Earlier this week, I told you all about the actual birthday cake I made for my husband’s 30th birthday this past week, now, it’s time for me to show you the other cake I made for him—a beer-thday cake!
This was such a fun (and easy) gift to put together for him. We’re craft beer lovers, and I knew for a while I wanted to get him 30 different brews for 30 years on the planet—but I couldn’t quite figure out how to put it together in a fun way. Then, I saw a beer-can cake on display at some grocery store (made with crappy beer, but that’s not the point), and I knew I wanted to recreate it for him with a variety of craft brews. A few weeks later, Craig happened to pin a beer-thday cake to his Pinterest wish list board, and I knew it was meant to be.
The first step was to do some beer shopping. We’re very lucky to have an awesome liquor store nearby that specializes in single-bottle sales of a huge variety of craft beers from around the world—narrowing it down to 30 was really hard! I also wanted to try and make sure to get bottles of even heights to keep the cake steady. I’m sure I looked like a total lunatic measuring beer bottles in the store.
In the end, I decided to do three layers. The bottom layer was 16 bottles, the middle layer was 10 cans, and the top layer was four more bottles. There were quite a few brews I wanted to get that only came in cans, so instead of skipping them completely, I decided to devote a whole layer to canned beers.
I also picked up 12″ cake boards from the craft store (to make the layers), plus ribbon, decorative floral picks, star garland, and glitter paper to make it all fun and festive.
Before we headed out for dinner on his birthday, I kicked him out of the house for a few minutes—don’t worry, I didn’t leave him out in the cold on his birthday, I sent him down the street to my parents’ house for a birthday cocktail—while I assembled the beer cake.
First went down one of the cake boards.
Then I arranged 16 beer all around the circle.
I wanted to make sure the cake had a nice sturdy base, and 16 seemed to do the trick.
Next up went the second circle.
Followed by the canned beers.
I used 10 canned beers, and it worked out, but I would have preferred one or two more on the layer for added stability. I’d say this cake would probably work the best with 33-35 beers.
Next up went the final cake board.
And then I topped it with four topper beers. These were the odd height beers I wanted to get him—they all went on top since there is nothing that needs to balance on them.
Then I wrapped each layer in ribbon, stuck in the decorative picks, and wrapped the whole thing in star garland. I also cut “30” out of the glitter cardstock, attached it to a wooden skewer with tape, and stuck it in the top of the cake.
And then, just to be really nice and obnoxious, I spread confetti all around the cake (and promptly locked the cat in the basement—because I don’t even want to know what a cat does with a table full of confetti and a precarious stack of beer bottles).
He was so excited about this! I’m sure he would have been just as excited if I plopped 30 beers in a box, but I think making them into a cake made his big, milestone birthday just a little bit more special. The most time-consuming part of the whole process was picking out the beers for him (which I loved doing, because I know I’ll be sipping on them, too). It was a great gift! He was so sad when we had to take it apart (see the previous cat comment), and he loved looking at all the different bottles so much, he didn’t want to put any of them in the fridge!
My husband and I met young. We were in our early twenties when he stumbled onto my blog one late night in February and left me a comment. We spent the entire next day talking online. We met in person six weeks later. Were engaged six weeks after that. We moved in together a year to-the-day after he first found my blog. And we were married at city hall a month after that.
It never occurred to me that I’d get married so young—let alone to a man from another country who I randomly met online. But it was one of the easiest decisions of my life. Within about an hour of talking to him online, I knew I was done. We were so young and naive when we first got together, but as of last week, both of us are now well-seasoned thirty-somethings, and I feel so fortunate that we’ve been able to grow up together. Intellectually, I understand that things could have gone so badly (I’ve seen Catfish…), but I’m so thankful I had that wild abandon as a 23 year-old to marry a man I’d barely spent any time with in person.
Craig turned 30 last week, and for some reason, it feels like a really important milestone in our relationship. We’re no longer impulsive kids. We (hopefully) still have a lot of life left to live, but we’ve lived enough—and a lot of it as a couple—to know what we want out of life and to try and tackle it together. Entering a new decade of life with my husband by my side is exciting. And, personally, I’m loving my thirties so far. I’m still young enough to have just enough immaturity to do some stupid stuff, but enough life experience to be confident in decisions. It’s a nice balance.
Watching my husband grow up has been an absolute joy. When I met him, he was…dare I say…a bit of a slacker. And now, he’s this hard-working, intelligent, thoughtful, caring man who willingly does my laundry and still tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m covered in spit-up and haven’t showered in three days. He’s also, quite possibly, the best father on the planet. Seeing the way he loves our daughter has brought me a whole new level of appreciation for him. I knew he was amazing before we had a child, but I now find myself in awe of him. Us girls are so fortunate to have him in our lives.
So what’s all this have to do with cake? Well, every year, Craig and I both try to go crazy over-the-top for each other’s birthday cakes. We spend hours and hours on them. Two years ago, he made me an eight (!) layer cake, and each layer was a different dessert—brownies, cheesecake, cookies, you get the point. This year, he made me a giant Samoa cookie cake. In years past, I’ve made him giant peanut butter chocolate cakes that are decorated to the nines and lots of fancy cheesecakes.
It’s interesting how your life changes when you have a kid. As much as I’d love to devote two straight days to crafting a crazy intense cake for my husband’s birthday, it just wasn’t in the cards for our new lives as parents. So I instead thought about what he’d want me to do. He’d want me to make him something that was delicious, but easy and quick, so I could get back to spending some quality time with him and June Bug. So this year, I decided to skip the complicated cake, and instead go with a simple, layered ice box cake using his favorite candy bar—Butterfingers.
Ice box cakes are incredibly delicious and simple. The idea with ice box cakes is that you layer graham crackers with pudding or whipped cream and then pop it in the fridge (or ice box, if you will). After a few hours, the graham crackers soften up and make a delicious layered cake that is yummy enough to serve to company!
Ice box cakes are just so amazingly easy, which is something that this new mom really appreciates. No worrying that the frosting is just right. Or needing to make sure the cake stand is clean. You layer them in an everyday casserole dish, and pop them in the fridge until it’s time to serve. Then you just cut and plate. Is it as Pinterest-worthy as a perfectly-frosted cake on a well-styled birthday shot? Nope. But it’s wonderful nonetheless.
And maybe one day, once June Bug is a little bit older, she can help me get back to the tradition of making crazy complicated cakes for her Daddy. But for now, we’re all okay with a little bit of simplicity.
This no-bake Butterfinger ice box cake is quick, easy, and so tasty that everyone will think you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Adapted lightly from Let’s Dish.