Sweet baby Reid turned one on December 7. Amy decided to have a dinosaur themed party and I offered to make cakes. I also volunteered Stephanie to assist me in making cakes. I have lofty ideas and Stephanie has excellent execution. Now, I consider myself a good cook but an eh, baker. I don't necessarily love the structure that baking requires (you know, all of that measuring). I would like to say it is because I enjoy the creative process of freestyle cooking so much more, but the real truth is just that I am just pretty lazy. And if I measure something it is required that I 1) pay attention, and 2) do more dishes. Thankfully, Stephanie is as OCD as I am lethargic and so we made a good team.
There were three cakes to be made. First, a full fat, full sugar dino-licious main cake. Second, low sugar, somewhat healthy cupcakes for the kids. And finally, a vegan cake for the birthday boy (Reid is both ovo and lacto intolerant). The party was last Saturday, so on Friday I met up with Stephanie at her house because she has more baking accessories than a full service bakery. I now refer to her as Cake Boss.
We started at 3:00 pm. I made the batter for the cupcakes and the vegan cake while Stephanie cut out fondant for the dinosaur. She looked away and checked her blood pressure as I eyeballed the amount of vanilla I used and poured straight from the bottle.
These are the same cupcakes I made for Norah's first birthday (and have made many times since) and are an awesome alternative for a kid's party. The recipe can be found here (it's the apple swirl cake). I don't put extra sugar on the apples, just cinnamon, and I reduce the overall amount of sugar to just a cup and a half. For cupcakes you just fill the cup up halfway with batter, add a layer of the cinnamon apples, and then cover with more batter. The cupcake itself is very dense, almost like a coffee cake, so you can fill it all the way to the top without fear that it will spill over in the oven. The icing is just cream cheese, vanilla, and just enough powdered sugar to give it a frostable consistency.
Reid's cake was a simple vegan vanilla cake recipe that I found online. Obviously no eggs and uses soy butter (I used Earth Balance). The frosting was vegan vanilla and it is garnished with the slightest hint of oreo cookie crumble (likely not vegan, but Amy gave the okay). Norah generously lent her dinosaur to be the topper.
Once that was done we could turn our attention to the main event. I made a very dense vanilla cake that was baked in two 9-inch round pans. Stephanie made a huge batch of Grandma Mary's buttercream frosting. I may or may not now have diabetes from eating a good majority of it out of the bowl.
The first round was cut in half and then pasted together with frosting.
We cut the rest of the cake using an online template (but Steph freestyled the actual cutting because we couldn't get it to print using the correct sizing), and assembled the dinosaur body.
He held together well with the exception of his head (too heavy), and so we rigged up a support mechanism for the head and neck. That basically consisted of impaling him with kabob skewers.
He was then frosted with a layer of green frosting and we worried that he looked like a sad crocodile. I left at this point (about 6:00 pm) to feed and put my kids to bed and Steph cleaned up most of the disaster I had made of her kitchen to that point.
I came back at about 8:15 once BVZ got home and Steph had started the piping. Oh the piping. It was a delicate balancing act because there were so many angles to the cake that the frosting started to slide off. Steph would pipe for about 15 minutes and then have to return the cake to the fridge so that the frosting wouldn't melt off. I started to pipe too and it sucked. I don't have the patience to pipe. I got carpal tunnel syndrome within the first 5 minutes. I decided my job would be to drink wine and entertain Steph while she worked but she disagreed. We piped that mother f'er for the next 3 hours. Andy had to go buy wine and then said something to the effect of, "I don't understand why this is taking so long, it doesn't look that hard." We made him pipe. He quickly realized how hard it was. I ate more frosting. By midnight both Andy and I were saying things to the effect of, "just put frosting anywhere you see a goddamn hole." Thankfully Steph was much more level headed.
Fondant scales were added, as were m&m eyes and toenails. He looked so cute.
I got home about 1:00 am but couldn't fall asleep for hours. I had eaten probably the equivalent of 17 cups of frosting.
In the morning, Steph took dino over to Amy's house and set him up with a fan (we were paranoid about the melting/sliding, which thankfully didn't happen), and an oreo cookie dirt nest. He looked fabulous.
Birthday boy smash cake.
It was a smashing success and I would estimate Reid ate at least 75% of his cake (see Norah trying to get in on the action?)
Amy did a bang up job with the party. Reid is one lucky kid. Every detail was amazingly fabulous (she MADE a freaking pinata!) and everyone had a really, really good time. I can't wait for Louis' birthday now. Oh Stephanie....I have ideeeeeaaaasssss...........