A few months ago I began thinking about the kids' birthday party. I asked them what kind of cake they wanted. Sara said she wanted butterfly cake and Adam said he wanted diggers and dumpers. That's exactly what we did last year! I waited a few days and asked them again. Not only did they answer the same, but each of them told me what the other one wanted, as well. They never waivered and even clarified that Sara wanted white cake and Adam wanted chocolate.
I didn't want to do the exact same thing as last year, which was cupcakes that I ordered and then they were decorated on the top. I got an idea of doing it myself by using a cookie cutter to make individual serving size pieces. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got! I started thinking about how I could decorate them and maybe doing a rainbow cake for Sara. I didn't know what that meant but I had an idea and it just kept growing!
My awesome neighbor found me a butterfly cookie cutter. She also had some mini flowers. To top it off, she had some construction cone candles! Hmmm...Online I found a cookie cutter set of a dump truck and an excavator - perfect! I found someone's blog who had done a rainbow cake. Now for a really awesome recipe. I searched and felt like I wanted to make them ahead of time to sample. Who doesn't want a sample of cake? The problem was that I was just running out of time and had too many other things to do. Then my aunt visited the week before the party and what did she bring? White cake! Not just any white cake, but the most awesome white cake I've ever tasted in my life. I think as it sat on my counter, a white light shone from above!
I even spent some time drawing out my vision! Don't laugh now...
I got home from work around 3:30 and was ready to start on the cake right away. The sitter left and my mom arrived to help me wrangle kids and decorate. Shannon was on dinner duty.
First was Sara's rainbow cake. I used my aunt's recipe and then divided the batter into 5 even amounts in 5 different bowls. Yes, a rainbow has 6 colors but we went with 5 and left purple off. I used gel food coloring to tint the batter. They were supposed to be brighter colors but I let Sara pick when she was happy with the color. Typically you are supposed to use 2 round pans but I wanted one large pan to make them thinner. I used a 1/2c measuring cup and measured my first color and put it in the center of the pan. Since I wasn't using a round pan, I decided on 2 circles. Next you scoop 1/2c of the next color and pour it on top of the first color, and so on until it is all used up. As you add scoops on top of each other, it spreads out. In hindsight, I wouldn't have made 5 equal portions of batter. The bottom 2 layers should have had twice as much (because it spreads out) and the top layers not as much.
Sara thought this was neat because it looked like a butterfly even as batter in the pan!
After baking I tipped the pan over onto a cutting board mat and cut out my butterfly shapes with a cookie cutter. Because I used a bigger pan, the cake was thinner and the cookie cutter worked perfectly with the height of the cake.
They are so pretty - I had a hard time covering them with frosting!
I think this is the point that I stopped and put the kids to bed. I realized at 2am that I was so focused on the cake, I forgot to take them potty before laying them in bed, and I forgot to put a diaper on Sara! She was soaking wet from head to toe and I had to change her and the sheets in the dark in the middle of the night!
Here are the butterflies frostened. White buttercream frosting with black accent piped on and my mom added colored sprinkles.
On to Adam's chocolate cake. I used the same recipe but made it chocolate. Very moist and a little sticky. Shannon loved it. Chocolate cake isn't my first pick even tho I am a lover of chocolate...and please don't even offer me plain chocolate ice cream!
Shannon told me I could not put white frosting on dump trucks so I took the rest of the frosting and started coloring it to achieve Caterpillar yellow. Don't tell anyone, as I'm sure it's a trademarked color. At this point of the evening, it's about 10:00pm and Shannon just dropped his full water bottle with ice on the top of his foot. A vein broke immediately and it swelled about an inch off his foot. He was incapacitated with wrapping, icing, and elevating his foot. I had to keep making trips to the bedroom to ask his opinion about the yellow. One batch wasn't right at all and I started with a new batch. I finally did a mix of yellow food coloring and a gold dye that he bought to make him happy.
I rolled up a piece of paper to make a tube to set on the frosting and drop black sprinkles in for the tires. It was all I could think of to make a round circle and not get sprinkles all over. Thanks, mom, for humoring me and making the tires look nice. The black piping to try to separate the dump bed from the truck was the hardest. I think I gave up and rolled into bed at 1:10am!
The next day Adam stood on the table by our counter and ate out of the container while saying "Mmmmm...scraps! Mmmmm...scraps!"
Sara's finished display for blowing out her candles.
Adam's finished display. Crushed chocolate oreos added to look like the excavator was scooping dirt and putting it in the dump truck.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist (although not as bad as I used to be) so I was just slightly disappointed that some of them looked so homemade. But at the same time, I was way more excited that my idea became reality and the kids were so excited to see them the next morning!