Sunday, May 25, 2014

Classic birthday cakes (some WAY better than others) and Predator...

Every time D leaves for deployment, the floodgates open in Clovis and it rains for days on end. The funny thing about that is I always forget we have a wetlands area across the street from us that fills up in to a massive pond/small lake. Sounds nice, right? Yes...until the frogs get there. Then any time I go outside, the noises they make makes it sound as if I'm about to have a close encounter of the third kind, or be slain by the I'm constantly shifting my view to look out for his tell-tale shimmer.

Pictured: our  lake and possibly Predator.

But perhaps cooler than possibly being stalked by Predator was the cake my friend Megan made for her boyfriend's birthday. Now, Megan possesses two qualities I will never have in this lifetime: an unflappable amount of patience and an art degree. What we do share is a hatred of fondant, so she took upwards of FOUR DAYS to complete this amazing Lord of the Rings cake. And while I know absolutely nothing about those books/movies other than hobbit feet are hella weird, this cake is still the shizz. Each layer was a different flavor!! It was gorgeous in execution and delicious in taste, and if they weren't leaving soon, I'd probably just make her make all my cakes so I could stick with just blogging...that's called "outsourcing."

She even snuck Winterfell in on the map...
which was literally the only reference I understood.

I almost don't even want to show you my rinky-dink birthday cake I made for our friend's birthday today. I made a classic homemade chocolate fudge cake and finally tried making icing from scratch so I could use that paper towel trick I mentioned several blogs/sleeps ago. He's a huge San Jose Sharks fan, so my color palette reflected that in the teal and black dyes....and white sprinkles. Even though it's only the border, I still pledge allegiance to sprinkles. Forever and always.

Had you not seen the LOTR cake, you'd probably be impressed by this.
 I am SO happy with how smoooooooth that frosting turned out. I mean, it totally looks like fondant, but you know it flipping isn't because fondant is, and will always be, the devil. I had another, "Looks like cocaine exploded in the kitchen again" scenario happen while making this icing in my stand mixer. I threw in a couple cups of powdered sugar with my shortening and thought I was only turning my mixer on low, but instead my hand slipped and the level went to what seemed like 11 (kudos to you if you understand the Spinal Tap reference). After I cleaned myself and my kitchen up, the frosting went on looking like this:

Cratered and splotchy like my currently sunburned face (long story).
You may have also noticed my industrial sized Crisco sitting in the back there. You never know when you might get your head stuck between a railing, so I always keep some handy for non-frosting related emergencies:

You've saved me more times than I care to admit, Crisco.
With the help of my pastry scraper/chopper, I was able to even out the edges of my cake a great deal, which was super helpful. It also felt pretty badass to use because it is the closest thing to resembling an actual tool in my cake baking arsenal:

I could be scraping cakes or siding with this bad boy,
you don't even know. Well, the frosting bowl kinda gives me away,
but you get the point.
After thirty minutes in the fridge to cool off, I went to town with my Viva paper towel. It would've been really wise of the girl who gave the tutorial to mention you have to wait thirty minutes before going swimming using the paper towel trick so the icing can crust over. Luckily, I've been burned so badly in the past by some Pinterest finds that I always read the comments. Clever girl. To achieve ultimate fake-out fondant with plain vanilla icing, take the Viva paper towel and just lightly place it on top of the cake and smooth out with your dainty, diligent fingers in a back and forth motion; repeat again on the sides. If you're like me and you don't have dainty, diligent fingers, your clunky, child-like fingers will also work with this trick- it is foolproof.

Ohhh Lordy that's smoother than an R. Kelly slow jam.

This cake I will also get to partake in eating at, you guessed it, Sean's birthday party. I am now winding down with 8" round cakes for now. I feel like I want to try cakes with different sized tiers for the next couple of weeks. I'm starting out with minicakes that I am taking on a trip with my mom next weekend. I'm also dying to learn how to make a killer hedgehog-shaped cake...speaking of hedgies, even though I got to watch the Thunderbirds practice on Friday before the big air show this weekend (that's where the sunburn came from. Turns out it wasn't such a long story), the best thing I've seen the whole weekend was this picture sent to me by my husband, who knows my limit of obsession when it comes to hedgehogs is practically endless:

A rare spikeball in its natural habitat...still looks pretty cranky.
Although this larger-than-I'm-used-to-seeing hedgie is cute, she's no Peeberton; I think we can all agree on that one. So on that note, til next time, my fellow eaters!


  1. I very much enjoyed reading this, Katy! You had me giggling all the way through! I'm not much of a baker, but Andrew dabbles, so I'll pass on your tips to him. :) I will definitely be reading more of your blogs as well. Long time no see, glad to know you are well! Kelsie Zapata (Johnson)

  2. Thank you, Kelsie!! I hope you guys are doing well, too!!


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