Baking Birthday Cakes

Before having children I had never baked a cake, birthday or otherwise. But, my mom (a much better cook and baker than I) had always made my birthday cakes growing up and I was determined to do the same for my children. So when Grant was 6 months old I decided I needed to bake a half birthday cake as practice.

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Chocolate cake with white frosting and rainbow sprinkles
Grant’s 6 months birthday cake

I bought a cake decorating kit, I used a box cake (at my moms suggestion) but I made the buttercream from scratch. It was this recipe and it’s so good I’ve used it for every cake I’ve made since. Note: you will have leftover frosting, there is nothing wrong with that. I typically freeze it and use it to ice the next adult’s birthday cake. It’s also delicious on just about anything, like banana bread or brownies.

For Grant’s first birthday we threw an “Up” themed party and I made him a two-tier 6” round smash cake.

Small birthday cake with colorful fondant house being carried by balloons and fondant white clouds
Grant’s first birthday smash cake

The fondant decorations were not the best, but it was my first try with fondant. The cake inside was funfetti made from scratch, I used this recipe which, in my opinion, is waaaay better than box funfetti.

Grant turned two in the height of the pandemic, so we had a very small Cookie Monster themed party with a small Cookie Monster cake and cupcakes. I was most proud of those cupcakes!

Cookie monster cake surrounded by chocolate chip cookies
Grant’s second birthday cake
Cookie monster cupcakes with cookies for mouths
Grant’s second birthday cupcakes

To save time I used a boxed funfetti and was disappointed. It’s faster but just not as good.

Grant’s third birthday fell during the worst time in my life so far, the day after my mom’s funeral service. It would have been fine to not bake a cake (in fact, we also ordered an epic donut cake) but I just HAD to bake a rainbow cake for his rainbow themed birthday party. It wasn’t spectacular, but I needed to do it.

Rainbow sprinkle covered cake and cupcakes with a number 3 candle
Grant’s third birthday cake
Rainbow shaped donut that reads "Happy Birthday Grant"
Epic donut cake from Allie’s Donuts

The rainbow cake was a boxed cake and no one really ate any because that donut cake was AMAZING. Seriously if you’re in the area, highly recommend.

Harris’s first birthday party was small, but it was Star Wars-themed and I wanted to take on my fanciest cake yet. I found inspiration on Pinterest and got to work.

Small green-frosted cake with chocolate drip on top decorated with green sprinkles, macaroons and five grogu / baby yoda figurines
Harris’s first birthday cake

This was my first drip cake and it was surprisingly easy, having the patience to wait for the ganache to cool to the correct drip temperature was probably the hardest part (that and cutting up the chocolate bar)! I did make the ganache but I did not make those macaroons. (Grogu / Baby Yoda figurines can be found here).

The moral of this story is: anyone can bake a cake. It’s also: funfetti is the official birthday cake.

Am I the only person who never baked a cake until their 30’s?

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