Category Archives: Birthday Cakes

Primary Color Pinwheel Cake (and Cupcakes!)

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Back in June, our friend’s little boy, Harry, turned two.  I made Harry’s first birthday cake, which doesn’t seem like it was a full year ago!  This year, there was no specific theme.  I was given the below picture of the shirt from Target that he would wear and the order for a cake and cupcakes.

Birthday Boy

I decided to make a cake using the primary colors.  Since there was no theme, I needed a design to put the colors in.  I decided a pinwheel design would be simple, clean, and cute. As for the cupcakes, I went with simple white on white with a cupcake topper.  For the cupcake toppers, I used the “Ka-pow” bubble design as the background and filled them with “2’s”, “H’s”, and “Harry’s”.  Since I already had the royal icing out and colored, I made some royal icing letters and attached them to sticks to put his name on the top of the cake.  I love how the cake turned out.  Sometimes a simple and clean design is the most appealing.  I didn’t take any pictures along the way, but here are some of the final product!

Such a cute cake for a cute little boy.

-Clara

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Daddy’s Rainbow Birthday Cake

Soooooo….long time no chat?  Yeah, I know.  It has been two months since I have blogged. This is how my life goes sometimes…in spurts!  But it is for a good reason.  I have been super busy since summer hit.  The family farm has been in full swing and while it is amazing, it is a lot of work.  More on that in a later post.  Today, I am backing up to where I left off in May.   In our house, May is my hubby’s birthday (and Indy 500 Race month).  This year, it fell the week after we got back from a Disney Vacation ($$$$) and he had an uber busy week at work.  We didn’t even get to see him on his birthday.  This actually worked out okay as the kids and I spent the evening making his birthday cake.

I let the kids drive on what they wanted to make for the kids.  I made the cakes and icing of course, but they picked out the colors, mixed the colors and told me how to help them decorate it.

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Weighing various items to make sure the scale worked (so I was told).  Eventually some buttercream was made.

After getting out all the colors, they chose nearly all of them.  Then realized they looked like a rainbow and Daddy needed a rainbow cake!  Not by hubby’s style, but it was kids choice and I knew he would eat any design they came up with. I put 6 dollops of icing in 6 bowls with a color and let the kids mix them up.

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The kids icing colors for Daddy’s cake.

Once we had our icing, I asked what they wanted the cake to look like.  All I got was rainbow.  After giving them 5-6 ideas of what rainbows could look like, they decided a rainbow that wrapped around the cake and in the middle.  So I applied the icing as instructed (even though I thought the red should be on top).

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Base layer of rainbow cake.

After the base layer of icing was on, the rest was up to the kids.  They decorated, fought, disagreed, whined a little, laughed, and decorated some more.  My oldest was becoming disappointed that the younger was not following his design and complaining that it was not pretty anymore.  Regardless, we got through it and in the end, the kids were happy.

The next night, Daddy was home and we got to have our little celebration and eat cake! Daddy didn’t mind at all that it was rainbow colors and said it tasted wonderful.  Now, my oldest wants to be a baker….which I would LOVE.

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Eating Daddy’s Birthday Cake

Until next time,

Clara

Trolls Birthday Party

I know I said a trolls post was coming soon in my last post (weeks ago), but I had a vacation last week.  Anyone that travels with small children know that packing for said vacation takes an additional week and recovering from the same vacation takes yet another week.  So here we are.  At the end of April, a friend of mine was having a  joint birthday for her daughters.  The youngest is a trolls fanatic and that dictated the theme.

The order was for two dozen trolls cookies and a small cake for the girls to blow out candles.   Starting with the cookies, I picked out two of the main characters, Princess Poppy and Branch, and ordered come cutters off of Etsy that can be found here.

Doing characters are really hard.  Have I mentioned I need a projector?  I think so.  I think characters prove to be difficult because there is already an expectation of what the character looks like as opposed to a general animal or item that can take on different interpretations.  But when my kids recognized the characters, I relaxed a bit!

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Princess Poppy and Branch Troll Cookies

Once I had my cookies made, I worked on the cake.  I went with a fun, very pink drip cake with some royal icing picks.  It was trolls theme without having the characters slapped on the cake.

 

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Troll Buttercream Cake with Royal Icing Picks

This was a 6″ cake with a chocolate ganache drip and topped with buttercream dollops and homemade royal icing sprinkles.  The pinks coordinated with the Princess Poppy cookies and the blue hearts were added to help pick up the blue in her headband and the blue/gray of Branch.  I think it all tied together nicely.  From what I hear, the birthday girls loved it and that is all that matters!

I have taken a small break in May due to vacation, but graduation season is right round the corner! More soon!

Clara

All the Wild things….

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Did I mention that April has been crazy?  I think I did.  Work has been nuts, kids have had so many activities, and we have had a lot of other family stuff to get done this month.  Now that it is May 1st, I can get caught up more on my April baking adventures… 200 cookies, 30 cupcakes and 6 cakes later.

A couple weeks ago, I had two parties with one common theme…..WILD!  One was a “Where the Wild Things Are” party, and the other was “Young, Wild, and Three.”   While they were both WILD, they could not have been more different.  One was fit for a prince with gold crowns and black and white arrows while the other was girly-girl with pink and teal feathers and arrows.  Both were very cute.

Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are Cookies

Where the Wild Things Are was a cookie order with a small smash cake for a one year old boy.  The request was for crowns and arrows in a gold, black and white theme.  I have started using Americolors because of their production in a peanut free facility, so I had some playing around to do with the gold color since I had used Wilton colors before. I bought this starter Americolor set from Amazon, and so far, I have been able to make every color I have needed.  It seems expensive, but the colors come in 4.5oz bottles that will last awhile.  The gold that I was looking for was more of a yellow gold since it comes from a story book as opposed to a true gold.  I ended up using 10 drops of yellow and 2 drops orange with a touch of red.  It was the exact color I was looking for for the crowns.

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Where the Wild Things Are Crown Cookies

The arrows were requested to be black and white.  After starting on them, they started to not tie into the theme and looked a little skeleton like.  So I added touches of gold to some of them to help tie everything together.  I got the cookie cutters for both of these off of Amazon here and here.

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Where the Wild Things Are Arrow Cookies

After the cookies were complete, I worked on the little smash cake.  The customer just wanted a little simple smash cake for the birthday boy.  I used some of my extra icing to make a little crown topper.  I iced the cake in my standard buttercream and used some chocolate ganache to make a drip to tie in the black color.  It turned out so cute!

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Where the Wild Things Are Smash Cake

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Where the Wild Things Are Party

Young, Wild, and Three

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Young, Wild, and Three Party

The second party was the Young, Wild, and Three party for high-school friends of mine.   They wanted cupcakes and a cake for the birthday girl.  They sent me the invitation and some of the decor with the colors and a few ideas, but told me to just run with it.  I find that for kids birthdays, simple white cupcakes and buttercream works best from a mess perspective.  With that kind of blank canvas, it allows me to make cute little cupcake toppers that will stand out!  I started my royal icing cupcake topper a couple days ahead of time.  I made some templates that I could put under wax paper and taped them to cookie sheets to that I can easily move them around my kitchen.  Even with my expanded island, I feel like I am always looking for more space.

The night before the party, I baked up all the cupcakes and topped them.  The cake I decided to make pink so that the birthday girl could have something a little more colorful to blow her candles out.  Like the Where the Wild Things Are party, I used my extra royal icing to make a little tent as a topper for the cake.  Everything turned out really cute and this may be one of my favorite color combos to date.   I dropped everything off the night before the party and forgot to take pictures (GRRR), but they sent me some when the party was all set up the next day (YAY).

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More fun cookies and cakes are coming, so keep a look out!

Clara

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Buttercream Flower Cake

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I cannot believe it is April!  Since I am an accountant, April marks the start of Q2….. the second quarter of the year.  After I feverishly help close my company’s books for the quarter, I start looking forward to all things Q2 brings such as warmer weather, vacations, Easter, trips to our farm, and shaking off the winter blues.  Isn’t funny how all of a sudden you can wake a little earlier, do your usual morning routine, and then unload the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, and pick up a few things all before work? It is like we become more productive as we come out of hibernation.  Well good thing because I am BOOKED for the month of April doing sweet treats and will need all the productivity I can get!  Apparently April also marks the start of party season and I feel like I haven’t sat down yet this month.

My first weekend in April,  I had two orders, one of which was a 80th birthday cake for a friend’s mother-in-law.   Outside of knowing that the cake was for an eighty year old woman, my friend was thinking a blue cake to go with the silver decorations.  We ended up settling on blue and violet to make it a little more feminine.  When I am not sure of the hobbies of a woman, I go with flowers.  They are classic and I am always looking for a reason to practice!

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Cake iced with buttercream

I should have taken more pictures, but with two projects going on at once, I was not quite on top of it.  This was a ten inch layered white cake with buttercream icing.  After I had my cake iced with the best buttercream icing, I worked on the flowers.

If you are just starting to think about trying buttercream flowers, I have good news.  You don’t make them straight on the cake!  You do them on a flower nail and transfer them to the cake.  Once I realized this when I started on buttercream flower cakes last year, it seemed a little less daunting to start my first cake.  There are a number of different flower nails, but they all pretty much serve the same purpose.  If you are just starting out, this inch and a half one by Wilton is pretty standard.  As for flower tips, a good starter set is the Wilton flower and leaf tip set.   I used pieces of this set to make the leaves and the little purple blossoms.  I also used a Wilton D2 tip for the hydrangeas, a Wilton M1 tip for the larger flowers,  and a Wilton 81 tip for the mums.  I put a piece of parchment on the flower nail so that I can easily remove the flower from the nail.  So you can mess up 20 flowers and it will not matter.   Just keep trying until you get some that you like.  Then pop them in the freezer to harden.  When they are hard, you can gently peel them off the parchment paper and put them on the cake. I did add the hydrangeas straight on the cake since it is easier to build them around the other flowers as a filler.

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Buttercream Flower Birthday Cake

Once all of your flowers are on your cake, you can add green leaves where you see fit.  I finished off the cake with a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY and a violet boarder.  It turned out really cute and I heard that it was a hit with the birthday girl, so that is all that matters.  I have many more April posts, so keep a lookout!

Clara

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Avengers Cupcakes

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Hello!  So today my oldest is turning five…..FIVE!  I can’t believe it.  This past weekend we had his birthday parties (yes, plural).  We have had a pretty hectic couple weeks leading up to this weekend and making anything has been a challenge.  The day before my son’s birthday, my kitchen was getting new granite, sink, faucet, and stove top.  While I had high hopes for at least my sink to be hooked back up, it didn’t happen.  Luckily I had prepared for that and got started earlier in the week on my cupcakes.  They turned out wonderful and no one complained about being at a party in a mid-renovation kitchen!

Since I had to plan for a kid party and the family party (and keeping in mind the kitchen), I went the with all cupcakes.  It was less stress and easier to plan out so that they remained fresh.  Earlier in the week, I printed off the templates that I had been saving and got to work making icing.  Royal icing only takes a second to whip up, but getting the colors and consistency right takes FOREVER.  So my goal on night one was just making the colors and having my templates ready.  The next day, I was ready to get started.  I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to tackle each design, and as it turns out, I changed the way I did each one after the first one.  I started with Iron Man and the Hulk fist.

For Iron Man, I started with the eyes.  This is not how the eyes ended up, but it was more to make sure I had the right placement and spacing.  While the eyes dried, I outlined and filled in the red icing.  After letting the red icing sit for a bit, I filled in the yellow mask. For the Hulk fists, I did pieces of the hand that didn’t touch first. Once they dry a little bit, maybe 20 minutes, I did other parts of the hand.  The drying time allows for the lines in the hand to hold and show the details of the hand and gives it some dimension.  I let these ones be for the night before adding anymore.

For the Captain America shield, I started with the red rings.  After some drying time, I then added the white ring.  While those dried, I started prepping for the center.  Since I didn’t want to freehand the white star on the blue, I used another template to just do the stars.  I let everything dry overnight to make sure it was nice and firm.

 

The next day, I was able to finish everything off.  For the Captain America shields, I carefully pealed off the stars from the template.  I added the blue icing to the center of the shields and then immediately dropped a white star in the center. They were done and left to dry.

Captain America Cupcake Toppers

Captain America Shield Royal Icing Toppers

For the Iron Man and Hulk toppers, I piped black icing to complete the design using a tip-less bag cut with a small hole.  After that dried, I was able to go back and add the white eyes to Iron Man.

Avenger Cupcake Toppers

Avenger Royal Icing Toppers

I baked the cupcakes the night before my kitchen was to be ripped apart.  I waited to make the buttercream the morning of the parties since I like fresh buttercream and I would only be dirtying my kitchen-aid mixer.  I put together the cupcakes right before each party, the kid party in the morning and the adult party in the afternoon.  The royal icing soaks up the moisture from the buttercream and I like them to be as sturdy as possible.

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Avengers Cupcakes

They really turned out adorable and my son was thanking me before they were even finished.  This was our second year having an Avengers party, so I was happy we got to try something a little different than last year.

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Avengers Cupcakes

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Clara

 

Elephant First Birthday

Today (look at that timeliness!), I delivered an order for a first birthday that will be happening tomorrow.  The theme is blue and grey elephants.  Such a classic and sweet theme for a first birthday or a baby shower.  This is one of my first orders for someone that I do not know at all.  I have taken orders from friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and friends’ family members, but this was a co-worker of my friend who had the Lumberjack Party. She texted to see if I was interested.  After confirming that her co-worker knew that I do this on the side in-between taxes and kids and was not a professional, I agreed.  Like all orders that involve royal icing, this project spanned a couple days.

I baked the cookies on Valentine’s Day after our annual V-Day dinner outing to Taco Bell. Romantic, right?  The next day, my momma came over and wanted to help.  So I put her to work flooding cookies.  We had a nice assembly line going.  I would do the outline, and she would flood the icing.  It made that process go quickly which was a good thing since I wanted them to dry a bit before adding some details.

I was able to add the eyes, tail, and little white feet on later in the night when the icing had hardened a touch.  I waited until the next morning to add the ears since I was free-handing them and, wanted to be able to adjust the icing with my scribe while not messing up the base layer of icing. The ears were dry by the time I got home and the cookies were able to be packaged.  I packaged the cookies in little treat bags and sealed them with my food saver.  The topper touch was my mom.  She brought paper when she came to help me flood the cookies and had everything cut and ready to go for me.

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Wrapped Elephant Sugar Cookies

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Elephant Sugar Cookies Wrapped with Toppers

For the cupcake toppers, I printed a template for the shape of elephant I wanted and the size of heart I wanted for the ear.  I am not sure why I decided to template these ears and not the ones on the cookies, I just did.  Maybe because the cupcakes are going to be viewed as a group and having them look uniform appeals to me.  I put wax paper over my templates and made the toppers out of royal icing.  Once the heart and elephant were dry, I glued the hearts onto the elephants with a little royal icing.  The eyes I had made with leftover royal icing from another project when I made sprinkles.

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Royal Icing Elephant Toppers

Since royal icing needs drying time, I did all things that required royal icing first.  Then it was on to cupcakes. These were simple white cupcakes with vanilla buttercream using my favorite buttercream recipe. While I made the icing and cupcakes last night, I waited until this morning to pipe it on and add the toppers.  The royal icing will absorb some moisture from the buttercream and become a little more fragile and soft.  This is great for biting into one but not for transport. I already had the icing and tips ready to go, so the process only took a couple minutes.

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Elephant Cupcakes

The last thing I worked on last night was the smash cake.  The smash cake was a small, two layer, 4″ round with vanilla buttercream.  I kept the design simple and added an extra cupcake topper to a stick to be the center piece. It was a nice way to tie everything together.

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Elephant Smash Cake

Everything turned out great and coordinated really well.  I hope this little boy has a wonderful birthday tomorrow.  He has lots of goodies to celebrate!

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Grey and Blue Elephant First Birthday 

Clara