HomeDessert Second Birthday Celebration & Birthday Cake

Second Birthday Celebration & Birthday Cake

Comments : 2 Posted in : Dessert on by : Chris Tags: , ,

I feel like it was just yesterday Rachel and I were celebrating the first birthday of our little boy. And here we are, with a 2 year old and a 5 month old. I know the old saying is don’t blink, because it goes by too fast. Well, I’m trying my best not to blink-but it is still going too fast!

Last year we did a Puppy Dog theme as Toddler Boy (then Baby Boy) loved puppies. He still loves puppies – indeed, every morning when we asked him how he slept, and what he dreamed about, he tells us “puppies”. Not just one uppy but “two”. But he has expanded his horizons to include a love of Mickey Mouse and Elmo. We went with an Elmo and Sesame Street theme this year. Check out the homemade vanilla cake with butter cream frosting decoration!

Toddler Boy and I baked the cake the night before, and Rachel decorated it on the day of. Didn’t she do a fantastic job with Elmo?

The cake itself was a simple homemade birthday cake out of a Williams Sonoma cookbook. It came out fantastic (recipe below), and so much tastier and satisfying than a store bought cake mix. And, it really didn’t take too much extra time to make. Toddler Boy and I made it together, which was a fun activity (I love baking with this boy, in case I haven’t said that enough lately). I measure out the ingredients, and he pours everything in.

For the frosting, we used a vanilla butter cream frosting recipe we first made for Rachel’s birthday 2 years ago. You really can’t beat butter cream frosting. The frosting initially was a little too thick – fine for spreading but difficult for a pastry bag – so I added 2 extra teaspoons of milk. That seemed to do the trick.

Toddler Boy had a blast the day of his birthday. He had almost his whole extended family there except for his Pittsburgh cousins. He was bouncing around having fun playing with everyone and opening his presents. We got him a Mickey Mouse helmet and a little Radio Flyer red tricycle. He is still getting the hang of how to peddle (he’s much better at going backwards) but by this summer I think he’ll be having a ball outside on it. This kid also made out like a bandit with all the presents his Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents got him. It’s good to be 2!

In addition to Elmo cake that we made, my Mom outdid herself again  by making fantastic Sesame Street Cake Pops.  Dipped in chocolate, my Mom made Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster. I know she baked a couple batches and practiced over the past few weeks, and it shows. Not only did these cake pops taste good, but they looked gorgeous!

Looking back at last years photos of his first birthday, it’s crazy to think of just how much has changed, how much he has changed in the past year. He throws words around like nobody’s business (as well as the occasional book or toy), he can walk, run, and jump quite well – even dance in his silly way. And he has a baby brother who adores him and thinks he is the coolest, and Toddler Boy likes him quite a bit too. What a great year its been. Looking forward to another one with this little guy.

Second Birthday Celebration


  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups regular milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar, combine, and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • Frosting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease the bottoms of two 9x2" round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper and sides of the pans and dust with flour.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter smooth. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until just blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beating on low speed after each addition.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and spread it evenly. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the inside edges of the pans to loosen the layers. Invert onto the track and lift off the pans, then carefully peel off the parchment paper. Let the layers cool completely before frosting.
  4. To assemble the cake, brush away any loose crumbs from both layers. Place one layer, top side down, on a flat service plate. Using an icing spatula, spread about a third of the frosting on top. Place the other layer, top side down, on the first layer and press gently. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to seal in any crumbs, then either coat the cake with remaining frosting or decorate cake with frosting using a pastry bag.
  5. Serve right away or keep covered at room temperature until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: The Williams Sonoma Baking Book

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.



2 thoughts

  • Linda
    March 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Your “toddler boy” is absolutely gorgeous and handsome! So happy he had a great birthday. Going backwards on bike is very normal for toddlers; he’ll do quite well soon. Be prepared to jump out of his way!

    • Chris
      March 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks Linda! We’ll start practicing now so we don’t become too easy a target!

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