Nautical Birthday: Happy OH-Fish-Al First Birthday Ben

I made Danielle’s wedding cake and cupcakes years ago. Time flies and she has a 1 year old!! She asked if I’d like to bake Ben’s first birthday treats for his party. YES! Ben was having a nautical birthday theme! His party would be so much fun to bake for.

Outfit Inspiration

Some cakes start with an outfit! Danielle sent me this image of the outfit she had ordered for Ben’s birthday. I love designing this type of cake. The outfit is inspiration, but the cake design is my own. I needed to stay true to the outfit, and keep the nautical theme, but I could decide what elements to use and how to lay things out.

Danielle asked to have a half sheet cake with half of the cake coconut and half chocolate. The writing would say, “Happy Oh-FISH-Al First Birthday Ben!” I decided that the anchor and the Chevron print were key in the design, and omitted the bow-tie. It would be really great to involve FISH somewhere! Ultimately, I decided to make little fish to place around the cake border.

It was always in the cards to hand cut the Chevron stripes, BUT when I was out searching for a fondant or gum paste anchor topper for the smash cake (I didn’t find one) I came across this Chevron cutter. It turned out to be super helpful. I couldn’t help but remember back when I made a Chevron elephant cake and didn’t know they had these nifty little cutters!

Chevron fondant stripe

The Chevron stripe

Cake anchor inspired by the first birthday outfit

Ben’s finished first birthday cake

Smash Cake

No first birthday party is complete without some form of cake smashing!! Sometimes parents give the baby a small cupcake, others give a slice of cake, but one of the more popular ways to enjoy smashing is to have a smash cake! Danielle sent me a picture of what she was hoping to have for Ben’s smash cake.

She wanted chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. The cute little anchor on the top would set off the nautical theme really well! I couldn’t tell from the picture if this was made from gum paste or from fondant, or if it was a plastic keepsake. As such, the anchor consumed a little piece of my brain from the time she ordered until it was time to make the cake. Would I make one? Buy one? Only time would tell.

As it came closer to cake time I thought I’d go looking for anchors. It could be fun to have a little keepsake from the first birthday. But, it would also be cool to have an edible anchor. I decided that if I found something it would be meant to be, and if not then edible would be fabulous as well. I didn’t end up finding an anchor so I made one with gum paste and edible silver paint.  The ombre effect on my finished cake was not as dramatic as in the reference image. With significantly less variation in color, the cake had a stronger blue feeling than the original. Ombre is challenging; getting the color variations that you desire is tricky. In the bowls of frosting the colors looked VERY different and then on the cake it was incredibly subtle. However, I did like the finished product, I just needed to accept that it was “inspired” by the original.

Ben’s finished 1st birthday smash cake!

The birthday boy

Danielle was kind enough to post a few pictures on the Emoticakes Facebook page so I could see everything! Ben had a perfect day for a party and he clearly had a BLAST smashing that cake!! Danielle is a photographer so she was able to photograph her son’s first birthday professionally! Check out more of her work.

Photos by Danielle Baker

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