Zain’s 1st birthday cake

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This was the cake for my grandson’s first birthday. Do you think that his name might be Zain? Good guess! Zain and his family live out-of-state so we travel there every year for his birthday. This was the first time I made a cake at their house so it was definitely a learning experience…what to pack for a birthday cake road trip. Considering the boy is now 6, maybe one of these trips I’ll bring everything I need. This first trip, I forgot my giant rolling-pin which explains the wrinkly fondant. The layers had been baked and frozen at my house so the cake thawed during the trip to their home.

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The bottom layer was for the grownups so it was chocolate cake with my grandmother’s peanut butter frosting. You can get the recipe here. The top layer was the smash cake for the baby so it was white cake with white buttercream icing.

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This was a very easy cake. I wanted a big difference in the size of the layers so the top tier was made from 6 inch layers and the bottom tier was 10 inch layers. Both tiers sit on cardboard cake rounds. Instead of dowels to support the top tier, I use drinking straws cut down to size. I just can’t deal with the thought of putting wooden sticks into cake that someone is going to eat. Not a good way to get more fiber in your diet!

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Since I was working out-of-town, I didn’t want to drag all my cake decorating stuff with me so I cheated and bought pre-colored fondant. A day ahead of time, I started the decorating process by making the layered stars for the top of the cake. Taking a bit of the fondant, I kneaded it to soften it then added a light dusting of gum tex to make it dry firmer. I cut out the biggest stars then put a metal skewer into them to stand up later. I cut out the letters and the white stars. I use vanilla extract as the glue for the fondant layers, so I brushed on a drop of vanilla then stuck the next layer and set them aside to dry and harden. The stars laying directly on the cake were made the next day so they would be soft and mailable.

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So the big day arrived and it was time to assemble the cake. I made the peanut butter and buttercream frostings, split the layers, iced them,  covered them in white fondant, and stacked them. (Oh, if it was only as easy to do as it is to write about doing it!) I rolled out a thin snake of fondant for the edges between the two tiers and between the bottom tier and the silver cake board. I used vanilla extract to attach them. I used a lot of vanilla to really REALLY attach the top edge because it served to secure the tiers together. I stuck the free-standing stars around the cake. I rolled out the rest of the fondant, cut out some stars and added them to the cake with the vanilla extract as my glue. This was a very easy cake to make and I think all the colors make for a great cake for a child. And the chocolate cake/peanut butter icing combo makes it great for an adult!