Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Father's Day Cake for Daddy-O!

How appropriate for Father's Day:

I love Father's Day because its a RELAXING holiday. 
Not that Mother's Day isn't relaxing... well actually, this
past Mother's Day was anything but relaxing. I took Mom to see Tom Petty
at Amway in Orlando. Funnn!

We usually do a grill out or something with my brother (who is also a Father- WHOOP!)
and his family. With my nephew, Alex's, birthday so close to Father's Day this
year, we celebrated both on the same day. What does that mean to you ? 

2 postings in one- yay! 

This year for Father's Day I wanted to do something a 
little different. His gifts over the past few years have ranged anywhere from the 
Noodle golf balls that he swears enable him to golf like a pro :/ to the
 infamous Levi "pocket" shirts that he can't seem to get enough of, to gift baskets full of his fave foods. He's definitely not the "tie" type! To be honest, I think I've 
only seen my Dad in a tie a handful of times. I mean a necktie is to Father's Day 
what flowers are to Mother's Day. Not very original. It was actually
hard to find a card, or anything for that matter, that didn't have a stupid tie on it.

Neck Ties for Chex Mix!

Neck Ties for Coke bottles!

Neck Tie Tablescape! (Ok this one is super cute...)

Again, these ideas would be cute
if my father wore a tie more than twice a year.

My Dad DOES love his Harley! He's had his bike for a few years
now and loves takin that thing out. He doesn't wear chaps
and leather vests or anything- it's not that serious. But he does wear a lot
of Harley tees. He must have mentioned to my Mom that
he wanted an Orlando Harley Davidson shirt, so I kinda took 
that idea and ran with it... ;)

Last year I made him a "Grill Cake" which I refuse to post
pictures of because the thing turned out to be kind of a disaster.
It was sloppy but he thought that was the coolest thing! So this year,
I decided to make a Harley Davidson cake!

Black fondant seemed a little morbid at first but it came 
together and ended up looking pretty neat... 

Again, I have been making fondant cakes
like crazy this month!!

Oh also! Here's something cute I saw on Pinterest! 
I have tons and tons of cupcake liners. I use to store them all in a trifle
next to my stove (another Pinterest idea) but I started to get a little
messy while cooking and I ended up getting pasta sauce everywhere - not
a practical idea. I needed something with a lid. The mason jar only 
stores about a third of the liners that I actually have but looks cute! 

So again, I was a crazy girl in the kitchen with 2 different cake
batters going at once. Taking one cake out of the oven- putting in Alex's

Jake was even getting a little exhausted watching me.

My nephew was turning 8 and reeaalllyyyy wanted "Ninjago"
cupcakes. When Ashley first asked me to make these I totally played it cool and was like
"Ohhh yeah Ninjago! Yep, I can do that!" All the while I'm secretly thinking...
"Who is Ninjago??" 

Thank God for GOOGLE!

So Ninjagos are basically exactly what they sound like.
Ninja Legos.... duh. 

They can clearly be denoted by the "Lego yellow" face with the
evil looking Ninja eyebrows. 

There was quite literally frosting all over my kitchen by the end
of this day. I made yellow and red for the cupcakes and whatever was left over I combined
to make orange frosting for my Dad's cake! 

So YAY for that working out!

I started by only applying a little bit of the yellow frosting to the cooled
cupcake for the strip. Once that set, I went back and used my frosting gun
for the rectangle shape around the face with the red frosting. Then I applied red
frosting all around the rectangle. Finally, I used what was left of 
the black fondant from my Dad's cake for the eye balls and eye brows.

Kind of "Ninjago-y" looking right ??

Alex loved them :)
Happy Birthday kiddo!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

CAKE: Mara's Wine-Themed 40th and Brooke's Graduation

Last weekend was ANOTHER busy weekend!
And I'm still trying to play catch up :/ 

So, I'm really not a huge fan of fondant- especially when it comes
to making things that my family will be eating. They tend to 
be very quick to tell me when something is anything less than
impressive. For that reason, I usually don't do a lot of
fondant cakes. This month it looks like I've made quite a few exceptions though!

My cousin's wife, Mara,  (okay, so I guess I could just say my cousin) 
recently celebrated her 40th birthday! She looks like she's 25 but I 
kid you not- she's the big 4-0! She wanted to do something for
her birthday but didn't know what. So Aunt Sherry and I stepped
in and decided to throw her a surprise, wine-themed
"Aged to Perfection"
party! This idea actually wasn't that original- my mom used
the same exact theme for her sister's 40th.

So we obviously aimed to center the whole party around
wine, corks, grapes- anything pretty and rustic! 
Between my mom, my aunt and myself, rounding up wine
corks wasn't that difficult anyhow. 

True Story.. 

So I obviously wanted to tie wine grapes in with the theme
for the cake! I decided on an off-white 2-tiered fondant
cake with artificial grapes (Michael's) to top!

I would typically show step-by-step pictures, etc but truth is
the "step-by-step" process was a complete disaster. 
Basically- I volunteered to provide the cake before I realized the 
party would be held on Memorial Day weekend- so I, of course, was at
the river. We made quite a routine out of going to the river in the month of May if you haven't noticed. ;) So I made the actual cake Thursday night and then
transported it with us to the river on Friday. Then I woke up Saturday 
morning and drove to my Grandma's (where the party was held) and finished the 
fondant, decorating, etc. 

It sounds a lot easier than it actually was.

Bryan drives like an absolute maniac so at every stop I was
basically clinging to the cake in a panic. Not to mention we got to 
my Grandma's about an hour before Mara showed up so it was jusstttt
a little stressful! Anyway- not my BEST but turned out good and tasted great!

I love the shade of purple that the butter cream frosting turned out,
but now looking back, I would have liked to add a little bit more of a design to the 
outside of the cake- looks so dang plain!

Here it looks a little more spruced up!
Like I said we clearly had no problem rounding up a ton of wine corks-
looks pretty & rustic!

Moving right along.....

This past weekend was Bryan's little sister, Brooke's, high school graduation!
Bryan and Brooke actually both went to Forest High- their
colors being green, white and gold- which at first didn't sound 
too appealing for a cake color scheme. I made a cake very similar to 
the one made for Mara's rustic, wine-themed 40th.
I used white fondant, dark "Forest Green" butter cream topped with
a gold Graduation Cap.

Not only was this a similar cake, but a similar
 transportation story unfortunately :/
Brooke's graduation was set to start at 8AM so they recommended
showing up between 7-7:30 for good seats. Long story short, we 
left Orlando at 2 in the morning, got to Ocala at 4 and woke up at 6:30.

I. Felt. Dead.

So clearrllyyy there was no time for cake decorating Saturday morning.
I made the cake Thursday night and decorated Friday before we left.
Again, Bryan's driving is not the best (ie. dramatic slams to the brakes at every stop
sign) so I was clinging to the cake to make sure it was secure.
I have ultimately come to the conclusion that I NEED to invent
a mini refrigerator to transport cakes and cupcakes!

Here is the cake pre-trip to Ocala!

The polka dots were a last minute addition in attempt to
tone down the exclamation mark- which was added because
"FHS" wasn't centered with "2012" which was driving me nuts-

Brooke graduated with honors and is going to SantaFe CC
in Gainesville before she starts at UF- yay! 

Here are some tips from Wilton for transporting cakes that
may have been a little beneficial this month... good to know!



Monday, June 11, 2012

Tiffany's B-Day Weekend, Cupcake Liners & More

So a few weekends ago (yessssss this is another old post) we celebrated Tiffany's birthday at Crystal River-


Late Thursday night I did a little batch of french vanilla cupcakes. I typically do a recipe that makes about 30 but there wasn't a lot of us going for the weekend and I don't need any extra sweets laying around- so I did 1/3 of everything.

When it comes to cupcake liners, I usually just grab whatever- but then notice that the pattern always fades after baking (ruining the "cuteness" of the entire cupcake). So I recently bought Wilton "no fade" cupcake liners from Michael's..

The difference being that they are grease-proof, which makes a WORLD of difference. They're a little more expensive than the others but completely worth it.

Turquoise and Pink are her favorite colors- which she expresses through almost everything that she owns.. :)

Tiff turned 24 Friday night so we all went out to dinner and then headed back to the house to hang out which consisted of- trying to line dance, attempting to make Birthday Cake shots, failing at making Birthday Cake shots, scrubbing the stained kitchen counter tops with bleach from the hot pink streamers I basically threw everywhere...

*Please note the cutie "24" coozie :)

..and then eventually just going to sleep since we had to be up bright and early the next morning to fish.

The boys caught some baby sharks, Bryan almost lost his face in attempt to bring this one in the boat, we drank "margarita by the liter" -overall it was a good time!

And theeeennnn...

we all went back to Chris's parents' house and watched him PROPOSE to Tiff!!

<3 <3 <3

So hooray for another wedding! Their wedding date is set for 3-23-12 and their colors? Turquoise, Pink and Yellow of course... ;)


P.S. - And for the record... here is the RIGHT recipe for a Birthday Cake shot:

1 oz. Cake Flavored Vodka
1 tsp. Dry White Cake Mix
1/4 oz. Whipped Vodka
1/4 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz. Half & Half
Whipped Cream & Sprinkled (for topping)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baby BOY Blue Cake Pops!

First and foremost, I feel it necessary to tell you I have a cake pop maker.

Not that I feel like its "cheating," but any person that can hand-make 50-60 cake pops in one sitting- KUDOS. I honestly love this little thing! Bry's mom bought it for me this past Christmas. It deffiniteellyyy took a few tries before I got the routine down (the first few batches looked like mushrooms). Whoops :/

Kathryn had her sister-in-law's baby shower in April.. (okay so this post is extremely late- better late than NEVER) :D Anyway the mom-t0-be is diabetic so a 3-tiered, extravagant baby shower cake wasn't exactly necessary. The alternative?

Cake Pops!

Over the past couple of years, cake pops have become pretty popular. That's an understatement. They are, hands down, the trendiest new little treat. Cake pops are also only around 100-150 calories. If that still seems like a lot.. do yourselves a favor and google how many calories are in a slice of chocolate cake. Actually, don't..

I went with a vanilla cake pop, coated in dark chocolate with a baby blue white chocolate drizzle.

So the drizzle- let me explain.

I was more worried about making sure the texture of the chocolate was perfect for dipping the cake pops that I didn't even give a thought to the fact that drizzling melted candy wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. One thing that makes a huge difference is making SURE the cake pop's exterior is frozen. If you attempt to drizzle over chocolate that is not yet frozen- forget it.

Melt the candy chips in a microwave-safe cup or bowl. I like to add vegetable oil to make it smoother. Make sure you only fill the chocolates half full each time. They melt easier at way!Microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, then repeat. Next, quickly transfer the melted candy into a zip lock bag. Snip a small end of one of the corner's of the bag. Then just drizzle away!

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