Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 Years of Birthday Cakes

At our parish playgroup this morning, we had a discussion about birthday cakes. The talents in the group varied from master bakers to super artistic decorators to those of us who are really good at handing over our credit card. This made me think of all of the cakes we have had for our girls and how I have traveled the spectrum myself with the cakes I have "provided." So, for your viewing pleasure, here is a look at the birthday cake history of my 3 daughters.

We'll start with the cakes I actually baked and decorated myself. (Note: by baked, I mean from a box.)

This is my first child's first birthday cake, hence it is my masterpiece. I went all out, bought a cute pan, changed the suggested icing colors to match the theme of the party, and had major cramping in my hands from piping the icing all by myself. I even made a foil covered cake board to put it on. (I also made some extra pink frosted cupcakes with the little flowers on them, since the cake wasn't enough to feed all of the party goers.)

Isabel's 1st Birthday ~ A (Cute) Bug Theme

After that first cake, everything became much simpler. I can't remember where I got the idea, maybe from a blog, but this is flower cake. I just baked a 2 layer round cake and iced it yellow, and baked cupcakes, iced them pink and placed them around the round cake for the petals. Very easy, especially if you don't mind baking your own cake but are more intimidated by fancing frosting work.
Alexis' 1st Birthday ~ An April Showers Theme (April birthday)

This next cake I'm a little prouder of because the idea was mine. Again, I just baked a 2 layer round cake, dyed some icing the color of the ocean, and made sea shells with a candy mold and placed them around the base of the cake. I also baked additional cupcakes with a candy on top of each. I did buy the Ariel topper. Again, this is another cake that is good for bakers who are intimidated by fancy icing work.

Isabel's 4th Birthday ~ A Little Mermaid theme

Are you starting to notice a theme about intimidation and art on the cake? Here's another way I got around having to "draw" anything on a cake. Based on the number of people coming to this party (there's always more for First Birthdays aren't there?), I knew purchasing a "1" shaped pan would not be enough, so I made a "1" out of cupcakes. I frosted them with pink icing to match the decorations and also put sprinkles on them to add a little more fun. I just placed them directly on the table in the desired shape, after a few practice drawings. Very easy, and no messy slicing of cake required. (This also intimidates me, trying to get equal sized pieces. I usually leave this job to my husband, master of knives!)

Maire's 1st Birthday ~ A 1st Birthday theme

I didn't bake or decorate this next cake, but I didn't buy it either. My sweet friend, who was going through culinary school to be a pastry chef at the time, graciously volunteered to make it. It turned out so great!!! She also made matching cupcakes that had the other characters on them. We got the idea and instructions from the Nickelodeon website.

Isabel's 2nd Birthday ~ A Backyardigans theme

The rest of the cakes in this post, I shelled out cash for. While I feel a lot of "Mom Guilt" when I do that, the timing of the parties makes me realize that it's just a sacrifice I need to make. This cake was for a party 2 weeks after Maire was born. (Walmart)
Alexis' 2nd Birthday ~ A Mickey and Minnie Mouse theme

Have I mentioned there are only 20 days between Maire and Alexis' birthdays? I know there are those of you out there with much closer birthdays to celebrate, but this time frame definitely intimidates me, especially when Easter falls in between. We barely get the decorations down from Maire's birthday before we have to plan for Alexis'. So, Alexis tends to get store-bought cakes. This cake is actually a bunch of cupcakes. Enough cupcakes weren't included, so I asked the baker to add the extra orange ones. (Walmart)

Alexis' 3rd Birthday ~ A Dora theme

There is a month and a half between Alexis and Isabel's birthday, so theoretically, I should have time to plan a cake, but with this party, the crafts/activity planning took over. I had grand thoughts of a Mardi Gras worthy cake, but ended up last minute going with a store purchase. This is definitely an easy route when you have a popular kids theme party. (Walmart)

Isabel's 5th Birthday ~ A Princess and the Frog/Mardi Gras theme

For Maire's last birthday, we went with a generic puppy dog theme. I looked online for ideas, but everything I came across scared me. BUT...when we looked at the local grocery stores, we didn't find anything we liked, either. So we went with a Blue's Clues themed cake because Blue is a puppy, and Maire does like to watch the show from time to time. Buying the cake turned out to be a blessing because 2 days before her party, I came down with some awful virus that stuck me in bed for 5 days. We post-poned the party a week and stuck the cake in the freezer. All of this, my husband took care of, so we were actually blessed to have an ordered cake. (Base Comissary)
Maire's 2nd Birthday ~ A Puppy theme

This next cake was for a party the week of our moving from Boston to Colorado. I don't know if I even felt guilty about buying it. I don't know if there was even technically a theme. We did send out Dora invitations and had a Mexican Eye pinata. (We have a pinata at every party.) (Stop and Shop, I think)

Isabel's 3rd Birthday ~ A semi-Dora theme

And finally, the last cake on our list. I honestly had every intention of a "semi-homemade" cake for this one, based on my pregnancy and preparing for our upcoming move. The theme was Strawberry Shortcake and I had all of these pictures in my head of a store bought cake frosted with white icing that I would bring home and decorate with fresh strawberries and maybe a picture of the actual character. But alas, this party happened exactly 2 weeks after the "new" date of Maire's party and we had a last minute surprise out-of-town visitor (a wonderful blessing) for the party. Plus I was not fully recovered from my illness. So the day of the party, we went to Walmart, our guest needed to do some last minute shopping of his own, and I found this cake. White with pink and red decoration. Good enough! I just had them pipe the wording on it right there and we were good to go! I should also mention that the activity for the party was creating your own dessert with those individual shortcake cups, whip cream, strawberries and blueberries. The cake was more for the ceremony of blowing out the candles and something for the grown-ups to eat. (Walmart)

Alexis' 4th Birthday ~ A Strawberry Shortcake theme

There you have it! We actually have another birthday party this weekend. The cake will be purchased as the movers come in 12 days and we are busy preparing the house and dealing with all of the end of school year activities that don't normally interfere with Isabel's birthday. It will also be a larger than normal event, since Isabel is sad to leave her friends and we allowed her to have an unlimited number of invites. A post to come...

No comments:

Post a Comment