Friday, August 27, 2010

Tropical Pool Cake :: Beach Cake

Our daughter requested a beach cake this year.

I found the idea for this cake online, and it led me to the original idea that came from the June 19, 2007 issue of Woman's Day. Zee dee-rect-shuns.

My daughter and the rest of the family LOVED this fun cake. It was pretty straight forward--especially since I don't have or know how to use any special cake decorating tools.

NOTES: I had to use 3 of 4 layers from TWO boxed cake mixes to get the height proportion of the online example.

I was a little concerned that if the Jello was pourable, it would make the cake soggy and even leak out. So, I waited until it was getting a little lumpy until I stirred it well and poured it onto the cake.

Our grocer does not carry Keebler Bug Bites for the cute butterfly (I'm not even sure if they make them anymore). After contemplating fashioning one out of something else, I decided to leave it out completely.

Instead of coloring all the different icings, I just used a box of Icing Writers found at the grocery store. I only mixed the light blue and light brown colors myself.

I couldn't find green Fruit by the Foot (only found the tie-dye version), so I used a roll of green Hubba Bubba gum tape (6 ft. in all) that I found at Party City for the "sea weed".

I also couldn't find striped sour belt candy, so I used part of a fruit roll up for the beach towel...but could've just used another piece of the gum roll.

The palm leaves were a bugger. Maybe leaving them flat would have been wiser. I tried to make them curved like the instructions called for (more realistic), but it was the most frustrating part of this cake. More often than not, the leaves broke.

Also, instead of bread sticks, you can see that I've instead used pretzel rods.

Another cake request fulfilled for one of our little'ns.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carrot Cake (3 layers)

I just made this cake for our block party in celebration for all August birthdays. I think it had been a while since our neighbors had a homemade cake...not a crumb was left!

Our sweet neighbor down the street from our old house made this cake and a pot of chicken and dumplings for us a few days after we returned home from the hospital with our newborn twins. Since she is elderly and because we had a very steep driveway, Joe walked down the street to her house to pick up the food and bring it home for us. I remember him coming home with his arms shaking from fatigue because he had to carry the cake in one hand and a hot saucepan in the other. Since the handle cover wasn’t long enough to cover the entire length of the long hot handle, it took tremendous strength to continue holding the heavy pot all the way home without being able to support it underneath with his other hand…carrying the cake. Periodically, he had to just stop, rest it on the ground, and switch hands! What funny things we remember! We never told her about Joe's trouble, but I did get the recipe from her!

1-1/2 cup grated raw carrots
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 whole eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together oil and sugar. Add carrots and eggs. Add flour, cinnamon, soda, salt and vanilla. Using 3 – 8 inch cake pans (greased and floured), pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 lb. box of powdered sugar
1 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, toasted & chopped (optional, but good)

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar--and a little milk, if needed. Frost cake and add pecans all along the side.

Note: For the carrots, I took 1/4 cup of the leftover frosting and added 2 drops red and 4 drops of yellow food coloring, mixed it, then threw it in the freezer to harden a bit. I don't have nor would I know how to use fancy cake decorating tools, so I just scooped up wee bits of the frosting and formed them into carrot shapes and positioned them onto the cake. Ideally, I suppose I should have made one carrot for each slice of cake. For the leaves, I used a squirt can of green food coloring I had left over from another cake (I know, classy. Hey, I'm all about function and simplifying life, okay?

P.S. If you're wondering about the birthday banner, I made this cake for our street's 2nd Annual August Birthday Bash celebrating about 10 neighbors' August birthdays (including one of our kids). I used card stock to print up the subtle-colored bunting, printed letters with marker, sewed some craft thread through the card stock, and tied the banner to a set of chopsticks.