Sunday, June 12, 2011

A's Fairy Birthday Party: the cake

The last thing I made for A's party was her cake. I wanted to do it to her specifications and make it really special....but, with a baby added to our family recently, I didn't know how I was going to do it. The Lord helped me get it all done (hooray for naptime) and it was a great teaching time as both girls watched me for a bit while I worked. A even helped make the frosting. :)

So, here's the cake before adding the candles. I did write A's name on the bottom of the cake, but removed it for privacy.

The frosting was home made. I used Wilton's recipe (see below). I colored the main cake and grass by adding green food coloring to the frosting. But, when I realized I didn't have anything for the flowers, I panicked (just slightly). Then I began to think about what I could add that would add color. I walked to the corner grocery store with the girls and bought strawberry flavored jello. It worked! Q noticed that the flowers had a slightly different taste, but it tasted great. After making the pink frosting, I made another color by adding blue to it. It came out more of a periwinkle blue than a purple, but I was still pleased with it.

The writing was done using a purple gel writer which can be found at just about any grocery store. As for decorating tips goes, I used the grass tip and the star tip for the rest of the cake.

Here's the cake with the candles on it. I found this set of Tinkerbell candles at Walmart for a few dollars. It really completed the look.

When A saw her cake she said, "This is the best cake ever!" It really made my day that she enjoyed it so much.

Here are the recipes that I used to put it all together:

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake
(from Our Best Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens)

3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups milk

1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Lightly grease bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch cake pas or two 8x8x2-inch baking pans. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper. Grease and lightly flour waxed paper and sides of pans. Set pans aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until well mixed. Scrape side of bowl; continue beating on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 minute total). Beat in vanilla.

4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to beaten mixture, beating on low speed just until combined after each addition. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread evenly into the prepared pans.

5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutest for round cake pans 35 to 40 minutes for 8-inch square pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes. remove from pans. Peel off waxed paper. Cool completely on wire racks.

Buttercream recipe

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened but not melted
1 lb. confectioners sugar (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and butter. Add sugar, water and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are mixed well. Blend a minute or two more until creamy in texture. If using a hand mixer and icing is not creamy, use high speed or add more milk a drop at a time. This icing can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using. Yield: 3 cups stiff icing. To thin icing add 2 teaspoons milk per cup of stiff icing.

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