Ladybug First Birthday Cake

The ladybug theme is perfect for a first birthday! Penelope’s Mom said they were celebrating her first birthday with a pink and black ladybug theme. She sent me several inspirational pictures and shared what she liked about each one.

I LOVE it when I have the opportunity to base a design on many different cakes, so making Penelope’s cake was a joy from the first email. This post is to share the creative process with you as much as the finished product.

The pictures

I’ve attached to this email some pictures for inspiration. I like bits and pieces of each one, so was hoping to combine them into our cake. Here’s what I like:

Picture 1

The tiny flying ladybugs on tier one that travel up to the top edge of the tier. I would also like Penelope’s name spelled out (possibly in pretty cursive) on the bottom tier – it’s a long name, so I’m definitely ok with the font being smaller … her name doesn’t have to take up a ton of room; just on the front.

Picture 2

This is another example of the tiny flying ladybugs that I like.

Picture 3

I envision our cake looking a lot like this one (only in a light/pale pink instead of red) with the 3 tiers, the top being a ladybug of that size that can serve as Penelope’s piece at her party. I like the 2 different sized black polka dots. I also like the leaves that fold over the edge (although I feel like these leaves are a little too large – I’ve attached another pic of leaves I like better). I also like the #1 where it is on this cake.

Picture 4

I think this top Ladybug is cute and how it has a little bow on her hair. I also like these leaves a lot better than the larger leaves of picture 3.

Picture 5

I liked the bowed ribbon on the bottom each the tiers… maybe just a thin, black ribbon/bow look for ours? Kind of like in cake 2?

Using the Inspiration

Lindsay gave me all the information I needed to combine things to make them hopefully exactly how she wanted Penelope’s cake to be. The pale pink would be the main focus color with white and black as our secondary colors. I loved her idea of thin black ribbon as well as the big ladybug on the top. Penelope has a dairy allergy so we made the top tier dairy-free for her.

The ladybug is made from rice cereal treats and she is covered in frosting and fondant. Follow my directions for making your own edible graduation caps to make the body of the lady bug.

Since this post is about inspiration vs a true how-to, I’ll jump straight to the finished cake. Note the following things: I didn’t include green leaves for her. I did make them and brought them when I delivered the cake, but I didn’t want to add another color to the design. You can see that I started to copy the stitching style of picture 4 for Penelope’s name if you look closely at the left side of her name. I didn’t like how it was turning out, and unfortunately black frosting stains pale pink fondant. I had to add a polka dot in a not-so-great spot to cover a frosting stain when I thought I could get away with wiping it off and starting over with the writing. I was able to place another dot in a similar way to make it less of an obvious mistake.

I absolutely loved how this cake came out for Penelope! I think it is such fun that they went with the ladybug theme but used pale pink and black instead of the standard red.

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