Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cake, Part 1

Hello Kitty or Minnie Mouse.  Leyland had quite a difficult time deciding between the cat and the mouse for her birthday theme this year.  The mouse finally prevailed, so this year's party is all about the ears.  Whitney found the most precious little Minnie Mouse dress (and of course the headband with ears) for her to wear to the party.  Conveniently, the sweet little outfit will serve as her trick-or-treat costume as well.  And to make a great deal even better, the essential black patent leather shoes will also fill the need for new "church" shoes for the fall.  A big bang for our bucks.  Gotta love that!  Birthday parties for the kids usually just about kill me.  Leyland's birthday falls right in the middle of football season, so her parties are usually held on Sunday afternoons, which means 1) I must rearrange my work schedule, and 2) I must rush to decorate after church.  (So far, we have used the fellowship hall at the church for her parties).  3) Then I must rush to get everything cleaned up before the evening service.  Fortunately, family and friends are there to help out, but it still just wears me out.  Earlier this year we decided to try a different approach.  We'll be having the party at 1-2-3-Jump, a place at the mall with the blow-up things that the kids hop around and slide down inflatable slides.  I'm hoping the stress level will be significantly less by eliminating the need to decorate, and having a much smaller menu.  Pizza, cake, ice cream and drinks.  Not quite the spread we usually lay out, but I think it will suffice.  Besides, there's a food court right around the corner for anyone who prefers more substantial fare.

Apparently I'm unable to function without some level of stress, and birthday parties are no exception.  Instead of getting a $20.00 cake from Sam's large enough to feed an army, (no stress!) Whitney and I have undertaken the task ourselves.(Stress!)  Our internet search lead us to hundreds of Minnie Mouse birthday cake photos.  We decided that if those folks can do it, so can we.  First, you must understand that my personal culinary skills are laughable, at best, and downright toxic at worst.  Whitney is an excellent cook, but (with the exception of one cake last summer) her cake decorating skills fall just shy of ... pitiful.  So to even entertain the idea of decorating a cake for Leyland's birthday seems unlikely... and to plan a fondant cake is unthinkable.  I've always loved the look of a fondant cake, but never, EVER thought that I would attempt one my ownself.  Thanks to You-Tube, we have watched many videos, and our confidence was boosted to the point that we decided to tackle it.  Our most daunting task was deciding which design to use.  Tiered round?  Tiered square-round? Sheetcake? Layer cake?    

Tonight was the big night.  Time to make the prototype.  We decided on a square bottom with a round top.  I have one of those cake-leveler thingies, so once the bottom layer had cooled sufficiently, I leveled that baby out, and whipped up some butter cream frosting to smather all over it.  Oh yeah.  I learned that to use fondant, you must first ice the cake with butter cream frosting, then chill it until the frosting is somewhat firm. I was delighted to find that butter cream frosting comes in a box, requiring only a tad of milk and butter and an electric mixer.  Check.  

Despite our confidence when watching the You Tube videos, when it came time to prepare, roll, and drape the fondant, we were a tad bit nervous.  Whitney was soon up to her elbows in corn starch and confectioner's sugar, and soon had it rolled out to an adequate size.  The moment of truth had arrived... draping it over the cake.  Total Piece Of Cake!! (pun intended)  

I'm very happy to say that we are delighted with how the bottom layer has turned out.  

The jury is still out on the top level, as it remains unfinished.  Of course, we couldn't complete the project without a disaster.  I only have one 6" round pan, so the top layer had to be made in two batches.  Oops.  Whitney forgot to spray the pan, so the first layer wouldn't release from the pan and tore all to pieces.  No worry, we had more batter, so into the oven it went.  Well, by the time I leveled it out, the layer isn't tall enough.  We need that second layer.  We didn't have another box of cake mix anywhere in the house.  As a final effort to complete the project, I asked her if we didn't have some blueberry muffin mix, or SOMETHING to bake in that pan so we could frost it and finish our masterpiece. After looking one last time, she was finally able to locate some Mexican cornbread mix....  

....to be continued....


  1. Great job on the bottom layer! Love it! (Can't wait to see the 'cornbread mix' top layer...~Ha~Very Funny!) ~Susan R.

  2. Looks awesome- hope the top layer turns out as well! Becky