Make your baby's first birthday cake

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Everyone wants their baby's first birthday to be extra special. Right down to the cake. I'm no exception. As a mom, I know that. As a cake instructor, I also know that you can do it yourself. It sounds a teeny bit daunting if you're not already a cake pro, but it takes very little skill to impress people when it comes to baked goods. A frosted cake is enough to make most people smile, but add a couple of stars and they're astounded. Plus, it's for your one year old! Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly, they're going to town on it anyway! Give it a try!

baking tips:

  • Use a non-stick spray that has flour. It works like a charm!
  • Be as quiet and as still as possible when checking cake doneness. It will fall if you don't.
  • Take the cake out when there's still a few dry crumbs left on the toothpick. It will be more moist!
  • Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

preparation tips:

  • Let cake cool completely before you start messing with it.
  • Level the cake! If you have a cake with a bump or a dip, level it. Use a knife if you have a good eye, or pick up a leveler at any craft store.
  • Torte it too! Since you're already leveling it, make another slice halfway down the side, remove the top half, and add a filling. People love filling!
  • Brush away the crumbs. There will be less in your frosting.
  • Flip it upside-down. The bottom of the cake is always perfect. Why not make it the top?

frosting tips:

Use buttercream frosting. It decorates marvelously! Here is my favorite recipe:

  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1T meringue powder
  • 1c shortening or butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 tsp flavoring of your choice
  • 2 T milk or water

Cream wet ingredients, add dry and beat on medium speed until well combined. Shortening based holds shape best, butter based tastes best. Your choice! Makes 3 cups.

Add extra water or milk to icing until it's thin enough to frost the cake. Don't try to frost it with the thick stuff. It will fall apart!

Top, side, top! Start applying icing on top first, then add to the sides. When the sides are smooth, even off the top again.

Wilton colors are gel so they won't change the consistency of your icing when doing dark colors.

decorating tips:

Add extra water or milk to frosting to make it medium-thin. You want it a little thicker than what you frosted the cake with, but not so thick that it won't come out of the tip.

Bags! Make sure you have a few bags to use. For simplicity, get plastic ones. For frugality, get parchment. Just make sure you know how to fold the parchment!

Basic tips. This cake only uses two tips. A star, #16, and a round, #3.

The magic of the cookie cutter! You can use cookie cutters to design your cake any way you want. Just press the cutter lightly into cake for an outline, trace with frosting using the round tip, then fill in with tip 16 stars.

Borders! Always add a border. It covers up mistakes (if you make any mistakes, that is) and gives the cake a finished look. You can try a shell, or just do a star border.

Frost the cake on the platter you'll serve it on. I usually just use a round cardboard cake circle with foil on it.

Give yourself plenty of time! These things take longer than you think!

The memories will be so much sweeter when you do it yourself! If you're interested in taking a Wilton Method cake class, call Robert's Crafts at (801)282-5575, or go online at

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