Princess Themed Birthday Cake

 

Recently, my niece was here visiting and her 6th birthday was a few weeks away. We decided to throw her a spontaneous birthday party while she was in town. So, off I went to the internet for ideas and made this masterpiece out of chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream filling and whipped buttercream frosting. Oh, so good. Too bad I can’t eat it! I love to make cakes for my favorite little people!

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Spiderman Party….with Recipes!

My son turned 4 last week! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. He really wanted a Spiderman themed party, so he got one. I made invitations in my computer word processor that looked like concert tickets by using this as inspiration and printing them on card stock. They were a huge hit with Lance and his friends!

Of course I had to make a cake, so off to the internet I went in search of an idea. I was browsing through photos on flickr when Lance came over and said he wanted the cake I was looking at right at that moment. Luckily it wasn’t too elaborate and was totally doable. I then asked Lance if he wanted white or chocolate cake and he decided this year he wanted chocolate. We have a favorite chocolate cake recipe around here that is out of my grandma’s huge cookbook. So here it is….

Moist Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 tsp salt

Sift the above together (I never use a sifter, I just stir with a wisk!)

Add:

1 cup oil

1 cup buttermilk I used the real thing this time but you can use THIS

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Beat well. Then beat in 1 cup boiling water. The batter will be thin. Makes 2-3 9 inch layers depending on how thick you want them or 1 9×13. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Since we were making a tiered cake I needed layers, and therefore filling. I decided to take grandma’s sour cream filling and make it chocolate! YUM!

Chocolate Sour Cream Filling

1 cup sour cream

1 scant cup sugar

4 egg yolks

pinch of salt

I just realized the recipe calls for 1 tsp of flour…I didn’t do that and it was fine!

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 oz of baking chocolate squares depending on how strong of a chocolate flavor you want

Boil everything but vanilla and chocolate until thick in a double boiler. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. Cool before using!!!

As far as the frosting goes I used this one which has quickly become a favorite around here. Just make sure to BEAT, BEAT, BEAT it. Mine takes about 12 minutes on high!

I also made some marshmallow fondant to make buildings on the side of the cake. To make impressions of windows on the edge I use legos! Washed ones of course!

Want to see the final product….I know you do…

I also made Spiderman sugar cookies to send home in the kids goody bags. I did them about a week in advance and kept them in the freezer until the day of the party to preserve freshness. This is the first I have used Royal Icing to decorate cookies. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work too! I used this fabulous tutorial and icing recipe to learn what to do! I used a recipe from the grandma’s cookbook for the sugar cookies.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

dash of salt

1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar, butter and egg. Add everything else and mix well. Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4″. Cut with your favorite cookie cutter. Bake at 350° for about 8 min. Cool then frost.

And my finished cookies looked like this:

Baking Day: Molasses Cookies

These cookies come out of “the book”, my grandma’s cookbook. I would have to say that these are in my top 5 favorite cookies, which is really saying something for me who has hundreds of cookie recipes. They are Dallas’ favorite and Lance wouldn’t turn them down either. He is a lot like me though, in that he doesn’t turn down much when it comes to sweets! Is the insane sweet tooth a genetic thing? Must be if you look at my family….you know who you are!!! These are also one of Lance’s favorites to make. Since they are a rolled cookie, he gets to roll, cut them out and frost. Some of his favorite things to do!

Molasses Cookies

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup molasses

1 cup sour cream

4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

7 cups flour

USE A BIG BOWL

Cream eggs, sugar, molasses, butter and sour cream. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough in fridge for about an hour. Roll dough thick (between 1/4 and 1/2 inch) cut out with 3″ round cutter or in any shape you desire. We tend to have lots of dinosaurs around here. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350°. Do not over bake these cookies should remain soft. Frost with a powdered sugar icing when cool.(I use couple cups of powdered sugar, little butter, little cream cheese, vanilla and milk to thin).  It’s a big batch and makes a ton. These freeze wonderfully.

Baking Day: Mother’s Day Lemon Bundt Cake

I am lucky, I have a never ending supply of lemons. However, that means I need to find ways to use all of these lemons. I have come up with a to die for lemon bundt cake recipe with just a few tweaks to a boxed mix. It has a wonderful tartness that goes so well with the sweetness of the cake and glaze. It’s ooey,  gooey good.  I am making this for my mom this weekend. It is one of her favorites, and mine, and my husband and just about anyone else who has tasted it! My dear hubby even thought I should enter it into the pillsbury bake off, but you can’t enter using one of their cake mixes….bummer no million dollar prize for me! But, you all get to benefit instead. I will share my wisdom! I don’t have a picture of the cake because I haven’t made it yet! Trust me it is outstanding. Oh, and it’s low fat…bonus!

Coby’s Lemon Bundt Cake

1 white cake mix (can use yellow too) I have done it with pillsbury and duncan hines brands

3 eggs

1/3 cup plain non fat yogurt

1 cup lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

Glaze:

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

Mix ingredients for about 2 minutes. Bake in greased bundt pan for about 35 minutes at 350° or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or foil or something to catch the drips from the glaze. Brush on glaze while cake is still warm. Do it slowly so it can soak into the cake. Cool. Put on serving plate. Cover and let sit several hours before serving.

Baking Day: Cupcakes with a New Frosting Recipe

About a month ago, I won a giveaway on another blog for some free Duncan Hines product coupons. I had picked up some confetti cupcake mix with those coupons. I thought Lance would like them. Since Lance has been home sick from school this week I decided it was time to break out the cupcakes. We whipped up a batch of the confetti cupcakes, but they needed frosting. So, yesterday I went on a search for a new fluffy cupcake frosting. I am not new to making frosting. I have done my son’s birthday cake for 3 years from scratch with homemade frosting, but I was a bit tired of plain old buttercream and I wanted something lighter in texture, but still with good flavor.  While searching, I stumbled across this amazing recipe. I thought it sounded a little strange starting with a white sauce and then using regular sugar instead of powdered, but this frosting is so good. It’s light and airy, not too sweet, but has a much better flavor than a whipped cream icing that still lets the taste of the cake shine through. With a little blue gel food coloring I had a beautiful color and texture to pipe onto the cupcakes (just use a ziplock with the corner cut off). We had a fun and beautiful snack yesterday, yes I know not the healthiest, but who doesn’t need a little cake in their life!!!

Here are the cakes I have made in the past for Lance. All homemade cake and frosting.

White chocolate white cake with buttercream.

Chocolate cake with colored plain whipped cream for icing.

White cake with buttercream and rice crispie treat whale covered in marshmallow fondant.

Frugal Tip of the Week: Fun in the Kitchen with your Kids

I am a huge advocate of living WITH your kids. Meaning including them in your life in things you do, not just living your life with them as an accessory. I hope that makes sense! One way we practice this in our house is by letting Lance in on all the fun in the kitchen. The other day after dinner. I decided to make a cake, just because I felt like it. I pulled a chair over for Lance and we set to work making a chocolate cake singing a song we made up as we were doing it. “Today is a special day. Today is Chocolate cake day!” That was our song. We sang and mixed up our ingredients. My husband was on the phone with my brother while we were doing this, and they were both getting a kick out of our wackiness. But hey, we were having fun and that’s all that matters! Lance helped me measure, pour and stir. Once we got the cake in the oven, we whipped up some frosting for the top. No recipe, just dumped some butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and almond flavor in the bowl and mixed it up. As you can see in the picture, Lance really enjoyed licking the frosting off the mixing paddle!

Including your kids in the kitchen is a great way to have frugal fun with them. Especially since it was something you were going to be doing anyway, why not let them learn and have fun with it. They really enjoy helping out and eating whatever they make. I also let Lance help me make dinner quite often. He eats so much better when he was the one to make it. I think it’s a sense of pride in knowing he put the work into the food. It is a great way to practice his counting, learning volume and fractions. I can tell you I learned all my fractions, and their relationships to each other, from baking in the kitchen as a child. By the time I got to fractions in school, I was practically an expert! Who doesn’t love a little math lesson along with the fun!

They may make a mess, but hey, that’s half the fun! They you can teach them to clean up after themselves by including them in the cleanup as well. Life lessons are just as important as math lessons! Just remember to enjoy every minute you have with them. They grow so fast and change everyday.

Baking Day: Monster Cookies

Where to start with monster cookies….it is not a family function around these parts without monster cookies. Whether it’s a holiday or a baby shower, we have monster cookies. These are probably the favorite cookie out of “the book”. You know, that cookbook of my grandma’s that I talk about. I don’t know how you can top the chewy, peanut buttery, chocolate goodness of these cookies. Are you drooling yet? I am, but I am smelling these baking in the oven right now!!!

So you have fair warning, these need a big bowl to mix up. I mean as big as you have!

Monster Cookies

5 eggs

2 1/4 cups brown sugar

2 cups white sugar

1 cup butter-softened

Cream the above together. Then beat in:

2 2/3 cups peanut butter

8 cups oatmeal

1 1/4 tablespoons baking soda

Then stir in:

12 oz bag chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate)

1 lb bag of M&Ms (I used easter colored ones since they were on sale)

Drop by 1/4 cup on greased baking sheets. I like to use my large cookie scoop for this. Flatten them a bit with your fingers or the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes. Do not overbake! These are supposed to be chewy. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

These are a flourless cookie! And, even better, all whole grain. Although, I think the amount of butter and sugar counteract the whole grains, but I still like to think of them as a healthier cookie! They are great for breakfast….yes I eat cookies for breakfast!

If you are a big peanut butter fans like we are, I highly recommend making them with peanut butter chips and Reese’s pieces in place of the M&Ms and chocolate chips for a total peanut butter party in your mouth!

Visit the Ultimate Recipe Swap this week as Life as Mom for more baked goods recipes.

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