Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2 Year Old Birthday Cake

No, no, the cake wasn't 2 years old. Ew. The cake was for a 2 year old's birthday party! Hooray, what fun.

I used to dream of being an event planner, in particular weddings. But I love the idea of just about any party, and a kids birthday is such fun. You can be imaginative, yet the simple things really wow them. You can act zany and not seem odd, because you're 32 and should be more mature 'than that'. And you can wear jeans and be yourself. It's all about having fun!!

A friend of mine's 2 year old just had his party, and while I couldn't go (we were on a bike tour), I helped her make the cake the day before. We settled on a train theme, and found this fantastic cake online with the step-by-step instructions. The site also has other fun cakes that are not too hard. Other favorites were the snake and checker board.

We searched and found our own recipes for the cake and frosting, and were really happy with our selections.

Moist, simple white cake
from allrecipes

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

adapted from allrecipes

4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, water and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for a full five minutes. It won't look like Icing at first, but keep the mixer going for a full five minutes, and then you're done!

With the frosting and cake done, here is the start of our train assembly...

TIP: For future, you will save yourself some annoyance by laying the outer edges facing out. Trying to frost the cut side of the cake, created a lot of crumbs in the icing. It was survivable, but would have been easier had I laid the upper layer cut-side down.

TIP: We frosted the cakes on a piece of parchment paper to avoid messes on the tin-foil covered board. Worked out very well. Just be sure to keep a small amount of each icing color to fix the bottom edges that may get pulled while removing the parchment paper.

As you can see from my pictures, the cars are quite large - a regular loaf cake size. So we decided to only make 3 train cars, vs. 4 (in the directions).

And here's our almost complete train cake...

I need to get a final picture of the cake from my friend, as I wasn't at the party. We left the second car undecorated, as she was going to put the candle in it and maybe sprinkle a few candies around it. But she needed to store the cake overnight, so we left that for the next day. She also had to find some wire or something to make the popcorn smoke stack (I left her all the hard jobs!).

But overall, I thought it turned out really well! She said after the kids had eaten all the food, had ice cream and then the cake was brought out, they couldn't eat more than the first train car. The other two train cars were brought to the nursery on Monday to share.

If you have a summer birthdays coming up, I hope you have as much fun creating your birthday party as we did. Happy, happy to you!

Guten appetit!

1 comment:

lisat said...

Sooooooooo cute. My boys would love that. You are a good friend to help make that for the birthday!