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Birthday Blocks

 Birthday Blocks
To lay the foundation for this crafty birthday confection, our kitchen staff turned first to a deliciously simple pound cake recipe supplied by subscriber Ethel Ledbetter of Canton, North Carolina. It's texture was just right for building the blocks. "The secrets in the cream cheese I added to the recipe," confides Ethel. "That's what makes my cake firm for cutting—and easy to frost, too." W
16 ServingsPrep: 30 min. Bake 1 hour 20 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract
  • FROSTING/DECORATING:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 9 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Additional milk
  • Tinted icing and pastry bag or tubes of tinted icing

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light
  • and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
  • addition. Gradually add flour; beat just until blended. Stir in
  • extracts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans.
  • Bake at 325° for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes
  • out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes before removing to wire racks
  • to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually

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Birthday Blocks (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • beat in 4 cups confectioners' sugar. Slowly add milk and vanilla.
  • Beat in remaining confectioners' sugar. Add additional milk, 1
  • tablespoon at a time, until frosting reaches spreading consistency;
  • set aside.
  • To make building blocks, cut each cake in half, then cut each half
  • into four blocks for a total of 16 blocks. Gently trim crusts of
  • each; blocks should measure 2 in. x 2 in. Frost sides and top of
  • blocks. Smooth frosting using a warm spatula. Using tinted icing,
  • decorate with letters and numbers (see photo). Carefully stack
  • blocks on a serving platter. Yield: 16 servings.