This Ladybug Birthday Cake was for my daughter’s first birthday. She loved it and got it all over herself and everywhere else within minutes – as it should be!

I looked at several different cake photos on the internet and then just decided to wing it. I made a homemade strawberry cake and Swiss meringue frosting. Baked the cake in two square Pyrex dishes and one stainless steel bowl for the body.

I froze the cakes for a few days ahead of time which greatly helped when it came time to frost. One thing I forgot to do was trim the tops in order to have nice flat working surfaces but I just used extra frosting and it was all fine. The cake in the bowl rounded up like a cupcake when it baked so I just cut that part off and used it for the head.

I used food coloring to color all the frosting. A LOT of food coloring! The black was the most difficult, I had to use a whole bottle before it finally went from deep purple to black. It also tasted pretty terrible. I used that no-taste red food coloring for the body and that worked fine. Once I had all the colors ready, I crumb-coated the cake and then frosted it using a rubber spatula. I then frosted the ladybug body and head and put those on the cake. Once they were on I used a tip to do the lines and spots. I used a grass tip to so the grass around the edges of the cake – helped to cover mistakes and looked cute, I thought. The cake looks a lot shinier in the pictures than it actually was. I thought it looked a little better in person.

Things I would do differently:

1. Use only one layer of cake. It was a small party, with mostly adults so the cake was more than we needed. For a larger crowd, I would have gone with a single layer rectangular shaped cake with a few smaller ladybugs.

2. Possibly purchase the black frosting instead of making it. It took so long to get it really black and then tasted so bad and I really didn’t use that much, I’d definitely consider buying it or figuring out another option for the black. Also, my daughter had black frosting EVERYWHERE after we let her dive into it. I was cleaning it up for days afterward.

3. Add a few more design elements. I wanted something simple but it looks a little plain in the pics.

Overall it was a good experience. I’ve never made a cake entirely from scratch! I’m looking forward to next year!