Literally a few days before Casper’s 1st Birthday, he took his first (unassisted) steps! I am both horrified and delighted by this new skill. I mean, he’s still crawling a lot–it’s more efficient–but, he’s definitely walking even if it’s more of a Tommy Pickles stumble. It’s pretty cute but, it takes all of me to not scoop him up immediately every time he stumbles.
We celebrated his first year with some family and friends with a BBQ over the weekend. Sean smoked ribs–they are seriously delicious and he deserves major props for perfecting his method– I made a nectarine and tomato salad that I’ll post here soon, and my deviled egg potato salad that I’ve been trying to perfect (and I think is just about there). I also made this cake, obvs. The cake itself is just my chocolate cupcake recipe, baked as 2 6-inch cake layers. I split each layer, so I had a total of 4 layers because I like a tall party cake. This recipe makes sturdy, stackable, easy to split layers. There’s just something about all those layers that shout “CELEBRATION!” to me. I wanted a classic cake combo and after vacillating for days I decided on a chocolate cake with basic, sugary, vanilla buttercream. I knew Casper would only have a little, so I just kind of threw caution (or mom-crazy) to the wind and went all out with his cake. Even though I wanted a basic buttercream, I had to bump up the flavor a teeny bit more and add malt powder. I love the flavor of malt in sweet, vanilla desserts and it paired so nicely with the deep, chocolatey cake. I also used my homemade vanilla extract–vanilla beans + vodka + time–I actually used the last of my batch that I’ve had for years. Literally, years. Like, 5. It was a kindergartener. So the flavor was very vanilla-y and had specks of vanilla bean, which I love seeing in frostings but any good quality (aka pure) vanilla extract would be perfect. I iced it in what I’m calling a “water color stripe”–basically I followed the method for making an ombré cake, but alternated white and colored frostings instead. It turned out pretty cute, I think, and it was easy to do. This style of frosting is totally fine if it’s imperfect, leaving plenty of room for error. I appreciate that in a frosting technique. I sprinkled the edges of the cake with little star sprinkles to make it extra festive. For the cupcakes, I piped all the remaning colors–plus some pink, since it didn’t end up on the cake itself–into another piping bag and piped it onto the cupcakes using a star tip. I sprinkled those with some star spinkles plus some disco dust (aka edible glitter) and they turned out crazy but fun. I call them “space unicorn” cupcakes.
Anyway, then I made a little paper Totoro cake topper because Casper has a “Tototo” (as he says) plush toy that he LOVES (as well as a pillow and a print in his room). Sean is a huge Studio Ghibli fan, and it’s definitely getting passed on to Casper. He hugs and kisses Tototo and it’s so cute! It kills me. Initially I wanted to make a cake like this one from Lyndsay. I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea of trying to pipe a Totoro likeness, but I can put together a paper cut-out version, so I went with that. I also stuck some super cute sparkler candles in the top–thank goodness the didn’t catch Totoro on fire! It was a concern, but he remains unscathed and cake was had by all.
PS, You can see the lit sparklers and the rest of the food on my Instagram feed.
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- dash of salt
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons malt powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in the salt. Add the powdered sugar, beating on low speed 1 cup at a time, until completely incorporated. Beat in the malt powder, vanilla, and heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time, to reach
desireconsistency). Continue to beat the buttercream until it is smooth, creamy, and spreadable. Add more cream or powdered sugar to get your desired consistency. Tint with gel color, if you’d like. Pipe or spread onto the cake layers and cupcakes.
June @ How to Philosophize with Cake
What a pretty cake! Love the way you frosted it, with all those different colors 🙂
OMG I love this cake… that is so beautiful Cindy! and Happy Birthday to Casper and his “Tommy Pickles” gangsta walk.. That show was the best.. Angelica and all her spoiled evil ways.. LOL
gansta walk, ha!
Michelle @ Hummingbird High
OMG. This is SO. FREAKING. CUTE. I love the way you frosted both the cake and cupcakes, you frosting genius you.
And of course, happy birthday to Casper!!!!
Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land
So so cute! I LOVE the space unicorn cupcakes, those colours are magic!! Happy 1st birthday Casper, congratulations you guys on 1 year of insaneo parenthood! Glad Totoro didn’t go up in flames too with the sparklers… hehe! XO
THANK YOU! and your cakes totally inspired me to make him a fun one for his birthday 🙂
My Dish is Bomb
This cake is effing BEAUTIFUL, Cindy. I’m curious, what is malt powder and where do you buy it? I totally agree that the more the layers on a cake, the more festive and special it feels. Plus it’s super fun to ice extra layers! I’m feeling an ombre cake coming on soon, I just want to play with that pretty icing!
It’s called Malted Milk Powder and it’s basically evaporated milk, malted barley, and wheat flour. I usually find it in grocery stores near either the baking section or wherever cocoa mixes would be. Thanks!!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
Your cake is suuuuuuper cute. Totoro is my favorite character from Studio Ghibli. My sister and I used to be obsessed with Totoro stuff—she had the cat bus tissue holder, and I had one of those dust bunny coin purses. LOVE your Totoro cutout and the colors you picked for the cake. And holy cow, that piped Totoro cake is insane! I hope to half of that piping skill in my lifetime!
Isn’t Lyndsay’s version incredible! If I ever have piping skills that good, I’ll feel totally accomplished.
I know this cake is for a 1 year old, but I would happily have this as my birthday cake! So cute!!
I would gladly make it for you!
Aw! Happy birthday to Casper! Totoro WAS my childhood – it’s so heartwarming to hear of others to enjoy it. I’m so nostalgic now!
The ombre/watercolor stripe is so cute! I’m dying to try that.
Totoro is amazing! I, sadly, didn’t get introduced until a few years ago, but I am so glad Casper will have it in his life 🙂 I am sure you will kill it with that frosting technique!!
I can’t believe Casper is a year already! Happy Birthday! The cake looks so good. Thanks Cindy!
Thank you, Ana! It has been unreal!
Tessa - Style Sweet CA
LOVE it!! This cake is so so cute! I love what you did with the frosting. And thank you for the link love to my tutorial! The cupcakes looks almost psychedelic. Amazing!