You can thank Penny over at A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned for motivating me to dig these pictures out of storage. :) My family has a history of homemade birthday cakes. You know something isn't going well if there's a store bought cake in the house and, well, you feel a bit jipped. My grandmother had made us all our favorite cakes from scratch for as long as I can remember. Now, unfortunately, she is gone, but her cakes live on! We have taken the same recipes and added a twist.
For DD's 1st birthday, my sister made her this cookie monster cake along with some cupcakes to match. I believe she got the dye for the icing at a party/baking supply store. This will always be my favorite. It was made to match her sesame street peek-a-boo book that was never far from her side. DD had a cupcake to her self and, boy, was it a good thing I had stripped her down to a onesie before she got her hands into it.
I have to thank my sister once again for these princess cakes. It's amazing what can be done with a cake topper and some imagination. Oh, and a steady hand doesn't hurt.
My daughter is lucky to have a January birthday, which means we can come up with all sorts of themes most people can't use. For DD's 3rd bday, nothing would do but Rudolph. Ever have that one DVD you are tempted to hide? Yup, thats right! For us it was Rudolph. I think I packed it away with the tree that year, but it gave me a great place to start. We did reindeer cupcakes, reindeer paper supplies and pin the nose on the deer games along with a bunch of crafts and reindeer ornaments as favors.
I will thank my sister once again. I was scrambling trying to come up with a tinkerbell cake and she saved the day by making it a lot simpler than I was trying to. DD got a pretty cake and birthday gift all in one for this one.
For dd's kids parties I try to stick with cupcakes. The less work I have to do during the party, the more time I have to talk to socialize myself, and that's what parties are really for right? ;) So that the parents can get our time in as well. Here you see some cute little doggies all with different color eyes. You can tell the eyes are candy-covered chocolates, the ears are cookies, the mouth is one piece of a twizzler, and the nose is a rootbeer jelly bean.
For the family party I show off a little. By no means am I a master icer or cake maker, but a lot of icing, toothpicks, twinkies (yes, a rare treat, but you do what you have to), candy, some crackers, patience and a bit of time, and everyone's so amazed at the creation no one notices you can't ice a cupcake evenly to save your life.
Tom the Turkey was a family effort. We made it for Thanksgiving, but it would be cute for a fall birthday also. You can see how the cake was cut and layered on the left. Pyrex bowls and loaf pans make great building blocks. My daughter happily decorated the feathers.
Winter birthdays definitely have an upside in creativity. DD's second favorite animal after dogs just happens to be penguins. If you're like me and just don't get along well with icing, remember sprinkles are your friend. I find them in Target dollar bins and the Stop and Shop bakery area. I would love to know if anyone has found food coloring free sprinkles! For now, I will consider it a once a year treat!
The downside of having a January Birthday tends to be a lot of snow, and last year was definitely a record year. We made the best of it by having a Valentine's Day party instead. These were just simple stencils I picked up from the craft store and some sprinkles. DD had great fun picking the designs and colors each cake would have. They had an extra suprise of some sprinkles thrown into my white cake mix to liven it up a little.
I hope I have given you some inspiration and courage to try your own cake. With a little planning, and creativity, it's so easy to make a homemade cake. Between the cost and the taste you can't go wrong. Once again, keep it simple and make use of what's on hand. Also avoid anything that costs a lot. You can buy confectionary sugar and butter for a couple dollars instead of canned frosting that is always the wrong consitency and way more expensive.