Birthdays and Buttercream

My kids were all born in the summer. Our oldest was a Labor Day baby, and our middle and youngest have July birthdays a week apart. Yep. ONE WEEK. So when it was time to plan our little guy’s first birthday party a month ago, we were careful to “ask” our middle child if she would mind having a combined birthday party with her baby brother. We were surprised that she was all for it! 

A Very Mickey Birthday Party

I told my husband we should run with it as long as we can because there will be a day that she doesn’t want it any more and wants to do her own thing. That being said, she did chose her own party theme. She wanted a “Peach and Daisy party.” Whaaaa? Peach and Daisy? From Mario Cart? SERIOUSLY? And we did Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the baby because he drops everything to be in the room to dance/squirm/bounce when he hears the theme song.

Birthdays and Buttercream

Long story short, most of this combined party decor was homemade because of the variations in color. Although it’s getting more difficult with three, I always try to make the kids’ parties special with at least part of the decorations and cakes homemade. 

Mickey Mouse cupcakes? Sign me up! Click To Tweet

I figured the Mickey Mouse cupcakes would be simple! I made a homemade buttercream and used…box mix.  



Yep. Box. Mix. I said it. It is too difficult to make homemade cakes when I don’t use flour in our house due to my gluten-free lifestyle. I also used a box mix for a gluten-free version of the cupcakes. I haven’t mastered homemade gluten-free cake–yet!

Buttercream Decorations

My buttercream frosting holds up well for piping. I found it worked even better if I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes after it was in the piping bag. I used a wide round tip to pipe a wide swirl of frosting on top of the cakes.

Birthdays and Buttercream

I didn’t care if it was pretty or not because I was going to smash cookie crumbs and sprinkles on top anyway. 

I crushed about 3/4 box of Oreos in a Ziplock bag. 

Birthdays and Buttercream

Then, I put them in a bowl to roll the frosted cupcakes in the crumbs. I ended up rolling them first, then gently packing some on with my hands. 

Birthdays and Buttercream

The final touch was to push two mini Oreos in the top like Mickey’s ears. 

Birthdays and Buttercream

The Oreos worked well for this, but thinking back I wish I had only used the cookie instead of the cream inside. Since I can’t taste them (not gluten-free), I have to rely on others’ “reviews” to adjust my recipes for later. Some family said it was really sweet with the frosting AND the Oreo cream. Yikes. 

Smash Cake Success

Because this was a first birthday party, I also made a small smash cake. I made two small, thin round cakes and used a large Mickey cookie cutter to cut out the cake.

Birthdays and Buttercream

The cake ended up being extremely fragile around the ears. I put a crumb coat of buttercream between the two layers and to coat the cake, put it in a Ziplock bag, and froze it. 

When it was time to coat it with Oreos and sprinkles, I let it thaw for about 15 minutes so the crumbs would stick. 

Birthdays and Buttercream

Instead of rolling the cake in crumbs, I threw them inside the Ziplock baggie and gently pressed them in with my hands.

I figured it would be much less of a mess this way!

Birthdays and Buttercream

It ended up having a few too many white spots, so it threw some red sprinkles on it. It’s a smash cake, right? It’s going to be smashed up anyway! 

Sprinkles are *almost* pixie dust, right? Click To Tweet

The final product:

Birthdays and Buttercream

Birthday boy enjoying his cake:

He obviously loved it!

The end result of the smashing:

Birthdays and Buttercream

Here is my buttercream recipe.

Easy Buttercream

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened (*You may want to use half Crisco. See note below.)
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Wilton Butter flavor (optional, but so worth it!)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of heavy cream

Combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and butter flavor. Mix well. Add heavy cream tablespoon at a time and beat 5 min after each tablespoon is added.

You can use more or less cream  and sugar as needed to get the consistency you desire. You may want your frosting a little thicker for piping but a little softer if you are icing a cake.

*Note: If you are using the frosting for a decorating a cake or piping, you can also use half butter half Crisco (plain or butter flavor) to help the frosting hold up. I usually do this for all these summer parties so it doesn’t start to slide in the summer heat!


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