Summer Birthday Cakes

I’ve recently been trying to sharpen my baking skills and July provided me plenty of birthdays to practice with.

First up was Patrick’s birthday. We celebrated at a bowling alley and I brought these tennis-inspired cupcakes. Although I couldn’t figure out the logistics of making a Spanish flag, representing Rafael Nadal’s home country (Patrick’s favorite player), I think the tennis theme at least came through enough. They were strawberry-flavored with a vanilla icing. The toppings were made from marshmallow fondant with yellow food coloring.

Next was my friend Steven’s 20th birthday cake. It was a small, personalized vanilla-on-vanilla layered cake. It took me forever to create black fondant, but it was worth it. I loved the way the video game controller turned out. The entire time, I really thought I was making a PS3 remote, but was quickly told it looked more like an XBOX 360 remote. Boys! They play too many video games.

The last July birthday was for my friend Justin. His pre-birthday bash was celebrated at a local apartment pool and sand volleyball court. For the event, I wanted to make some sand volleyball cupcakes. I used white icing, then sprinkled crushed graham crackers on top. I made a couple of volleyballs out of white fondant and drew a volleyball net across several of the other cupcakes.

For Justin's birthday dinner, I made teacher-celebration cupcakes. In one of the worst educational cutback periods in Texas, Justin landed a job teaching at a high school. We’re very proud and excited for him about the upcoming school semester. So, I thought chalkboards, apples and books were the perfect decorations for dinner’s dessert.

Creating some of these little decorations can take up some time, but it’s really fun for me. I enjoy the process and love the feeling of accomplishment when they’re finished. Plus, they are yummy!