The morning I got back from my trip to Portland, lil' sis picked me up from the airport and we went immediately to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make my nephew's birthday cake. When my brother initially sent out the birthday evite, he jokingly referred to the baby as "Sir," so lil' sis and I decided to go with it as the theme. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided to make a lime cake dusted with coconut flakes. I made a little castle tower with leftover black sesame buttercream frosting that I had frozen from the niece's Totoro birthday cake. Bought some knights and dragon figurines and positioned them like they were fighting. And lastly, added cake bunting so it would look like a tournament.
Since I only had a few hours from when I landed 'til when the party started, I used boxed cake mix for ease. One box of yellow cake mix and one small box of lime gelatin.
Mix it up and the cake will be light green.
I also spooned some of the batter into a ceramic mug for the castle. Bake per the box's directions.
While the cake was baking, I made the cake bunting.
Cut corners on top to create a tower.
I kept it pretty simple with just a few cut-outs.
Add a few drops of green food coloring to frosting. Doesn't matter if it doesn't look so nice because it'll be all covered with coconut flakes anyway.
I frosted the tower with black sesame buttercream frosting. Then scratched out some brick shapes with a knife.
Tie the cake bunting onto some skewers.
A small skewer inserted through the tower kept the whole thing in place while I drove to my brother's house. I added the knights and dragon when I arrived.
Dragon storming the castle.
It's a battle between blue and red.
Actually, the knights look like they're stuck in the grass.
The niece had fun helping me place the figurines on the cake.
Lil' sis made the knight-themed cupcakes.
Armor, swords, and shields out of fondant.
The kids had fun sword fighting.
Lil' sis also made blank shields for the kids to decorate. Cousin Phong decorated the nephew's shield with a rabbit and cat for Chinese and Vietnamese zodiacs.
Here's our baby knight with his sword and shield.
Cousin Phong also drew Mater and Lightning McQueen on a shield for the niece. She's obsessed with "Cars." No surprise what her birthday party theme is going to be?
My brother got barbecue catered by Wilson's BBQ Rib Shack.
Tri-tip and mashed potatoes.
Brisket and mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows in the back.
The guy forgot to include the potato salad, so my brother had to call him so he could bring it, but otherwise the barbecue was a hit with everyone.
After guests finished eating, we moved on to the fun part of Vietnamese first birthday parties -- the ceremony to figure out what the baby will be when he grows up. I remembered from my niece's first birthday party that we needed to have a dozen items. They're not supposed to be exact professions as much as representative of future career direction. For example, the flower shows an artistic bent, pen or pencil means writer, book is scholar, calculator for math, mirror for attractiveness (or perhaps vanity?), and money for wealth. Those were the traditional items that I could remember, and then my brother scoured his house to make it an even dozen items.
Plopped the nephew in front of the items.
And he went for the scissors.
Oh no! Tailor? What does choosing scissors mean?
Poor guy looked so confused. Why were people yelling for him to pick something else?
Youngest aunt took the scissors away so he could choose another.
And he went for the mirror.
Scissors and a mirror? Will he become a fashion designer like uncle Phong?
Happy birthday little nephew!
Can you believe this little guy is 1 already?
How to Dye Coconut Flakes
How to Sew Cake Bunting
Wilson's BBQ Rib Shack
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today, Caesar Salad with Chicken and Croutons.
4 years ago today, Vietnam Restaurant - San Gabriel.
5 years ago today, Chicken Kara-age (Japanese Fried Chicken).
6 years ago today, Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Salad Rolls).