Everyone loves birthday cake. Rowan loves vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles. My husband prefers an option with fresh fruit. Lucky for them, I love to bake. My preference is fun, homemade, outside-the-box cakes and if you want a special cake we should talk!!
Celebrating the boys first birthdays require an extra special cake. From Cookie Monster cupcakes to a dump truck filled with dirt, each year the requests present more of a challenge and every year I tackle the challenge head on.
My youngest turned one this year. I am not sure where that time went. The first year zooms by in the blink or two of an eye and I found myself running behind desperately trying to keep up and slow him down all at the same time. I am grateful for his health and happiness and that he continues to grow like a weed – until you are a momma you won’t understand this tug-of-war you have with babies growing up. So I wanted to throw my little bear the best first birthday I could. Since he was little he has growled when he gets hungry and we nicknamed him bear. So I settled on a woodland theme for the party. I pinned a ton of ideas to create the perfect woodland birthday and you can find them all on my party ideas Pinterest board. I wish I had time for them all, but the ones I managed turned out adorable. Graham couldn’t have cared less and won’t remember any of it – but I have pictures to remind him of the fun filled party with family and friends. He can thank me when he learns to talk.
For the cake, I worked from a picture I found on Pinterest – of course I did!! I found the inspiration at 3 Little Things and added my own adaptations. One of the great things about Pinterest in my opinion is that you build off an idea. I certainly did a great deal of building with this bear cake. I made some changes to make it work for me and the final product was a true labor of love. It was almost too cute to eat!! Almost!!
Make a double batch of your favorite cake. I used a vanilla bean cake mix made with orange juice and coconut oil to replace the oil and butter. I topped it with a honey buttercream frosting that went perfectly with my woodland bear theme. What bear, big or little, do you know that can resist sweet honey?
Honey Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, cold
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time until fully combined, scraping down sides of bowl as you go.
- Mix in honey and sour cream with spatula until combined.
Instructions for Constructing the Bear
1. Divide frosting into two bowls – one small and one medium. Add a little brown frosting to the small bowl to make a tan color for the inside of the ears and nose. Make a dark brown frosting for the fur in the medium bowl and fill your piping bag.
2. Place dark brown frosting in piping bag into the refrigerator to stiffen frosting.
3. Place large round cake on the center of your cardboard and ‘glue’ nose (extra large cupcake) into place with a little frosting. Trim two cupcakes so that they hug the top curve of the large cake to make the ears and ‘glue’ in place with frosting. Use a larger amount of frosting to attach the ears so the cake will look like one piece after the ‘fur’ goes on.
4. Using the two pieces you trimmed off the cupcake ears, shape the two eyebrows and adhere to cake using frosting.
5. Frost the two ears and nose with the lighter frosting.
6. Add a thin layer of dark brown frosting to the entire cake then begin piping the fur on starting at the bottom of the cake and working toward the center.
7. To make the face, I used York Peppermint Patties for the eyes and two Hersey Drops cut in half and pushed together for the nose. I rubbed the York Peppermints and Hersey Drops with my fingers to get a shine then added a dot of the lighter frosting to complete the eye.
8. Finally, I took one of the extra large cupcakes and made a paw – cutting out small hearts for the paw prints and placing the candle in the paw as if the bear was holding it. I used this cupcake for the smash cake and although smaller than a typical smash cake, the size (in my opinion) was perfect for a one year old.
He would have turned one without all the fuss, but what’s the fun without the fuss? A big HAPPY first birthday to my little bear!! You will always be worth the fuss!!