A Simple Princess Leia Birthday Cake for a Serious Star Wars Fan

A Princess Leia Star Wars CakeWhat to do, what to do? Your 5-year old daughter is absolutely obsessed with Star Wars, but you’re (more than) a little burned out ’cause the Star Wars marketing has officially jumped the shark and gotten out of control lately (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, R2D2 Coffee Creamer). And, with my kiddo’s birthday being just two days after Halloween, we’re pretty sugared out. But when we had a small family gathering to celebrate November birthdays, I decided it just wasn’t a party without cake. So I started scheming …

lightsaber cupcake picksMy daughter is pretty into the lightsabers (she made her own at Disneyland using some of her birthday money this year), so my first idea was to take the focus of the cake completely off the characters and just use elements of Star Wars somehow. When I found this Set of 12 Star Wars Mini Plastic Light Saber Cupcake Topper/Cake Picks, I knew I had to grab them – they were absolutely perfect.

(photo via iFavor123 on Etsy)

Pop! Princess Leia Bobblehead
Because my daughter has asked me for this Pop! Princess Leia bobble head every single time we’ve seen it, I decided to surprise her and use it as the cake topper. It’s a major cheat – the figurine is so cute that it would look adorable on top of anything, but it was just the right thing to keep the cake looking simple and clean. It also made it perfect for my little 5-year-old girlie-girl. You can pick these up anywhere – I happened to grab mine at my local Hallmark store.

So there you have it. I made a small “smash cake” sized cake this year, using two 6-inch round pans. I totally cheated this year and used a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if you’re gonna use a box mix, make sure it’s Duncan Hines) and Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle Vanilla frosting.

suppliesMy favorite Marshmallow Buttercream frosting that I like to make goes on a lot easier and it tastes sooo much better. If you have time, I highly recommend whipping up a batch. You can grab the recipe from when I used it on this cake and this cake. I sprinkled a little iridescent white cake sparkles on top and added some silver pearl sprinkles (by Wilton) to tie in with the lightsaber handles.

Princess Leia Birthday Cake by Four-Eyed Girlie

My little Leia was pretty surprised once this cake came out.  So, I’m officially dedicating this cake to all the girlie-girls out there who like to engage in some badass lightsaber battles and a little cosplay, but still like to keep things looking cute. 🙂

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Red Bull and Vodka Jell-o Shots

IMG_7030I’m totally cheating and back-dating this entry, but I had to post the Red Bull + Vodka shots I made for New Years Eve this year because I’ll probably need to refer back to this again next year so I can stay up til midnight. I was buzzed, caffeinated and then some — these jell-o shots are no joke. They actually made the devil’s energy drink more palatable though, and hey — they are pretty impressive looking too.

Thank goodness I found That’s So Michelle — there’s a zillion boozy shots you can make on her blog! The Red Bull + Vodka Jello Shot recipe is hers, but I’m going to repost for your convenience. Make some — you can do it! You’ll feel like a total rockstar (sorry, wrong energy drink).

IMG_7025What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Red Bull (You will need two cans of regular or sugar free, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 and 1/2 packets of Knox powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup vodka of choice
  • 24 Cherries with stems
  • 1 Bite-Size Squares 24-Cavity Silicone Mold (they have these at Michaels)
    YOU TOTALLY WANT THIS. You’ll use it for other projects anyway – especially more jello shots.

What you need to do:

  1. Spray the mold with cooking spray or coconut oil lightly and cut your cherries in half and reserve for later. (This helps the cherries stand upright in the shots)
  2. Pour 1 1/2c. Red Bull into a medium sauce pan (should be almost the whole can). Sprinkle your 1 and 1/2 packets of gelatin on top (don’t stir) and let it sit for 2 minutes to activate the gelatin.
  3. Turn on low heat and stir in the gelatin until it all dissolves. Let the Red Bull get to a light boil and turn off the heat. Let it cool slightly and then add 1/2 cup of vodka.
  4. Pour half of your Red Bull jello mixture into your molds (or pan) let refrigerate and harden (about 2 hours). Place one cherry in each mold (or spread out an inch apart on in a pan) with the stem side up and cut side down, upright.
  5. Top with the rest of the jello mixture gently, not disturbing the upright cherries. Let refrigerate over night. Carefully, take a butter knife and edge around each mold to help release the shot. Pop them out and serve.

Tip: Michelle says to lightly grease your serving tray with cooking spray or coconut oil before serving so the shots don’t stick and break when people try to pick them up by the cherry stem. I just lined my serving tray with wax paper.

Party: Turning Two


Last year, I threw my daughter a birthday party large enough to rival most weddings. It was fun, I made a ton of “retro cherry” themed desserts, and everyone was impressed — but I was exhausted. I didn’t get to talk to many of my family or friends, and I felt like I couldn’t really focus on my daughter. So this year, I resolved to scale back, simplify and throw a small party with the family to celebrate her turning two years old. I did succeed in reducing the size of the party, but of course, I couldn’t resist making a giant birthday cake and some special “2” shaped cookies, even though it was just going to be a “simple” party.

It all started when I found a 2-shaped cookie cutter online. I knew I wanted to make a 2 for the top of her cake, and I decided while I was at it, I’d ask my dad to teach me how to decorate with royal icing. My parents made 150 bride and 150 groom sugar cookies for my wedding favors, so it’s safe to say they’ve got experience under their belts. I enjoyed working with them both on these!

What I was most excited about was making my 1st birthday cake. I found this amazing recipe for Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting, and I decided to pair it with lemon cake. Let me tell you this: I’ll never use another frosting recipe in my life. It was fluffy, light  and tasted amazing. I really wanted the cake to have a homemade feel to it, so I iced it somewhat messily and used jumbo-sized confetti sprinkles to decorate with.

My dad had a great idea to use the royal icing as “glue” to attach two toothpicks on the back of the cookie I wanted to use as the cake topper. I used my 1-in. craft punch to cut circles out of scrapbook paper for the top, and I used some jumbo letter stickers to spell out my daughters name. It was sweet, tasty and made my little girl smile, so I consider it a huge success!

Party: A Very Toddler Valentine’s Day

This year, my daughter hosted her very own Valentine’s Day Party! Well, maybe I helped a little. I just couldn’t think of anything cuter than a bunch of toddlers at a Valentine’s Day party … and, it was an excuse for me to make some treats. There were 5 girls and 5 boys invited, along with 10 of my very favorite mommas!

I wanted to keep things very old school and homemade looking, so I bought a heart-shaped craft punch and went to town with it. I punched hearts in all the different red/white/pink papers I had and taped them to thin red ribbon for garlands, and punched smaller ones to tape to toothpicks for the cupcake toppers. I even taped hearts to the water bottles – I admit, I’m fully into hearts!

I made goodie bags for all the kids that were filled with Carrot Zucchini Cookies. I tried to be considerate and not get everybody’s kid all hopped up on sugar, and thought any chance at sneaking in some veggies would be welcome. My mom had the great idea to try baking them in a heart shaped pan, and even though they don’t look so appetizing here, I swear – the kiddos loved them! Of course, I saved my Heart-shaped Red Wine Lollipops as a party favor for all of the moms!

We had so much fun that we may need to make this an annual event. What can I say, I love the day of love!

Party: A Retro Cherry Birthday!

This post is sooo tardy, but it’s a week later and we’re still recovering from our daughter’s 1st birthday party! Of course, it was a lot of fun, but a huge reason it was so special was because of all the loving preparation that went into things from both sides of the family! This post is to honor all of the handmade and homemade special details of our birthday party for the little miss!

#1: Go-ims

Go-ims are traditional decorative “towers” that are usually trimmed with hard candies and/or beans for a Korean 1st Birthday Party (dol). My husband and my mother-in-law lovingly spent days and hours working on these for the party! They used white beans, black beans, kidney beans, red/white/pink chocolate spree, black m&m’s and mentos to decorate all 3 of the go-ims. My husband designed all 3 of them first – he found an awesome tiger template to use in honor of being born during the year of the tiger, and he then he put together a retro-looking one with Ruby’s name and starbursts. Finally, he mapped out a patterned design with all red, pink & white candies to look more pop-ish and modern.

Hard at work!

As you can see, each individual candy and/or bean was glued to the paper towel roll (which was covered with poster board to make it smooth) one at a time. Patience and determination prevailed! I wish we had remembered to take a picture of the back of the tiger go-im: My daughter’s birthdate (11-02-10) was on the back.

This is the only pic we have where you can see part of it – but it looked great!

The go-ims were beautiful, and we’ll always have memories of special bonding time during the time these were made. I love this one of Ruby with her Halmoni (grandma) on the day of her party:

#2: Cherry cookies

Aside from incorporating some of the traditional Korean Dol traditions, I wanted the party to have a “retro cherry” theme. I saw a birthday party online that was a big inspiration, and it had these perfect cookies with cherries on top that I was dying to re-create (with my own spin on them of course). Since my parents are known for their masterful baking skills (they made 150 bride cookies and 150 groom cookies for favors at our wedding!), I asked if they’d help me out. Mom baked 48 sugar cookies and whipped up a batch of her own buttercream fondant, and Dad set out to cut out leaves and cherries to decorate each cookie.

This was at the beginning when he was using royal icing to “glue” the fondant base to the top of each cookie.

Moving on to adding the duo of cherry pieces …

Then, he took the extra leaves that were left over to cut stems for each cherry (he’s meticulous!). It really made them look all that more polished … and they tasted as good as they looked!

I can’t thank my parents enough for this … there’s no way I could’ve pulled off this impressive array of cherry-themed treats without them!!!
Red Velvet cupcakes with a cherry-on-top:

Mini-Cherry Cheesecakes and Chocolate Cake Balls:

The entire spread in all of its glory!

#3 Favor jars filled with Cherry Sours

I had been saving baby food jars for awhile in hopes of using them somehow and decided to use them for favors at the party. Pretty simple, but made with love nonetheless. What can I say, I’m a stickler for a theme …

#4 Ruby’s Retro Tunes Playlist

Since the actual process of burning CDs seems so wasteful these days with folks using MP3 players and all, we decided to ditch the actual CD and just post our compilation for download (You can download the playlist here, if you want). The mix is simply songs that make Ruby smile, with a retro slant (of course!).

 

Baby Shower Favors: Custom CDs + packaging and a Diaper Cake

For another dear friend’s baby shower, I volunteered to make the favors, and the host decided on making a CD. The theme of the baby shower was a Mama Bird/Baby Bird, “nesting” theme, so all of the tracks on the CD had to do with birds in some way. Here’s a few shots of how the favors turned out:

As usual, I also knew I wanted to make a diaper cake. Ever since I found out Jen was pregnant, I knew I wanted to buy her these kitty Mary Janes for the top of her cake! This is how it turned out:

Close-up of the shoes (available in grownup sizes, too!)

Overall, it was a fantastic day. We all even got to make our own onesies at the shower! Our host had the great idea, and she rounded up tons of fabric swatches, felt, stamps, paints, and ribbon for us all to make our own creation.

I stuck with my kitty theme:

I love celebrating a new baby!

Bridal Shower Treats: Mini Lemon Cakes

One of my best friends was getting married, and I was lucky to have co-hosted the shower. In honor of the bride, I decided to make mini-Lemon Cake favors, as Lemon Cake is the bride’s absolute favorite dessert.

To begin, I found these awesome mini-loaf pans from BakeItPretty.com. I LOVE this site – so many amazing things, because presentation is just as important to me as the taste!

There were 50 guests, so I needed to make 50 Lemon Cakes …

Then, I made little tags to go with the cakes:

And finally, the finished products!

My only regret? I failed to get a picture of the bride and a lemon cake. 😦