a red velvet birthday cake! YUM!!!

  • lpatterson412  on  9/11/2017 at 4:02 PM

    I am going to try this chocolate cake recipe first, and then after that I would go for the Red Velvet!!! YUM!!!

  • rchesser  on  9/11/2017 at 4:03 PM

    Pretty kitty cake! And the Sweater weather cake and....ALL

  • mpdeb98  on  9/11/2017 at 4:17 PM

    Almond butter cake

  • skipeterson  on  9/11/2017 at 4:54 PM

    Red wine cake

  • cookshelf58  on  9/12/2017 at 12:18 AM


  • Livmichelle  on  9/12/2017 at 1:06 AM

    One of the many cakes, peanut butter cake found perfect

  • matag  on  9/12/2017 at 11:16 AM

    Chocolate toffe birthday cake

  • vickster  on  9/12/2017 at 1:33 PM

    Espresso Birthday Cake sounds wonderful!

  • RoseMGenuine  on  9/12/2017 at 2:36 PM

    Nutella cake!! My daughter just added she wants vanilla.

  • Lrosaly  on  9/12/2017 at 2:40 PM

    Almond butter cake

  • rstuart  on  9/12/2017 at 3:17 PM

    Ginger birthday cake: very different!

  • Siegal  on  9/12/2017 at 6:38 PM

    I want to make rose water marshmallow

  • echilt5  on  9/14/2017 at 1:21 AM

    Funfetti Birthday Cake

  • lhudson  on  9/14/2017 at 7:17 AM

    Toffee birthday cake

  • sarahawker  on  9/14/2017 at 7:25 AM

    Black velvet birthday cake

  • Alexandria2  on  9/14/2017 at 6:41 PM

    hi there i would love to try the Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake this would be great for my moms upcoming birthday !! we would love this book we love baking yummy stuff ,this book looks great.bye and thanks for the chance .

  • ljkish  on  9/14/2017 at 6:54 PM

    I would make the Applesauce cake

  • Maefleur  on  9/15/2017 at 9:25 PM

    Ginger cake!

  • rrwrites  on  9/16/2017 at 6:23 PM

    I'd like to make my own sprinkles!

  • Julia  on  9/17/2017 at 9:04 PM

    Ginger Birthday Cake.

  • robynnemellor  on  9/20/2017 at 8:57 AM

    Gingerbread pound cake and red wine cake sound amazing.

  • horselady57  on  9/20/2017 at 3:47 PM

    Maple Pound Cake!

  • fiarose  on  9/21/2017 at 10:24 PM

    orange clove cake, candied mandala cake! yum!

  • Dmartin997  on  9/22/2017 at 9:56 PM

    Sweater weather cake and the different flavored curds.

  • skenoyer  on  9/22/2017 at 10:11 PM

    Blueberry Lemon Birthday Cake, yum!

  • rexxtigger  on  9/22/2017 at 10:43 PM

    Ginger cake, and various frostings.

  • lisambb  on  9/23/2017 at 6:06 AM

    Coconut cak

  • tararr  on  9/23/2017 at 8:34 AM

    Ginger cake

  • br22  on  9/23/2017 at 11:35 AM

    Maple Pound Cake!

  • amandacooks  on  9/23/2017 at 2:49 PM

    Any veggie many variations!

  • Jostlori  on  9/23/2017 at 7:32 PM

    Whiskey or Rum Honeycomb Candy! Wow - so many decorating uses for this (not to mention the pieces I would eat!)

  • dna  on  9/24/2017 at 6:01 AM

    Zucchini cake

  • heyjude  on  9/25/2017 at 2:12 AM

    Espresso Birthday Cake

  • RickPearson54  on  9/25/2017 at 8:37 AM

    Red wine cake

  • Scotsman61  on  9/27/2017 at 12:38 AM

    Almond butter cake

  • ladybrooke  on  9/28/2017 at 12:04 AM

    Blueberry lemon birthday cake

  • Nancygs  on  9/28/2017 at 10:25 AM

    salted caramel buttercream

  • AngelNewsi  on  9/28/2017 at 11:34 AM

    Tea ganache

  • Patoliv1312  on  9/28/2017 at 5:54 PM

    Toffee birthday cake

  • CAMcooks  on  9/28/2017 at 6:53 PM

    Sweater Weather Cake

  • Karla123  on  10/2/2017 at 11:31 AM

    Maple honeycomb candy...YUM!

  • linmin  on  10/4/2017 at 6:31 PM

    Vanilla Birthday Cake

  • stargirl  on  10/9/2017 at 10:08 AM

    spice birthday cake

  • Katiefayhutson  on  10/15/2017 at 8:01 AM

    Ginger cake

  • JenJoLa  on  10/15/2017 at 1:09 PM

    Mocha birthday cake

  • orchidlady01  on  10/15/2017 at 10:49 PM

    I would make the Espresso birthday cake.

  • laffersk  on  10/17/2017 at 10:00 AM

    Coloring your own sprinkles and sanding sugar sounds fun

  • ebs  on  10/17/2017 at 8:57 PM

    Double chocolate birthday cake

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