Baking #20: Happy Birthday Son, You’re 1!

So, of course I knew that this week’s baking project was going to have to be a cake of some sort for my sweet son’s birthday. But before we get to that, I want to talk about some of the other ways we celebrated, some of which were pretty standard, and some of which might be a little different. *A day of his favorite things: for the day of his birthday we planned all his favorite foods (cheese, goldfish, apple, yogurt puffs) and spent the morning doing all his favorite things at home (playing his favorite song, making music together, reading his favorite books, and then going to the park to do one of his most favorite things- swinging!) *IMG_4790A new toy picked by us and a new toy picked my him: our son is obsessed with music. He was even in the womb- I would go to adjudicate musicals and the rhythms would start up and he would kick like crazy! We don’t watch much TV while he is up, but on the occasional times that we do, he will play on his own until a theme song starts and then crawl right to the TV. At library time, he “sings” along like a crazy baby and LOVES shaking the bells so we got him his very own music kit (We gave him the bells early because I couldn’t resist and he doesn’t know which day is which anyway!) IMG_4795Then on his actual birthday we went to the dollar section in target and walked the aisles waiting for him to get really excited about something. His eyes lit up at these light up stars (he has stars all over his room and is obsessed with twighlight turtle so he recognizes the shape easily) and that was that. I am not sure we will do this every year, but I think it’s fun to have some surprise and some choice. *1st time trying ice cream! We made this decision when he started eating solid foods and we realized he’d be going to a few birthday parties before his own and we didn’t want to deprive him of trying cake when everyone else was having it, but we wanted to sad something special for his first birthday. Since his birthday falls right around the time the heat starts getting crazy here, ice cream just seamed perfect! (I’ll try to snag a picture later since those are on his dad’s phone!)


I can’t get over how BEAUTIFUL every page is!! The book is so sweet and great to read any time of year!

*A special birthday book- a very popular idea that’s been shared quite a bit over the internet is getting a “birthday book” to act as a guest book at a party. We liked that idea but wanted to tweak it a bit. We are hoping to instill a lifetime love of learning and reading in our son and we want to turn this into a kind of tradition for him that will last past when he’s a toddler. So we agreed that each year we would buy a book for his birthday that relates to something he loves and write in it so he will have a collection of books from throughout his years that he will want to keep and maybe pass on to his family someday. We knew this year the book would either have something to do with music or stars, and then we found this: We knew right away it was perfect. The illustrations are gorgeous and there’s plenty of room to write in it unlike some of the board books we found! speaking of writing…

This book has prompts such as “how I felt when I first found out I was pregnant” to “how things have changed since you were born”, to “what your dad said when you were born” It is absolutely LOVELY.

*Write a letter. Sorry all, my birthday message for my son is not an open one (but if you want to read an open letter to him, you can go back and look at my Mother’s Day post.) I wrote some more private sentiments reflecting on our first year together, but I’ve actually been writing to him since I knew he existed. I found this book a few years ago when a sweet friend of mine found out she was pregnant with her first baby and I knew when I got pregnant I wanted to have it to record some of my own thoughts and journeys. The prompts are so very sweet and it is something I wrote in once a week while pregnant and that I have been writing in once a month since giving birth. I hope to do this with any children I have and I hope they think it’s a special thing to have in the future, especially if/when they start having their own babies!


Perk of living in AZ- it takes about 2 minutes to soften butter if you put it outside…

*Cake and party times: Here’s a confession: I SWORE to myself I would have neither a party nor a smash cake for a first birthday. But motherhood is a funny thing and plans evolve. Which brings us to the actual baking project for the week: a star birthday cake for my bright particular star. There was actually a baking fail involved in this that I wish I’d taken a picture of. I bought this mini cake pan set: I used SO MUCH COOKING spray in half the pan and SO MUCH BUTTER in the other half trying to keep the cake from sticking and experimenting which would do the job better- both failed utterly. LOTS of wasted cake. So then I decided screw it, I will just make a dang full sized star cake and hope it doesn’t look super lame.IMG_4820 Remember in my last post I talked about having a weird combination of jobs? Well, I can thank my part time tutoring job for helping this cake come together because geometry was my friend. The SAT/ACT are full of questions where there are shapes inside each other or made up of each other and it was with that that I was able to take two circles and turn them into components for a star. (If only my tutoring company paid me to bake… I think my students would be much more attentive if they could learn with cake!) There were a lot of leftover pieces that had to be cut away too. Which is good because someone was a little impatient to try his cake: IMG_4816IMG_4817 (I sent those pictures to my husband with the caption: “Mom’s ruining my life! She won’t let me have my cake RIGHT NOW!!!”) I made a simple buttercream frosting and put more food coloring in than I’m proud to give my one year old, but it’s one day of the year, right? It was by no means perfect but it came out better than I initially expected. I finished it off with making a 1 out of yogurt puffs- definitely a favorite snack food around here…


I took this picture while the cake was in my fridge because i made it the day before… I didn’t get a good picture the day of so I’m glad I at least have this!

Of course, when the day came and we actually sang happy birthday, he cried his head off and barely touched it… (total stimulus overload!) but he did have some before crashing into a nap. When he woke up we discovered he prefers chocolate cupcakes to yellow star cakes. preference noted, son. IMG_4769IMG_4810 I’d say mission accomplished. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON!


4 thoughts on “Baking #20: Happy Birthday Son, You’re 1!

  1. I love that book, Stars, and was hoping you had it. Looks like there was a lot of celebrating going on, and… you know… I love all the stars. 🙂


    • I hadn’t known about that book until we were wandering through the bookstore on his birthday! I could stare at the illustrations all day! And based on this year’s reaction, next year I am baking the chocolate birthday cake recipe you posted in your blog in cupcake form!


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