Monday, November 26, 2012

a Winter Wonderland Birthday Party

Our friends, Katie and Dave, had a baby girl last year, just after Thanksgiving.  She's grown so much in her first year and is now busy crawling after the cats in their new house and trying to figure out how to take her first steps.  Macy just celebrated her first Thanksgiving, watching the Macy's parade for the first time.  I wonder if she's going to think that the parade was named in honor of her birthday?

For her first birthday last weekend, Katie planned a "Winter One-derland" party for Macy and asked me to bake a few treats for the party.  First there was the birthday cake, a strawberry and vanilla, pink and white ombre cake, with a smaller cake on top that Katie could photograph Macy with later for the official "cake smash".  A chocolate snowflake graced the top of the cake.  I can't wait to see Katie's photos of the party since she's a professional photographer.

Then I made snowman cupcakes, complete with ruffly striped scarves and candy hats.  I decorated a special cupcake just for Macy, which she was a little shy about tasting at first, but after a few bites, she just stuffed the whole thing in her face!  I think she even had frosting inside her nose after she was finished.

There was barbecue and lemonade (labeled as "Melted Snowman") for everyone, gingerbread peeps and other candy and treats, and lots of adorable presents to open.  Macy loved pulling everything out of their boxes and gift bags.

Happy First Birthday, Macy!

Pink and White Two-Tiered Ombre Cake
printable recipe
  • Two 8-inch layers of cake
  • Two 6-inch layers of cake
  • White buttercream, vanilla or flavored (this technique uses a LOT of buttercream, in addition to this being a big cake - to use my recipe, multiply it by 9 or 10x)
  • pink food coloring (or other color) - I used Americolor "Soft Pink"
  • piping bags
  • open star tip (Wilton # 22)
Assembly and Decorating Instructions:
  1.  Cool the cakes completely, and level the tops, if needed.
  2. (If keeping the cake tiers separated, as in the picture, you'll need to frost each separately, on their own cake boards, and then support the smaller cake on wooden skewers or cake separators.  If you have no need of keeping the top tier separate, simply stack all the cakes and frost on one cake board.)
  3. Place one 8-inch cake on a 10-inch cake board.  Frost the top of the cake with a 1/4 inch layer of buttercream.  Repeat with the 2nd 8-inch cake.  Repeat with the 6-inch cake layers.
  4. Frost the cake all over with a very crumb coat layer of buttercream; refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with the star tip with buttercream (at this point, you have not added any food coloring yet).  Starting at the top, pipe a swirl of frosting in the center of the cake.  Pipe swirls all over the top of the cake, then pipe one row of swirls around the top edge of the cake.  Fill in any gaps with smaller swirls or stars.  Squeeze out any remaining buttercream back into the bowl.
  6. Add a drop of food coloring to the bowl and mix it in; the frosting should be tinted a very pale shade.  Fill the piping bag again, and pipe another row of swirls under the first row.  Squeeze out any remaining buttercream back into the bowl.
  7. Add another drop of food coloring to the bowl and fix it in; the frosting should be every so slightly darker than before.  Repeat this process, piping a row and then tinting the frosting gradually darker until you've reached the bottom of the cake.  There should be a graduation of color from the top to the bottom.
  8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then cover and store at room temperature until ready to serve.

Design by Curly Girl Kitchen

Snowman Cupcakes
printable recipe

  • 12 cupcakes, any flavor
  • 2 cups white buttercream, flavored vanilla or coconut
  • 24 marshmallows
  • 12 toothpicks
  • 12 peppermint striped Hershey's kisses, chocolate peppermint bells, M&Ms, or other candy, to make the hats
  • white sparkling decorative sugar
  • piping bags, piping tips and food coloring (I used the following tips: Wilton round tips #1, 3, 4, star tip # 18, and rose tip # 101)
Decorating Instructions:
  1. Frost each of the cupcakes with a thin layer of buttercream.  Place one of the marshmallows in the center of each cupcake.  Top the marshmallow with a dot of buttercream, insert the toothpick in the middle and place the other marshmallow on top.  (If you use a stiffer frosting, such as royal buttercream, the toothpick probably isn't necessary, but since I used a soft buttercream, I wanted to make sure the marshmallows didn't topple over so I used toothpicks.)
  2. Using the star tip, pipe stars around the edge of each cupcake.  Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar.
  3. Tint very small amounts of the buttercream orange, blue and pink (or other colors of your choice).  Using the round tips, pipe the eyes (#3) , buttons (#4), nose (#3) and mouth (#1).  To make the carrot nose, squeeze the frosting with the tip against the marshmallow, then slowly pull away, while continuing to squeeze; push back a little, then pull further away, pushing and pulling to create the ridges, until the carrot gets smaller at the tip and then pull the tip off.
  4. To make the ruffled scarf, fit a piping bag with the rose tip.  Dip a small paint brush in food color of your choice, and paint a thin stripe of color along the inside of the bag.  Make sure the narrow side of the rose tip is lined up with the stripe.  Scoop the buttercream, either colored or white, into the piping bag and squeeze until you start to see the stripe of color.  Pipe the scarf by placing the wide side of the tip against the "seam" (where the two marshmallows meet) and the narrow side facing out, so that the stripe shows.  Pipe a ruffle around the neck of the snowman, then pipe two ruffles down the side of his chest, to create the tails of the scarf.
  5. Using the round tips again, pipe the ear muffs.  Lastly, squeeze a dot of frosting on top of the snowman's head and finish with a candy hat.
  6. Refrigerate for an hour to firm up the frosting, then cover and keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Yields 12 cupcakes

Design by Curly Girl Kitchen