Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dirty 30: Part Deux

So today we continue what has been termed "Derekpalooza" at our house. But today also marks the actual birthday of my husband, so it carries extra importance. The week-long celebration of Derekpalooza started last Saturday with the big 3-0 birthday cake, and will end on 4th of July weekend...which is fitting because my husband is real-life Captain America. If you don't believe me, just wait until the Instagram pics get posted from the 4th of July BBQ we'll be at Saturday to see what he's got planned. Tonight we're going out to a nice dinner with friends, so I knew we'd be too full for cake. I decided to do cake and presents last night, mostly because I could no longer contain the excitement over the gift I purchased him. When my husband opened up his thirtieth birthday present from me to find it was a Super-freakin-Nintendo, I think the last time I saw him that blissfully overjoyed with happiness was the day we were married (little did he know...I kid). A few weeks ago after I had hunted one down, he casually mentioned in conversation about needing to find a Super Nintendo. In my head, the voice was screaming "PANIC MODE, ENGAGE!," but outside I maintained composure and responded as only a wife can with steely poker face, "But we already have a Nintendo 64 you never play." I should probably be a politician. While the N64 has been neglected as of late, we're a bit busy trying to sell our stupid house. I mean, trying to sell our luxurious three-bedroom/two-bathroom home that you should totally tell your friends about. So that and getting ready to move has taken total control of our lives. But I knew we needed a break, and no matter what birthday a man is celebrating, cake and video games are an excellent way to relax. I wanted a birthday cake that went along with the Nintendo theme. I know my husband's favorite old school Nintendo game, and I was still trying desperately to clear out our bar before the move, so what came to fruition was this, the Svedka strawberry lemonade, 8-bit Legend of Zelda cake:
I will always believe the original Nintendo has the most bitchin' graphics.

I never played Zelda. I know. I had to do a little research before making this...Zelda is the princess, but the main character is Link? To me, this makes as much sense as calling Super Mario World "Princess Peach World," but no one asked me. And besides, my husband loved it, so all's well that ends well. And sweet baby Jesus was this cake delicious. Svedka strawberry lemonade vodka, from what I remember, always made the best summer cocktails. This translated perfectly into the best summer cake. It is oh-so-fluffy, sweet, and has a hint of lemon, which goes great with a base strawberry cake. And the frosting. Oh the frosting. I'm telling you, the only way I ever want to consume vodka again is via buttercream frosting. This has such a nice zing, but without the burning sensation usually accompanied by drinking the stuff. And it's honestly probably got the same calorie count as a vodka punch, but without the awful headache. Small miracles.
Even the bottle is pretty.
Once again, going the lazy baker route. I don't have a homemade strawberry cake recipe...yet. I promise that one day I will, but until then, if it ain't broke...
  • One box strawberry cake mix
  • One cup of room temp butter
  • Four room temp eggs
  • 3/4 cup of room temp strawberry lemonade vodka (I swear by Svedka, best cheap vodka out there, and I would know)
  • 1/4 cup room temp milk
I know, I upped the ante with the amount of booze in this recipe. I think I may go full scale for my next recipe because this turned out amazing. All you need to do is grease a 9x13 pan, preheat the oven according to box directions, and dump everything in your stand mixer and blend on medium-high for two minutes. Pour the batter into the pan and carefully for time. I think the amount of alcohol in the cake and how it bakes out in the oven causes the cake to bake faster. A typical 9x13 cake is done in the 30-35 minute window. This finished at 22 minutes. So it's either that or my oven is getting ready to break, which would make perfect sense since we're trying to sell our house. Someone knock on some wood for me.
Pictured: Supreme 90s kid candies
 I won't lie to you. While your cake cools on a cooling rack, you're gonna spend about three hours chopping candies to make an 8-bit cake of any variety: Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, you name it. You will be so sick of Starbursts that you swear you'll never eat one again, only to realize you still have half a bag and no choice. The things we do for the people we love. But here's the exact amount of candies you need to create Link, the dude from Zelda who was robbed of getting a game named after him.
  • 8 yellow Starbursts (I'm told people hate these; they are my favorite. This tells you everything you need to know about me.)
  • 2 packages of watermelon Airheads (I bought 4 and only used half)
  • 6 pink Starbursts (I was going to use pink lemonade Airheads, but they were pink pink)
  • 4 Tootsie Rolls
Throw in a few extra for taste tests.
Couple of tips:
  • Work with one color at a time.
  • Heat for about 8 seconds in the microwave to make more malleable.
  • Roll out each candy with a sturdy glass (rolling pins are too large).
  • Use a very sharp knife, and clean candy residue off after each candy.
  • Assemble a mock up on a sheet of foil or Parchment paper before you even think about assembling on a cake. I redid my candies quite a bit.
Once rolled out, trim edges of each piece into a nice square.

And cut each candy into quarters.
Slowly but surely, things will come along!
I didn't need to roll out my Airheads, so I heated and cut them up in the manner you see here.
Like the world's tastiest cross stitch pattern.
I also recommend using tweezers to help you assemble things. Starbursts are ridiculously sticky.
I did the Tootsie Rolls last because I simply believe they are an inferior chocolate and deserve to be treated as such. If I could've found a way to use Godiva for this, I would have.
I placed my Link rendering into the fridge while I worked on making my frosting and crumb coating my cake. I wondered to myself what the hell he was holding, but every 8-bit Link Google image search showed it, so I figured the internet wasn't playing a cruel trick on me for once.
This frosting will change you.
Three simple ingredients to make the best frosting I've ever had in my life. Well, tied with Baileys frosting. Nothing could ever be better than Baileys frosting. That's just crazy talk. You need:
  • 1 cup of room temp butter
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of Svedka strawberry lemonade vodka
Cream the butter until fluffy then add in three cups of sugar and two tablespoons of vodka. Mix until well incorporated. Dump in the remaining three cups of sugar and two tablespoons of vodka. Blend well. If too stiff, use the extra tablespoon of vodka. The icing will smell like a stiff drink, but it tastes divine and not like a shot of vodka, I promise. This recipe will give you enough frosting for a crumb coat, final coat, and piped border.
I got out my Link rendering to make sure he would fit on my cake. I needed to make him just a bit shorter, so I took off a row of whatever that yellow thing is. Someone help me, I know nothing about Zelda. But I cold spend six hours telling you the merits of playing as Luigi in Mario World. Crumb coat your cake and stick in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

Then add the final layer of frosting. Doesn't have to be too pretty, we'll smooth it out later. Place back in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

Then you can use the Viva paper towel trick to get things smoothed out.

Then I used my tweezers to transfer Link on to the actual cake. He looks relatively surprised by this turn of events.
I actually had 3/4 of a piping bag full of green frosting leftover from Derek's first 30th birthday cake last Saturday, so I used that to pipe a star border around the entire cake using a #21 tip. I wrote out the birthday message with a #3 tip. I had enough of the new frosting leftover to make a border though, so no worries if you aren't like me and don't have random stockpiles of frosting in your freezer. But lucky me, I just got to sit down and eat some by itself. It's like strawberry lemon heaven. Sweet, packs a zing, and just leaves you wanting a whole glass. Or in this case, spoon.

Then I added in some very festive and sparkly candles because every dessert should have sparkle.
 As excited as I was for Derek to open his birthday present, I was absolutely dying for him to see the cake. Clearly my baking is the best present I can give anyone since it requires so much time, patience, and effort to create something tailored specifically to one person. But a Super Nintendo is a very close second. I am proud to report he loved it. He thought it was insanely cool and had to take several pictures on his own phone (this is how I know it was a winner). I can't say enough about how light and fluffy vodka makes a's crazy, especially since it has the exact opposite effect on most people. Try making a flavored vodka cake, you will be impressed. All in all, baking, frosting, and piping border on to the cake took barely any time which helps make up for the tedium of chopping tiny 8-bit squares. No matter how much time it takes, this is a really clever way to decorate a cake, and I'm totally saving this for more ideas later. And anything that makes my husband happy is worth the time and effort. Now that you're ready to gag and/or barf, I'll take my leave. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
I promise to make you only the raddest of cakes from now until the time I have really terrible arthritis from cake decorating. Happy Birthday, Derek! I am so happy we get to celebrate you! Derekpalooza!!!

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