Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My FIRST Daring Bakers Challenge

These last couple of months I have been bored with my cooking and decided to browse some cooking blogs that I stumbled upon. I found a really cool food blog that I found some great recipes on and read about a group that bakes a different recipe together each month. This group is called the Daring Bakers and is the real reason that I created this food blog. I joined the group last month and received my challenge for March 2008. The challenge was to make a cake named, "The Perfect Party Cake". This cake recipe is from the recipe book, "Baking from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan (Who is the best-selling author of Baking with Julia Child) I was instantly intimidated! Oh my, a butter cream frosting, 4 layers and filling..... The last cake that I remember making from scratch was when I was a teenager and decided to make my dad a birthday cake. It was pretty awful and I still get teased about it.

I decided that I needed to make this cake for Easter Dinner Dessert. Easter morning the kids hunted for their baskets and then it was time to bake. I got the Kitchen Aid out and away I went. I couldn't believe it; I was making this cake and actually had some confidence that my family would be able to eat it. I got the cake batter into the pans and waited patiently the 30 minutes for the cakes to bake. I just knew that all the running around the kids were doing was bound to make these cakes not rise. I pulled the cakes out and they looked just perfect. Perfect until I flipped them out of the pans and saw that they didn't rise real high. So, I decided that I needed to make the recipe again to make sure that I didn't screw something up (as this is common around here!!) I quickly made another 2 cakes and of course they turned out the same. Oh well, I now had 4 layers that would look like a decent size cake when it was finished. (Decent size was an UNDERSTATEMENT!) I proceeded to make this awesome butter cream frosting and couldn't believe that I actually made this masterpiece frosting myself! I then had to put all of this good stuff together! I started with the first layer and spread the raspberry filling onto the top of it, then put a layer of frosting. I repeated these steps until the last of the four cakes were placed onto the top. At this point I was freaking out, this cake was just crazy HUGE! I looked at this thing and just started frosting, frosting and more frosting. I am NOT by any means going to make a living by decorating cakes. The original recipe called for coconut over the butter cream, but Grandma Madeline doesn't appreciate coconut, so I just placed a few little nests of coconut and jelly beans on the top and around the bottom for a little Easter decoration. No one that ate the cake could believe that I made it. So bring on the next challenge Daring Bakers, I AM READY! Email me for the recipe if you too would like to challenge yourself!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Birthday Cakes

Aunt Gaby's "29th" Birthday Cake
G1's Birthday Cake

Tomorrow is our annual Egg Hunt and this year we will be also celebrating G1's B-Day early. Since he was born on Easter in April 2001 and we will be gone on vacation for his "real" B-Day, I decided to do a combo party. So it is G1's 7th B-Day/Egg Hunt. It is also Aunt Gaby's "29th" B-Day again tomorrow so we made 2 cakes (actually Brownies since cake doesn't pass through the mouth of my little prince). I never claimed to be a cake decorator, so I am sure you're laughing at my cakes right now!

Easter Treats for the Kiddos

OK, this isn't something that I slaved in the kitchen over, but it was a hit with the kids. These Little Debbie Swiss Rolls were made into, "Bunny Racers". I found the idea in the Family Fun magazine this month and made enough for both kids to take to school and also for our Egg Hunt this weekend. All the kids loved them and our kids enjoyed making a few of them for themselves.