Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 8 - Half-Birthday Cake

Three and a half years ago I made this:

Expectations weren't too high for a 1st Birthday Cake.

Two and a half years ago I made this:

Little Einstein's Rocket Cake

Little Einstein's Rocket Cake
  My then two year old was pleased.  
 He thought Rocket was pretty cool 
and I was excited that I had pulled it off.

A year and a half ago I made this:

AND this:

 At three, my little guy’s response was, 
“That's cool Mom, but where are Annie and Clarabel?”
(While he really did LOVE the cake - I was slightly saddened by his lack of enthusiasm as I made this cake in 
the Netherlands – Home of NOTHING IS EASY!)

Six months ago I made this:


 My now four year old wanted a “Gordon” cake.  
(Because Gordon is #4.) 
He was impressed.

Yesterday, I made this:

Wouldn’t you know…THIS was the one that made his 4.5 years complete!!! 
  THIS was the one that I thawed out to just throw together a little celebration.   
 THIS was the one that took me less than an hour to pop together??!!  
 THIS was the one that made him smile from ear to ear and jump up and down!
Had I only known that the way to my kid’s heart was to simply cut a cake in half and slather chocolate frosting on it - 
I would have done that years ago!!!! 

I chose the green plate especially for him.
Green is his favorite color - 
because...It's Stylish! 
I always wanted to celebrate a HALF Birthday with a "HALF Birthday Cake." A few weeks ago I ended up with an extra 8 inch round chocolate cake that I popped into the freezer for this exact moment!

Well...you should have seen my little guy's face when I surprised him with this cake.  (If I was comfortable posting pictures of my kids on the web I would then be able to show you what sheer delight and excitement looked like!)  

One of the many things that I wanted to achieve with this experience was not only to try out a bunch of new recipes, but also to see how different cakes and frostings store, be it in the freezer, refrigerator or just at room temperature.  Once again, this new “go-to” chocolate cake of mine shined through.  It had been in the freezer for almost a month and was still moist and yummy once thawed.  Now, don’t you worry one bit – I’m not about to start serving you all previously frozen cakes… it’s just nice to know that you can have a standby on hand for one of those last minute chocolate cravings or for guests that show up when you are not prepared! 

While the hunt for the perfect chocolate frosting goes on, I used a recipe that I stole from Emily a few years ago.  It's called Fluffy Chocolate Frosting by The Cake Mix Doctor and it's DELICIOUS! The darker chocolate frosting that you see is Martha Stewart's Dark Chocolate Frosting.  That one didn't excite me very much. I happened to have some of that left over from the day before when I used it to frost the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes that I made.  But I will save the details regarding the cupcakes and dark chocolate frosting for another post.  In the meantime, I am going to enjoy one more piece of Half Birthday Cake with my favorite 4.5 year old!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 7 - Valentine's Day

So many Valentine treats...I just don't know where to begin!
Please enjoy a look at what I've been up to.
There were cupcakes for the party at my son's school...
 a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Valentine...
and a pancake dinner party.  

By the time the pancakes were done I was too exhausted for more pictures.  
The red velvet pancakes were very yummy...sorry the picture isn't so great.

Recipes and stories too follow...I'm simply too stuffed right now to post them!!!
Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 6 – Super Bowl Cupcakes!

Of course I had to bake something with a Super Bowl theme this week.  I couldn’t have cared less about which teams were playing because isn’t the Super Bowl all about the food?  I contemplated baking a football shaped cake but never quite found the design I was looking for.  I had wanted to make a 3D football…but time got away from me so I settled for cupcakes. 

I really wanted to try out grass decorating tip #233.  (Football is played on grass…right??)  The biggest challenge was figuring out how to make a football for the top of the cupcake.  I could have taken the easy route and just used the little football picks I had, but where’s the fun in that? 

Initially, I was going to mold caramels into footballs.  My caramels ended up being stale, so that idea was a bust.  I went out and bought a bag of Rolos and a bag of Tootsie Rolls hoping that one of those items would do the trick.  After a little trial and error, I figured out how long to pop the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave in order to soften them up enough to be smooshed into footballs.  Once the Tootsie Rolls hardened, I piped melted white chocolate on them to complete the look.  (At a later point in time I will post a little tutorial on having fun with Tootsie Rolls!)

The frosting I used this time was Brown Sugar Buttercream. It was amazing.  I will be using this recipe again and again for sure.  The only obstacle I had to face was that the frosting was slightly “gritty” because of the brown sugar.  Using this buttercream with the grass decorating tip was very frustrating.  The brown sugar kept clogging up the little holes on the tip and I had to disassemble the bag from the tip in order to clean it out half way through decorating each cupcake.  This frosting held my intended design perfectly…although in the future I will use a wider tip so that this little clogging problem won’t happen again.  

One of my regular cake critics – who I will leave nameless – preferred the smoother consistency from Week Four’s frosting… but the rest of us liked the brown sugar texture.  Can’t wait to use this one again…Look out Valentine’s Day!!!

Speaking of Valentine’s Day…maybe there will be some ganache, or fondant, or berries…Oh – the possibilities are endless… 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 5 - Whoopie Pies


Can you believe it’s week five already?  In fact, in a few short hours, we’ll be on to week six!  Where did January go?  My plans for week five took a little turn when my son ended up getting a cold and thus we were unable to go visit Two Cupcakes in my Kitchen, aka Aunt Emily and her crew.  :(  A rain check does exist however, so stay tuned for that fun.

Earlier in the week, Aidan and I baked up some yummy Whoopie Pies.  They were super easy to bake.  I had never made them before and now that I have...you can guarantee that there will be more in our future!  Why they are called Whoopie “PIES” though, I don’t know.  It’s more like a dollop of marshmallowy goodness smooshed between two cakes.  A Cake Sandwich if you will.  

I found this recipe in the February 2011 issue of Family Fun Magazine.  As soon as I saw them pictured in the magazine, I just had to have them.  

Well, ours didn’t look exactly the same, but I truly did have a little helper with me.  Aidan was so excited to use the ice cream scoop in the batter.  Just look at the globs he made!

Our cakes seem to be much larger than what they were supposed to be, but who cares, we had fun!  Next time I’ll be sure to use a smaller scoop.
This recipe called for Marshmallow Fluff…don’t remember the last time I bought that stuff.  Made me want to have a Fluffernutter Sandwich and I don’t even like those!  

My only complaint was that while the Whoopie Pies were great the first night we baked them, the next day the cake part was a little sticky.  Like when you held it with your fingers the chocolaty cake got stuck on them, forcing you to lick them clean. If only all my problems were so simple!

Ultimately, these were great treats that I was happy to have given to one of my friends.  After spending days stuck in the house with a sick kid, inevitably I would have consumed the entire batch!  Thanks Rachel…for helping my waistline!

If you are interested in making these…and I suggest that you do…click here!

I also made a Marbled Loaf Cake this week…post to follow shortly.

As for week six…well, you all know tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, so you’ll just have to wait to find out!
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