Mario Cake

Cakes | February 28, 2012 | By

So, it’s been a bit longer since my last post.  I’d really like to be able to post every day, but I just can never find time.  Ever wish there were a few extra hours in a day?  I’d love 3 or 4 extra hours.  You know what I’d do?  Bake, sew, knit, scrapbook… and READ.  I love to read.  In fact, I just finished (I couldn’t put it down… it only took me a few days) the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I read the first one in the series, and it was SO good.  I can’t wait to read the next two.  However, I’m in the middle of 2 or 3 other books, so I’d better wait.  It’s just so hard though!  I. Want. To. Read. The. Next. Book.      SO.      BAD!

Anyways, a few weeks ago, I posted a few cake posts.  Check out my KitKat birthday cake, and my rose birthday cake.  Since then, I’ve made another cake.  This one was a character cake for my hubby’s birthday.  He turned 22!  Old eh?  😉  Happy Birthday Babe!

It just so happens that he likes to play Super Smash Brothers with my younger brothers.  And I just so happened to have a Mario cake pan.  Therefore…. well, you know what happened…

Tada!  Super Mario!

Now, you can tell who he is here… right?  But when I first started, it was kind of scary.  First of all, how could this possibly be Mario?

But, after much time, effort [and frustration]… hemhem… Mario came to life.  My mother came to me when it was done and said, ‘So, it is Kirby?’  Which it most obviously is not.  But she enjoyed the exasperated look on my face, I’m sure.

After the cake was done, I made icing for it, and dyed it the colours I needed (Warning:red is HARD to achieve).  Then I coated the cake with a layer of white icing.  I then outlined my Mario and started to fill him in.  There are a LOT of little stars of icing on this guy!

I have to tell you though, the hardest part of this whole cake experience was cutting into it.  All the work…  Eaten.   At least it tasted good.  🙂

Cael enjoyed it too.  He loves EVERYTHING.

Back to cakes – I have done other cakes as well, and I’ll share those with you some day soon.  There are always so many things that I want to try and share with you, but again – never enough time.  Those who live close to me – need anything baked – call me.  I’d love to help you out (my dream is to bake for a living – wouldn’t that be great?).

By the way, any suggestions, questions, etc – please let me know!  Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoyed!

Reese’s Pieces Squares

Squares and Cookies | February 23, 2012 | By

So surprisingly, I’m going to post again.  For my THIRD time in 2 weeks!  Wohoo.  I’m on a roll.

Does anybody else have a love for Calvin and Hobbes?  I sure do.  Growing up with all brothers greatly aids my appreciation of them.  For instance, this cartoon fits all of my brothers at about age 8 (which is how old my youngest brother is at the moment).

My youngest little bro was reading to Cael the other day.  It was so sweet, I just had to catch a few shots of them.

It was Cael’s first time to read Calvin.  He really seemed to enjoy it.  Well, he tried to eat the book anyway.

Pretty cute, eh?

So, now that we’ve covered Calvin, let’s get to the peanut butter part of this post.

I have this addiction, my husband shares it.  It’s called…  Peanut butter and chocolate.  It has got to be one of the BEST combinations ever thought up.  Somehow, there are those who don’t enjoy this mix, but I call them crazy and deprived.

My hubby isn’t into many of my baked goods, but these squares I’m about to share with you….  Let’s just say he’s more than into them, he’s all over them!  These things are so simple to make to – no bake.  And delectable.  Company always asks for more and the recipe too.  Simple and delicious.  What more could you ask for in a dessert?  Except for maybe a chocolate-peanut butter combo…  But wait!  It’s got that too!

This recipe is also a family recipe, thanks to my aunt.  🙂

Reeses Pieces Squares

Bottom:

1 1/4 cup graham crackers

3/4 cup margarine (softened)

1 tsp vanilla

3  cups icing sugar

1 cup peanut butter (I use smooth, but crunchy could definitely work as well!)

Simply mix it all together and pat into an ungreased 9×9 pan.

Then, you make the top…

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we use semi-sweet)

2 tsp water

Reese’s pieces candy, crushed

Melt the chocolate chips and water in the microwave.  Stir until smooth.  sprinkle with crushed candy pieces.  And… Tada!

So, craving yet?  I sure am…  My hubby is too apparently.  He’s looking over my shoulder while I’m writing this and asked if there were any left.  🙂  There is something to say about baking for your husband and him enjoying it.

Hope you enjoy those squares!  They are pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  PB and chocolate anyone?

Buttercream Icing and a Cake

Cakes, Icing and Sauce | February 18, 2012 | By

As I said on Thursday, here is my next cake post.  Last post, you saw my cake in the oven.  Here it is now, just about to be frosted:

Add another, layer, smoother on the frosting, and smooth it out.  Voila!  Next step accomplished!

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – here’s the finished product!

Want a close up of those roses?  Not near as good as my teacher (my grandmother), but still pretty snazzy I think!

I made a white cake (family recipe) and just regular icing.

ICING (“Buttercream”)

1 1-kg bag of icing sugar

1 1-lb block of shortening

1 tsp almond extract

2 tbsp milk or water

Just beat all of these ingredients together.  If it’s too thick, add more liquid.  If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.  Easy as pie (or cake… haha)!  This is a great recipe for decorating with.  Just add food colour to change it to whatever colour your heart desires (or your cake is in need of).

Do you ever get sick of cake?  Personally – no.  Well, depends on what kind of cake I suppose.  I’m personally not a fan of carrot cake, I think I’d literally get sick if I took a bite of one of those.  But any other type of cake (pretty well), I don’t even think it’s possible to get sick of it.  It’s a staple.  Didn’t you know that Canada’s Food Guide has an extra category for ‘Daily Cake Intake’?  (Not really, but I wish it were so!)

I LOVE to decorate cakes. I don’t do it often enough (therefore don’t get enough practice), and have a tendency to go too fast, but they seem to turn out alright.  I’d love to do it more often though.  Anybody need a cake?  Contact me.  Those in the local area anyways.  I have done a few different cakes.  I’ll share some pictures of past cakes/cupcakes soon!

So, my grandmother had asked me to make a cake for a combined birthday supper for my mother and her sister.  She said I ‘made them look better’.  When I arrived with the cake, she even told me it looked professional!  Wowzers.  My self-confidence blew right up at that one.  😉

There’s a story behind this.  My grandmother has decorated cakes for a long time as a side-income.  She was amazing at it.  She made my birthday cakes for me from the time I was 1, until I was 17.  Always sooo yummy, and always looked too good to eat.  She’s since had a few medical problems, so she doesn’t do it anymore, but I’ve inherited a lot of her tools  and her love for doing it.  Food really should be an art, and this is one way to express that.

Meet my Nannie.  She’s the best.

Random, yes.  But have you ever tried a dragon fruit?  They’re pretty good.  Kind of like a mild kiwi.  Not to mention, they look gorgeous.  I just couldn’t let this photo opportunity pass.

This week is my hubby’s birthday.  I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen for his birthday yet.   I’ve got planning to do.  But I’ll let you know once I figure it out…

Just a question…  Do you need something sweet after a meal?  Always seem to?  I do.

Tanner’s Chocolate Cake

Cakes | February 16, 2012 | By

Sorry it’s been too long again.  I know I keep saying that and not doing anything about it.  But hey, life is busy, baby boys don’t just stop when I want to bake or do a post.  (However, he is down right now….  And I did find time to bake this…)

How was Valentine’s Day?  We had a fairly normal day.  I got FOOD for Valentine’s.  It was great.  Coffee ice cream, chocolates, organic vanilla yogurt and a smoothie.  Pretty close to heavenly I’d say.  I provided hubby with breakfast in bed – brown sugar french toast and coffee.  We had some friends over deseert that evening and enjoyed a German apple cake/pie thing, cupcakes, and mousse.  Each couple brought a dessert.  I made the mousse.  Did I mention it was in chocolate or peanut butter cups, also made by me?  Soooo good.  My hubby doesn’t eat a whole lot of baked goodness, but that is one dessert he’ll eat.  Sorry to say I didn’t get any photos of those desserts, but I’m sure I’ll get around to doing it another day.

Did I mention that this is our ….  7th Valentine’s day together?  (I think… I’m starting to lose count…)  But only our second married.  It’s been great.

It’s still winter!  But it has been wonderfully warm and sunny out the past 2 days, it almost feels like spring!  And spring IS coming, which is amazing.  I cannot believe how fast this year is going!  Me and the baby went for a walk yesterday with another mom and baby and had a blast.  It was a great almost 2 hour walk.  The awesome thing about walking with someone else is you don’t even notice how long you’ve been walking because you are so preoccupied with what women do best…  Talking!  So encouraging to talk to other ladies, especially when you can relate to them and share a faith with them.

Anyways!  February had two busy weeks in it for me and mine.  And it includes a lot of cake-eating and baking.  My mother’s, aunt’s and husband’s birthdays.  Plus, Valentine’s Day.  AND, we had company over last week one day for lunch, and made a cake-type thing for dessert that day as well.  I am a fan of cakes.  But truly, it’s not the cake that I look forward to eating the most.  It’s most certainly the icing.  I.  LOVE.  Icing.  When I slice my cake, I make sure to scrape that little bit of icing that stays on the platter off of that platter and onto my plate.  My mother on the other hand, will scrape any of what she calls, ‘excess’ (I NEVER have had ANY excess icing!) icing and I normally will inform her that she’s wasting and proceed in transferring it from her plate to my cake.  Did I mention that I love icing??

Mom got a very, very chocolate cake on her birthday.  I was on Pinterest, and discovered some pictures of this cake.  You use a chocolate cake, frost it, and then stick KitKat bars the whole way around.  Mom’s favourite chocolate bar just so happens to be the KitKat bar.  Therefore, I knew I just had to make this cake.

I used our traditional, family chocolate cake recipe and made some chocolate icing to frost the cake.  Then I used 8 KitKat bars for around the sides.  I wasn’t sure what to put on the top, but I found some Rocket candies, and some SweetHearts.  It looked really pretty.  🙂

Tanner's Chocolate Cake
The best chocolate cake you can make!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups brown sugar
  2. 1 cup canola oil
  3. 5 HEAPING Tbsp cocoa
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2/3 cup hot water
  6. 1 cup milk
  7. 2 tsp vanilla
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. 2 tsp baking soda
  10. Pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour 2 9' round pans or a 13x9 baking dish.
  2. Blend together the oil and sugar. Add eggs, salt and vanilla.
  3. Stir in cocoa and hot water. Mix in 1 cup flour and baking soda. Stir in 1 cup milk. Add remaining flour, mix. Stir in remaining milk. Batter will be runny and oh, so chocolaty.
  4. Make sure to lick the bowl out when you're done. Pour into greased pans.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until middle is set. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Take cakes out of pans.
  6. Cool completely before frosting (or you will have a mess!).
Whisks and Wooden Spoons http://whisksandwoodenspoons.com/

Today, I’m starting a cake for a birthday celebration for my mother and aunt tomorrow.

This will be completely different from Mom’s previous cake.  Notice the light colour (not chocolate at all).  It won’t have chocolate frosting either.

This finished cake will be posted this weekend – I’m not quite sure how it will look yet, but keep checking for those pictures!

I will also be posting the cake that I previously mentioned that I made for company earlier this week.  With testimonials! (Company’s idea…)  😉  It’s really cool.  Here’s a sneak peak:

If you are more a fan of coffee cakes, (ie – no icing, less sweet…) check out this Blueberry Cake recipe.

How was your Valentine’s Day?  How did you celebrate?  Who did you celebrate with?  

Hot Sweet Milk

Drinks (Hot&Cold) | February 3, 2012 | By

I don’t know about you, but I don’t give those groundhogs very much faith.  I don’t remember having an ‘early’ spring…. ever.  I keep seeing a post on Facebook, it’s a picture of a groundhog holding a sign that says, “I’m a rodent, not a meteorologist”.   I agree with him.

So you know what’s crazy?  That we’re now in our  second month of 2012 already!  I cannot believe how fast time flies.  Especially when you have kids.  People tell you it flies by, but you don’t really realize quite how fast until it happens.

Anyhow, it’s February 2012, it’s winter, and it’s cold outside.  There’s not a whole lot to do some days, especially in the Maritimes.  There are a lot of cold, dreary, rainy days when you can’t even really go outside, let alone go skating, sledding, etc.  Tonight however…  Skating it is!  We’ve finally had enough executive cold days that the ice has frozen!  And we’re taking the bull by its horns and going skating.  I’m soo excited!  I haven’t skated in 2 years, as I was pregnant last year and didn’t feel it was quite the safest thing to do.  And, today was a lovely sunny day, so I enjoyed a nice brisk walk all by myself!  It makes such a difference being alone (for me anyways).  I so enjoy that time to 1) pray, 2) listen to music and 3) think without distraction.  It was absolutely wonderful.

The only problem with that walk however, was that I was chilled to the bone when I got home.  BUT I now have a solution!  If you’re trying to watch your calorie  intake a bit, or are just tired of hot chocolate (I do not understand how that could EVER happen, hot chocolate is the best thing ever!), or just need something new, I have something for you to try.  And it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!  I got the idea from Charissa at ColourfulPalate, and slightly adapted it to my own pantry and taste.  Here she be:

Hot Sweet Milk

As I said, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1)  Fill up a mug with milk and put in the microwave until warm

2)  Stir in some honey (to your taste). 

3)  Add 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract (more if it’s artificial extract) or to taste, and ENJOY!

It’s sooo yummy.  Especially right before bed.  There’s just something about warm milk that soothes and makes sleep come just so easy.  And it’s such an easy thing to make, and different from chocolate.  You can use any kind of milk you want too.

Just saying, but Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly.  What better thing to make for your sweetheart than breakfast in bed, including of course, some nice, warm Hot Sweet Milk.  If they’re fans of blueberries, this blueberry cake recipe is a great breakfast item too!

Oh yah!  And I got my hair cut a few weeks ago too!  Here’s a picture of me and my boy after last week’s snow storm.  Do you like my hair short??

I’ll do another post soon!  Promise…  (don’t hold me to that, but I’ll try!)

What are you planning for Valentine’s Day?  Any traditions?