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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

January 19, 2013

Mikey's Monster 1st Birthday

Monsters have invaded my kitchen but don't worry, they don't bite. Instead you get to bite them!  Last year I was asked to make a baby shower cake, cupcakes and cake pops for Mikey's parents, eagerly anticipating Mikey's arrival. Now, a little over a year later , I was asked to help with another big event: Mikey's very first birthday.  It's such an honor!

I made a small smash cake, two dozen cupcakes with American buttercream and cookies! Not just any cookies, but *flooded* sugar cookies. I had a really big learning curve with making these because although I had made them before, it was a long time ago and I didn't really do a very good job. This time I wanted to do it right so I bought Bridget Edward's new book (she's from Bake at 350) and devoured all the information. It's a great resource and I did so much better because of it. Bridget was also kind enough to answer several questions that I tweeted to her. Thank you Bridget! 
I started out with two cookie designs: this three eyed monster one that uses a cupcake cutter (it's upside down) and another Mikey-esque one from Monster's Inc that used a snow globe cutter. Since the snow globe cutter had a little "foot" on the bottom, I decided it was too risky and scraped it. I could just foresee broken cookie feet all over my kitchen so I decided to keep it simple a stick with the cupcake cutter.  It was a challenge to come up with two original designs that would fit inside a cupcake cutter. It was a very good lesson on cookie making and all its limitations. I am quite proud with the results!
I might have got a little carried away making the cookies, but it was a lot of fun playing with the flooded sugar. The best part of learning how to make the cookies was making  the 3D eyes. I have so much left over royal icing, I could probably make another thousand pairs. Let me know if you want any! ;)

Making the monsters for the top of the cupcakes was a lot more difficult that I thought. The trick was making the mouth in such a way was too flat. I struggled to come up with original designs that had some dimension; they needed bite! After a lot of sketching and trial and error I was happy with what I came up with. I even named a couple of the little guys. This orange guy below, his name is Hoss.  He's my favorite.
...and this guy? I call him Eye-saac (tee-hee )

This little lady's name is Toofy.

The baby's smash cake was vegan, both the actual cake and the frosting. The cake was so delicious! If I didn't know that it was vegan, there's no way I would have suspected it. I even liked it without any frosting. By the way, Mikey's number one cake topper has a name too; his name is Juan... get it?(I crack myself up!)

Vegan Banana Apple Cake
adapted from Food.com

1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
1/4 cup diced REALLY small, fresh apple, cored and seeded
1 1/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup plain soy yogurt mixed with water so together they equal 2/3 cup
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake tin with liners or spray a cake pan (the one in the photo is a 4" cake pan).

Mash the banana to the point where it gets liquidy. Ideally, use a blender or submersible hand blender. If you have a hand blender, throw the apple in with the banana and mash them together. Try to get as many big chunks as small as you can.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking power, salt and sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the oil,  yogurt mixed with water and vanilla. Gently mix the flour mixture into the wet, but go slow and mix just until combined. The batter will be lumpy and that's exactly what you want. Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full and bake for 17-22 minutes until you can insert a tooth pick into the center and it comes out clean.  The tops will be slightly browned.  Let the cupcakes cool for about 3 minutes and remove from the tin and cool on a wire wrack. Try not to eat all the cupcakes while they are still warm... they get better after they sit! :)

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from Chow

This tastes better a day or two after it's made. It still tastes good right after it's freshly made but the margarine taste mellows out with a little time.

1/2 cup shortening (non-hydrogenated is preferred if you can find it)
1/2 cup vegan margarine, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance sticks. Some margarines contain whey and other milk products so read the label)
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy (depending on how sweet you want...up to you)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or any flavor you want)
1 to 3 tablespoons plain soy yogurt

Beat the shortening and margarine together for 3 minutes until super light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and whip on medium-high speed until smooth. It will be thick. Add the soy yogurt until it's at the consistency you want. You could add food coloring if you want but I found the frosting already had a very yellow color and decided to leave it alone. Keep this in mind if you decide to color as the yellow color will impact the end result. Keep it covered and at room temperature until you decide to use it.


  1. ALL of your monsters (cake, cupcakes, and cookies~my favorites) are adorable! Beautiful job!

  2. I just tried this recipe. It's Wonderful, so moist... Delicious. Thanks for sharing
    (I don't have a soy yogurt, so I replace it for a greec one!)

    1. So glad you liked it! I'm glad to hear that it works with Greek yogurt, although not exactly vegan. ;) Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Oh my gosh! What a cool, cool party! I just love it...you are so talented! Thanks so much for the shout-out! :)

  4. i love it.. I can not believe you made it all.
    Pinning it to remember for one of D's future birthdays.

  5. So great!

  6. Great ideas! Hope to see more soon!

  7. Beautiful work - super adorable. Love the colors!!

  8. AnonymousMay 17, 2013

    Beautiful work...!
    Is there another option rather than using soy yogurt?
    Thanks, Ruth

    1. Hi Ruth! Thank you. You can use soy milk (I've used both). I suppose you could use rice, almond or some other kind of non-dairy product. I haven't tested it so I'm not sure how successful you would be.

    2. AnonymousMay 21, 2013

      Hi Julia... Thank u. I was thinkin of trying kefir. Well, ill def. let u know the results..
      I'm excited about my son eating a healthy cake for his 1st birthday! Thanks again. ;)

  9. Hi, I have been looking for a recipe just like this for my son's first birthday! Thank you so much for sharing!!


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