Carnival of Fun

I'm pretty sure most kids won't remember their 1st Birthday cakes other than what they'll see from pictures but I still think kid's celebration creations are the most fun. I admittedly have a terrible memory... but I do somehow remember a birthday cake I had when I was about 5 or 6. It was a sheet cake with fluffy whipped icing covered in an airbrushed zoo design with mounds of blue sweet buttercream "ponds." The topper was a menagerie of plastic zoo animals, trees, and cages. That was the best present of all! I held on to the plastic toys like they were gold... I'm sure they're lurking in my parent's basement tucked away with all my other little treasures that were once so highly valued.

Anyway, where I'm going with this is... I was asked to make a Circus themed cupcake tower for my friend's son's first birthday party. She showed me the super cute party supplies she ordered through Oriental Trading and I used some of the elements to design matching cupcakes.

"Ladies & Gentlemen! Boys & Girls! Step right up! Step right up!"

I made popcorn cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and mini marshmallows painted with yellow food coloring. I used a scissor to cut into some of the marshmallows and make them look more like kernels.

Next up, little lion head cupcakes. I added cocoa powder to the buttercream to get the different shades for the lion's face and mane.

I had to buy these silly yet cute yet creepy clown heads while taking a Wilton cake decorating class but ended up conveniently forgetting to take them to the class with me... oops. Glad to put them to good use here on these brightly pleasant little cupcakes. (On the up side... they are no longer lurking in the storage bin under my bed - phew!)

I tried to stripe the inside of a plastic icing bag with different food colors but I didn't get a very strong color effect like I had wanted. I decorated them with pre-made royal icing decorations from Wilton. How could you resist those cute faces?

Here's an assortment.

What's a circus without a big top?
I carved this out of four 8" round layers. I ended up wasting quite a bit of cake this way - and when I say wasting, I mean eating it with my roommate. I'm sure there was a better way but I didn't think it all the way through. I covered the tent in buttercream and cut out red fondant strips from Chef Duff's new product line at Michaels to cover the sides. I used Satin Ice fondant for the white stripes and tent scallops. Doesn't it look inviting?
"Come closer, you won't believe your eyes behind this curtain! Step right up!"

Circus tower of 1st Birthday fun.

Lots of children running around and heat didn't allow for the cupcake tower to stand in all it's glory but still looks pretty cute at the party.

Isaiah - the birthday boy!!
Side note- I ran out of Crisco for the vanilla buttercream and it was late at night so I used an organic shortening I found at a local market... not a good idea. It changed the consistency considerably! It didn't taste much different but was quite a bit grainier and I had to add extra powdered sugar to make up for the droopiness. No more organic shortening experimentation for me!
I also used organic eggs for the cupcakes. The first egg I cracked had two yolks. Does that count as one egg? or two? I still don't know, I counted it as one.