Nate's Birthday 2013

Beardo is how I affectionately refer to my husband, Nate. I think you can figure out why. 

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a little get-together, where I cooked up dinner for 6 of Nate’s closest friends. 

Having vegetarians to dinner always makes it hard for me to plan a menu. It’s easy to leave out any animal protein, but then there’s only so much you can do with legumes as your protein…and I never have the courage to serve soy products, for fear the non-vegetarians in the group would hate me forever.

Butterscotch Cake ~

I decided to try not to think about how balanced the meal was and went with a slow-roasted tomato pasta dish, beets with mint, homemade marinated mushrooms, some asparagus with chopped tomatoes and a vinaigrette, and some good crusty bread. I’ll try to share some of the recipes with you soon.

I also had some cheese and crackers, and nuts for an appetizer, plus there was cheese in the pasta, so I figured that was plenty of protein for the vegetarians. I served some turkey sausage on the side so the meat eaters wouldn’t feel too deprived.

But the real star of the show was this 9-layer butterscotch cake.

Butterscotch Cake ~

If you noticed my cake only has 7 layers, well you’re very perceptive. That’s because I generously scooped the batter into the prepared pans, thinking it was only supposed to be six layers. When I got to layer 4, I realized my error but by that point I had already baked 3 layers. There was still time to correct it to 7 layers but I couldn’t get 9 out of the remaining batter, and figured it would still look impressive and no one would know the difference. Thankfully I was right.  

All of the comments of this cake on the site I got it from raved about it’s amazingness. It was definitely good but was SO rich. I cut Nate a huge piece not knowing, and he proceeded to eat the whole thing, though I’m not sure how. I think, being the sweet husband that he is, he didn’t want to offend me by not finishing what I served him. I cut myself a small piece and made myself nauseous finishing it.

The cake was definitely impressive-looking, tasted good, and I was proud of myself for making a homemade butterscotch… but aside from that I think it wasn’t worth the effort to attempt it more than once in a lifetime.

Butterscotch Cake ~

*Helpful notes if you try this yourself:

When you go to reheat the butterscotch for the top and sides of the cake, make sure you use a heavy-bottomed saucepan over EXTREMELY low heat.

I think my pan wasn’t “heavy” enough and the butterscotch completely separated. I was ready to cry since it took me about 45 minutes of stirring over a hot pot to make that damn butterscotch, but I was thankfully able to salvage it. The butter basically separated out so I poured it off and had a butterscotch that was more spread-able than pourable, but still tasted exactly the same. So it worked out…phew! If it hadn’t worked, I probably would have thrown my brand new pot out the window, along with the cake and anything else nearby. Hopefully my cat would know well enough to run into the bedroom to hide. 

Also, since there was so little batter that you had to spread it as evenly as possible in the pan, the layers were all slightly uneven/lumpy. When I stacked them I noticed they were sagging on the sides since the middles were so much higher. So i took each cake layer and very carefully shaved off the top of the middle section to make them as flat and even as possible. It wasn’t too hard to do with a good, sharp serrated knife.

I didn’t change a thing, so you can find the recipe here at Leite’s Culinaria


  1. What an impressive looking cake! Happy birthday to your husband!

    • Thanks, Meghan! I love when cakes look impressive…particularly when they weren’t actually that hard to make ;) Unfortunately this one was a pain!

  2. Awww…what a nice post, Amy! Happy birthday to your husband, who is so sweet to chow down that big rich slice of cake (though I’m sure it wasn’t a huge burden).

    This cake is really impressive! I would not have been detail oriented enough to notice the layers and it looks mighty amazing with 7 (!) layers as is. And I can feel your pain on the butterscotch. Not only have I not attempted more than 2 layers on a cake, anything that says butterscotch or caramel makes me very nervous. I know you love your husband a lot to go to all the trouble. I’m so glad you were able to salvage the butterscotch – I know the feeling so well! And I also get that it was a one-time cake. We all have those! The good thing is you guys will look back and remember this cake for sure even if you don’t make it again. : ) PS – love the nickname.

    • Thanks, Monica! I was super scared to attempt homemade butterscotch and was certain I was doing it wrong since the temperature on the candy thermometer took SO long to budge above 100 degrees! I’m glad I did do it though- now I can check it off my things-to-try-at-home list. You should def give caramel a try one day…I bet your little one would love it as an ice cream topping :)

  3. Wow, that is so sweet of you to cook for your hubby’s birthday Amy! The cake is very impressive. All that gorgeous layer? Wow, wish I had a slice right now! Hee hee.. And it’s almost bedtime for me. I can only dream of having a slice. ;) I’m looking forward to seeing some of the recipes of your dinner! Have a great week.

    • Aw, thanks Anne. I feel like it’s my wifely duty to cook for his bday, hehe. Bedtime is the optimal time to have a slice of cake, didn’t you know? ;)

  4. What a lovely cake for Nate’s b-day! I know, it’s so hard to plan a menu when there are restrictions! I have a good friend who’s vegan, and her fiance is also vegan…and on a gluten free diet as well! Take about having fun planning a menu when they visit…and I have other carnivores friends! hahaha….I love your menu. Sound delicious and got a great varieties.

    • Thanks, Amy! Yea, it’s especially hard when you’d really like it to be a gourmet meal :) Oy, I dunno what I’d do for gluten free AND veggie. Do you have any go-to recipes for when they come over?

  5. YoWzA! That’s a cake! I loathe butterscotch, which means I won’t be attempting that masterpiece anytime soon. But still… that’s a cake!!

    • You loathe making it or eating it? I’m not a huge butterscotch fan either. I prefer chocolate or fruit flavored. Thanks ;)

    • to clarify, Amy, that’s butterscotch, dates, and anything with bread and custard baked and/or layered together. movita hates all of those things. also she’s not a fan of raisins.
      so obviously someday i want to make her a butterscotch cake with dates and raisins and then layer it with butterscotch custard and bake it together like bread pudding. #mostterriblethingever
      *you know i’m kidding i love you*

      • hahaha, well we’re all allowed to have our most detested of foods. I actually don’t have many, but Nate has a ton. My favorite thing to do is to serve someone a food that they claim they hate without telling them what it is and watch them love it ;)

  6. I like your 7 layer cake. 9 layers would have seemed over the top. ;)

    Happy birthday, Mr. Eats!

  7. I literally pass by Nate every Tuesday night as I’m walking to Central Park for my running practice lol. I considered saying happy birthday to him but thought he might think I was psycho! :P This cake looks amazing. I am so impressed with all your layers!! I’ve attempted to make butterscotch exactly once…and then swore never again! It’s harder than caramel!

    • Haha, that’s too funny! Yeah, he walks by way of the park every day. You should totally stop him and say hi :) I told him that you always pass by him so it won’t seem so weird, hehe. Omg, yes, I will never again make butterscotch! Thank goodness it actually came out well, with all that work I put into it.

  8. What a lovely shot of Nate! He looks so happy! And Happy Birthday to him! Wow, that’s a gorgeous looking 7-layered butterscotch cake!

  9. That is a gorgeous cake. It almost reminds me of a Smith Island Cake. Happy birthday to your husband!

    • I had to look up what a Smith Island Cake was….but you’re right! They do look very similar. Their cakes are much neater than mine though :) Thanks, Megan!

  10. I’m sure that no one missed the extra 2 layers, I mean, just call it “7 layer butterscotch cake” and you’re good to go! ;) And I’m sure Beardo ate his whole slice BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING AND DELICIOUS… the same way that the BF will follow up dinner with chips and then a large milkshake while I stare in horror…. I mean, my appetite is far from “small” but there’s only so much a stomach can handle, especially right before bed!

    Your cake is gorgeous, and I’m so happy that you were able to salvage your frosting because a butterscotch cake frosted in tears would probably not have tasted quite as good, although the saltiness coulda made a salty-sweet version ;)

    • omg, just thinking about following dinner with chips and a milkshake makes me physically ill. Nate can totally pack it in when he’s training for a marathon, though. Thank you, Natalie. I agree, a tear-stained cake wouldn’t be quite the same…it was salty enough as-is ;)

  11. Also I love his shirt and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Did you have to serve the cake ice cold for him to thoroughly enjoy it? <3

    • He just got that shirt. It’s actually pretty sad- it’s a global warming awareness type shirt showing a frowning polar bear “popsicle” melting :(
      He will be eating the cake leftovers ice cold since it’s in the fridge right now, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it that way best. However, the cake is recommended to be served at room temp so I took it out a few hours before serving so the icing was nice and gooey. I’m sure our guests were happier that way, hehe.

  12. Those layers are sooo impressive. That’s too bad it was too rich. I’d love to try something like this sometimes. Maybe a less sweet filling would help? Happy birthday to Nate!

  13. Hahaha, I love that name Beardo – cute! This cake is impressive, look at all those layers! I’d like a piece of that cake! Yum!

  14. I don’t know when, but I am totally making this. I love butterscotch!

    • yay! Then you should totally do it. Just please read the recipe all the way through so you don’t make my mistake. Though honestly, 7 layers looked just as good. Also make sure you have plenty of time! Luckily the recipe says it lasts in the fridge up to 2 weeks. I made the cake on a monday, then made the butterscotch and assembled on tuesday and didn’t serve til Friday and it was totally fine :)

  15. listen: that is one insane cake. and i’m semi-with rachael on this in that i am not a huge fan of butterscotch? like i like it in things, in moderation, but not as the primary or sole flavor. however: i know SO MANY people who would absolutely love this cake, and you did an awesome job of a) not falling apart when the frosting did and b) making it look absolutely brilliant. It really looks perfect; i bet nate and his friends were super impressed, because not many people have the patience to do something like that. honestly, that looks much more difficult to me than the momofuku cakes.
    i can see how it would be really rich/sweet. that’s sort of how a few of the momofuku cakes have been, where you just need a very tiny piece or you’ll make yourself sick. although some people are more than willing to do that with a delicious cake, which i’m sure yours was.

    • I’m not a huge fan of butterscotch either, but I couldn’t help eating it. I took another small sliver last night and I definitely enjoyed the first few bites before getting nauseous at it’s richness again. Thank you for your praise-You couldn’t tell from the pics, but the cake was slightly leaning ;)

  16. What an impressive looking cake!! I love butterscotch :)

  17. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    What? Only 7 layers?! LOL. Good heavens Amy you’re a patient woman and beardo is a lucky man. That is an extraordinarily impressive looking cake — major brownie points all around (I see plenty of girls nights, etc in your future ;-)). Your vegetarian menu sounds delightful – yes, do share!

    • hehehehe :) Thanks, Kelly! It’s funny because I’m a very impatient person when it comes to most things…but with the butterscotch i didn’t have much of a choice but to wait for it. That being said, I definitely cut corners when I can ;)

  18. Hi Amy! Happy birthday to your sweet husband! Love your nickname too! And I can see why this cake stole the show. It looks just HEAVENLY! What a lucky husband and friends you have! Thank you for sharing with us!

  19. Happy birthday to your Beardo :) Wow, what a cake! I may have to try it just once…but the idea of trimming those layers is a bit daunting (along with the butterscotch!). It does look impressive!

    • Thanks, Liz! I do recommend you give it a try once- it’s just too pretty :) The trimming wasn’t a big deal though, I promise. Making the butterscotch was the worst part.

  20. Wow! That butterscotch cakes looks like a masterpiece. I would LOVE a slice of it. Well done, girl. And happy birthday to your Beardo. xx

  21. That is one happy husband and one epic cake! (I can imagine these two observations are related) Butterscotch ANYTHING is heavenly, and you’ve managed to make this one beautiful as well!

  22. This cake looks so lovely!! Mmm so great for a party :)

  23. That is the most amazing looking cake! Lucky husband!

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