Friday, March 30, 2012

Cake Friday

Can you guess what type of cake it is? Hopefully, it is fairly obvious that it is carrot cake.

I have never been a fan of carrot cake, which is probably why I have never made one, gluten-free or otherwise, before today.  In fact, today I came pretty close to never making a finished carrot cake at all. Not one batch of cake, but TWO, completely flopped. I am not sure what went wrong, since the recipe I first used had good reviews. Sometimes cakes just don't work out though. I wish I had taken a picture of the sad mess just so you could feel my pain. They puffed up, overflowed into a big mess, burnt on the bottom of the oven (which had to be cleaned up after each attempt), and then slumped into a nasty looking bit of cake-sludge in the pans. 

For the third try, I tried a slightly different recipe which I found here. It sunk slightly, so I may want to fudge around with the amounts of baking soda and baking powder, or perhaps I just overbeat it. Taste-wise, I thought it was marvelous. The cream cheese frosting was the perfect complement. Since we eat casein-free here, it was tofutti cream cheese, which is actually pretty dandy stuff.
Although this was my first time baking carrot cake, it was not the first time I have made fondant carrots. Just for fun, I thought I would throw in some pictures of a cake I made for Thanksgiving a few years back.
It's a turkey cake, complete with fondant carrots, potatoes, greenery, and white leg poof things (I have no idea what they are called). Since I am nerd, the breast portion of the cake was white chocolate, and the dark meat portions were pumpkin. I suppose this isn't really the correct season to post this, but working on today's cake just reminded me what fun it was.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Packing for our Cruise

Our Disney Cruise is quickly approaching, and although I am not packing the suitcases yet, I have been making sure we have what we need. With a family of six, packing for a week long vacation is no small feat. When you add in special outfits for formal evenings and pirate parties, it is enough to make steam start erupting from my ears. That is why I made up this nifty little chart to help me out. Each member of our family gets a sheet of their own, and we just fill in the necessary outfits.

Packing Chart
I am offering it up here so that maybe some other frazzled cruise-planning mommies (or daddies), can have a bit if an easier time packing. If you can drop me a line if you decide to use it, it would make my day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cake Friday

Yep...I know....St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow. It was just too close to resist making a themed cake though, especially since tomorrow I will most likely be too busy. The shamrocks are a bit pathetic looking, I admit, but I did have a lot of fun piping them. It is almost meditative to sit and draw with frosting. I have to remind myself to stop before the cake looks ridiculous. There is always a bit of piping that never shows up on a cake. A while back, I started giving the kids what we have come to call Frosting Tattoos. With a little bit of leftover icing, I pipe a design on the back of one of their hands. Squirt has already started holding his hand out when he sees me with a piping bag.

But wait....there is more....

Ta da! My first successful attempt at marbling a cake! I have tried the more common way of marbling that involves putting half the batter, that is normally colored, into the pan first and then covering it with the colored half of batter and swirling it around with a knife. That has never worked for me, so I tried to think of something that would. In the end, I just had two bowls of batter, one colored and one regular, and alternated them with plops of batter into the center of the pan. Afterwards, I just gave the pan a little jiggle, and it was good to go. Unfortunately, my first batch of cakes this morning sunk. I tried to color and flavor the colored portion with lime jello. I guess the cake spirits decided in was getting too cocky because it has been a while since I have had a cake fell and decided to teach me a lesson. Lime juice and green gel food coloring worked much better.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss Birthday Cake Friday!

In honor of Dr. Seuss's Birthday today, I made a Green Eggs and Ham cake! Well....a cake decorated like green eggs and ham, the inside is chocolate with chocolate chips buttercream filling. The kids all liked the wonky shape of the cake before I even got the fondant put on, so I guess this one is a winner. Since I really wanted it to look like the illustrations in a Dr. Seuss book, I tried a new technique and painted the blue coloring on the bottom and the big black lines. I am pretty pleased how it turned out, especially since it will just be devoured in a couple of hours anyway.
A close up of the decorations.
I tried to get another picture just so the crookedness showed a bit better.