Thursday, October 2, 2014

Past birthday cake gallery, part 2

Hello, friends. I'm sharing more cake-y goodness today. Cake photos!
WARNING: Some cakes are nice to look at, some cakes are less than perfect. It seems like every other cake has a problem. Now, let's get gawking! Everyone, jump in the time machine!

Wait, what? Time machine?

Back to 2011. We'll start with Tinkerbell and her fairy friends. I ordered this from Safeway's bakery. They had an example cake (click this for reference photo) on display that was very cute. It was a rectangular cake with layers and the fairies sitting in different places, like along a waterfall and stream.  The cake I took home was not layered and was nowhere as detailed as the example cake. No edge piping. Shortage of flowers and vines. Horrible cake writing. Shortage of talent on the decorator's part. Thanks Safeway. Total. Cake. Fail.

2012 was a bad year for birthday cakes. It  was also the year my son wanted a very fancy shaped homemade Optimus Prime Transformer cake. I attempted it. I royally ruined it. I baked two cakes and they would not come out of the pan. They crumbled and ripped in unnatural ways as I tried to tip them onto the cooling racks. Some cake flew onto the floor. It was horrible! In a panic, I phoned the husband to pick up a cake while at Costco. I told him the story of cake disaster and you know who overheard it all. He went to the bakery ladies and very matter-of-factly told them he needed a new birthday cake because Mom ruined the homemade one. This is what he bought home.

For her fourth birthday (still 2012), I figured the Safeway Tinkerbell cake was so bad, I'd be better off making homemade cake and doing it myself.  I had a great idea, easy execution, just yellow cake, same as the Transformers Bumblebee Cake, tinted buttercream frosting, and some miniature dolls. The cake had a minor mishap. I decorated it and put it in the fridge until party time. I took it out shortly before the party and the cardboard base flexed. The center of the cake did not flex so well and the lovely Cinderella-blue base frosting cracked.  I gave it some more blue frosting to smooth the obvious part, but couldn't do much about the white piped edge. It was very tasty, though. At least the cake didn't crumble like the Optimus Prime that didn't happen.

Our next cake was ordered from one of the local Raley's grocery stores. It was for my son's seventh birthday (2013).  They had the Rango set in their catalog, so we picked it.  We'd already looked through dorky themes and wanted to get something different. After all, two Transformer cakes had already happened and I wasn't about to get him a third after the broken cake incident! Considering that the "dirt" looked like smeared poo instead of sand, the little cactus frosting blobs were actually pretty cute.

Last year (2013), my daughter was into Lalaloopsy dolls like crazy. No bakeries offered a decent Lalaloopsy cake, so I enhanced one. I picked up a cake from Costco that had the generic sunshine, rainbow, and Happy Birthday message. We were off to a great start! I added the number 5 candle, the two mini Lalaloopsy dolls, and a Lalaloopsy unicorn. This cake was a total hit!

This photo is from my son's eighth birthday this year (2014). It was hectic, so I took my chances and bought a plain cake off the rack at Winco.  Winco's cake are pretty decent taste-wise for a grocery store chain. It was far from perfect, I mean, look at the colors they used! (Green and yellow are associated with the Cheese-heads, this boy's second least favorite team.) At least it was reasonable with the little plastic football decorations and it had plenty of room for me to add the Happy Birthday writing and number candle.

If you missed my other birthday cake posts, check these out.

Past birthday cake gallery, part 1
(includes Blue's Clues and Thomas the Tank Engine for his 1st and 2nd birthdays)
Butterfly cake (her 1st birthday)
Disney Cars Cake (his 3rd birthday)
Disney Frozen cake (her 6th birthday)
Honeybee and sunflower cake (her 2nd birthday)
Transformer's Bumblebee car cake (his 5th birthday)
Ugly Transformer's gear cake  (his 4th birthday)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Frozen Cake

Hello dear followers!  Is it really, officially Autumn? The weather is slowly cooling down, the days are getting noticably shorter. I suppose it will be Winter before we know it.

Speaking of cold and winter, my daughter turned six last week.  She insisted on doing a Frozen theme. Well, my idea for executing the Frozen theme was pretty basic. I did not go all out like some of those mamas on Pinterest with way too much free time on their hands. I kept it simple. We gave out Frozen party favor baggies with various candies for the girls, and cars baggies for the boys. We gave her a few Frozen things as gifts. The cake was really the only thing that adhered to the theme. And I didn't even make it myself!

I have been so short on time since school started! We ordered a half sheet cake from the Atlantis Bakery, simple white cake, white buttercream filling and frosting. I asked for light blue edge piping and darker blue text for "Happy Birthday Haley".  They offered an edible image, so I took it. We also asked for a couple fondant flowers for a little extra oomph. They even gave it some edible sparkle.

We zipped from the Atlantis to the party locale and I was ready to enhance the cake.  I had hunted down a set of tiny dolls, Elsa, Anna, and Olaf, that I arranged on top along with a sparkly blue number six candle. I came prepared with extra sparkle dust, and some cans of Duff's spray coloring in blue and silver, but I didn't use them. The cake was "Frozen" enough with the dolls and candle.

Voila! A super easy Frozen birthday cake was born!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Peach Pie

One of my favorite things from childhood was eating fresh peaches from our peach tree. Back in Oklahoma, I had planted a peach pit it in our garden and it thrived! The tree was huge and just outside my bedroom window.

We enjoyed sliced fresh peaches with sugar, peach ice cream, and peach pie. Mom always made the best peach pies.  I could never understand why people frequently added cinnamon to their peach pie. It covered up the peachy flavor.

Fast forward to grown up Jenny and her house in Nevada. We planted our own peach tree a few years ago and it finally produced a nice crop of fruit. I devoured a few peaches right away, then we peeled and sliced the rest. We froze a bunch for later and made two pies. We even had sliced peaches and crepes for breakfast the next day!

These pies were as simple as could be. No cinnamon. No almond extract. Just peaches, sugar, and tapioca to thicken the juices. And they were divine!

Ingredients for one 9-inch pie
4 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
Pie dough for a double crust pie, see Pie Crust No. 1
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Combine the sliced peaches with 1 1/4 cups sugar and the tapioca granules. Mix well and let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes.

2. Prepare your 9" pie plate by lining with one layer of pie dough. Fill with peach mixture. Top with second layer of pie dough and crimp edges. Poke a few vent holes in the center of the top layer.

3. Use a pastry brush to paint the top crust with milk, enough to make it damp. You don't have to use it all.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the crust.

4. Bake in a 400F preheated oven about 40-45 minutes. It will be bubbly and hot. 

5. Remove from oven and let cool.   

6. Enjoy with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's extra delicious outside on a warm summer evening!

Hey! If you like this, you might also like these recipes, too!
Apple Crisp
Bread Pudding
Pecan Pie 
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Sweet Dessert Crepes