Fresh flowers & bees; a 1st birthday cake

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
A few weeks ago we celebrated Munchkin’s first birthday with two splendid parties. For the first I made a Miffy themed birthday cake and for the second, we went with a fresh flowers and bees theme. For each cake, I made up a gluten-free vanilla butter-cake with a swiss meringue buttercream. Once you taste Swiss meringue buttercream, no frosting will ever taste as good! It’s silky smooth and, due to the addition of the egg white, is not as heavy or sweet as a traditional buttercream frosting.

I figured, if Munchkin was going to have her first cake, it should be a good one!
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
For the bee themed party, I made a naked cake decorated with a wild array of flowers. All designed to be perfectly imperfect! This went against the grain a little, as I love a perfect, smooth finish. At one point, just as the urge to ‘fix’ the cake became overwhelming, my husband took it away from me and demanded I not touch it again! At the time, I found this extremely frustrating. But looking back at the photos, I love it. It was just what I wanted.
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
I made up a whole heap of little bees with modelling chocolate and put them on floristry wire, then nestled them in amongst the cake and the flower arrangements.

To arrange the flowers, I wrapped each stem in multiple layers of floristry tape and pushed them into a 1cm thick disk of modelling chocolate that was set on top of the frosted cake.

Then, I added on simple little white candle. And it was finished! I adore the result. What do you think?
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

BASIC BUTTER CAKE

For Munchkin’s birthday cake, I made three batches of the butter cake (and the swiss meringue buttercream). One for each tier, and baked it in a 28cm diameter tin.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 125 grams of unsalted butter
  • 150 grams of caster sugar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 210 grams of Schar Patisserie mix C or your preferred gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 130 ml of milk

 

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lightly butter and flour baking tin.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at at time, beating well after each.
  4. Add sifted flour alternatively with milk until just combined.
  5. Spread into a prepared pan. This quantity fills: 2x 18cm shallow cake pans or one deep.
  6. When skewer comes out of cake clean, it’s cooked (approximately 40 minutes). If you’re cooking your cake in a thin layer like I did, it will only take about 12 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on wire rack to cool completely.

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

 

Ingredients
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 150 grams of caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 260 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

 

Method
      1. Place egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt into a heat proof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Ensure that the water doesn’t touch the  bottom of the bowl. Whisk the mixture over the simmering water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch.
      2. Remove the bowl from heat and using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is cool, fluffy and glossy. At this point your mixture should be able to form stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes.
      3. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Mixing well after each addition until all of the butter has been added and your buttercream is smooth.

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

Kawaii Halloween Ghosty Giftboxes

 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
As I’ve mentioned in posts before, we don’t really celebrate Halloween beyond making sure I have a packet of something to give to the one or two children who might turn up with their parents.

But I know that a large number of you lovely readers, and quite a few of my friends here in Switzerland, do celebrate it! So I decided to revisit my Kawaii Halloween Cupcake Toppers and to play with the design a little! I’ve come up with two designs (the other I’ll share with you next week) to make some easy gift boxes.

This gift box template could be used for Halloween, for a Ghoulish Birthday Party, or just as a gift box for your favourite Goth or Kawaii fan.
 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
Each box comes to 130mm x 115mm and is 40mm deep. The inside compartment is (at it’s widest) 115mm x 80mm. They’re fairly large, but you can easily scale them down if you want something smaller. Just make sure to scale all the templates the same percentage.

To make this little Kawaii Ghosty, you just need to print out the three templates in the PDF file attached onto A4 card stock. Use the thickest you can get through your printer. I used 200gsm.
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Almost a year of parenthood celebrated

Munchkin's first birthday

 
Note; this blog mainly consists of ramblings about the past year with Munchkin and motherhood. The photos are a sneak peek of our recent celebration of Munchkin’s first birthday. I’ll have more photos, templates, recipes and tutorials to share in the coming weeks.

I can’t believe that at this time just last year I was desperately trying to sleep and failing. I was due to be induced the following morning. After 12 very long days of regular contractions that just weren’t strong enough, the doctor decided enough was enough. Munchkin was coming out, one way or the other.

Late that night, DM and I had a discussion about what we hoped our bundle, of what then felt like all elbows and knees doing the hokey pokey in a very confined space, would be like.

A year in, and I can say she’s everything we hoped for and a little bit more. She’s generous, loving, independent, strong, social, gentle but no pushover, scarily intelligent and just because she’s ours, perfect.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
It hasn’t been an easy year. My fitness, sanity and health has taken something of a beating due to iron deficiency, sleep deprivation and adjusting my life expectations to my new reality.

Breastfeeding and getting our little one to thrive took about four stressful weeks to work out. There were what seemed like endless days as my butt became one with the couch as Munchkin fed every hour threatening my dwindling sanity.

Our marriage feels stronger, as it feels it has now been forged by fire. The fire of months of colic and walking paths around the dining table, our hearts breaking as we tried anything and everything to soothe our tiny, sweet bundle.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
But it’s also been the most amazing year of my life.

I never dreamed I could want to do nothing but stare at my baby for days on end… and I did. I’ve experienced the seemingly indescribable joy of seeing my little one accomplish something and look at me with pride as she’s just learned to roll over, clap her hands, say “Mum”, stand up, bottom shuffle or get a spoon into her mouth and not her nose, ear or forehead.

I’ve loved living in this little nest we’ve made. My priorities and goals have shifted in ways I never dreamed would be possible. I thought Motherhood and I would be a tough fit and avoided it for as long as possible. It turns out I’m not as terrible at it as I feared. I love it.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
And through all of this DM has worked tirelessly, both at his job and then when he got home. He’s perfected cooking and has made dinner more times than I. He can cook some of “my recipes” better than I can now! He’s been home most of the time to give Munchkin her bath (and me a few quiet moments alone). He’s rocked, soothed, fed, bathed, read, played, chatted and revelled in fatherhood. He’s done an excellent job. Frequently, in the early days, he’d arrive home, take the screaming Munchkin, soothe some of my frazzled feathers, make me a cup of tea and take over. Definitely not the easiest year!

And, in amongst all of this, he’s almost completed a thesis.

I have no idea how he has done it. My admiration, pride in and love for DM is limitless.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
All of this needed to be celebrated. So we invited our nearest and dearest in Lausanne and threw a party to celebrate the amazing miracle that is Munchkin’s first year.

I got to making, designing, baking, crocheting, adding faux gold foil to invites, making packaging, trying my hand at floristry and stocking up on champagne.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
I’ll share patterns, templates, recipes and the rest with you in the upcoming weeks.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
I’m so happy with the result! It seems worthy of what feels to us, and I’m sure to all parents, the gorgeous accomplishment of a lifetime. And we’ve only just begun!
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 

All the amazing photography in this post is by the fantastically talented Hayley Hay

Munchkin’s first, first birthday party

Munchkin's first first birthday

Munchkin’s birthday isn’t for nine days, but her grandparents are here in Switzerland at the moment. So we decided to have a little party before the big one with friends next weekend. It just so happened to coincide with Australian Father’s Day, so we’ve had double the reason to celebrate!

Munchkin's first first birthday

I made a little gluten-free, organic, vanilla butter cake made with rapadura sugar and swiss meringue buttercream. Then I topped it with a Miffy plaque and candle I’d made out of modelling chocolate. Munchkin adores books and Miffy is currently one of her favourites.

Munchkin's first first birthday

For decoration I bought a couple of helium filled balloons and a cute little number one that were all anchored with some streamers.

So Munchkin, after her nap, was greeted with this… (along with four very excited family members)

Munchkin's first first birthday

She loved it!

Munchkin's first first birthday

After the prerequisite off-key singing, Munchkin was presented with her first ever piece of cake.

Munchkin's first first birthday

Devoured with almost no mess, I’m assuming this means it was liked!

Munchkin's first first birthday

Our little party was perfect and we’ve had a gorgeous day!
I’ve now got to get back to work for next weeks party!

 

Tea Party Invite & Envelope Printable

Mad Hatters Unbirthday Party Themed Invite/ Notecard
Tea Party Suite

 

A couple of years ago DM and I decided to host one big party per year, to celebrate Summer and well… just because we wanted to! The first year we held an Unbirthday Themed Party. I made a cake and decorations and sent out letterpress invites I’d made. We gave away gifts to all of the children who attended, had a piñata including gifts for the adults, and ate way too much cake whilst quaffing alcohol laced lemonade.

Unfortunately we don’t have many photos of the table or event as we had so much fun we forgot to take photos! Last years event was a little more sedate and adult in nature. And this years will be even quieter as I’ll be 7 months pregnant when the time comes.

But since the first party, I’ve often looked at the letterpress invites and have wanted to do something more with them. So I’ve decided to create printables so you lovely people can use them as invites or note cards.

They’re really simple to put together, just cut out, fold and add a little bit of glue to the envelope. You can download each of the templates below. You’ll need A3 paper for the envelope and A4 Card stock for the invite/ card.

 

Tea Party Suite

 


My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only.

Envelope-Download
Invite-Download