the last first birthday cake

filed under: Surprise Inside Cakes on June 3, 2014

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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  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Aww, I can only imagine how sad/happy you were to celebrate Olivia!! This cake is certainly one to remember though – so pretty!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you so much Katrina!

  • Catherine says:

    This brought a tear to my eye…my baby is 18 months now… not such a baby anymore. However, everyday, as she discovers more of the world, I discover my love grows more than I ever thought possible. Love your blog!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Catherine!

  • Dani Meyer says:

    Waaa!! I am seriously wondering if we are at the same point of being done at two babies. Phin is turning 1 in less than 2 weeks and I feel it slipping away so fast. My girlfriend just had a baby this last week and holding him made me realize how much mine isn’t a baby anymore. Sniff. I’ll come cry and eat cake with ya!

    • Amanda says:

      ha ha… yes, lets eat cake!

  • Gianna Kordatzky says:

    Amanda, I remembering feeling the same way. The. EXACT. SAME. WAY. I sobbed for months when Omri was done nursing. MONTHS! Not every day. Well, okay, at first it WAS everyday, but then it would come unexpectedly and I would be in tears. Now three years later (after his first birthday), I can honestly say, I love love love babies and I will hold them and love them and be comfortable with them and support new moms and help new moms, but I am glad we are on to this new stage. I think it helps that Omri was a monkey boy. He is a peanut and still likes to be cuddled and hugged and loved. You will adjust (even with tears) and you will be glad, but it doesn’t have to be today.

    Love you!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for that Gianna… I am glad to know that me feelings are similar to yours and that you made it through!! Be blessed!!

  • Samina | The Cupcake Confession says:

    This is joyous and heart wrenching moment at the very same time. You do, however, get that awesome opportunity of entering into the next phase and looking forward to exciting prospects too! This cake looks DELICIOUS and what a perfect way to celebrate Olivia’s first birthday! <3 :*

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Samina!

  • Monisha says:

    True.. while eager for my baby to learn and explore new things, I do feel sad for the 1st year to have passed by so quickly. He turned 1 in April.. I am however happily not done having babies. 🙂 Happy Birthday Olivia. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Ha ha… you stinker! 😉

  • Jill @ Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons says:

    Such a fun & pretty cake. Happy birthday to Olivia!

  • Cat says:

    Amanda…let me cheer you up…A LOT! There will be more 1st Birthdays when the Grandkids arrive! And guess who will be their caker? YOU! I get to make all of my grandkids cakes! It’s AWESOME! Actually, this year it’s FROZEN cupcakes for the granddaughter but hey, cake is cake! So take heart that after the milestone 5th, 10th, 16th and 18th birthdays that there will come another 1st Birthday!


    • Amanda says:

      Oh yes… that is so true!!!

  • Heather Christo says:

    Awwww. It’s been three years since I last celebrated a 1st birthday. While It makes me a little teary to hear you speak of the baby years like that (and I definitely feel my ovaries anytime I am anywhere near a brand new baby!) there are so many joys in life with having the children a little bit older. Your life can change so much in a few short years! Much love to your family and happiest first birthday wishes to Olivia!

    • Amanda says:

      So true… thank you for that perspective! Blessings sweety!

  • Carla | Carlas Confections says:

    That is so sweet. I can’t believe how fast that year went. If Matt and I are ever blessed with a child (which I know we will be in His time) you can feel free to adopt them so you can have the baby experience again 😉

    • Amanda says:

      I know you will be too. You and Matt were born to be a mom and dad!! Will be praying with you through this. 🙂

  • Rosie Greaves (@cupoftearosielee) says:

    Aww it’s so sweet. I’m going to have to make it for my cousin’s little one in 3 months 🙂
    Also just ordered Surprise Inside Cakes from amazon. Whoop. Come on Mr Postie x

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks so much Rosie!!

  • Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures says:

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing

  • Leah says:

    Awwwwww, so sweet. You’re such a wonderful mama and your sadness makes perfect sense. [Hug]

  • Pat says:

    A beautiful cake for a special little one! I have no idea how you do all these cakes and everything else with 5 children! You are a miracle worker ~ 🙂 I must agree with another that mentioned future grandkids ~ such an incredible experience. You think you can’t love anyone more than your own children but there’s another HUGE love involved. I think maybe God gives us a larger heart in the process. 🙂


  • Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips says:

    Aww, Amanda, I only have two, but we are done, and I know exactly how you feel. My little guy just stopped nursing now, too, and today I saw a photo of a pregnant woman, and for the first time was kind of sad about what I won’t ever experience again. But he is becoming so big and awesome, so I am holding onto that. Happy Belated Birthday, Olivia!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks Brianne and big hugs to you!!

  • Amanda Paa says:

    i love how real you are. happy birthday Olivia and hugs to you!

  • Nicole @ Or Whatever You Do says:

    Awwwwww….:( I feel your pain, and your joy. Happy 1st birthday to Olivia! My 5th baby (and also my last baby) is going to turn 1 on Saturday, and I’m busy pretending like she is still itty bitty and will be forever. I will definitely miss the baby stage being gone gone from my life, but in another way I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’ve had an infant to keep happy and alive for 8 of the last 10 years. That is a lot of baby time! It is going to be sort of freeing as Amelia grows more and more independent. Or so I keep telling myself so I don’t get too nostalgic and sad about the upcoming birthday!! 😉

    • Amanda says:

      You have sure been busy! And it sounds like you deserve a much needed break. 🙂

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    It’s been a long while but I remember those feelings. My daughter’s quit nursing shortly after their first birthday so I really felt like it was over…but of course it was not….so many wonderful experiences lay ahead and yet those milestone years always seem to affect me. My youngest just turned 30. THIRTY!! First of all, how can I still be 39? And second…your whole perspective on your own mom changes as they get older. I still feel she needs my guidance; she thinks I’m crazy. She will always be ‘my baby’ and she thinks she is the adult who knows everything…so trust me you will be ‘mommy’ for much longer than you imagine and despite the more complicated relationship as they grow up; it’s still got milestones and memories that you will treasure. Happy Birthday to you and Olivia…and here’s to many more!!

    • Amanda says:

      Such wise words!!

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets says:

    Seriously, she turned one??? Oh my gosh, how time flies when it’s not your own child, hehe!!!

  • Melinda Spille says:

    Absolutely love this! It’s so cute <3 Many special blessings to sweet Olivia on her birthday and to you too as she is your "last" – I'm personally looking forward to grandkids myself since I only had 2 kiddos. I wish they stayed babies forever! Love the #1 inside (you're so creative!) and how sweet and simple the cake is too!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says:

    Oh this post!! Makes my heart swell.

  • 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))

    • Amanda says:

      You always bring a smile to my heart Karen. 🙂

  • Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says:

    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.

  • Jelli says:

    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.

    • Amanda says:

      What an excellent Cheers! 🙂 Bug hugs to you Jelli!

  • Shannon says:

    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!

    • Amanda says:

      So excited for you Shannon! I bet your four boys are blessed to have such a loving momma! 🙂

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