All posts tagged birthday cake

One year old…

Cate is one year old… talk about a fast year!

With a birthday so soon after Christmas and the family just back from visiting Germany, the birthday was very low key. Though I still felt like I should make a special cake for a special girl.

I got some time off work so I could go to Sacramento. I had been asked to babysit on thursday and friday. I jumped at that… anytime I can spend with my grandkids I’ll take.

Cate is very close to walking; standing and holding on to furniture and walls as she goes. Elizabeth is three now and getting more and more independent. But, lucky for me, still good for a cuddle now and then.

Since I was going to go a few days early, I figured out a cake I could make ahead and take frozen. Then I could have all the decorations made beforehand. I settled on the Cute as a Button theme…because she is!

Colorful gum paste buttons and leaves.

Colorful gum paste buttons and leaves.

So, lots of gum paste buttons, some heart-shaped. Some giant and some tiny. Very colorful and fun. I covered a big number one candle in fondant to coordinate with the cake. I would cover the cake in light yellow fondant and decorate with the buttons.

For the cake itself, I tried something different. I wanted the inside of the cake to be as colorful as the outside. I researched several different ways to make color bursts inside of a cake. I didn’t use the candy jimmies, as I didn’t have time to find the right colors. So I went with the way that I found online…

I mixed up a white cake, then separated the batter into six parts. I colored each part with a different color and baked each in a small shallow  baking pan. I ended up with six colorful small cakes. When cool I cut each cake into 1/2″ cubes. Sorta looked like tiny sponges to me!

Colorful cake cubes.

Lots of colorful cake cubes… orange, pink, blue, purple, yellow and green.

I made a three layer white cake and some extra cupcakes. Since the technique I was using was for cupcakes I thought I’d see how that works too. I’m also more in favor of giving the birthday child a cupcake to eat instead of a whole cake to mess up.

After mixing a white cake, I poured some batter into the 8″ round pans I was using. Then I put in the colored cubes of cake and spooned more batter over the cubes. I did the same for the cupcakes.

As it turned out the cupcakes worked fine. I think because there was nowhere for the cubes to move to. The cake layers had their own problems. Tasted great, but most of the colors floated to the top of the cake and ended up getting trimmed off when I leveled the cakes. So, when I do this again, I will be putting more colored cubes in the pans and using a wet strip around each pan (which I always do, but forgot this time!).

Colorful but not quite right... next time more cubes!

Colorful but not quite right… next time more cubes!

Also, for anyone wondering… the cubes of cake do stay moist even after baking twice. The only dry parts were the ones that poked up through the top that got trimmed off.

I made it to the kids house with frozen cakes and put them in the freezer there. I put the cakes together on friday with the Duncan Hines orange creme  flavored frosting between the layers. Then I crumb frosted the cake with the light yellow vanilla frosting. At that point, I decided to just go with the frosting and not use the fondant this time. Funny, but taking care of a one and three year old is a lot of work, if you’re not used to it! Great fun and special times, but no time to spend on the cake.

Top of the Cute-as-a-Button cake

Top of the Cute-as-a-Button cake

Still wasn’t sure about how the top of the cake would look. Decided I needed a couple of larger buttons, so I got out the gum paste and Elisabeth and I made more buttons. She also helped me frost the cupcakes. Turned out to be a good helper too, as long as it didn’t take too much time.

Saturday morning I started decorating the cake. First the buttons up the side and the big candle. Then I placed the other buttons and wrote “Cute as a Button” on the large button. For the finishing touch, I used extra buttons to surround the bottom of the cake.

I left the cupcakes for last, asked Elisabeth if she wanted to help decorate and we finished them up with the left-over buttons.

It was a very small gathering and the birthday girl was getting very tired. We lit the candle and her sister helped her blow it out. Then she got to have her own cupcake, which she devoured.

Happy Birthday Cate!



Sweet Princess Cake

Three years old already! Like almost all three year old girls my granddaughter loves the Disney princesses, along with Dora, and Minnie Mouse of course. This year the princesses won out.  Time for a princess theme birthday cake…

I have to admit that I have been remiss in seeing all the new (new, being relative) Disney films. Who knew there were so many princesses out there! In my day we had Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Their popularity seems to last forever and I bet that’s why Disney decided to add a princess, a year, to increase the marketing. Good for Disney.  We are inundated with princesses and I really don’t like to use copyrighted characters on my cakes (or any other projects I do), you can get those cakes other places. So, I thought I would just go with the feeling of a princess… pink and sparkly.

princess birthday cake

Quilted princess cake with pearls, drapes, pink fondant roses and gum paste heart tiara.

I was only home for a few days, but in that time I had had to get two cortisone shots; one in each hand. So, I wouldn’t be able to do any details for the cake ahead of time. It would have to be simple and quick.

As for the cake I thought I would go with swirled pink raspberry and white, vanilla frosting and pink marshmallow fondant. Since I’m not sure how many people will be at the party so this is a good choice. I make two cakes to do the swirl so it will be a larger cake.

I found a satin ruffled trim at the fabric store and thought that it would work around the bottom of the cake board. I’d quilt and pearl the bottom tier… that’s as far as I got in the planning.

I baked the cakes, making one a white cake with added vanilla pudding and the raspberry cake using raspberry jello for flavor and color. Two-layer 8″ rounds and  two-layer 6″ rounds.

The little kids at the party were going to have different stations to play at; finger painting, drawing, blowing bubbles and play dough. While the cakes were baking I got online and looked up “Homemade play dough”. I tried both the Jello and Koolaid recipes I found on Pinterest. My opinion is that the Koolaid play dough is the winner! I found Koolaid for .10 a packet; add flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil and water and there you have it. It’s a good smelling and quick playdough. I didn’t like the way the Jello recipe needed to be cooked and if not done right, was sticky. I was able to make 4-5 Koolaid recipes while the Jello recipe was cooking.

When running my other errands I went to my sister Karen’s house to have her make the marshmallow fondant.  It was a little too much kneading for my hands just yet. Not to mention the fact that she makes it so fast and seems to know how it will turn out when cool. Since the fondant is better after resting overnight it needed to be made friday.

Home again and time to get the cakes frosted. I had to frost while the layers were still very cold. I noticed that when the cakes came out of the pans the edges were a little fragile. I guess when I baked the cakes and used the wet leveling strips around the pans, they overlapped too much and prevented the cakes from baking evenly.  Lesson learned. I’ll purchase another set and cut them to my pan sizes. I placed the cakes in the refrigerator until the next day.

pink and white princess birthday cake

Princess cake all lit up with candles.

Saturday comes around and I get the fondant on both cakes. Only thing is, it’s in the high 80’s in the middle of October! I would have to refrigerate the cake. I don’t like to do that after putting the fondant on, but sometimes it is necessary. As I worked on quilting and adding the pearls to the bottom tier I came up with the idea to try draping on the top layer. I had enough fondant left. What the heck let’s give it a go…

Figuring out the draping took a little time. How thick? What shape? How many folds? Trial and error is how I did it. After figuring out the shape and size, the three drapes around the tier went smoothly. But what to do where the drapes met? I ended up making rolled fondant roses; quick and easy on the hands. The leaves I did cut out with a cookie cutter and used a veiner for detail.

The cake was all ready to transport. The rest I would figure out and finish once I get to party central (granddaughter’s house).

Making a lot of little balls to go around the bottom of the cake seemed to finish it off nicely. The ruffled trim added a softness to the cake and I liked the way it looked. I decided to add the smaller white balls to the bottom of the top tier. But if I was to do it again, I would probably make them pink also. The tiara was a last minute thing. I wanted a sparkly something, so I made the tiara out of white gum paste and dusted pearl powder over it. When I noticed the dust on the fondant I like the look so ended up dusting powder lightly over the cake.

The day of the party was beautiful for an outdoor party. Still hard to believe it’s the middle of October! The Koolaid play dough was a hit. And just to let you know… it does not dry out like the commercial Playdough does, even when used outside. We were able to pack it all away for another day!

blowing out the candles princess birthday cake.

Our three-year-old princess blowing out the candles on her princess birthday cake.

All went well until the cutting of the cake. I lit the candles, everyone sang Happy Birthday, she blew the candles out, everything was going great. Then Elisabeth did not want me to cut the cake. She leaned in, took the tiara off with her teeth. Not sure where this was going… I took it from her and explained that we could do something with that later. That seemed to be okay. But then she leaned in and took a bite out of the top edge of the cake! I explained that I was going to cut the cake so her friends could have some and she shook her head and said, “No cut, I wanna eat it!”. I said… “How about I take the top tier off and save that for you while sharing the bottom with your guests?” No. That was not good either. After few more tries to get her to understand, her mother took her away to calm her down. I did realize she totally understood; she just didn’t want it that way! I went ahead and cut the cake for the kids and parents and she soon came back, ready to get a piece of her birthday cake.

Wow… It’s tough to be three!