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. 🙂

Operation Ballerina Birthday Cake: Cherry Vanilla Cake, from scratch!

I have a secret to share: Four-Eyed Girlie is intimidated when it comes to making cakes. Making a perfect cake is hard. And I have this problem with needing things to be perfect. It takes work, and a lot of practice, and still — it’s not always perfect. But when it comes to my daughter’s birthday, I enjoy making them (perfect or not). I guess it’s because when I was a kid, my parents made me a custom birthday cake every year for my birthday. All I had to do was name a theme, and it was on! So now, I consider a special cake for my daughter’s birthday the ultimate labor of love.

This year, my soon-to-be three year old muttered two words when the topic of cake came up: “Pink” and “Ballerina”. Whoa. This girl is SUPER girly these days. Although I’m pretty girly myself (I am a grown woman who wears a bow in her hair most days), a pink ballerina cake was still a little out of my comfort zone. But, it was her birthday request and I was eager to deliver.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about the “pink” cake. I knew I could use food coloring and dye it, but that just seemed like a cheat. And strawberry cake mixes taste like … well, let’s just say they don’t taste so much like strawberry, but more like sticky sweet chemical sludge. So, I knew I had no choice — I had to find the ultimate recipe, from scratch. I went to the Sprinklebakes blog right away (she is a complete superhero and totally my idol), and sure enough, I found it: her Cherry Vanilla Cake recipe.

This cake is no joke. It uses maraschino cherries and the juice … and paired with almond extract instead of vanilla, it actually isn’t as sweet as you’d expect it to be. This baby is entirely from scratch … and guess what, it’s not difficult! Most importantly, it is the perfect shade of pink to make any girly-girl smile. I didn’t even need the optional food coloring in the recipe, the batter was pink enough, and the bits of cherries throughout were gorgeous! You really should make it yourself. Click here for the recipe.

As for icing, I went with the Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting I used last year on my daughter’s jumbo sprinkles cake. I love this frosting SO much. I just added a teeny dab of Wilton’s pink color gel with a toothpick to get the perfect ballerina pink. Click here for the recipe.

Of course, I wanted it to look “charmingly homemade” (it’s how I justify it to my perfectionist self!) and slightly retro … so after I found a vintage looking ballerina cake topper, pearl sprinkles for the side, and iridescent glitter dust to sprinkle on top, I was all set. I took super girliness to a whole new level with this one! The birthday girl was thrilled though, and all the adults enjoyed this uber-pink creation as well.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it goes! 😉

My 1st Smash Cake!

I was thrilled to make my 1st smash cake for a photo shoot at the Miranda D Photography studio today! She takes such lovely photos of the littles and its an honor to have one of my sweet treats make an appearance in her work. I can’t wait to see how the photos turned out of the baby tearing up this cake to celebrate her 1st birthday. For now, I’m crossing my fingers that this little cutie was just as photogenic. 🙂

Thanks for having me, Miranda — can’t wait to visit your studio again!

Go check out Miranda’s work at www.mirandadphotography.com.

An epic birthday calls for an epic cake

Today is Mr. Four-Eyed Girlie’s 40th birthday. We had a party to celebrate his magnificent self last night (he really is the best) and I made a ginormous surprise birthday cake for him.

I could go into all the details of how I brainstormed with my parents after I was inspired by this cake. Or, I could elaborate on my dad’s brilliant idea to use petit fours icing to coat the “40” shaped cake, rather than try to frost it (and my mom found this delicious recipe for petit fours icing using white chocolate – yum!). Or, I could talk even more about how we spent the whole day putting it together and how my dad, AKA Mr. Precision, cut all those fondant Star Trek emblems for my cupcakes. But, sometimes you have to stop trying to document every moment — sometimes it hits the spot to just focus on having fun with it and do the best you can.

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I really wanted to surprise my husband. Never in a million years did he think I’d indulge his love for Star Trek with a cake. My parents have enjoyed being a cake making team for years and their enthusiasm has definitely rubbed off on me. Having them work with me and teach me was so fun, and the experience is what really ended up being the biggest gift.  Oh, and my husband got a surprise made with love from not just me, but my parents as well. 🙂

So while I may not be the next Cake Boss, this came from the heart! Happy Birthday to the best husband ever – and a big thanks to my amazing mom and dad!

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!

Sweet Treats: Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups + My 1st Cheesecake

One of my favorite mommy friends is expecting baby #2, and I decided that this baby deserved a party, no matter how prepared his/her parents were! I say “his/her” because this baby has a very patient momma who has the ability to actually wait to find out the sex of the baby until it’s born — can you believe that?!? So, baby’s name is “Smüdgie” for now (yes, the umlaut is very necessary) until his/her birth day.

No party is a party without favors, so I got to work deciding on what sweet treats I’d be making for the guests. I came across this genius recipe for Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. The tiny little no-bake candies worked perfectly for my concept of “a smidge of something sweet for Smüdgie”. (Big thanks to Iowa Girl Eats for the idea and tutorial)

For packaging, I used different shades of scrapbook paper to fit the width of a treat bag, made little flags for the cups with toothpicks, and attached one of my custom made tags. Everyone got two sweet little cups in their bag to take home!

You also can’t have a party without cake, and at the mom-to-be’s request, she wanted a cheesecake with a fresh berry topping. I’d never made a cheesecake before, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try! Guess what? It’s totally easy. The fanciest part about it is using a springform pan.


After researching 1,000,000 recipes, from Martha’s to Ina Garten’s, I decided to use an old classic — this one. Scoff if you must, but it was the real deal.

I used a 10.5″ pan, rather than a 9″ one, so I increased the graham cracker crust recipe by an additional cup of crumbs, 1/4 c. butter, and 1 tsp. sugar to ensure optimal buttery graham cracker crust goodness. I also put the crust in the oven for about 10 mins. first, then let it cool before I added the filling and baked it. The next morning, I trimmed the edge with blueberries, sliced strawberries and layered them, and saved room in the middle for more blueberries. I was proud of how it turned out!

Now, I just have to wait for Smüdgie to get here!