Category: Cakes (page 2 of 4)

The Ohio Birthday Cake

Ohio became a state on March 1, 1803 – a fact that was celebrated by the fourth grade at Julia’s school, yesterday. The social studies teacher had requested donations for the class parties last week and I happily volunteered to send in the cake (which I made joyfully and lovingly) for Julia’s class. (Twice.)(The party was postponed once.)(And thank goodness. The Cake, Second Edition was much better than the first. [This is why there are no pictures of the first one.])

Ohio Birthday Cake

The cake didn’t end up in Julia’s class, though. The parents who wished to donate cakes all had kids in the same class, so the cakes were randomly assigned instead. Julia informed me that our cake was the only one that was homemade and was THE MOST ENORMOUS. (It weighed 12 pounds.)(I know I’m ridiculous.) After feeding the class, it also fed the staff in the principal’s office and the custodian. I’m not sure if that made her proud or embarrassed or, more than likely, nothing at all because it’s just a cake!

I’m beginning to think I find cake to be more exciting than most people.

This is 41.

Today is Dave’s birthday.

Dave's Wreck-It Ralph Medal Birthday Cake

The girls and I made him a Wreck-It Ralph medal cake.

Dave on his 41st birthday

It seemed just right.

Owl Be Loving You (forever)

My dad turned 60 today and, for that reason, I made him a cake. The girls felt it would be best if the cake resembled an owl and, thanks to this brilliant post from Jessica at My Inner Need To Create, I believe it does.

Owl Cake for Dad's 60th Birthday

Or it did. This is all that’s left.

This used to be an owl cake.

My dad and Lucy ate the eyes first. Weirdos.

Bee is Three!

It’s hard to remember what life was like before Phoebe. She came into our world and filled it up. Larger than life! Fearless! Phoebe! I’ve often said that Bee doesn’t know she’s little, but the more I think on that, the more I believe it’s simply that she doesn’t feel small. She’s sure of herself. My mom says she’s an old soul.

Bee on her third birthday!

I decided to start a new tradition with Phoebe: a birthday interview. Here’s the first one, on her third birthday.

How old are you? Three!

What is your favorite thing to do? Play [ABC]mouse.com

Who do you like to spend time with? Julia, Mommy, Lucy, Jack, Peepaw, Grandma, Phoebe

What is your favorite food? Eggs

What are you good at? Playing with my baby

What is your favorite thing to play with? My baby, Berp (pictured above)

What makes you laugh? *Blows raspberry*

What makes you cry? Jack cry

What is your favorite song? Where is Finger One? (Our piano version of Where is Thumbkin?)

What is your favorite book? Pinkalicious

What is one hard thing you have done? Go to bed

What is something new you’d like to do? Go to the beach

What is the best thing about being three? Four!

She asked for “a Phoebe cake” for today. I’d already done bee cupcakes for her first birthday, but we revisited the theme.

Phoebe's Third Birthday Cake

She’s taking a dozen or so cupcakes to share with her dance class tonight.

Bee cake!

The queen bee is ours.

Have Your Cat and Eat Cake, Too

“It’s grandma’s birthday today,” I said. “Let’s make her a cake. What kind should it be?”

“A cat cake. Grandma loooooves cats.”

We googled for some ideas.

“Wow, Mom. Look at this one. It looks like a real cat!”

“You realize this is something we’re going to hack up and eat later, right?”

We settled on a design that said, “I like cats for friends and cake for eating” rather than, “Yum, cats.” And also, “This can be made from three round cakes” rather than “This requires a fancy pan.”

This is how it turned out.

Grandma's Cat Cake

Lucy has dibs on the tail.

Behold the Nine Year Old Cake!

It’s FOR my nine year old child. It’s not nine year old cake, silly. The cake is fresh. And so is my nine year old – as in she is newly nine. Like, today. What I’m trying to tell you is today is Julia’s ninth birthday and this is her cake.

Julia's 9th Birthday Cake

I made it. Almost twice. The first batch of cake layers I made crumbled apart. Still, we ate them. Because throwing away cake is like breaking a commandment. And I began anew. My body is comprised mostly of cake at this point and not even in a they-say-you-are-what-you-eat kind of way, but in an I-have-swallowed-that-much-cake kind of way.

I made the fondant myself, and folks, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. My life is transformed, at least as far as cake-making goes. This homemade fondant is spectacular. I have total control over the consistency and I can color it earlier on in the process when the marshmallow is liquid, so no kneading it in. You guys, I hated kneading the color in. It was hard to get it uniform and it’d get all over my hands and just NO. All my problems are solved or at least I have one less problem!

If you aren’t totally impressed by the fondant from the picture, you should consider that my application skills still need work. It wouldn’t look any better with bought fondant. In fact it would have looked worse, because when I buy my fondant, I’m so afraid of screwing it up that whatever I do the first time is what it is going to be. Since I made my own fondant and knew I could whip up a new batch in minutes, I didn’t just settle for screwed up, until I got tired and was like, whatever. But before then, I was like, “That’s not quite right. Let’s try that again.” And if I had more stamina, this cake would be so much better and we’d all be thanking the fondant for that.

Julia likes it. She plans to pick up the softball (that’s supposed to be a softball on top) in her hand and eat it like an apple once the birthday song has been sung. And she may, my friends. She may, praise the fondant!

Improvising

Lucy turned 5 yesterday.

Lucy is 5

(I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about that. And LOTS OF THINGS. Heh, I gave birth less than a month ago – I’m pretty much a weeping sack of feelings! I’ll likely share some of them when I’m not so busy having NICU-flashback panic attacks and obsessively weighing my baby.)

To celebrate Lucy’s big day, I made ice cream cone cupcakes for her preschool class and t-ball team because A) ice cream cone cupcakes are awesome and B) you don’t see them all that often – not because they’re this novel idea, but because no one knows how to transport them. (Remember last time I made them?)

Ice cream cone cupcake

And so I started thinking. Soon, an everyday egg carton…

Clever me!

…became ice cream cone cupcake transport!

Ice cream cone cupcake transport!

It wasn’t an ideal solution, but a solution nonetheless. I still spent several moments delighting in my own brilliance.

Before long, once again, my ingenuity was called upon.

Earlier in the day, I had asked Dave to pick up the gift wrap for Lucy’s presents. He brought home a roll of cellophane. This would not do, obviously, as cellophane is transparent, Dave! Since there was no time to run to the store for gift wrap and I was still high on my success with the ice cream cone cupcake-egg carton transport system I created, with crayons, paper and Julia’s help, I made my own gift wrap in about five minutes.

Improvised gift wrap

I didn’t even get twitchy over the fact that the gift wrap didn’t match the card or the bow or the cake. (The truth is, I forgot the card. And I left the bow off, because, well, it didn’t match.)

You guys, I’m starting to think my perfectionism is waning.

Anything that you might need I got inside for you.

Phoebe turned two yesterday and since she loves Boots (and by Boots, I mean Dora (Phoebe calls her Boots.)), I made her a Backpack cake because Backpack looked significantly less complicated than Boots/Dora. Rose (who bakes) made one and said it was “super easy” and “stinkin’ cute,” which was exactly what I was looking for. And so:

Bee's Backpack Cake

And a slightly less complimentary view:

Bee's Backpack Cake from a less impressive view

My edges are bad. Map ended up looking more like Cheese, but let’s not nitpick. The kid liked it.

Blurry Bee loves her cake

You could tell she was smiling if she hadn’t been jumping up and down and kissing the cake so much. Or if I had a better camera.

Lighting the candles

Lights out

Bee blows out her candles

The black spot on her nose is from kissing Backpack's eyeball

Sampling

Tasting

Devouring

And so it goes with cake.

Yum!

A happy birthday indeed.

The Space Cake

Julia turned eight yesterday. All she wanted for her birthday was a telescope and a fondant cake in the shape of the solar system. (She even sketched it out for me.)

It had been a while since I’d made a fondant cake and I needed some materials to get started, so I took myself to the store and this odd conversation happened as I checked out.

Cashier: “Are you a cake maker?”

Me: “Not really. I’m just making a cake for my daughter’s eighth birthday. I’m actually making her a space cake!”

Cashier (stopped scanning and looked at me to pointedly ask): “A space cake?”

Me: “Uh huh. She’s really into it.”

Cashier: “Isn’t she a little young?”

Me: “Uhh…no. I don’t know. I mean, she’s a pretty precocious kid, but…what kid wouldn’t love a space cake?”

I’m not sure anyone has ever looked at me with as much disbelief and disgust as that cashier did and I just didn’t get it. What’s the big deal? My kid likes space and fondant. What of it, lady?

Later, as I worked to hone Julia’s design, I Googled “space cake” for images and inspiration. Top result is from…The Stoner’s Cookbook. Huh. What is on top of that cake? Poison ivy or…marijuana.

And then I got it. And I wondered how many other people out there listened to me go on about how excited I was to make this space cake and wondered about me. “I’ve never made one before! It’s really going to be special.” Good Lord.

Anyway, our space cake – and when I say “space,” I am referring to the area beyond the earth’s atmosphere – didn’t turn out too bad.

Space cake (another view)

Julia helped with the planets.

Space cake

If you ask me, it’s out of this world! Ha! And, I assure you, completely drug-free.

Who says bigger is better?

Julia began piano lessons at age three on June 14, 2007. I know because I wrote about it. I’m so glad I did. It was one of those times I believed I’d never forget. And I haven’t. But memories pile up. They push up against each other, rub together. It gets harder to know one from the other. They blur and distort simply from the way they are stored. And nothing looks the same four years away. This is why I will never stop blogging. With just the wiggle of a finger, a click can take me back to that moment, like a time machine. I can stand right in it, see what she looked like, and experience how I felt then all over again, because it’s captured in my own words and through my own lens. I’m so thankful for that.

If you’ve been reading here for long or have the interest to click for the backstories I link to, you know piano has been as much a growing experience for me as it’s been for Julia. It’s something we’ve always done together. I’ve taken notes at every class, stood behind her during every practice and held my breath at each performance. I’m not taking credit for her hard work, but it would be remiss to ignore my contribution. Julia has given her heart to piano and I’ve given my heart to her. We’ve both been invested in this endeavor. She recently completed book one in her Suzuki curriculum and on Friday, we celebrated this accomplishment with a recital.

Recital Invitation

I wanted to do it BIG, because this felt so, so big. But the truth is, it was only big to a few people. And so, my wise husband talked me down from the chocolate fountain, the fondant cake and the performance hall. Instead, we held the recital at a local church.

Recital Program - Top

There are 18 songs in book one and Julia performed them all, as well as the duet with her grandma that she’d learned for a piano ensemble event last year.

Recital Program - Bottom

Since the songs were relatively short, we mixed things up a little. We folded an origami butterfly for each song and attached them to some floral wire, labeled them, and stuck them among a display of flowers.

Origami Butterfly

Recital flowers and origami butterflies

Throughout the recital, Julia invited members from the audience to select a butterfly to determine which song she would play. She recognized her teacher Mr. Palmer and invited him to choose the first one. I wish I had a video to share – not just of her performance, but of her opening remarks, because the kid was impressive. But things moved so fast, I didn’t even turn my camera on. Thankfully, the kind members of the church recorded everything for us! The recital will live forever on VHS, and one day, when I can get it converted, here, too. For now, you must take my word that she did alright. There were mistakes, but she handled it with grace. I was very proud of her.

Julia at her Suzuki book one piano recital

After the performance, we enjoyed punch and homemade cupcakes and the company of the good people who showed up to support her.

Cupcakes!

Small and simple, but no less important.

*The invitations came from the PaperTiger Studio shop at Etsy.

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