Lovely Little Birthday Cake

Emily celebrated her third birthday this weekend and made a few special birthday requests. She wanted presents, a party hat, a purple cake, and purple balloons.

I headed over to Michael’s and got the supplies to make this cake. I baked a white cake (using the white cake mix from Aldi) and baked it in a 9×13″ pan. While the cake baked, I made two batches of frosting. I tinted one cup of frosting white, two cups yellow, and three cups purple.

I let the cake cool and then popped it in the freezer (I froze mine overnight). In the morning, I put on a layer of yellow frosting and then piped rosettes as a border on the cake. The top was then covered in purple rosettes and then sprinkled generously with rainbow sprinkles.

To make the rosettes, I used a 1M tip bought at Michael’s. If you desire a smaller size rosette, you can use a #18 tip, which would be great for cupcakes or adding a little addition to your border.

To make a rosette, fill your piping bag with icing. Hold your bag at a 90 degree angle, with the tip slightly above the surface. Squeeze out the icing to form a star and without releasing pressure, move the tip in a tight complete rotation, starting at 9:00, moving to 12:00, then to 3:00, then 6;00, and then end it back at 9:00. Stop the pressure and lift your tip away. To see how to make these in pictures, I found this great little tutorial. If you want to fancy up the rosettes, you can add a dot in the center in a contrasting color.

I am no pro at cake decorating, but I have found the cake decorating classes offered by craft stores to be an invaluable tool to help me feel more confident in making birthday cakes for my children. It has really helped when my kids have come up with more unusual cake requests (like a Lego cake, for example) and it has saved us a lot of money over the years.

Here is the recipe for the frosting that I used for this cake!

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (approximately 1 pound)
2 tablespoons milk

Cream the butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, the icing will appear dry. add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Yields 3 cups). Store icing in the refrigerator when not in use. Rewhip before using.

For Chocolate Buttercream Icing: Add 3 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate and 1 tablespoon more milk to the Buttercream Icing recipe.

For Stiffer Frosting (if needed when decorating): Substitute all vegetable shortening and 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring.

Do you make birthday cakes or opt to buy them? What are some ways you save money on birthday celebrations?

Published December 22, 2008 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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