Monday, May 13, 2013

A barn cake

You know that feeling of “how am I going to beat this next year?” when it comes to kids birthdays?

Last year Lauris was in love with cranes and trains, and for his birthday I made him a train cake (because I couldn’t quite figure out how to put together a construction crane cake). This year we were discussing cake, and when he drew a blank I threw out a few examples, just to get him thinking. The first thing that came to mind was a farmyard, and he grabbed that and ran with it, describing a barn cake with some animals, trees and a fence. I thought to myself “how hard can it be?” and started planning (i.e. logged into pinterest). Note to self – the barn cake was significantly harder than the train cake, but just as fun to design and make. The red frosting was the trickiest part; I started with a pink strawberry frosting, added quite a bit of red gel food coloring and the final product was difficult to work with and stained badly. For animals I luckily had some cute little barnyard animal and tree candles that had been presents at some point, and for the fence we used pretzels with melted white chocolate “glue,” which I had made to pipe the doors and windows on the barn as normal white frosting would have disappeared into the red mess. My parents are visiting so I had quite a bit of help, especially with child-care while I made my fourth trip to the store after running out of cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for the second batch of chocolate frosting. My mother gets credit for the beautiful weather vane. (For the strawberries and cream cake recipe click here, chocolate frosting here)

But enough about the cake (even though I’m very proud of the end result), back to why it will be tough to beat this birthday. As I mentioned, my parents are visiting, and this alone boosts the fun-level for this celebration. They know how to spoil their grandchildren; endless reading, pushing of swings, art activities and of course presents! Lauris unwrapped two giant presents this year, the first from mom & dad (a train set to go with the train table he got for Christmas), and a kitchen from the grandparents!  As he loves to help me in the kitchen, this is a perfect gift as it gives him and little brother something to do while I’m preparing food. We’ve gotten over the unfairness of not being able to use real water in the sink, and moved on to “boiling” goldfish crackers, washing dishes (with pretend water) and hanging the utensils neatly on the hooks every evening before going to bed.

Boiling macaroni, photo credit: vectētiņš
We celebrated for three days straight, mostly because the grandparents are visiting, but also because I wanted to have a small party for him with a few of his friends. Going by the years=guests rule we had a nice lunch yesterday, and the kids ate up the pigs-in-a-blanket, the animal crackers, the hot dogs and farmyard mac and cheese. The weather was perfect for some time in the sandbox and backyard, and everyone enjoyed the uninhibited happiness of the birthday boy who just couldn’t believe it was all for him, and that almost everything he asked for was granted.

I really couldn’t have pulled it together without the help of my parents, but it hasn’t been all work either. We discovered Falls Park and attended the local art fair “Artisphere” on Friday, the boys saw the sights up in the mountains on Saturday and we still have downtown to explore today; I can’t wait to share some more pictures. It’s nice to have an extra couple pairs of hands helping around the house, and although I feel pangs of sadness now and again that our time in France ended so quickly, it is nice to have a reminder that being back in the US has its benefits – mainly proximity to family.

And so the birthday boy got his cake. Do I need to start planning for next year’s 2 and 4 année birthdays?


  1. What a wonderful cake you made! I did a barn cake for my oldest's 2nd birthday... and it was a bit of a wonky barn I have to say! When in doubt I just smother the cake with lollies (candy), which acts as a good distraction for the kids.
    What a lovely lot of birthday loot/ gifts he was given too... hope you had a nice quiet time after all that baking/ partying while he played with his new things xx

  2. Oh, wow! What a cake! Nice work, Liene, and happy birthday to your sweet little one.

  3. Oh what a wonderful Cake! Great job on the cake AND the party. And yay to Grandparents who love to visit and help out. Happy Birthday to your gorgeous Boy. Love his name by the way, is it French or Latvian? Mel xxx

  4. Thanks guys! I really have fun making these cakes, and so it's nice when they turn out resembling the intended finished product! And Mel, Mikus is a Latvian name, pronounced Mih-kuhs (lighter than "me" and rounder than "cuss").

  5. Wauuu, you made such a nice, colourful and tasty looking cake!:) That is wonderful work! Masterpiece!:)

  6. Great job on the cake!! So cool!

  7. I am awed by the cake. Impressive! And daunting. ;)
    Taran's birthday is coming up and I can't even imagine doing something half as cool.

  8. Really guys, thanks for your kind comments. When it comes to the pinterest/child crafts craziness these days I can't really compete, so it's nice when something turns out. Your comments make my day :)


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