The Simplest 2-Ingredient Birthday Cake for Summer

Kitchen Diary: Anne in South Carolina

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Our youngest son has a summer birthday, the kind of birthday that gets ignored, poor guy. His cakes are usually afterthoughts, picked up from the bakery on the way home from work, or served at whatever restaurant he's chosen for his party.

This year, I was touched when he wanted me to make the cake for his eighth birthday myself, and I agreed, just as soon as I remembered my favorite, ridiculously easy cake.

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My husband, whose birth date of December 24 garners him tons of sympathy, will never know what it's like to have no one at your party, because all of your friends are out of town, or forgot. Sure, he may have to share the spotlight with another major holiday, but July is the laziest time of year, and our son's birthday celebrations tend to be simple, with just family, and occasionally a friend or two.

But at least we have cake.

My Extra-Simple Summer Birthday Cake

This is so simple, it isn't even a recipe. The ingredients are...

Can you substitute another brand of ice cream? Sure, but don't say I didn't tell you so. Breyers strawberry is light and refreshing, contains real strawberries plus five other ingredients I recognize, and tastes just like strawberry ice cream should. Can you make your own angel food cake? Sure! But...why? My local Publix does a lovely job with that, and I'm already at the store for the ice cream, so.

The "how to" is easy, and you've probably guessed already, but here it is. Let the ice cream sit out on the counter until it's runny. (I used to do this in the microwave, but I must admit the consistency is a little better when it melts on its own.) Open the angel food cake containers.

In a two-piece angel food cake pan, alternate layers of ice cream and torn pieces of cake. Use a rubber spatula to spread the ice cream and level the layers. For a smaller cake, use one cake and one container of ice cream. To fill the pan and make a more spectacular cake, use two of each. You may want to cover the bottom of the pan with plastic wrap, in case it leaks.

→ Get the pan: Nordic Ware 2-Piece Angel Food Cake Pan at Target
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Now, put the whole thing in the freezer and go on about your day. When you're ready to plate the cake, remove the outer shell of the pan, turn it over on a cake plate, and stick a warm washcloth in the center tube. Now read a book or something. In a few minutes, you will hear the cake slide off the tube and onto your cake plate. This will make a soft plopping noise. Put your book down and remove the second part of the cake pan. Put your cake back in the freezer until you are ready to serve it.

You can serve it with chocolate sauce, or not, and you can garnish with mint, or not. Birthday candles are highly recommended.

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This year, our summer baby's birthday was similar to years in the past. We grabbed a couple of grandparents, a few cousins and brothers, and all the aunts and uncles we could find, and headed out to the birthday boys choice of restaurant, a Japanese steak house where they cook at the table. (What other choice is there for a birthday, really?) He had a great time. Then we all went home for cake, deliciously simple cake.

What are your favorite light desserts for summer?

(Image credits: Anne Wolfe Postic)