Monday, July 21, 2008

Princess Birthday Cake

Clearly, you can tell that this was my first attempt at a "real", professional looking, made from scratch, two layer with filling cake. So please don't judge me too harshly as you laugh sitting in front of your computer screens.

This was a chocolate cake with coffee whip cream filling and pink buttercream frosting. The tiara on top is purple chocolate dusted with a little sparkly luster dust. Tasty? yes. But it took WAY TOO LONG to make. Let me list all of the things I will do differently next time (will there be a next time?)

make a list and purchase everything early - from cake boards to eggs

make two recipes at once
buy more cake pans to cook everything at the same time
cut them level

make more than one recipe at a time
make sure the consistency is correct

***I did have a really good time making this cake. My niece LOVED it, and it was perfect for her party. And for my next cake, I'm sure things will go more smoothly - everyone has to start somewhere... right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Race Car Birthday Party

At one time or another, every little boy wants a race car birthday party. Now granted, my son was just turning one and couldn’t utter an intelligible word, so I chose for him. But still, he might have been dreaming about it, right?

After a party theme is chosen (whether by me or my child) I immediately go to the internet and search for cakes to see if someone else has “invented the wheel”. For this race car cake, I combined the ideas of 3 different cakes that I found to make my son’s all important first year birthday cake.


As I searched and searched for a “racing” themed scrapbooking paper, I realized that what I wanted could be recreated on my computer in a matter of seconds. I quickly and cheaply made a black and white checkered pattern and printed it on plain white paper. For the invitation information I used a bright “safety orange” paper and included a little illustration of a traffic cone as decoration. Again, as in the polka dot party, I used cellophane party favor bags as envelopes.


I have a very close friend whose son has an immense collection of toy cars. I’ve never counted them but I’m thinking he has hundreds of cars. I was able to borrow a small percentage of non Hot Wheels (because he didn’t like these as much and wouldn’t miss them). I used enough cars to fill 3 glass fish bowl type vases and added checkered flags to stick up out of them. To round out the theme, I also decorated with checkered pennant banners and orange safety cones, everywhere.

Side note: when the party was over, I did have lots of cones and checkered flags left over. I decided to donate these to my children’s preschool. They were able to use the items on “Bike Day” to cordon off an area of the campus designated for the little kids to ride bikes, and to make the special day more festive.


For the little kids, I provided crayons and markers to use on big pieces of butcher paper. Before anyone got to the party I drew a “road” and placed some toy cars on the paper because I knew that a couple of the boys would be very interested in creating more roads for the cars on paper.

For the older kids I purchased some super easy foam craft kits to make your own “race car” themed picture frame. I used a short kid height table and sturdy chairs along with some predetermined parent helpers to give assistance to any child that needed it.


I usually make the cake the night before the party, mostly to give myself the uninterrupted time to work on it but also just in case I totally mess it up there is still time to go out and buy one. Here is how I did this cake:
  • 4 baked 9” round white cakes (so that each side is two layers)
  • 2 cans white icing
  • 1 can chocolate icing
  • green sugar sprinkles
  • honey maid graham cracker sticks
  • clean toy cars
  • checkered flag toothpicks
  • trophy shaped candle
  1. Cut a semicircular notch from one cake and carefully set aside. Trim the “dome” tops of the cakes so they are level and frost with white only in between to make your layers.
  2. Push your layer cakes together and frost with white around the sides.
  3. Take the “notch” piece and cut it flat on the bottom. Use white frosting on the bottom to “stick” it to the tope center of the cake – it should look like a bridge on the track.
  4. Use white frosting in the centers of the round cakes and carefully use green sprinkles in just those areas as grass.
  5. Carefully apply the chocolate frosting on the tops of the cakes as the track and to the sides of the “notch” piece.
  6. Use a pastry bag to pipe a white icing border around the edge of the track, to make dotted lines in the center of the road and to write your birthday message.
  7. Push the graham cracker sticks into the sides of the cake and spread more green sprinkles onto your cake board as grass.
  8. Decorate with checkered flags and toy cars.

What a memorable first birthday party. A race car theme is simple to accessorize and easy to plan. Use some creative thinking to make it your own, spend as little as possible and make it look homemade - even if it isn't!