LIFE WITH TODDLERS: Watercolor Birthday Cake

It is Nonni’s Birthday! Yay! What is the obvious must have to celebrate? CAKE! And somewhere in the planning, I decided to forego the obvious option of getting my helpful friends at HEB to decorate a cake no one will likely eat and instead, make a cake with a 2 and 3 year old that no one would likely eat. What goes through our mind as moms? I have no idea. Nevertheless, I survived and Nonni loved it. We also enlisted the help of Gigi, which was a real lifesaver. I will preface this by saying I am NOT a professional cake maker/decorator, just a hot mess mom having some stressful fun with her toddlers.

I found the proportions for the Watercolor Paint off of Pinterest here:

And my grandma has a really delicious Buttercream recipe that you can find here:

One thing was super helpful was having my grandma pre-make the cake and let it cool before we got there. As you know, time moves fast with toddlers and ain’t nobody got time for cooling cakes.

Flash forward post calm baking morning for Gigi: toddlers arrive and craziness ensues in the form of powdered sugar fights, counter dancing, and cake stabbing. ((insert 12 shots of expresso)). Are we having fun yet?

Gigi kindly saved the munchkins the cake batter mixers to lick, so that was nice.


While I shaped up the cake and repeated the mantra “I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids…”, Gigi and the kiddos made the frosting. See above link for really yummy buttercream.


We decided to use three round cakes and stack them three layers high. Optimistic me wanted to watercolor the cake batter also, but again…toddlers and cake cooling. I did the frosting in between the layers and the “dirty icing” around the outside (I am pretty sure that is what the pros call it). My pro grandma tells me that it is super important to make sure the fondant is stuck to the outside icing. She makes awesome cake, so whatever she says, goes.


Next we rolled out the fondant, be sure to use a ton of powdered sugar and flip frequently. We used a brand of fondant called Satin Ice and it worked really well. A & J helped with the rolling, but this portion of our fun was mainly me rolling, and the kids licking the counter. Super sanitary. Love you mom.


After we (me) covered the cake, we let it harden up a bit by putting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will also slightly prevent the creation of large cake craters made by toddlers with paintbrushes that have no idea what the word “gentle” means.


When there were about 3 minutes left, we mixed the paint colors. Side note: DON’T do this too early or the alcohol in the extract will evaporate and you will have to re-mix. These gel colors worked best and we used Almond Extract. I read you can also use the clear Vanilla Extract, just didn’t have any.

For the final leg of crazy, painting. I didn’t want the cake to turn out brown, so we did one color at a time. It worked nicely for the most part until Jayden started painting with the non-diluted food coloring. I rinsed the brushes between colors and then smoothed it out when they were finished.

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Overall, the kids had a blast and got to spend time with their great-grandma. If we do edible painting again, it will probably be with cookies to reduce the excessive poking and raising of my blood pressure. We put the polka dot ribbon right before lighting the candles and I secured it with a small pin.


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