Tuesday, June 14, 2011

birthday cake

Today I made Jamie's first birthday cake! I am so excited about it! I stole the idea for a block cake from my sister-in-law Sarah who made them for Jamie's cousins a couple months ago. I have never taken a cake decorating class or anything, but I have decorated scores (okay maybe just one score) of gingerbread houses and grew up watching my mom making super awesome birthday cakes. I made a carrot cake because it is dairy free, has vegetables in it, and calls for oil (I used olive oil), so it's not quite as terrible for you as most cakes.

I made the cake during Jamie's morning nap and then let it cool.
I finished it during his afternoon (well, actually he woke up earlier than normal so Thomas took him to the park until dinner time and I was able to finish everything). I cut into four regularish pieces
And then I made three of them level. Thomas got to eat the extra one.
cake scraps!
Thomas ate those too.
For the frosting, I used a recipe from the dairy-free cook book my sister-in-law Emily got me for Christmas. It had a specific variation to use if you're decorating with the frosting, so I used that and it worked out great.
Next I assembled my pieces. I tried to make it as close to a cube as I could. It wasn't perfect and was lopsided, but I tried to fix it as best I could. The lopsidedness never did get fixed to my satisfaction.
And then I frosted the whole thing. This was the hardest part for me. I couldn't get it to look as smooth as I wanted it to. Fortunately once it came together, you couldn't really tell anymore.
For the sides of the block, I used Jamie's initials, the number 1, and a star. I did each side in a different color. I used Wilton's gel colors which I purchased for some cupcakes I'm planning to make later. Apparently if you're using red, you have to get a special one that says "no taste." I can't understand why they bother making the normal red if it makes everything taste gross. Walmart was out of that when I went, so I had to go to another store, and I actually found this great cake decorating store. If I did more cakes I bet I'd be there all the time! I will definitely keep it in mind for Jamie's next birthday.
Once the frosting was colored (I had to use a LOT of red before I was satisfied it wasn't pink), I went to town on each side. I used a toothpick to outline them before I used any frosting, and then I outlined each letter with frosting before filling it in. It was a lot easier than I expected it to be!
I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow!


  1. (by Annie's mom)

    Wow - amazing! What a beautiful (and special, and fun) little cake, for a very special little boy!

  2. That looks awesome! (Way better than the ones for E&A, just don't tell them) I hope it was a great birthday for cute little Jamie.

  3. E una bella torta! Hai fatto bene!
    That cake decorating store sounds pretty cool, I went to one of those with a friend here in Phoenix last year. You never said if you had a special bag to squeeze the frosting out of, but I assume you must've....when I made Johnny's bday cake last year I just used a sandwich bag.

  4. I got disposable pastry bags, which I LOVED using. I'm used to using Mom's, but with one like that you'd have to wash it between each color; this was much easier and faster. And they are creased on the sides, which makes it easier to fill them too. Sandwich bags are a perfectly respectable choice as well. :)