This isn’t so much a recipe but more of a “let me share this amazing experience with you” kind of thing. Almost one year ago, one of my best friends and should-be-sister, Kelly, asked me to bake a cake for her son’s first birthday. The theme I picked was “shark” and here’s why… when Kelly was pregnant, she shared her ultra sound with me. Please understand I know absolutely nothing about babies and children, so in my sweet innocence, I thought the baby was the dark space rather than the gray space on the ultrasound photo. I proudly exclaimed, “He’s a shark!!!”
Can you see the shark I saw? (Kelly gave me permission to post this!)
So that’s how Kelly’s boy, Evan, became a shark, and it was only fitting that his first birthday theme should be exactly that!
The internet is a wonderful place when one needs inspiration. I found a lot of ideas of “ocean-themed” foods just by searching Google and Pinterest.
The first idea I had was to make little individual aquariums for the kids. I made clear jello and added one drop of blue food coloring so it looked like water. I added jelly beans to the bottom as “gravel” and a swedish fish gummy sticking out, as if it were jumping out of the water. The kids loved it!
I also made little oysters out of sugar-free cookies (think healthier and no sugar-highs!). I spread a little bit of strawberry icing inside the “oysters” and yogurt-covered raisins to pose as pearls. And for a final, cute touch – little eyes!
It wouldn’t be a party without cupcakes. I made vanilla cupcakes and sprinkled graham cracker dust over them to make it look like sand. I made little turtles out of gummies on half the cupcakes and put a gummy starfish under a tiny umbrella on the other half. Very beachy!
And once again, keeping in mind all the sugary treats the kids would eat, I balanced it out with octopus hot dogs (a.k.a., dogtopus). I added little black eyes using black food coloring and a toothpick.
And for the final masterpiece… a made a two-tier cake with a majestic shark as the cake topper! This was only my second time working with fondant, so it cracked. The shark I made was way too heavy for the fondant and I also rolled it too thick. But I still think it turned out great! I shaped the shark with rice krispy treats and covered it with fondant/gum paste mixture. I colored it silvery-gray using edible chalk. So the shark was 100% edible!
If I had a do-over, I would have made the cake out of buttercream…it would have looked more like wavy water and wouldn’t have cracked like the fondant did. Ah, living and learning!
And after all was said and done, this was all that was leftover:
I had so much fun preparing all the food! This was an amazing challenge!