Cute cake making for dummies

I am one of the somewhat irrational breed of moms who feels inadequate if I do not produce the cake for my kids' birthday parties. Never mind that I let my husband cook dinner on most nights. Birthday cakes must be original masterpieces made by *moi. ( I use the word "masterpiece" very loosely here).
*I will give credit to Tiffany who made Finny's first birthday cake. But that cake was 3D so it does not count.

Last year, good sense overcame the urge to over-achieve and I bought my daughter a cake. On the way home from the store it met an ugly fate involving a soccer ball rolling around in the van. (My husband had been the errand boy for this particular task and oh my dear, did he hear about that ). I also bought a cake for my boys' combined birthday last year. It was ok but sort of boring and the vast quantities of lurid blue and green icing which appeared to have been spray painted was somewhat off-putting to me at least. I thus remain unconverted to the school of store- bought cakes.

Some of my cakes have turned out better then others.
There was the unfortunate incident of the Diego cake earlier this year. But then again, I saw this cake show up on my computer screen today and it held only happy memories. It was one of those rare cakes that came together easily, looked quite cute and tasted pretty good too. Behold the Pink Parisian Poodle who came to Gracie's 5th birthday party. Gracie had a large part in her creation.

There was a tea-pot cake from when she turned 3

Another low stress, high impact cake. Results not necessarily typical.

The other night in the official kick-off to Chaos, I had an (extremely) limited time to make a cake fit to be in a raffle for our school's ice cream social. I know my limitations so I decided to go as simple as possible. What can be simpler then a cute ghost? It's all white, and the shape is pretty much open to interpretation. It fit the bill. So my ever-helpful husband baked a sheet cake which I intended to cut in the shape of a ghost and frost and call good. Well naturally, the cake got stuck in the pan. And came out in non-ethereal chunks. So much for that. Onto Plan B. The cupcake cake. I had not ever tried one before but this is what I discovered:

There are many advantages to the cupcake cake. My top two are these:

1.You can make a shape without cutting. And rearrange that shape. Again and again. Til it works. No sweat.
2. This means you don't have to frost cut, crumby bits of cake. AND you don't have to frost the sides! Score! And Score again!

In less then 15 minutes after my easily-removed-from- the -pan cupcakes had cooled, this little cute little fellow emerged. Hardly inspired but for the time he took to create, he turned out just fine. You can't tell, but he even shimmered a bit thanks to the miracle of sparkly sugar (I love me some sparkly sugar). Someone asked me if I poked my finger in the middle to make the mouth but actually no. (Not that I am above such measures). It was the one spot where the cupcakes didn't meet and behold! A serendipitously placed mouth.

Here are some of the other advantages of the cupcake cake.
  • No more guessing how many people the cake will feed. One cupcake each. Even I can do that Math.
  • No need for slicing
  • I am just really very fond of the cupped cake. I believe it may be cake in it's finest form.
Now, yes, yes worldly ones, I do know that the cupcake cake is not exactly the freshest idea on the block, but it is to me since I never really considered doing it before. I guess I just thought it was a bit gimmicky and, well...why? 'Cos it's easy man! That's why! And easy- that always works for me.
PS: I have a party coming up on Friday. I cannot tell you how much of a comfort it is to me to know of the cupcake cake at this slightly insane time of year. The cupcake cake will be my salvation.
PPS: BONUS TIP: When I frantically called Tiffany looking for something to put my cupcake Ghost on, something I would not mind never getting back (my taped together cereal boxes just weren't cutting it), she offered me a Priority Mail box. Perfection! I plan to cover a few with foil and keep them for just such future occasions. Don't you wish your neighbour had stuff like mine?

I'm reading: Cute cake making for dummiesTweet this!


april kennedy said...

Love the ghost...wish I had signed up for cupcakes now at Blake's school!!

Koala Green said...

Thanks for the ego boost! i didn't even have to ask for the shout out! Your a good friend. And I like your cakes.

Deanna said...

Your cakes are amazing! You have skills. I love your cupcake cake idea. My teacher told me I had to bring all orange snacks for our Harvest day. Wonder if I could make a cupcake cake shaped like a pumpkin? Hmmmm... I can try.

beth said...

I love this idea!

Your other cakes are far, far beyond what I could very hope to do, but this, maybe I could do.

Rebeckah said...

Really great cake! I LOVE it! I love this tip! Thank you for sharing. Hope your week is full of blessings!

Jen Lynn said...

:) I was just looking at those pictures of aive from the pink poodle party. Fun times. Great cakes. I'm gonna have to try the cupcake thing.

Sherry said...

Cute cakes! I love the cupcake idea! I have a baby shower that I'm to make the cake for. I might just try the cupcake idea. :D

Thank you for sharing! :D

Happy WFMW!

Wani said...

Awesome cakes! I did a Curious George cake for my son's 1st b-day. I was pretty pleased with it. I posted about it back in March. The last birthday party we had was right after we got back from being out of town so we just let the kids decorate cookies with icing. We'll see how motivated I am next time a birthday rolls around!

Aunt LoLo said...

Ooh...I came here through the WFMW linky list...and I think you've just got yourself a new fan!

The cupcake cake...I've heard of it, I've seen it, but I've never seen SUCH a convincing argument to actually use it!!

Hmm...I need treats for a Halloween party at church next week. I'm thinking about Bakerella's cake pops...because I can bag them and they don't get frosting all over the candy pail. But I'm definitely making a cupcake cake for my next party!

Aunt LoLo said...

Aw, man! You're MORMON, too?! (I just saw your Hinckley BoM challenge on the left.)

That's it. We're soul mates. ;-) Keep cookin', Mama.

But you can see why I can't hand out cupcakes at the Trunk or Treat, right??!

Aunt LoLo said...

See, now you made me come back! There's no e-mail in your profile. ANYWHO...I just had to ask...what's GMTA???

THEN I looked over at your blogroll...and saw Andy and Charis. I'm not entirely sure on the connection, but my husband knows one (or both) of them from school and I met them a year or so ago when they were in my parent's ward.

E-mail me! We have to talk. You have some 'splainin' to do! ;-)

Jodi said...

I too love the idea of cupcake cakes! Great ghost! We made my little guy an Elmo cake a few weeks back and have already lamented that I'll have to figure out how to keep up/top it next year! LOL Happy baking!

april kennedy said...

Hey Kirsty, I just tried the link and it worked. Copy and paste the 'html' stuff as a new gadget...choose 'html' gadget. Hope that makes sense.

And, by the way, I just posted a give-a-way for one of the halloween aprons on my funkyvintagekitchen blog. Get over there and enter! Thanks for the love!

nyn said...

I might be converted. I have been an adamat cake buyer for the very reason that I ruin every cake. I think that I can maybe handle cupcakes though. I will have to give this a try. You did such an adorable job!!

Richelle said...

Very cute! Great idea!