As we food allergy moms know, baking is one of the first skills we acquire once we learn about our child's allergies. Ainsley's birthday party is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I have no idea what kind of cake to make. Last year I did a simple round cake (2-layer) with lots of sprinkles and little plastic Care Bears on it (she was in her Care-Bear phase). It turned out really cute. This year, I am considering being a little more adventurous. So far, I am considering doing a ballerina cake like this one or a Barbie-doll-type cake like this one or this one. Or, I might chicken out and just make another plain, round cake and put a lot of sprinkles and Peter Pan figurines on it (she's currently in her Peter Pan phase). I am an artistic person, but cake decorating is really not my thing. I'm okay at it, but it never seems to go quite right for me. I am already stressing about writing "Happy Birthday Ainsley" on the cake because I'm terrible at writing with icing.
Okay, update -- I just looked at how to do nice lettering on cakes, and found the following instructions for the "pin prick" method, which I might try:
1. Ice the cake smooth and let it crust while you make the template on a computer.
2. Print the text in the size you want it. (Try printing several sizes, different fonts, etc. and hold them up to the cake to select the one you want to use.)
3. Place a folded towel on the counter. (This provides a little cushion.)
4. Place a piece of waxed paper on the towel.
5. Place the text or picture on the waxed paper.
6. Push a pin through the paper, waxed paper, and into the towel, following the text or outline of the image. How far apart to space the pricks is a matter of experience and the size of your image. Experiment.
7. Carefully place the waxed paper on the cake, right where you want the text or image.
8. With the side of your hand, gently rub over the waxed paper so that the little numbs made by the pin press into the crusted frosting. This produces a light outline you can pipe over with a suitable tip.