Last Saturday was a bittersweet day.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!


My sweet baby Olivia turned one.

I sat in the chair and watched her play with a wonderful contraption that grandma had bought her, full of bells and whistles and shiny moving parts that can keep a little one entertained for hours.

She moved the pieces with her fingers then would stop to watch her fingers, all at once discovering her ability to maneuver the toys parts and her ability to make her hands do what her brain told them to do.  I could almost hear her thoughts as she went back and forth between wonder and excitement and the simple music of the pieces clinking together.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!


She noticed me watching her and dropped her toy to the side.  She quickly crawled over to my feet and reached out, grabbing my legs to assist her as she pulled herself up.  Standing before me and doing her little toddler dance of bending her knees and rocking back and forth, I knew she wanted on mommy’s lap.  I happily obliged and immediately asked for a kiss.

She nodded her head back and forth ‘no’ as is her habit whenever mommy asks for a smooch.  Then she leaned in to give me one anyway, which erupted into a frenzy of kisses all over her pudgy cheeks and forehead.

She giggled and fell into my arms, both of us sighing and smiling.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!


My sweet baby, no longer a baby, but now a curious and eager toddler, ready to explore the world on a new level, is ready to leave the onesies and bottles behind.

But I am not.

My husband and I decided that we were done having children.  And honestly, five is enough.  It’s more than most.  It’s our perfectly complete family and honestly it’s five more blessings more than I ever deserved.

But saying goodbye to being pregnant and bringing life into the world and nursing and rocking a baby to sleep in the wee hours of the morning… that is not something I am ready for.

Thankfully, there isn’t much time to sit around and mourn the loss of  a role that I was blessed with many times over.

Thankfully, my husband and children remind me often that life changes, people grow, and it’s best to adapt with a smile rather than fight it kicking and screaming.

Thankfully there are many more stages and wonderful life experiences in store.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!

And thankfully, we get to celebrate them with cake.

The above cake is a “first birthday” surprise-inside cake that I made for Olivia.  To make your very own “number 1” surprise-inside cake you can follow the directions HERE.  (The link leads to my Countdown Cake with written directions as well as a video tutorial.)

It is a vanilla cake covered in the best basic buttercream and topped with mini rainbow coated chocolate chips.  The pink #1 is also vanilla cake (tinted pink with Ateco food coloring) and McCormick Strawberry Extract added.

In my new book Surprise-Inside Cakes I share many more cakes and techniques as well as snippets and humorous stories about life as a mom and wife.  It’s a great gift for a new mom, for any mom, or for anyone who likes cake!


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I am seconding Barbara’s comment.
    For so many years (as I struggled through motherhood) I heard over and over again, “Enjoy them now. They grow up so fast!” As if I couldn’t enjoy them when they got older????
    I haven’t celebrated a first birthday for 13 years now. My daughter just graduated from high school and leaves for college in just over two months. And I have absolutely NO intention of NOT enjoying my kids at this age. I am going to maintain my role as Mom until the day I die. Yes, things are changing, the relationship is different, my kids don’t “need” me in the same ways they did years ago. But I am still their mom, I still love them, and I’m still enjoying them.
    Take heart, my friend. As you end one phase, another one begins. And it’s all good. ((hugs))

  2. Such a sweet post. My youngest, twins, just graduated from high school. Time really does fly by. Give your little one a hug from me.

  3. What a sweet post, Amanda. I’m sitting here nursing my own almost one-year old reading and nodding along, feeling the tears trying to well up. Babies are beautiful and this stage of motherhood is beyond a blessing. My husband and I still hope for more children, but all the wishing in the world won’t bring them to us unless it’s God’s will, so I try my best to cherish each baby as they come. Cheers to celebrating each new day with your children.

  4. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have 4 boys between the ages of 11 months to 6 years old. I really really want to have a girl…like really bad! Since Mason was born (my youngest who will be one June 22nd) my husband and I have gone back and forth between wanting another and stopping with 4! For most people it seems like such an easy choice to stop having children….but for some (apparently “crazy” people like us) it is a heart-wrenching decision to say goodbye to such a beautiful role. There is nothing more fulfilling in life than being a mother and giving birth to new life! Just when I think my heart couldn’t be anymore full…it grows bigger! Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I wonder if I bit off more than I could chew, but that’s the beauty of it all! There are going to be good days, bad days, really bad days, and really GREAT days! So we have decided to try one more time for a girl! Not right now but start trying in about a year. I am excited about our decision, for one reason because putting all of his outgrown clothes (especially the Newborn ones) into the attic thinking that it was our last one really took a toll on me!
    This is the first time I have come across your blog. I look forward to reading more! Thanks for the surprise inside cake decorations. I may just do this for Mason’s 1st Birthday coming up later this month!

  5. What a lovely memory for you to share. I am a grandma (Bunya), and I love looking through and trying your recipes. Your memories bring back so many of my own. Tugs at my heart. Thank you for your recipes and especially all the stories you share with us all. Very lovely. May God continue to bless you all with Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity. Anna 🙂

  6. I think your the best baker!! Love all your recipes!! Keep up the good work and remember you are loved 🌹🥰😋😋😋😋😋

  7. very sweet, loved your story, you are blessed indeed as your children seem to be, you loving them and being willing to bake and show them love this way as well. many happy birthdays!!! loving what you do, we need more real “moms” like you. God bless your family 🙂

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