Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dinos & Donuts {Brady's 1st Birthday Party}

How many cake-smeared-on-the-face photos is too many for a first birthday party post?  

Maybe like 16ish?  

Excellent!  Because I have a mere fifteen carefully culled messy frosting snapshots for your enjoyment!  If that prospect doesn't absolutely thrill you {you monster}, there's two baked donut recipes for your patience after the pictorial sugar smorgasbord. 

We celebrated B's first year {his golden birthday!} the Saturday before Easter with a brunch in Austin.  Try as I might, a clever April Fools' theme for my 4/1 bambino did not materialize, so "Dinos & Donuts" it was... because I love alliteration and decor I can find laying around in our toy boxes. 

We served assorted quiches from Costco, mixed berry fruit salad, Smitten Kitchen's spinach and cheese strata {which apparently I did not photograph but will forever be the shining star on my brunch menu -- I had 4 requests for the recipe!}, mimosas, coffee, and two types of cake donuts.

We kept the decorations easy-peasy -- old school balloons and crepe paper, the Official H Family Birthday Banner, plastic dinosaur figurines {most we already had / the bigger guys I found for $1 a piece at Walmart}, and these adorable felt donuts {that are now the all-stars of the play kitchen}.  I did make the balloon wreath {something else I hope to use many, many times in years to come} {DIY instructions here, if you're so inclined -- it's the easiest craft ever} and the monthly photo banner {which I am slightly obsessed with and will hang in B's room until he's old enough to deem it uncool}. 

My talented friend Cayden designed the invites for us, and we had them printed via VistaPrint.  It was a labor of love from someone who's been an integral part of my Dallas "village" since before B was born, and I am so, so pleased with how they turned out.

And the entry table photo collage -- I suppose we can call it a First Birthday Tradition now as we did the same thing for L. People seemed to get a kick out of looking through these, and many of our guests grabbed a few of their favorites on their way out -- kinda fun as it's so rare to share hard copies of photos these days.

These two crazy kittens had an absolute ball as the only big kids in attendance! I think they got out every tiny toy at my parents' house, including all the pieces to multiple board games.  When we asked them if they'd intended to play said games, they simply replied "no, we just wanted to make a mess!" Ha!

Enough details... CAKE!  I mean... DONUTS!

I love the above photo so much.  L's face!  She was kinda bummed this year to realize other people have birthdays -- even pestersome little brothers! 

This child knew exactly what to do with cake.  Talk about zero time and crumbs wasted! 

Taking a pause before finishing up those final bites. 


Now that the photographic excess is out of the way, let me share two delectable baked donut recipes with you.  Homemade donuts were a first for me, but I had tons of fun making them. I highly recommend the Wilton Nonstick Donut Pan if you're in the market for such a contraption.  It's cheap, but it is legitimately nonstick and bakes very evenly.  I chinsed out and only purchased one -- do yourself a favor and pony up for two.  And don't waste your time on the mini donut pans unless you have the patience of a saint. 

Baked Cinnamon Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
donuts adapted from Ina Garten; glaze adapted from Joy the Baker

- baking spray or misto of olive oil
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 1.5 c sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1.25 c whole milk
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze
- 1.5 c powdered sugar
- 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 3-4 T of milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your donut pans with baking spray or olive oil.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Sifting is a bitch and I hate it but it's necessary: do it.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.  I wouldn't use an electric or stand mixer for this as too much mixing = a rubbery donut {or so Ina tells me}.

Spoon batter into pans, filling each about three-quarters of the way full. Bake for about 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a baking rack for 5 minutes, then tap donuts out on wax paper.  Cool completely before glazing.

While the donuts cool, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt,  If your powdered sugar is stubbornly lumpy, sift away.  Add 2 T of milk and then the vanilla. Whisk to combine.  Add 1-2 more T of milk to create a thick but still pourable glaze.

Once donuts cool completely {I made mine the night before and stored them in an airtight tin, separated by layers of wax paper, then made the glaze the morning of the party}, dip top-side-down into the glaze and then again into a plate covered in sprinkles.  Allow to set for 20-30 minutes before serving.

* makes about 15 donuts

Blueberry Brown Butter Donuts with Drizzled Glaze
adapted from Joy the Baker

- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2/3 c sugar
- 4 T butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c buttermilk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 pint blueberries

For the glaze
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 2-4 T milk
- sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 and spray yo' pans.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Continue to cook butter until it begins to brown and smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a ramekin.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remainder of the wet ingredients {except for blueberries}. Whisk brown butter {including little brown bits} into the wet ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined {remember: no rubbery donuts!}.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into pans and fill three-quarters of the way full.  Bake 8-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a baking rack for 5 minutes, then tap donuts out on wax paper.  Cool completely before glazing.

While the donuts cool, you know the drill... make that glaze.  Whisk powdered sugar together with 2 T milk.  Add 1-2 more tablespoons of milk until glaze drips easily off a spoon.  Drizzle glaze over cooled donuts and then sprinkle with, um, sprinkles. Allow to set for 20-30 minutes before serving.

*makes about 15 donuts

And a big ol' thank you to all those who celebrated with us & supported us through B's first year!


  1. Ooh I'm excited to try both of these recipes. I got the donut pan this past Christmas and have tried two different recipes that were just meh. Have you tried any others? I saw a chocolate one from joy the baker that looked delicious as well.

    1. This was my very first foray into donut baking! The brown butter was my favorite of the two and I think you could add tons of stuff to it (original recipe did not call for blueberries)!

  2. I love the photos of B, especially the one where it looks like he is sinking into a donut coma. And then he makes a fist and rallies! Child after my own heart (and more donuts, apparently.)

  3. The series of B is just perfect.

    Also I love the spirit of your decorations - the monthly banner, the traditions, the enthusiasm, the go for the gusto look.

  4. Love the photo garland and I also love donuts and first birthdays are great and SO MUCH LOVE!

    Bella is having a donut b-day party for the second year running. We have done both parties from 9-11 AM and it feels fun to have donuts plus I still make her a cake for her real bday. So I am happy to get both :)

  5. It was a wonderful party with your many creative and thoughtful touches. Brady was well celebrated and it was super fun for everyone. Decorations and food were awesome!

  6. These first birthday party photos reminds me of the day when my daughter turned one year old. Thanks for this post my friend. In the next month she’ll turn 16. I am making plans to reserve one of the domestic sweet 16 venues nyc for the party. I want to make this party as special as her 1st birthday.


happy little comments!