It seems as if I was trying to keep you in suspense for the unveiling of this birthday cake. Two whole posts building up to this... Honestly, the process was just so involved that I needed to break this up into three posts. Sorry for the tease.... : ) So without further ado, here are the pictures of my sweet little girl's 5th birthday cake.
I frosted the base of the cake first. Even though I used the same pan to bake the two layers of the base of this cake, one turned out larger than the other. Weird. Maybe during the freezing process? They came out of the pan the same size and shape. Oh well. I used a sharp, serrated knife to cut the larger one down to size so they made a uniform shape when stacked.
Once the base was frosted, I used Wilton's Color Mist to spray paint on a blue-green finish.
This was my first time using edible spray paint. I love this stuff! It was so much fun to use. I took my cake out to the deck to paint so that the overspray didn't get all over my kitchen.
Next, I sprinkled nonpareils around the bottom of the cake to resemble tiny bubbles rising toward the top of the cake. The cake was stuck to an upside down baking sheet, covered in aluminum foil. To make even distribution of the sprinkles easier, I just lifted the edge of the baking sheet and tilted it as I applied the sprinkles.
Now on to tower construction. First, for the top of the turrets, I frosted two waffle cones and then sprinkled with pink and purple sugar. I left these to dry on top of my "spray paint" cans. Boy, did those come in handy!
Here are my two "towers" fresh from the freezer.They don't look like much here, do they? I set them on waxed paper and then frosted with yellow frosting while off of the cake.
To lift them onto the cake I slid a spatula underneath and stabilized them on the spatula by holding a fork on the top. The tiny little tine marks won't show once you put the roof on. If these towers do not sit perfectly level on the top you can take a kabob skewer or two and stick right down through the base of the cake to hold them in place. After I had decorated the whole cake, the right tower was leaning backward. I ended up taking off the roof and sticking a skewer down the center. I just had to touch up a little once the tower was replaced. You can remove the skewers when cutting the cake before serving. No one will ever know. : )
After my towers were in place, I frosted the two small cakes for the castle and then moved them to the base in the same manner that I moved the towers: spatula and fork. To create the bricks, I used a basket tip and a made 1/2- 1" long rectangles every so often on the surface of the castle. Around the edge of the castle and between the first and second levels, I piped pink drop flowers. I have to admit that I stopped taking pictures of the steps at this point. I was just trying to finish before my toddler woke up from her nap! I placed Ariel atop her castle and then placed mulitcolored mini-marshmallows around her to complete the top of the castle.
Around the side of the base of the cake or "the ocean" I piped seaweed in green frosting with a writing tip. Then I pushed sea shell candies into the frosting every couple of inches and piped on "Happy Birthday". On top of the base, around the castle, I pushed dolpins into the cake. By putting just the tail into the cake, I tried to make them look as if they were jumping.
Finally, I made a border around the baking sheet a)because it looked nice and b)to keep the sugar from falling off of the sheet and then I sprinkled brown sugar around to resemble sand. I placed the rest of my sea shell candies in the sand to create a beach.
I finished the cake and went upstairs to rouse my toddler from her nap. When I returned to the kitchen a short while later, I found my husband, home from work, examining the cake. He looked up and said with a smile, "Barn cake redemption." I had to laugh. Yes, I did finally redeem myself.
Here is the cake on the dining room table right before the party.
With the cake ready, I finished the rest of the party preparations. I wanted to keep the decorations simple and inexpensive, yet pretty and in the theme of the party. I covered each table in a turquoise plastic table cloth, to look like the ocean. Because this was an evening party in our backyard, I decided to illuminate the tables. We also used colored lanterns around the deck (we recieved them as a wedding gift years ago) I purchase glass bowls at Walmart for $2/each and filled them with sand and shells borrowed from a friend. I set a votive candle ($1 for 6 at the dollar store) in the sand in each bowl. Then I sprinkled iridescent confetti hearts and Little Mermaid confetti (purchased from a party store) around the candles. I placed a number of larger sea shells collected from past beach vacations around the tables as well. The effect was quite pretty as the sun went down.
Streamers are another inexpensive way to decorate. Indoors, I decorated with 4 rolls of streamers in hot pink, lavendar, turquoise, and seafoam green. I put swags over all of the windows and doorways and then hanged long streams from the dining room light over the cake to look like a big jellyfish. I confess, it looked a little like a crepe paper explosion. I loved it!
Here is a pic of one of our tables.
Oh, yeah...the food was good too! I served baked beans, rotini salad, potato salad, tortilla chips with salsa and Buffalo chicken dip, and potato chips with french onion dip (you can never have too much chips and dip!). My dad smoked 15 lbs. of pork loin to perfection, which I sliced and heated up the day of the party. Mmmm! Not very "under the sea" but I find that most 5 year olds aren't thrilled with shrimp coctail and seared scallops at a birthday party.
In addition to a variety of soft drinks, I made a fizzy strawberry lemonade punch with real pureed stawberries. Before guests arrived I filled clear cups and garnished with cocktail umbrellas. I just love those little umbrellas! They make any drink seem "fancy". My daughter's little girlfriends loved em' too.
The party was definitely a success! It was a perfect fall evening. Sweatshirt weather. Kids screaming and laughing, bouncing in our bounce house and piling onto the Barbie jeep to cruise the lawn. Adults catching up across the tables and doing damage control on the kiddos. The pinata was a highlight. In lieu of treat bags, each child filled their own bag full of candy from the pinata and returned home on a sugar high! I know that my baby...excuse me...big kid, had a blast.