Toy Story has been a popular children’s birthday party theme since I was a little kid. My friend Ashley has a one-year old who is in LOVE with it. I’m talking can-watch-all-day-every-single-day in love, love, love. SO when she was planning his first birthday party it was obvious that the theme had to be Toy Story. That’s where I come in… I wanted to make a really festive smash cake for the little guy and then cupcakes for the guests to eat as well. It is easier than it looks and I’m here to share all of the tutorials and tips I found to make this possible.
First and foremost, you need recipes! My absolute favorite cake and frosting recipes come from Chelsweets. I used her Chocolate Cupcake recipe for the cupcakes, Funfetti Cake recipe for the smash cake and her Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe for all of the frosting. I did one full batch each of both the chocolate cupcake and funfetti cake recipes and three batches of buttercream. I baked four 6″ cake layers of the funfetti cake and there was batter leftover so I did about 8 cupcakes with that batter. Can you have too cupcakes? Nope, not possible. You could probably cut the recipe in half and be perfect for three 6″ layers and it would just be about an inch shorter. Her recipes are FOOL proof.
Now the fun part!! I know frosting and decorating cakes seems daunting. Here’s the good news- I specifically went with designs that are flaw-friendly. Trust me:
Assembling the cake: If you’ve never assembled/frosted a layered cake, I highly recommend you watch Chelsweets video. She shows you exactly how to do it. But don’t get too caught up on it being super super smooth because as you can see in the photo, the sides are covered in sprinkles. I swear mine was a hot mess and it was so nice to be able to just push forward! After I frosted the cake, I immediately rolled it in sprinkles. That goes exactly as it sounds. I poured this sprinkle blend into a baking sheet and literally rolled it around. Be gentle with it but feel free to place handfuls of sprinkles on the sides if it doesn’t evenly stick. (Do this quickly after you frost because this type of frosting firms up pretty quickly, which I have learned the hard way more than). Lastly, I just piped small rounds all over the top and a little border on the bottom with some blue frosting (I just used standing blue food coloring). You don’t have to completely cover the top because you’ll be pushing the aliens onto them and snuggling them in which will even it out a bit. You can always go back and pipe little bits in if you feel like it’s too sparse. I used a Wilton Star Tip for the piping. Any frosting tip will do but star is probably the most forgiving (which is the best in my book!). I made the cake topper myself but there are so many cute ones on Etsy to choose from. I don’t own cupcake stands so I found these disposable stands at Joann Fabrics.
Making the aliens and pigs (aka Hams): I got this silicone mold from Amazon and it worked out great! Luckily they make Wilton Candy Melts in a Vibrant Green that is the exact color I needed. I got them from Joann Fabrics but you can get them from most craft/baking stores or Amazon (If you cannot find the Vibrant Green, then I would suggest getting white Candy Melts and Americolor Electric Green food coloring). I just melted a handlful in 30 second intervals in a measuring cup until it was smooth enough to pour into the mold. Once the mold is full, tap it down on your counter a bit to smooth out as many bubbles as possible (It’s impossible to get all of the bubbles out but they’re minimal, don’t panic). Put this in the freezer for 5-7 minutes and you can pop them out and do the next batch. This part is a little tedious. My tip is to invite a friend over for a glass of wine and make them help you/entertain you (Sorry Andrea!). Then use a little leftover melted candy melts to put the candy eyeballs on. I just used a little toothpick to dab it on. You have to work quickly with this because the candy melts harden faster than you’d think. Make sure you find the extra small, “mini”, eyeballs. The large ones will be harder to fit on the aliens. For the pigs, I just used pink Candy Melts (they have several pink colors, any would work) and little black gel food coloring on a toothpick to fill in the eyes but I don’t think this is an absolutely necessary step.
HOME STRETCH- Decorating the cupcakes: I attempted to do a yellow/blue/red swirl and it turned out rainbow so I would suggest doing just all one color or a small batch of each colored frosting. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe rosettes on top of the cupcakes. This is another spot where any type of tip/piping technique will look great! You’re going to put additional aliens/pigs on the top so you won’t be able to see much of the frosting design anyhow. I ran out of time to make enough of the aliens/pigs so we used little toy soldiers on the additional cupcakes. You could really do them all with these, they looked so cute!
Decor: My friend found so many cute things for her party and I got a list of the Etsy shops she purchased them from. Every single one of these was perfect, on time, exactly as pictured and such a great addition to the party. And as a bonus, you get to support some small businesses! 🙂
This high chair banner came from GraceNGoods on Etsy. So cute, durable, great quality! You can’t see but he is also wearing a Toy Story t-shirt that was customized with his name. You can find it at ProjectPartyShop on Etsy.
This backdrop was PERFECT for taking photos with the birthday boy and also just really tied everything together. It came from LoveItHangItDesign on Etsy. Lastly, you can get the disposable cow print tablecloths in a 3-pack from Amazon. It was so nice to be able to just pickup the mess and toss it out.
If you’re thinking about planning a Toy Story themed birthday party, I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please let me know 🙂