Strawberry Dream Cake for Sebastian's First Birthday

This past Monday Sebastian turned 1! I can't believe a year has passed already. It's hard to imagine that a year ago I was 45 pounds heavier, huffing and puffing up every flight of stairs, and praying someone would just take the baby out of me. Pregnancy was not my most glamorous time. I had all the typical ailments plus a few weird ones I had gained along the way.

Plus, abstaining from alcohol for 10 months had me feeling all the rage. Especially during the hottest summer in Seattle's history. I remember sitting up at night, mostly due to insomnia, trying to imagine what my life would be like with a baby. In retrospect, trying to imagine what your life will be like with a baby is impossible, because babies come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments, and really, you just have to cross your fingers that you get a calm relaxed one that rarely cries. Sebastian and I have come along way since the early days where he was such a tiny little thing, curled up in my arms barely making a peep. It all seems but a fleeting memory now. People tell you how fast the first year goes, but when you're in the thick of it, up all hours of the night, a 24-hour hour milking machine, you're thinking to yourself, can this phase go any faster? And then your baby turns one, and they start teething and being fussy all the time and throwing food all over the floor and you think to yourself, gosh I miss those early days. In all seriousness though, I love all of the stages. Even though we are going through a tough one right now, it's magical to see Sebastian turn into a little person. He has such a fiery and feisty personality and I love him so.

For Sebastian's first birthday, I decided to throw him/me a party to celebrate surviving our first year together. In true Heather form, I ended up inviting more people than I had anticipated, prepared more food than I wanted to, and stressed just slightly more than a healthy person should. I spent 2 days planning for the party - soaking chickpeas for Ottolenghi's hummus, peeling vegetables, baking cakes, cleaning, and then more cleaning. The day of the party, the clouds parted, and the sun shone, and we were able to make use of our new patio furniture! We fired up the BBQ and grilled maple glazed salmon. I prepared two salads - my signature black bean and a pasta salad with fresh tomatoes and basil. I had hummus and pitas, guacamole and chips. Two cheese platters that would make your heart sing. I was so busy and in such a state of panic I accidentally forgot to photograph anything, except the cake. Which, really, is the most important part anyways.

Shall we talk about this cake? I made a four-layer classic white cake using America's Test Kitchen's recipe and a strawberry buttercream frosting from I Am Baker. I doubled the classic white cake recipe and quadrupled the buttercream recipe (disclaimer: a lot of butter was killed in the making of these recipes). I made the cake the night before, wrapped each layer in Saran wrap, and set them on top of each other to flatten out. The next day, I prepared the buttercream frosting in two batches. I spread a generous layer of frosting in between each cake. I then covered the cake with a crumb coat and then finished it off using this piping technique with a Wilton 1M tip. I bought a few macarons from the local bakery and placed them on top! The cake was a hit -, especially with Sebastian. It was so fun to see his eyes light up as we sang happy birthday to him - all 35 of us.