Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Making of a Barn Cake

For Pete's first birthday party, Katie asked if I could make a barn-yard cake.  Researching wasn't too satisfying, because I couldn't find an image that matched what I had going on in my brain.  I wanted something quasi-authentic, not too cutesie (event though Pete is VERY cutesie!) and I didn't want something terribly out of scale. Many of the cakes I found on-line had barnyard animals that seemed like giant specimens next to a little barn.  Hmmm.  Well, I baked a big rectangle of yellow/chocolate marble pound cake, and sliced it into thirds.  I thought I'd stack the three sections and see what would come of it.  This cake was designed as I went, which is a gamble for something as significant as my own grandson's first birthday bash...  Anyway, it all came together better than I could have ever hoped, with a little fondant, a little food coloring, and a little imagination.  I was at a loss about the roof, and then I thought of slate shingles, and made my own shingle strips with fondant and overlapped them, resulting in a pretty  neat roof.  As it came together, it seemed a little impersonal -- where would I ever write "Happy Birthday Pete"?   Then I thought of old advertisements I used to see on the side of barns, like a road-side billboard, and decided that the back of the barn was the perfect place for the greeting.

In the end, I didn't make barn yard animals.  Henry's toy barn had all the appropriately-sized livestock (plastic stock?!) this little barn needed.  Accessorized with Katie's owl and pumpkin cupcakes, and my own haystack cupcakes (with fondant pig butts peeking out!) we ended up with a pretty nice barn yard cake to ring in Pete's second year!

In case you think that the party was all about cake, you should know that there was quite a feast beforehand. Bill and Katie hosted grandparents and friends for a pig roast (because you know all one-year-olds want one!) and I just had a hard time looking at the pig.  I knew it was being roasted.  I know that I am a hypocrite because I buy deli-sliced ham and bacon, but the immediacy and reality of THAT pig roasting outside of our house just kinda made me feel bad, and though I don't want to get into a debate about why this does and should bother me, let me just say that I love the movie "Babe" and I won't be able to watch it with Henry, not for a while...

Following are photos of the party, followed by pics of the making of Pete's cake.  Hope you enjoy!

Click to enlarge

And here are photos of the creation of Pete's birthday cake:

Pete had a terrific first birthday party.  Hope you enjoyed reading about it!


  1. Jeanne, this looks absolutely fantastic!!! I am SO impressed by your talents!

  2. Thanks Colleen - really appreciate it!