Friday, June 29, 2012

Laziest Blog Post Ever

I've got a backlog of stuff that I have made and meant to do super fantastical funny blog posts for each one. But...yeah I don't know if you know this but I am like the first pregnant person in the entire world and I just can't get it together to blog. I know there are pregnant bloggers all over the internetz they even have pregnancy blogs but I am just too lazy and too pregnant to get it together. Plus I have a 2 year old. He doesn't really prevent me from blogging but I figured I should spread some of the blame around.

So there are a few yummy treats to post about but given my current pregnant/lazy state I will just be posting links instead of actual recipes. Actual recipes is hard. So for starters my niece turned 13! She had a two-part party and the first part was a sleepover. I put together some yummy treats for this sleepover. I made her a popcorn cake and some funfetti rice krispie treats. I have a link for the popcorn cake the rice krispie treats I just followed the recipe on the back of the box and threw a bunch of rainbow sprinkles in...fancy.

I should really learn to take fancier pictures so when I make super fancy things like rice krispie treats with sprinkles thrown in I will have fancy pictures to show them off with. But I don't even have a fancy camera and I have no real interest to add fancy photographer to my short list of awesome skills.

Popcorn Cake

I never tried any of the popcorn cake but there were plenty of rave reviews. The blog post fails to mention how messy and difficult it is to make so let me throw that out there. I got marshmallow EVERYWHERE. I also had to use two bowls to mix it all up it was not as easy as I expected but pepole really seemed to enjoy it so totally worth it. Again no fancy pictures to capture the fanciness.

The next part of her party was a regular birthday party and I made cupcakes! No links or recipes because the cupcakes were made from a box, one frosting recipe I made up as I went along and the other the recipe was a disaster and I spent a lot of time trying to make it work. I made vanilla rainbow cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream (oh super yum) and chocolate cupcakes with Nutella buttercream. The Nutella buttercream was the disaster. It took a lot of work and tweaks to make it work and I can't even remember all that I did. I topped the cupcakes with disco dust glitter and jeweled shiny sprinkles which I purchased at a lovely internet store called Sweet Baking Supply I have purchased so many great items from them everyone should check them out! I even just purchased a bunch of sugar mustaches for an upcoming cupcake design for my 12 year old's birthday!

I actually didn't really eat these as I have a hard time now fitting cupcakes in on top of any meal (remember only pregnant person in the whole world)  but I did taste the frosting and it was quite delicious. One more picture to show them off and make sure this blog post is super long.

So sparkly! The chocolate with nutella buttercream also received rave reviews but I don't like Nutella so I only took a tiny taste of the frosting to make sure it was edible and it tasted like nutella so...yum I guess?

The next thing I made was for memorial day. I made grape soda cupcakes. I actually also did not try these at all except for the frosting which was a plain buttercream. I topped them with a "straw" made out of grape vines which were super delicious. I ate so many that I was totally unable to fit in a cupcake and I forgot to snag one for later so I never tried them. Everyone enjoyed them though! Recipe here: Grape Soda Pop Cupcakes

I also made a set with purple sugar instead of sprinkles. My plan was to use purple poprocks because it sounded like fun, but I never was unable to find purple poprocks. I have a large supply of poprocks that I once bought just in case but I did not have any purple. Next time I make these I will need to get some purple pop rocks. Also I will probably use a cheap can of grape soda instead of using the fancy organic grape soda the husband insisted we use.

Whew so there we go. A mammoth blog post that is actually three blog posts in one. I have a few more cake making events before I go into retirement for the rest of my pregnancy (only pregnant woman in the world) and hopefully I will manage to blog those!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Birthday Cake

It feels like it's been forever since I've made a cake. I've totally been going through withdrawl lately. I used to make cakes for occasions such as Tuesdays. In April I found out that I am one of the lucky ones who entered the lottery for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Diego AND got chosen. Since marathon training really cuts into your "me time" and cake doesn't necessarily lend itself to losing the weight I need to in order to run this thing without dying, I had to cut back on the cake making and eating. I'm admittedly sad about it.  But lucky for me, my husband just had a birthday today (Happy Birthday Babe!) so I had to got to make a cake.

I wisely chose a Lemon Blueberry cake that I found on this blog. Two reasons for this. First, it's not even summer and it's freaking hot already. Nothing says summer like the fresh taste of lemon and blueberries. Second, I have this weird "thing" about the amount of effort I put into something. Despite being proven wrong on multiple occasions, I feel like the more effort you put into any one thing, the more it says to the recipient about how you feel. Oh, and the more people should like/appreciate it. Again, doesn't always work out that way for me, but I'm working through it.

This cake has several of pain in the a*$ (PITA) elements to it but they are all very much worth it. That being said, I cheated on several of them without a decrease in the appreciation for the cake, so maybe I've had a breakthrough on some of my issues.

Baking PITA #1 - Parchment paper lining

I groan every time I read this instruction. "Butter and flour pans and line with parchment paper". Despite my interest in doing lots of work on a cake, prep isn't my thing. It's like pinning before sewing or taping before painting. I really just want to get to the fun stuff. Normally I might skip this step and my cake would stick to the bottom, then I would be mad at myself later. But my mother in law was here (here comes cheat number 1) and offered to help and I passed off this task without hesitation. Thanks Cindy!

Baking PITA #2 - Zesting
I suck. I didn't take any pictures of this. You tell me how I'm supposed to zest a lemon and take a picture of it at the same time. Had to be done.

Baking PITA #3 - Separating Eggs

WHY do recipes need to require egg whites? And 7 of them at that. I did this SEVEN times! 

Except for this time, when the yolk fell through the separator and then broke into the whites when I tried to remove it. Woopsie!

Baking PITA #4 - Marbling

Maybe it's only a PITA for people like me, who can't seem to get such a simple task done well. I reserved a cup of the batter and mixed it with some blueberry jam (see Baking PITA #5) and dropped some blobs into each pan. I'm not sure why, but it's less swirled and more like blobs with a few swirls around them. Oh well, it still tastes the same, right?

Baking PITA #5 - Making your own jam/curd/etc

Lemon curd, cream filling, blueberry jam...Whatever it is, making it for cake layers is a bigger PITA than just filling them with buttercream. This one's worth it though. Cheat number 2 comes in here. I made the blueberry jam for something else a few weeks ago and saved the leftovers. It was still a PITA to make, just not today :)

Baking PITA #6 - Clean up

Worst part of baking ever. Especially since I use a ton of dishes. I swear that empty beer bottle hanging out in the back is not mine!

By no means was that a comprehensive list of ALL Baking PITA's, just the ones that occurred in this instance :)

Here's a shot of the side. I can't show the top because I'd be super embarrassed that I didn't start the piping in the right place, so the word "birthday" is all jammed into the right side. Plus, my husband probably doesn't want his name out there since his age is out in the open. The lean comes from me not following directions. I used three 9 inch pans instead of 8 inch as the recipe called for. I don't have three 8 inch pans so the layers came out a little thin. And with a little lean.

Just because he's so damn cute. He was really happy to help out with the candles. So much so that he asked us to light them after he blew them out so he could blow them out again :)

Regardless of the fact that it was blobs instead of swirls, it was a huge hit. 

Note: I didn't use the lemon buttercream in the recipe. Ever since a disaster with some swiss meringue buttercream, the idea of making a frosting that calls for use of a candy thermometer is immediately dismissed. If you want to be lazy like me, here's the recipe for cheat number 3. I did have quite a bit extra so if you frost sparingly, you can probably get by with half of this.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

2 Cups room temperature butter
8 Cups powdered sugar 
Juice and Zest of 2 lemons
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract