My daughter just turned ONE! Yes, I’m in denial. What better way to stay in denial, that my teeny tiny baby is now an independent toddler, than to occupy my time planning a birthday party. And that’s exactly what I did.

I chose to have a Winter ONEderland theme because her birthday was in January. It snowed the night before (just a dusting thank goodness!) so we had the perfect atmosphere. We also had taken a trip to the aquarium and brought home a big round penguin as a souvenir. That penguin has become my daughter’s favorite toy. Thus the penguin party began to take shape.

I’m an amateur baker and love playing in the kitchen for fun. A friend asked me once to make her wedding cake and that’s when I realized I’ve got some talent. It was a real confidence boost. My first wedding cake experience turned out to be a crazy blur but that’s another story.

I’ve found that when big events are coming up I always find a way to challenge myself and make things much more complicated than they need to be. I decided to make both the large party cake for our 40-50 guests as well as the smash cake. I used to live next to a cake supply store, but since we moved I’ve had to become more resourceful. So instead of buying cake filling, I attempted to make my own. It was delicious! I stumbled upon something great there.

Cake #1: The Large Party Cake

I surfed the internet and made an inspiration board but really had no idea what this cake was going to look like until I put it together. I baked 2 large round cakes and chose red velvet to match the colors of the party. Filled and assembled the cakes with strawberry filling because strawberry is my favorite and they’re red too! I went with a light blue icing and a white top. I piped the icing as if it were dripping down the sides to resemble a snowy ice cap. The previous day I had made snowflakes with candy molds. This took some trial and error to create a good snowflake. The first few turned into a blob when the melted chocolate ran a little. I made lots of extra to account for breakage. And trust me; there was a lot of breakage.

The extra snowflakes were used as cupcake toppers. The chocolate snowflakes set up in the freezer and I used them to decorate the perimeter of the cake. I also experimented with layering candy melts by making a red number one with white polka dots as the cake topper. Remember to draw the shape backwards because once dry, you flip it over. Luckily had just watched a tutorial on candy melts where they wrote a name backwards otherwise I would not have known this step. The side of the cake hit the box during transport but it was just a tiny smudge. The real damage was when my husband ‘cut’ the cake for serving. We all had a good laugh.

Cake #2: The Smash Cake

Arguable, the smash cake is the most important element of a first birthday party…besides the birthday girl of course. I was skeptical, as I’m sure most first time moms are, of giving my daughter that much sugar after we had been so careful with her diet since birth. Since I made the cake, however, I had much more control over what I was actually giving her. I chose a banana cake that cut the sugar by using applesauce. It’s a pretty tasty recipe and a hit with my family. I knew exactly what this smash cake would look like. I had ordered my daughter’s birthday dress from an online boutique. It had a penguin applique and her name embroidered.

That penguin applique was to become the cake…easier said than done right. But I was on a kick with this candy melt thing. They’re a ton of fun to work with and come in every color you could possibly need. I traced the image and blew it up to the size of my round cake. I placed wax paper over top of the drawing and traced each element with the candy melts. I used squeeze bottles that were right next to the candies in the store. The end result was the most adorable cake I have ever made! IMHO of course.

The party turned out great and everyone loved the cakes. My favorite is hearing, “You made the cakes? BOTH of them? WOW!” I hope you enjoy these cakes as much as we did at Jocelyn’s Winter ONEderland.