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!


7 thoughts on “Piece O’ Cake

  1. Yay for Amanda Usen! And happy birthday to your “Big Girl.” It does go by in a blur. Funny, I remember turning 10, too, and distinctly remember telling people I would never be one digit again. (I always liked math.) Fun looking at the cakes over the years. More than once I’ve ordered Wegman’s cakes. They’re great! (I feel old, my oldest is going to be 16 next month! What?!)

    • jesstopper says:

      It’s funny how can remember that digit change. Those single digits, looking back, were so precious – only 9 of them, after all! We’ve got 89 years to be in and think about those double-digits… my grandmother turns 99 this year. I wonder if she’s thinking: “Will things feel different when I am triple digits”? We should all be so lucky!

  2. Amanda Usen says:

    Thanks so much for the shout-out! Great cakes! I share your obsession with the birthday experience. Hang around me in April, you’ll see…

  3. stephanie says:

    Great pics! We go kinda crazy with cakes too! Lol!

    So excited for Amanda! Where was that at?

  4. Kristine_ES says:

    You are a great mom, Jess, and I hope she remembers that when she’s sixteen. 😉

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