Thursday, August 5, 2010

Liv's First Birthday!!

Little Miss Olivia just celebrated her first birthday and does time fly! I feel like it was only yesterday that we were meeting her for the first time.

When her proud mama Jen asked me to make the birthday cakes/cupcakes for Liv's party, I really wanted to say no. I am not a cake person.  Baking sheet cakes, I can handle. Stacking cake layers is intimidating to me. And decorating cakes? I've got the passion and the ideas, but not the skills to match. So consider that an official to-do once I get my free time back after October 9 - I'm going to sign up for one of the Wilton cake decorating classes.

Enough about me, back to Jen's request. Jen is one of the most organized people that I know and also one of the most meticulous (although she may protest this fact since she's become a mama, I say it's still true). So that made it even more frightening to think that I would make something that wouldn't live up to her high standards. But in the end, I wanted to do it because I knew I wanted to do something to help celebrate such a special occasion. Plus, as I told Jen and her husband Rob, it was full circle since I had made ladybug cookies for Olivia's baby shower way back when.

So how did I do? While the cake looked good while I was stacking it (two different types of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting to boot in the middle):
It kind of sagged to one side at the end, which I ended up trying to cover with a simple border of frosting dots. Thank God that Jen has good "icing" handwriting, I was only to happy to leave her with an icing bag filled with extra frosting so she could write out the birthday message herself (apparently something she learned while working at a bakery):
Cupcakes are a familiar territory for me (small surfaces are less intimidating) so I did ladybugs and flowers. I forgot to mention somewhere along the way that these designs were an attempt to match out a particular ladybug pattern that Jen had picked out, which you can see on the tablecloth:

The piece de resistance? The ladybug "smash" cake. Who knew such a term existed? I know babies tend to smush around any slices of cake given to them, but who was the clever person that decided to give babies their own cake? This was obviously for the birthday girl:

I have to give a shout-out to Jen's creativity in setting up the scene - she even made origami butterflies out of napkins to go along with the theme:

While I missed out on actually attending the party (since we were in NJ for triathlon, more to come on that in a later post), Jen was kind enough to capture a few precious moments on film.  This what I consider to be Olivia's first approach into the cake. The moment where she spots it and decides she needs to investigate with her hands:

Aha! A moment of victory as she "smashes" into the cake and globs her first mouthful of it (I love the contrast between the messy cake eating and her dainty appearance):

As Jen titled this picture, the end result. We've got one adorably messy and satisfied little lady. And yes, those are little pink ladybugs on her green dress, whose colors match the napkins I mentioned above. Did I mention that Jen's detail-oriented? :)

While all three items looked cute grouped together with Jen's matching decorations, I think it's safe to say I won't be entering the cake-making business anytime soon.

While they may appear simple, it took roughly five hours of baking one night and five hours of frosting the next night to get this done. Not very time efficient. But oh-so worth it to make Olivia's birthday extra special!


newlywed said...

That ladybug cake is SO cute! I'd never heard of a smash cake eithr...that's a cute idea.

bcallegra said...

Thanks! It's funny that smash cakes are usually so cute when they're made to get wrecked at the end.

Jen said...

The cakes look so cute. Nice work!