Posted by Megan
I’ve always loved to bake. It invokes so much that is important to me – family, home, celebration and general coziness. I have such strong memories associated with baking. The gingerbread that my mom and I made for “Colonial Day” at school. We used the gingerbread to write our lessons on as we re-created life in Colonial New England. The Indian Pudding I made in fourth grade as part of a history class lesson on the same. The chocolate cake that had molten lava pudding inside that my mom and I first made the Christmas I was 10. The boxed marble cake with canned frosting that my 5th grade teacher made to help teach us fractions. My great-grandmother’s date square recipe that was passed down through my grandmother and that I make often for my mother’s birthday. So many memories, stories and feelings attached to baking.
When my first nephew, Gideon, was about to turn one, I decided I wanted to make a special cake for him. A bit of a physical manifestation of the enormous love and affection I have for him. I went online and came up with a design – a gigantic number one covered with fondant. Fondant being something I’d never used before in baking.
I made my paternal grandmother’s white cake recipe that had been used for many of our family birthdays through the year. Then I bought white fondant and used food coloring to get the fondant to the colors I wanted it. I cut the cake into the number one and then covered it in fondant and added some tri-colored fondant balls and flowers to complete the design.
When Gideon was turning two, he was able to tell me what he wanted as a theme for his cake. He wanted a “Cars” theme (not surprising due to the deep love he had for that movie series at the time). He specified which characters from the movie he wanted on the cake – Mater, Lightning McQueen and Chug. I scoured Amazon, Toys R Us, websites, all my local stores and could not find Chug. I was able to find the other two and some extra characters to complete the cake. But it irked me that I couldn’t find Chug. I was hoping that he may not notice when he saw the other cars and trucks.
Since I had learned the previous year that fondant does not have the best taste, I decided to use regular frosting this time around and limited the fondant just to the number “2”. I made the two out of black fondant to be a track that the cars and trucks were driving on. I completed the look with some little checkered flags. My nephew LOVED the cake! And loved eating it. He did however, almost immediately upon seeing it, say, “Where’s Chug?” 🙂 Luckily I was able to find that car later on and give it to him. Thank goodness!
Next up, my second nephew, Henry’s, 1st birthday! Since Henry couldn’t talk yet, his big brother picked the theme for his first cake. He picked a wiggly worm theme. So cute. I made a large cake (as in the previous two cakes) to feed everyone at the party. Covered it in frosting and then covered the frosting in “dirt” aka crushed up Oreos. I then covered coconut flakes in green food coloring and sprinkled that on the “dirt” like grass. I put gummy worms throughout and little tiny flower pots with flowers. I put a white picket fence around the cake. It was so much fun and delicious and both boys loved it!
For Gid’s third birthday, as with his second birthday, he knew exactly what he wanted. A blue dump truck cake 🙂 And so that is what I made and it was so much fun. I decided it would be fun to mix it up and make multiple levels with this cake. It turned out great and everyone ended up with blue all over their faces. Gideon was also happy about the three new trucks that he got to play with after the cake was served.
Next up, Henry turned two! He wanted a Paw Patrol cake. I decided to buy the cake decor online since I wasn’t sure how I would draw the Paw Patrol characters on the cake. The rice paper decor I got was a bit hard to use in the humidity and there was slight panic as my mom and I scrambled to make it work but it all turned out well. I topped it with a personalized Paw Patrol decoration that I purchased on Etsy.
When Gideon turned four, he wanted a Gumby cake. We had recently bought him and his brother the Stretch Gumby toys and he was a big fan. Gumby required fondant but I decided to frost the cake with regular frosting since, as I mentioned above, fondant isn’t very tasty on its own. I love the way it turned out. Gideon was thrilled with it which made me really happy.
The most recent cake I made was for Henry’s third birthday. He wanted a “Red Supercharged Power Ranger” cake 🙂 I had a lot of fun with this one as well. Henry had a blast with the cake and then spent many days and hours later playing with the Red Power Ranger toy that topped it!
Making their cakes is something that I so enjoy doing. I love anticipating how excited they will be to see it and the look of joy on their faces. I know the cakes will be a memory they hold onto from their childhood birthdays and that they will see the cakes as an expression of my limitless love for them.