For some birthdays, we know months ahead of time what cake/theme we're going to use. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired this time around. I knew I wanted to do something book themed since Anson really didn't care what kind of cake he had, and that way it would go with our For the LOVE of BOOKS theme.
A few days before Anson's birthday I thought of doing a Brown Bear, Brown Bear Cake, and it was a big hit.
Anson loves animals, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle is always one of the first books our kids learn to "read" in the pre-reading stage because it's got so much repetition and great picture clues. Anson's not "reading" it yet, but I'm sure he will be soon.
The cake was super simple to put together. It would be great for child's birthday or even a baby shower. I used two cake mixes to get the really tall look of the cake. I used a half-recipe of dark chocolate buttercream for the filling and 1 recipe of vanilla buttercream was just enough to frost the top and sides of the cake. I had planned on making the frosting really smooth, but then at the last minute realized that if it had all sorts of swoops and swirls, it would be more reminiscent of Eric Carle's illustrations, so I ended up adding some extra texture to the frosting.
I added M&M's around the edges. Two packs was just about right. I had some left over, but by the end, I was running out of a couple of the colors. If you want to be picky about the color pattern turning out just right, then you may need to buy three packs.
I'm not a cake decorating purist, so I'm okay if not everything on the cake is edible. We did what was easy, which was to make some print-outs and pop them on. I did some image searches online to come up with the animal images. If I had it to do over again, I'd resize the animal for the sides of the cake to be a bit smaller...but we were starting to run up against bedtime and just needed to get the cake done. (And we were rushed enough, I even forgot to take a picture of the cake with the book next to it.)
I found a pack of corrugated scrapbook cardstock/cardboard in the scrapbooking section at JoAnns. I figured it would be perfect backing for the animals to add some color and also to keep the fats in the frosting from leaking through onto our images.
Anson loved the cake and kept pointing to all the animals on it, especially the red bird and yellow duck because birds are a favorite with him lately. (There he is doing the sign for bird.)
The white frosting and M&M's around the side are simple enough that you could use them on their own to decorate a cake or use them with any number of other print-outs.
If you love projects based on favorite children's books, be sure to follow me via your favorite social media outlet to see what we're doing for the rest of the For the LOVE of BOOKS series. You can also find Pieces by Polly on Facebook, on Pieces by Polly on Pinterest here, and/or follow me on Instagram @PiecesbyPolly.
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