The post title makes this sound like an incredibly broad request for help, but here are the parameters that make it somewhat more of a challenge.
We're hosting a surprise party for my boyfriend, and I want to make the cake rather than buy it. I had originally planned to make the chocolate bourbon cake with caramel frosting, because I made it once before and it was excellent.
However, I'm concerned because 1) his sister is pregnant, so I really shouldn't make the birthday cake inedible to her, and 2) I need to be able to do it all between about noon and 7 pm on one day (no time to refrigerate anything overnight).
So I'm looking to you all for suggestions for an equally delectable cake, not boozy, and doable in a long afternoon. Chocolate is good, but not necessary. Hazelnuts are something he likes as well. Both he and I have a preference for not-chocolate frostings on chocolate cake, and not-vanilla frostings on white/yellow cake. I'm a good baker, and open to unique flavors (although probably not the vegan chocolate-avocado cake for this occasion).
Any help would be much appreciated!!
Oh, P.S. not the Elvis cake! Thanks!