Vanilla Bean Cake (with Vanilla Bean Buttercream)


Mom guilt is awful. And I’m not even talking about the “mommy wars” stuff like breastfeeding or formula feeding, sleep training or not, discipline, and a host of other things. I’m talking about the guilt you inflict upon yourself as a mom that can make you feel both awful and awfully ridiculous. When I first learned I was pregnant with Ian, I basically freaked out. It’s not because it was a surprise or anything like that, but I was so worried about bringing a new person who needed our attention into the world of a near-3-year-old who’d had us all to himself for as long. And then when I realized my due date was a mere 10 days from the due date I had when I was pregnant with Zachary, well, then I started feeling guilt about their birthdays being so close. How could I have a third birthday party for Z with a really newly-new newborn? Would they feel slighted that they had to share parties as kids because our families are just not close enough to come twice? And would Ian look back on his first birthday picture and be mad he didn’t get his own celebration like his brother had?

The thing is, I know a lot of it is crazy. For one thing, it’s not like we even  have big parties. Also, does Ian care about his first birthday party? Of course not. He has no idea what’s going on, and all he cares about are things like eating four times as much food as you’d expect a kid in the 13th percentile to eat, climbing onto every surface, moving things from one container to another, and refusing to sleep.

Zachary got a little slighted for his party last year since Ian was less than 2 weeks old. And it wasn’t a big deal, because he couldn’t have cared less and, like I said, it’s not like we have huge parties. But I phoned it in by buying a cake (which had his name spelled incorrectly when we went to pick it up, FYI) and ordering pizza. So, because Ian has no clue what’s going on, anyway, I asked Zachary what kind of party he wanted this year. We made sure he knew he would be sharing the party with Ian, and he said that was just fine as long as there were two cakes. Well, obviously!

I was pretty happy when Zachary chose vanilla as his cake flavor. I asked him a few times, and his answer always remained vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. I like chocolate cake well enough, but I’ll choose vanilla over chocolate in almost every instance. And make it vanilla bean cake with vanilla bean frosting? Well, then there’s just no contest.

Z wanted a football party, and originally, I’d planned on attempting to make this into a Chicago Bears cake by basically stenciling the C logo in orange decorating sugar, but they were out of orange at the store and I really did not want to attempt piping, because, guys? I suck so hard at decorating cakes. SO. Sprinkles to the rescue! I did make some cookies and we had football-themed food like sliders, Italian beef, mini pretzel-wrapped hot dogs, and the like.

So, back to the cake. I was a big, big fan. Everyone liked this cake, especially Ian, who had his very own, and cried so hard when I took it away from him. If I hadn’t, though, he would have eaten an entire 6″ layer cake on his own and, well, that’s not cool. Because if anyone gets to eat an entire one of these cakes, it’s going to be me.


Vanilla Bean Cake (with Vanilla Bean Buttercream)

4 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Cake (with Vanilla Bean Buttercream)

  1. I can definitely see mom guilt over something like this being tough…but you can only control it so much! I am born just two weeks before my sister so we always share birthdays now…and it really just makes life easier for everyone. And we don’t even request two cakes lol.

    I think your cake looks gorgeous!!

  2. I am sooooo surprised your son chose a vanilla cake. Good for him. This one sure baked up nice and high. I think cakes that use buttermilk have a special snap to them.
    At least the boys’ birthdays aren’t next to Xmas to make it even worse.

  3. Hi Elly,
    I just found your blog (more precisely, this cake recipe) very recently, but wanted to thank you for this one. I promised to make a cake for the first birthday of a good friend of mine (and they are Bears fans…), and this was my first cake ever. I did not change anything, and it turned out fantastic, and actually much easier than it looked like. (Except for the frosting — which I was pretty terrible at, but ended up covering it with fondant /blue and orange!/, so it was fine.)
    So, thanks so much, the little 1-year old and his parents were very happy!

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