Sunday, February 13, 2011

birthday cake

**Please forgive the length of this post. I thought about splitting it up, but then I couldn't bring myself to do it. it is. Enjoy!**

As I looked at my calendar last week I realized that my friend Jen's daughter was having her first birthday today. I thought about volunteering to make the cake but then as quickly as the thought occurred to me I forgot (like most things - but that's an entirely different post). Then, a few days ago Jen emailed me wondering if I was interested in making Naomi's cake but that there was no pressure.
Great minds think alike. 
So it was set. I was making Naomi's cake. And I was going to get to use my sweet, sweet KitchenAid. (Woot!)
So Friday morning (when I should have been at a play date which I completely forgot about it - again, that's for another post) I set to work and decided on a recipe for the cake (Pure Vanilla) and the icing flavour (lemon buttercream), the shape (square at first, but then circle) and the theme (yellow duck!).
I actually did one of those shots with all the ingredients that you see on all those fancy food blogs:

I used this recipe for the cake and this recipe for the icing. (I felt very Joy the Bakerish. If you haven't heard of her...*gasp*. GO. Now. She is adorable and bakes amazing things.)

I even bought real vanilla extract. (As opposed to the artificial stuff.) Here's the batter, ready and waiting to be bake-ed.


(And then my kitchen looked like this:)

Not so YUM.

And then in the evening I cleaned up, wrapped up the cakes, put them in the cold room and went to bed.
The End.

Just kidding. Is that mean?
So Saturday afternoon (after I ran 6 miles, what what?) during "nap time" (Noah fought it ever step of the way) I whipped up the lemon buttercream (triple YUM) and brought up the cakes. I sawed off the top of one of them to make it more flat and then iced the cakes together (you can see in the picture above the 2 round cakes - I just stacked them with icing in between). Then I slathered the cake in icing until it was perfectly unperfect (I can't do a perfect ice anyway, so I opt for the cool "unperfect" look) and then set to work on the fondant additions (a giant "1", a giant "N" and yellow ducks).

If you don't know what fondant is, you are missing out. read this, buy some and eat it. Or not. Whatever.

I printed out the N and 1, cut them out and then traced around them with a toothpick on the fondant. Then I used a knife and cut them out. I used cookie cutters for the ducks.

I used water to attach the ducks to the sides of the cake as well as smoothing down any ragged-looking edges. I just guessed that this would work and it did!
Oh yeah and I had enough extra cake batter that I was able to make a smash cake for Naomi. I've seen "smash cakes" and I thought it would be fun to make one - plus then I'd get to make an "N" for the smash cake (since Jen preferred a giant 1 on the bigger cake - the smash cake was a surprise for her). 

Here's the final product:

Simple and cute. Just the ways I likes 'em. And delish.

After icing this small square-ish cake I was pretty happy I chose a circle for the larger cake - corners are hard to ice!

Naomi getting into the smash cake. Love this shot. All we're missing is Graham (but he was busy taking a video of this momentous occasion).


You know when you can't enjoy something (whether it's something you've done or something about you or some sort of talent you have) because you're too caught up in all the things that are wrong with that particular something? Yeah. Boo to that. 
But not this time.
I'm proud of my work. And it was such a joy to present this offering of love - and the proverbial icing on the cake; I had fun making it! That's not always the case with things I set out to do for others but this one, it was fun. 

Thanks Jen for giving me the opportunity and honour of making your daughter's first birthday cake!


  1. so wonderful! Glad joy was experienced on both the giving and receiving side!

  2. CUTE cakes V! You're gonna be a pro by the time I pop any out (kids not cakes)...and HOLY SMOKES Naomi is ONE already??? I was wondering who the "fierce" baby was!!! SO adorable

  3. Oh Vaness!! This was indeed an offering of love!! All that work. And well, it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo delish! Um, the next day I had it FOR breakfast... and then... for lunch!! yes, we finished the whole last quarter of cake by noon! And well, I ate most of that last quarter! LOL! That was the BEST cake I've had EVER! ... in my taste bud memory. And well, that was just PERFECT cake!! Thank you thank you!! You are a rockin friend!! Can I just keep gushing over the real vanilla and the LEMON butter cream!! Wow!! wow!! ... I can still taste it!.. gushing and gushing over the cake!! So glad you enjoyed this one, cuz I sure did!!


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