Andrew’s First Birthday Party

I know it sounds cliche as ever, but it seems like just yesterday I was posting about the birth of our first child.  I feel like I blinked my eyes and here he is, one year old, walking around the house climbing on everything and chattering up a storm!  It has most definitely been the best year of my life, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.  

In addition to cooking and baking, another hobby of mine is homemade greeting cards and invitations.  I like making invitations in particular because I think they can really help set the tone for an event.  With these, I tried to incorporate the main colors for the party (blue and green) as well as the beach theme.  I was so happy with the way they turned out!

This was my first experience ever decorating a cake with fondant.  I felt a fondant cake would be the best way to easily incorporate the beach theme into the cake itself, so I did a very small trial run the week before the party using store-bought fondant.  Then for Andrew’s party I used homemade marshmallow fondant (recipe at the end of the post).  This is something I had been previously super intimidated by in the past, but working with fondant is essentially like working with play-dough.  It’s really not that complicated.  I was also amazed at how easy it was to make on my own.  As long as you have a stand mixer, you’re set!  Although I do hope to take formal cake decorating classes eventually, I’m glad I was able to figure this out on my own (with great advice from my friend Chelle – thanks, girl!)

Edit: I forgot to mention how the fondant actually tasted.  I have never been much of a fan of the taste of fondant, so I am probably not the best person to judge.  I thought this definitely tasted better than the store bought kind, but still not something I want to be snacking on 🙂  However, my friends who actually do like fondant really liked the way this tasted and said this was the best they’ve had.  So, there you go!

Overall I was thrilled with how the cake looked in the end.  The palm tree looked much better initially, and then really began to sag throughout the day so I just gave up on it.  This may seem like excess pictures of the cake, but I wanted to show the various decorations I put around the sides.  I thought the coral and the school of fish were so cute.

And the smiling octopus 🙂  I plan to do a step-by-step post very soon with instructions for decorating with fondant, so stay tuned for that.  Have no fear, it’s really not bad at all!

I made a strawberry filling for the inside of the cake which was delicious.  I can’t wait to try some of the other variations on the same recipe such as raspberry or pineapple filling.  Yum! 

I decorated the house with two dozen blue, green and white balloons and blue and green streamers.  We had beach-type music playing on the stereo such as Beach Boys, Bob Marley and Jack Johnson to set the mood, and leis for the guests to wear.  Since we had around 25 guests, I tried to keep the menu fairly simple and casual in keeping with the theme of the party.  I never got a shot of the whole spread, but our menu was as follows:

Lava Flows (virgin – these were for the under-age guests, and essentially just a smoothie.  I loved them! recipe to come)
Pina Coladas (for the adults 🙂 )
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail
Tropical Fruit Salad
Veggie Tray with Dill Dip
Deviled Eggs
Pineapple Chicken Salad and Spicy Shredded Pork served on Honey Wheat Sandwich Buns (recipe to come)

For favors, I made beach-themed sugar cookies decorated with royal icing.  They were definitely a hit!

I packaged pairs of cookies in little cellophane bags for easy transport and to help keep them fresh.  I love individually packaged treats! 

And of course, the best part of a baby’s birthday party – the smash cake!  I kept it simple with a plain vanilla cake recipe and my favorite vanilla buttercream.  (Fondant is not messy enough for this usage – we needed good smear action!)  I combined blue and white frosting in the same pastry bag to create the swirled color effect to resemble ocean waves.  I didn’t work too hard on this since after all, it was made to be destroyed! 

He certainly seemed to enjoy it 🙂  We had a great time and I’m already looking forward to next year’s party!  

Marshmallow Fondant
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Vegetable shortening, for greasing bowls
16 oz. bag plain marshmallows, regular sized (I used jumbo and they worked fine as well)
2 tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. clear flavoring (I used vanilla extract)
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, divided
Pinch of salt

Using the shortening, grease a large microwave-safe bowl, the bowl of the stand mixer, a spoon/spatula (or two), and the dough hook.

Add the marshmallows and water to the prepared microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds.  Stir with the greased spatula/spoon.  If not all the marshmallows have melted, microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir in the flavoring.

Reserve 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and add the rest to the bowl of the stand mixer, along with the salt.  Create a well in the center.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting.  When the mixer sounds strained, turn the speed up one setting.  Turn off the mixer once all the sugar has been incorporated.  If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.

Turn the fondant out onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap, place it in a Ziploc bag and let rest for at least 2-3 hours.  Keep the unused portions covered when not in use.  If the fondant becomes stiff, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until it becomes pliable.  

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride 

55 Responses

  1. Aww, he’s such a little cutie!

    The fondant icing on the cake looks fabulous, especially the octopus.

    I’m pretty sure my first birthday party wasn’t as much fun, nor as well catered! I think I want a do-over :o)

  2. Awww this post is filled with all kinds of cuteness, especially Andrew! I’m so impressed with your fondant cake; hard to believe it’s your first one! The smiling octopus is so cute, and so are the cookies. The whole menu sounds delicious!

  3. That cake is adorable! It sounds like it was a fantastic party. I’m dying to try working with fondant but it will have to wait until I’m home from Korea. I’m glad to hear it’s not too difficult.

  4. PRECIOUS!!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Everything looks great. The cake turned out really awesome! Andrew is as adorable as ever, of course. Happy birthday, Andrew! 🙂

  6. Everything looks awesome, Annie! You did a great job. And Happy Birthday Andrew!!

  7. You, my dear, are gorgeous!! No wonder Andrew is so cute! Great job with the party. It looks like you all had a wonderful time. The cake is amazing!

  8. How adorable. Andrew has the most beautiful eyes – he’ll certainly grow in to a little heartbreaker in no time.

    I also love homemade card and invitation making. I don’t have kids yet but I already have annoucement and birthday invites all planned out.

    I’m glad to hear that working with fondant without “official training” isn’t too difficult. I’ve always wanted to try but have been too intimidated.

  9. Great job – it looks amazing! So, how did the marshmallow fondant taste?

    • Hi Christina,
      I can’t believe I forgot to mention it in the actual post – I may need to go back and edit it. I’ve never been much of a fan of the way fondant tastes, but this was definitely better than the store-bought kind. However, my friends who don’t mind fondant all thought this tasted really good. So I guess it just depends – but still, better than store-bought!
      🙂 Annie

  10. What a great theme and everything looks great! Happy Birthday to your adorable little guy 🙂

  11. Wow, I am so impressed. All of your details look great, and you tied everything back to the theme so tastefully. Best of all, looks like your little guy had a great time… happy birthday to him! Did you redesign your site? Haven’t popped by in a while… Anyways, it looks nice!

    • Hi Amy,
      Thanks for the compliments on the party, and the site! Yes, I had the site redesigned a couple of weeks ago and am very happy with the new look. Glad you like it!
      🙂 Annie

  12. What a great party! Happy Birthday to your little one. The cake was too cute!

    My son turns one this Friday, and his party is Saturday.

  13. Everything looks so great. That cake looks so incredible and those cookies are adorable!

  14. What a great looking party! The marshmallow fondant sounds great too.

  15. All of the pictures are great! I especially love the last two. How adorable!?

  16. Awesome job on the cake, I told you you would rock it! 🙂

  17. Probably the cutest cake I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe it was your first time with fondant! Awesome job! And I love your “smash cake”. I have never heard of that but it makes perfect sense. When I have a baby, I’m gonna remember this!

  18. It feels like just yesterday I found out you were pg with him! Great job on everything, hope Andrew had a great birthday! : )

  19. GREAT job on the cake!!! I’m with you about fondant, so thank you for the recipe… I’ll link on my edible crafts column, too (
    Sigh. Mine’s almost 2 and it did go in a blink of an eye.

  20. What a wonderful first birthday! He is TOO cute!!!! The cake is just adorable! Well done!! 🙂

  21. I started making MM Fondant a few weeks ago and I was satisfied too! I agree, it’s not a snack food for sure but it does taste a lot better than regular fondant!

    Your cake (and son!) is so cute!

  22. What a beautiful cake–thank you for the homemade fondant recipe. Everything looks incredible. You and your baby are both adorable.

    My baby boy is almost 40, and yes, it does pass by in the blink of an eye.

  23. Awww, he’s SO adorable! Your did an incredible job on that cake – I’ve been wanting to play with fondant for awhile now too.

  24. It doesn’t sound cliche at all to say the first year goes by in the blink of an eye! It does…and so do all the years thereafter. You know the saying, “The days might seem long, but the years are short;”? Completely true!

    I cannot get over how incredibly gifted and well-rounded you are! So many talents. I’m lucky to get laundry done and dinner on the table, with brownies from a mix for dessert! 🙂 Your blog is a treat!

  25. Where to begin? EVERYTHING is amazing!!! First of all, happy birthday to that beautiful boy of yours – just gorgeous (and beautiful Mommy as well)! Amazing invites! You inspire me to try my hand at making mine as well, and speaking of inspiration, I too have this HUGE fear of fondant. I seriously just need to set time aside and do it! Your cake turned out beautiful and coordinating cookies – LOVE them!!! The smash cake was super cute! I never thought of decorating with that technique although I’m not sure why, as it was so adorable decorated that way! Seriously, every thing is just perfect! He is a lucky little boy to have such a talented mother like you and we are all so lucky to have you sharing it all with us! Thanks for all you do!

  26. Happy belated birthday to your sweet boy!

    Your cake turned out lovely! Hard to imagine you being intimidated by anything let alone fondant.

  27. It looks as if you had the best 1st birthday party ever! Such an awesome spread!

    I can’t wait to try to make the Marshmallow Fondant. I myself am not crazy about traditional fondant so I’m excited to have something to use as an ‘alternative’! Thanks for sharing your special day with all of us!!!

  28. Looks like a great success!! What a beautiful cake, too!

  29. wow, he has your eyes! i cannot believe he is already one – it does seem like yesterday that you were just giving birth to him! everything for his birthday looks fantastic, you really outdid yourself!

  30. The cake turned out adorable!! I just made my first fondant cake also! You are amazing!!!

  31. SUPER cute!! great b-day cake, too! awesome work! 🙂

  32. He’s so cute!!! I love the birthday theme and gorgeous cookies! 🙂

  33. The whole post is oozing cuteness from your little one to the cake and the whole party in general–looks like a blast!

  34. Great job on everything! I especially love Andrew digging into his smash cake. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for next year.

  35. Wow! It sure looks like Andrew had a great party. Great job on the cake, it looks amazing!!!!

  36. Happy Birthday Andrew! He looks so happy! 😀

  37. Happy Birthday Andrew! Everything looks amazing and your son is so darn cute!

  38. Happy birthday Andrew! Very nice job on the birthday! You would never know that you haven’t made a fondant cake from looking at the picture. The sugar cookies are cute too!

  39. I am just now finding time to catch up on blog posts! You did such a fantastic job on everything for the party. The cake is beautiful!

  40. Hi Annie,

    Adorable job on the cake, and your son is a cutie patootie.

    I was just wondering how much fondant this recipe makes? I need to make a little bit of fondant this week in order to make a scroll (like a diploma) and a small bow for around the scroll. I’m wondering if I should halve the recipe, or if I should make even less than that (a quarter?)… Any advice?

    • Hi Heather,
      This recipe makes a LOT! I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure when I weighed it, it was close to 4 lbs. So, you should at least quarter it. I hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  41. Very good to know. I would’ve hated to make a whole lot of excess and have to throw it all out. Thank you!

    One more thing, as I haven’t worked with fondant before. The party is Saturday… can I make the fondant and shape it Wednesday or Thursday? I don’t think anybody will really be eating it, as I am not covering the cake in it… just using for decorations. Once it is shaped, I assume it will hold up like that for a few days? At that point, do I need to store it any certain way? Air tight container?

    Sorry to ask so many questions. I know you’re busy, so I’ll try to Google as well. I just realized I have no idea how to go about coloring it, either…

    • Hi Heather,
      Alright, I had to do some asking around but found out – yes, it’s fine to make the fondant decorations in advance. I don’t think there are any particular storage instructions. I would probably just put them in a plastic bag or something. Coloring it is very easy, you just use the Wilton gel colors. Smear a bit of the color onto a section of fondant and just knead it in to the dough until the color is as homogenous as you would like it to be. (One tip on this – fold the color into the center of the ball immediately and then start kneading, to avoid getting the coloring directly on your skin. It can take a while to come out – speaking from experience here 🙂 )
      Hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  42. Thanks, Annie. I ended up being able to hold off on making the decorations. The party is tomorrow, so I’m in good shape… about to make the fondant now. I think I’m going to try to make 1/8 recipe, should be interesting! 🙂 I just need such a little amount! And thanks for the tips on the coloring, I appreciate it.

  43. I make Marshmallow Fondant a lot. I love it. I have found that adding 1 Tablespoon of corn syrup to the recipe helps it stretch and hold a little better without tearing. Just…you know….for when you make all those oodles of fondant cakes in the future!

  44. so awesome! What a lucky little boy. I think you officially encouraged me to get over my fear of working with fondant!

  45. Hi, I love your cakes have made a few and came out great. My last try was the zebra cake. I was not sure if I would get the stripes right, but they came out perfectly. I will also be making my son’s 1st B Day cake and need a little advice. His party will be on a Saturday (01/09/10). I want to make the cake on the Wednesday or Thursday before and store it unfrosted. What is the best way to store an unfrosted cake for 2-3 days before. I will be frosting it on Friday and as you son’s first cake I will be decorating with fondant, which I will do the Saturday morning of his B Day. Thanks for your help and great recipes!

    • Hi Olivia,
      I almost always bake cakes days in advance of decorating as I just don’t have time to do it all in one day. I wrap the baked layers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until I’m ready to use them. They keep very well this way. Good luck!

  46. […] a little girl, so I made a Sky High pink strawberry cake with chocolate frosting and tackled making marshmallow fondant for the first time. I followed Annie’s awesome instructions for making decorations and was super […]

  47. I love these pictures of your son’s 1st birthday. My son was 1 last August too and we had a beautiful party in our garden with lots of cake – since then he is cake mad. You might be interested to see that I decided with his cake obsession I had to design him a healthy cake:

  48. Andrew is so cute and getting so big! Have you ever tried fondant with a white chocolate instead of marshmallow base? That is all I eat/use for my cakes. People who don’t like fondant love it and it is more complementary to most flavors. You can buy it store bought (well specialty cake store bought) from a company based in Indy and it is called Chocopan. The good thing about chocopan is that it also allows you to roll it ultrathin (1/8″) which makes it more palatable as well.

  49. Hi Annie!

    I love the cake you made – I’m sure your son and your guests were in awe of it! I am making a cake for my dad’s birthday and am using fondant. I made the caking in advance and crumb coated it, but I wasn’t sure if I could apply the fondant to the cake in advance. Is that something you did? If I do put the fondant on early, where should I store it? I’ve tried looking around on different websites for an answer to this question, but cannot find one! I thought maybe you’d know. Thanks! Happy Baking!

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