I love birthdays.
I love cake and decorations and packages wrapped in pretty paper all for me!!!! I love my birthday so much that I talk about for months prior and a celebrate a birth-week, not a birthday. Others are well aware of this and simply go along for the fun that is commonly referred to as “Sandypalooza”.
I have passed this love of birthdays on to my kids and I happily encourage it.
Connor’s birthday party has been in the planning for months! We discussed cake and decorations and guests lists back in March (he turned 5 last week). Now when Connor picks a theme he mostly just means the decoration on top of the cake. This year was Captain America. This year we got a little more excited about the decorations, since most of them could be purchased after the 4th of July, on sale.
As for the cake – I made it. It’s not a glorious fondant master piece that I know some of you can do. But it was as good as store bought, a lot cheaper, and if I do say so myself – more tasty!
As I was about to decorate, I decided to take step by step pictures, to show you how easy it can be to make your kids’ birthday cake (and if you use cake mix from a box would cost about $1.25 for the cake itself). Please make your own butter cream. While frosting from a can may work on cupcakes, home made butter cream is best for cakes. I recommend at least 2 batches of frosting, maybe 3.
Connor’s Cake is Paula Deen’s Blue Velvet Cake, 1 batch of Cream Cheese Frosting as the filling, and 2 batches of Confetti Cakes Cupcake Frosting. Here it goes (please ignore the off colors, I have a crappy camera and poor lighting in my kitchen):
Bake your cake and let it cool completely. Cut your cake into 2 layers and set the bottom layer on your serving tray or covered cake board (you can use a little spoonful of frosting to secure it to the board). Pipe a border of frosting around the edge, using the same frosting you plan of putting on the outside of the cake. This will prevent your filling from “leaking” out.
Add a heaping portion of filling to the center of the cake. Using an off set cake decorating spatula gently spread your filling to the edges, so that it touches but does not go over the edge of frosting you piped on.
Gently place the second layer on top. Don’t worry too much about cracks as there will be 2 layers of frosting covering it.
Cover your cake with a thin layer of frosting, also know as the “crumb coat”. Yes you need to have a crumb coat, this will prevent little pieces of cake showing through your pretty decorations. Wipe off any excess frosting that may get on your serving tray/cake board and refrigerate for about an hour. You will want to apply your next layer of frosting when your crumb coat is cold and firm.
Add your second layer of frosting. Again I use the off set spatula for this. Try to make sure you have an even and full layer over the top and sides. Also try to get them smooth. You might want to try using a bowl/icing scraper. Then add your decoration to the top. For Connor’s cake I used an edible image of Captain America, as my cake decorating skills are limited. Edible images are thin sheets of edible paper (made mostly of corn starch) and require an edible image printer (which essentially a regular printer that has only ever been used with edible ink!)
Then add your border. I colored a portion of frosting red and piped it on using a Wilton #21 tip. Start with your bottom border, then the top. If you mess up, which I did, just scrape it off, wipe off the cake board and start again. Add a Happy Birthday, sprinkles and a candle and you are done.
Is it perfect? No. But it couldn’t have been too bad as there was about 18 hungry kids, and their Moms, and this was the only piece that was left:
Happy Birthday my little Captain America.
If you have any questions or tips – please share!
BTW – we are already discussing Addison’s Hello Kitty party for December!