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Mar 16, 2008 08:23 PM

Birthday Cake for Kids and Adults

Hi all,
I am thinking about what type of cake to make for my daughters 1st birthday next month. We're having about 35 people so I'm thinking of doing a tiered cake. I'd like to do something "whimsical" yet not too difficult, I'm not much of a baker. The only things I'm trying to avoid are strawberries and peanuts. Does anyone have any good recipes or websites they can recommend? I'm thinking of trying a fondant icing, is that too ambitious? And tips regarding fondant and decorating ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Hie thee to for a wealth of cake decorating and baking information.

    A smattering of thoughts on the subject:
    --Go ahead and try fondant--I find it a lot easier than buttercream, personally, and I can make some magnificent creations (I'm so humble, I know. Hey, local pro cake decorators aren't stealing my photos and passing them off as their work in their portfolios for nothing).
    --Above all, give yourself enough time! Bake several days ahead of time. Start working on fondant and gumpaste elements at least a week ahead of time, so that they have enough time to dry. Plan to have everything done the night before the party. It will stay fresh under the fondant, don't worry. You don't want to be fussing with details the day-of. Everything will take longer than you expect, especially when you're trying something new. Give yourself lots of cushion time.
    --Roll the fondant out thick enough. Getting a smooth crumb coat is key to having a smooth fondant layer. Those silly looking fondant smoothers are actually really valuable tools.
    --For god's sake, don't use Wilton fondant--it's easy to work with, but tastes foul. If you must, knead in some flavoring. Lorann oils will go the farthest; they're very strong and can go some way to drown out the awful chemical taste of the Wilton products.
    --You'll find people talking it up, but don't bother making MMF (marshmallow fondant). Homemade marshmallows and fondant have exactly the same ingredients, just in different quantities and with different techniques. So why bother with the sticky mess of melting commercial marshmallows?
    -- Wilton's premade gumpaste is also perfectly awful to work with. Satin Ice brand is magnificent, but harder to find most places.
    --Disco dust makes everything look great. Hard to find. I just found it locally last week, after attempting to order it from various sources for a year and a half with no luck (backorders, out of stock, etc). It's edible glitter. SO much fun! I made the freakin cutest toadstools a few days ago, and it took no time at all:

    Get a kernel of an idea, search on CC for inspiration (the galleries have a treasure trove of ideas), and ask any questions you might have. You'll find no better support system in your cake endeavors.

    Have fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: modthyrth

      Thank you soo much! This is very helpful! I'll try out a few creations (maybe in cupcake form) this week for Easter as practice.

      1. re: SweetPea914

        On the lazier side...kudos on her birthday, btw...I would go with an ice cream cake, appreciated by both kids and adults.

        The Eagle Brand and Kraft Food sites usually have good ideas on this.

        Or, how about an ice cream bombe, cleverly decorated?

    2. Congrats on the 1st... we'll be celebrating my son's 2nd bday mid April - I like your idea about using Easter to practice :)

      I'm not the world's best cake decorator (got the cake part down, just need to work on the decorating) and I do agree with modthyrth - start e-a-r-l-y. I was putting the finishing touches on DD's first birthday cake as guests came in the door (rookie mistake #2) I think my fave part was when I'm trying to hurry up and finish and a guest who has been staring at my efforts says: "you missed a spot" I wanted to clock her with the icing lol...mistake #1 was not planning the colours ahead and just trying to "make do" at the last minute.

      modthyrth thanks for the link to the gallery of children's birthday cakes is inspiring :)