Moon and Stars 2nd Birthday Cake!

There it is!  My daughter’s 2nd birthday cake, handmade by me and daddy (I’m not supposed to tell but awesome daddy rolled out and laid the fondant!).

Below is a picture of the original sketch of my idea – turned out the bottom layer of the cake wasn’t big enough for the extra star cookies or any sort of writing, but overall it still came out pretty close!

I planned this all out VERY last minute so I was limited to basically whatever I could find at Michaels the night before, but luckily it worked out pretty well – with some minor adjustments for time.

  • I decided to go with my grandma’s amazing carrot cake recipe because carrots are the one vegetable my daughter still refuses to eat no matter how many times I serve them or I try to dress them up or hide them – I thought it was both funny and appropriate.
    Two layers of cake made up each of the 2 cake tiers. And, due to time contraints and a failed “healthy” pineapple cream cheese  frosting that used up all the cream cheese I had on hand, I went with Pillsbury Funfetti vanilla frosting which actually tasted pretty good with the carrot. If you’re going to try this yourself, make sure you frost the top of the cakes even though you’re putting fondant there b/c any kind of fondant doesn’t taste very good.
  • I used Duff brand pre-colored blue fondant which definitely saved me a ton of time not having to try to knead in the color evenly.
  • For the outer stars, first I thought of getting cookie cutters and yellow fondant but that turned out to be the most expensive option and I’d have a lot of unused/wasted fondant. Then I thought about making smaller star-shaped sugar cookies to stick around the sides of the cake, but I didn’t want to spend all night decorating them. Finally, I found the perfect solution in a cheap plastic star shaped candy mold and 1 package of Wilton yellow Candy Melts. Making those chocolate candy things took literally less than 15 minutes and they looked great. I stuck them on the cake with a bit of regular frosting.
  • The giant star and moon cookie on top I baked using a regular sugar cookie recipe. I found an aluminum cookie sheet with 6 star shapes since all the cookie cutters Michaels had were tiny. And that pan definitely saved me the aggravation of trying to free form a perfect star shape out of cookie dough – although my husband did shape the moon by hand and I was surprised it stayed very moon-like after baking (I thank refrigerating the dough, the one thing that wasn’t started the night before). I frosted them quickly with Pillsbury Funfetti vanilla frosting and sprayed the star with Wilton Color Mist food spray in gold.
  • I wanted some “cloud-like” puffs around the cake layers but settled for the best I could do with a can of Betty Crocker decorative Cupcake Icing – not the best to use in this case because you have to press so hard to get the frosting out, it was difficult to be at all consistent – but that’s what I get for gathering supplies last minute. At least my 2 year old certainly didn’t know the difference.
  • I found some edible star shaped gold glitter and sprinkled that over the whole cake to finish it off. The wind blew it all away almost immediately but at least I got a picture of it first, haha. And added a normal grocery store #2 candle.


My daughter did not end up eating any of her cake, she did have a great time meticulously putting moon craters in it though, haha. Happy Birthday baby!

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Ainar – Make This Middle Eastern Tea to Celebrate Your New Baby

I found this info and recipe while looking through the Penzeys Spices catalog. I’m copying it here directly – never heard of this and I love it!!

Sasha writes, “Introducing Ainar, the tea brewed especially for baby mamas and the guests who stop in to dote on their pretty newborns. In case you didn’t know, mamas need lots of things after having a baby: rest, love, good, warm food. And this tea. The cool thing about Ainar is the treat at the bottom of the cup. Nuts. After cooking a bunch of warming, fragrant spices like cinnamon, caraway, anise and nutmeg in a large pot of water, the hot tea is splashed over assorted nuts and as much sugar as you can stand. Walnuts, almonds and pine nuts are the most common. This is a Middle Eastern tea to celebrate the birth of a new baby. The spices are believed to help the mother heal as well as bring good luck to the new family.”

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tb anise seed
  • pinch ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp or so)
  • 6 cups water
  • Garnish (to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup total nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, slivered almonds)
  • 1/4 – 1 cup sugar

In a saucepan, add the spices to the water (use a tea ball or cheesecloth if desired) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also simmer longer for stronger flavor. Pour through a spaghetti strainer if you did not use a tea ball. Serve in teacups over mixed nuts and add sugar to taste.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-30 minutes

Serves 4-6

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