An invitation-inspired 1st Birthday Cake

Ok so I don’t know if this was trying to do too much… but 2 toppers, 12 cupcakes and a cutting tier in the same week my mum slipped at work, broke her wrist and got an operation as well as packing and preparing for a trip to Perth for was probably taking on just a little too much.

I made a resolution last year to keep things balanced and to only do 1 major project or “day out” each week so I wouldn’t overload myself. It’s only February and I’ve already broken this one in spades!!

Nevertheless, I still tried to make time to enjoy being in the moment while making this cake despite all the visits to the hospital to see mum and frantically running around like a madwoman getting supplies for my trip to Perth. I can describe this one as fun but tedious.. and I only really have myself to blame for the tedious part! This cake was for a friend who also happens to be my husband’s boss’s partner, Carolyn,…. so it had to be a good one. Carolyn wanted a 1st birthday cake for her gorgeous little girl, Grace, and the partygoers were the ladies in Carolyn’s mother’s group.

Carolyn is a pretty laidback lady and had no real restrictions on what she wanted in terms of design so this one was totally open to the imagination. I like to use things that mean something to the customer to design a cake and this case, so I asked what Grace’s favourite toy was. This cute little Snuggles Koala by Aussie company Britt was used as inspiration for a keepsake topper:

I also love using stationery as inspiration as the designs are often so interesting and easily translatable to cake designs. Little birthday girl Grace’s mum chose this “Castle Walls” invite from Tiny Prints.

So I sketched up this design and went all out with a top tier, cupcakes and a covered dummy tier to hold cake pops. In the end you can see that the design was adapted and scaled back to suit a 3 tier cake stand and I also added a touch more pink with the cupcake wrappers which were from Martha Stewart’s range.

The little castle topper which is colour matched to the invitation and a hand made number “1” is an extension of the bottom two thirds of the cake to give the cake a little more likeness to the original invitation castle and I also had to remove the base that the koala was sitting on to keep things a little more balanced on top of the cake.

Here’s a mini gallery that shows the evolution of the top tier – really simple but effective techniques of half covering a round and then individually pasting on each colour matched panel followed by applying polka dots cut out with a piping tube.

The cupcakes were fun but a little tedious. To achieve the polka dot effect I rolled lots of tiny coloured balls to create the polka dot effect on each cupcake. Strategically cutting the circles to get a variety of colours as well as placement of little balls of coloured sugarpaste were important steps in achieving this festive effect.

I have to thank my fantastic Mr Cakespeare (ie, my husband) in helping me to deliver this cake… he got it there in one piece whilst I was in Perth and was a total hero in the face of humidity, road bumps and a forgotten cake stand! “I was not built to transport cake” was his only response when I called him to ask him how it went…

On the bright side, the cake received 16 likes and about 10 comments after Carolyn posted it on her Facebook Wall ranging from “Not only did it look good but it tasted fantastic too!!!!!!” to “wow! amazing!” – all of which were just such a treat for me to read from the other side of the country 🙂

This was my last big order before I headed to the convention… coming up soon – a glamour finished cake with Faye Cahill, freehand “lalique” piping with Jean Michel Raynaud and a baby castle with Debbie Brown… stay tuned!!

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