Piece O’ Cake

Today we celebrate all things sweet! Not that we need a reason, but here are two:

My very talented friend Amanda Usen‘s deliciously hot romance Scrumptious just hit the shelves of a major bookstore today – woo, nice rack, Amanda!

Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

Reason #2: My daughter’s 10th birthday is coming up, and as we made cupcakes for her party today, it got me thinking. This decade, no lie, went by in a blink. I can remember my own 9 year old self asking my oh-so-wise (12 year old) brother, “Do double-digits make you feel different?” like it was yesterday. So how the hell can I have a double-digit kid?

While her years from Baby to Big Girl have gone by in a blur, I can remember each of her milestones carved out in cake. Yup. So in celebration of all things sweet, I thought I’d take you on a no-calorie stroll down memory lane.

First Birthday

1st birthday

First birthday – OK, so no actual pictorial evidence of the first cake, except for what is left all over her face (and um, her feet). I’m thinking it was chocolate with vanilla buttercream icing. I should preface this cake trail by saying I have ZERO professional aspirations when it comes to cake art. I just love a good piece of cake from scratch. And if I can shape it into something wacky…all the better!

2nd birthday was definitely chocolate-on-chocolate. Traditional double-layer round. Pictures exist in the hard copy…after all, it WAS the somewhat dark ages of 2003.

3rd birthday

3rd birthday - Wiggles Cake

3rd birthday – OK, this is where my insanity started. My homage to Dorothy the Dinosaur, complete with white chocolate music notes that I formed free-hand and added to this 3 layer, vanilla-chocolate-vanilla creation. Monster, created…

4th birthday – sorry, we had just moved from New Jersey to Buffalo. I remember I copped out and bought a Wegmans sheet cake. Theme: Thomas the Tank Engine. No photos, but it was yummy.

5th birthday

5th birthday - Backyardigans cake

5th birthday – Half-cheated on the Backyardigans cake – again, a store-bought sheet cake (don’t judge me), and added some characters on top. Hard to see, but that is a tiny treasure chest next to Pablo that I added chocolate gold coins to. I like the kid huffing the juice pouch next to her.

6th birthday

6th birthday - Little Mermaid cake

6th birthday – Fell off the wagon back into cake craziness again. I literally broke her doll getting it to ‘cooperate’ – whoops. And probably spent a week trying to find those fancy marbled chocolate Guylian seashells to compliment Ariel. But wow factor with the 6 year olds: BIG.

7th birthday - Kermit cake

7th birthday - Kermit cake

7th birthday – Really proud of this one! She was obsessed with the Muppets, and I became obsessed with creating Kermit. Not sure how many cakes I used. His eyes are cupcakes cut in half. Lots of butter and XX sugar was sacrificed, this I know.

8th birthday - Technicolor Dreamcake

8th birthday - Technicolor Dreamcake

8th birthday – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was all she could talk about. “Mom, can I have a Joseph cake?” This was my interpretation. Biggest cake to date – M&Ms for color. Lots of leftovers.

9th birthday - Harry Potter cake

9th birthday - Harry Potter cake

9th birthday – I came to my senses this year. I left it to a professional, who did an amazing job on creating her favorite character, Dobby the House Elf, in fondant. (He lives in our freezer to this day.)  I may not have made the cake, but I did make the cut-out cookies (Crookshanks and Hedwigs) for the goody bags!

Cats and Owls cookies

Cats and Owls cookies

And that brings us to the big 1-0. A little understated, which is fine. She wanted funfetti cupcakes, so I found a recipe for homemade funfetti. Supplemented with chocolate cupcakes from the Magnolia bakery cookbook. Icing color and application by my almost 10-year old, who has inherited my sweet tooth, my love for baking, but perhaps my single-minded insanity for staying out-of-the-box at all times when it comes to confections.

10th birthday - cupcakes

10th birthday - simple cupcakes

Life is sweet…and success is the icing on top of an already rich treat.

Congrats to Amanda, and happy days to you all!