Big Birthday Baking Bonanza

Somebody in our household turned 3 this week!  We had a weekend of birthday celebrations, one with each side of the family because it’s just easier that way.  So my baking for this week was for Ryan’s birthday. Can’t believe he’s 3 already!  At the same time, he acts much older than his age quite often, so it’s also kind of hard to believe that he’s only 3 sometimes.

Being my very picky eater, Ryan doesn’t eat cake.  So when we were making some birthday party plans, I had the grand idea of asking him whether he would rather have a birthday cake (which I knew he wouldn’t eat) or birthday sugar cookies, since I have successfully turned him into a sugar cookie monster.  He decided on sugar cookies. He also decided that for his parties he wanted a dinosaur party, and a Batman party So I ordered some dinosaur cookie cutters and a Batman cookie cutter and that settled that….or so I thought!

Later when he overheard us planning out the parties a bit more he asked me about his cake. “Ummm….what cake?  You mean your cookies right?” Turns out the child thinks that you have to have a birthday cake. Even though I knew he wouldn’t eat it, he has associated birthdays with birthday cakes and decided that he needed a cake.  And while we’re at it, actually he decided he needed 2 cakes, because he was having 2 parties after all. Who could argue that? Of course, the previously agreed cookies were still part of the deal too because they had been part of the plan to begin with.   So suddenly my happy thoughts of making some cute sugar cookies and being done with it, turned into making sugar cookies plus 2 cakes! He requested an orange dinosaur cake, and a Batman cake  (or better yet “Batman riding a dinosaur!”).

Of course to make things just a bit more interesting, we also agreed to help out at our church’s vacation Bible school that week, which ran from 6 to 8:30 every night that week. No spare time that week for this girl!

Here’s how I pulled it off:  I made my cakes the weekend before, and froze them. The dinosaur cake was a chocolate cake, and I used the recipe for chocolate cake from the Sprinkle Bakes cookbook I have. I picked that recipe because I didn’t have to go out and buy special chocolate to melt for it, and because it gave a substitution for the strong brewed coffee that a lot of chocolate cakes call for–chocolate milk!  We are in theory feeding the cake to a 3 year old after all….don’t really need to be adding some caffeine to the sugar and excitement of a birthday party! It turned out good and very moist, so I was really happy with it. I also made a White Chocolate Banana Cake for the Batman cake. I had made that one before for Ryan’s first birthday, so I already knew I liked that one.

Thursday night I mixed up my sugar cookie dough so it was ready to bake Friday after Ryan went down for his nap. (Thank goodness I don’t work on Fridays!)  We had Batarangs, and dinosaurs in the shapes of T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Teranadons, Velociraptors, and Triceratops. We ended up decorating the cookies with melted white chocolate after we got home from the last night of VBS, starting the process at like 10:00 at night. Not my finest work. I forgot to take a picture of my dinosaur cookies, and frankly that’s just as well because they weren’t real pretty and I didn’t really care at that point…  Saturday morning I made some potato salad, made the fondant for decorating my Batman cake, and then when Ryan went down for his nap I started carving up the chocolate cake to turn it into a dinosaur. I used a picture that I found on Pinterest as a guide, and considering that I’ve never carved a cake before, I thought that structurally it turned out pretty well. It all went downhill with my frosting though. I made a white chocolate cream cheese frosting that was too sweet for one thing, and that also just didn’t really work well for trying to make the dinosaur look nice…  I also kind of ran out of frosting and subsequently ran out of time to make any more because we had to leave for his first party. I swear I could have made him look nicer if I had just had more time.

Ryan looked at it after he woke up and said “What is it?” Ouch.  When I told him it was a dinosaur he immediately started analyzing what type it might be. “It has heavy armored plates on its back….so it might be a stegosaurus or an ankylosaurus”  Yeah, we’ll call it a stegosaurus because I’d never heard of an ankylosaurus before (Yes, my 3 year old is smarter than me…). Then being the discerning but mostly polite child that he is, he obviously noticed his dinosaur was lacking in the looks department, and asked me “Mommy, could we put some orange sparkles on it?”  Good idea, Ryan…that spruced him up a bit. So don’t laugh, but here is my dinosaur cake:

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So he had great fun at his first birthday party, and of course neither Ryan nor his cousins ate any of the cake…but they all thoroughly enjoyed the dinosaur cookies.  Then we stayed the night at my Grandparents-in-laws (is that a term?).  I got little to no sleep that night between the baby crying just about every hour on the hour, and my bed partner Ryan, who magically turns into a steam-roller at night. Who knew that a 3 year old can manage to take up the majority of a queen sized mattress, and still manage to try to lay on top of my head? The next day I was not really feeling like tackling another cake, and was a bit discouraged by the frosting on my dinosaur from the previous day.  My Grandmother-in-law took a look at the bags under my eyes, and kindly suggested that maybe I should try the frosting made by Cool Whip.  Excellent idea!  I sent my husband to the store, dyed the carton of frosting blue, and spread it on my cake as smoothly as one could ever wish for. Plus, it even tasted good! I’m never making frosting again!  Just kidding….I probably will, but that Cool Whip frosting is really very good.  I decorated the Batman cake based off of some pictures I saw on Pinterest, and was quite happy how it turned out. I colored and rolled out my fondant, cut it out in the appropriate shapes, and was pretty pleased with the results!

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I think Ryan liked it too, although of course he didn’t eat any.  He certainly did enjoy blowing out the candles on both of his cakes, so that made it worth it.  He did enjoy his Batarang cookies, although he was too tired and too busy playing with his new toys to even hold the cookie for himself!

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