Tag Archives: birthday

Peppa Pig Cake

8 Sep

I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve written on here….I have no excuse other than being crazy busy and exhausted. But really, aren’t we all?

I don’t have anything real exciting to share, except the coffee shop is doing ok. I wish it was taking off a little faster but I’m learning to be more patient. 

I just had my daughter’s 3rd birthday party last week and for about a month she was asking for a Peppa Pig cake. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to be exposed to Peppa Pig, it is a kids show on about well, pigs. Its actually pretty cute and I was excited to make the cake for her. I looked on Pinterest of course and found some really cute ideas. This was one of the inspirations for our cake. 

I’m not a professional cake decorator so believe me when I tell you that if I can do this, so can you. I’ve decorated many cakes but most of what I’ve learned has been from looking it up online, help from a talented friend and dumb luck. 

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I don’t usually work with fondant but I wanted to try it out this time and I figured the pigs were a pretty simple form to work with. The cake would have looked much “neater” and cleaner if I had used fondant to cover the whole thing, but I’m not a huge fan of the taste and I figured a 3 year old wouldn’t judge me. 

I baked 2 10″ cakes in springform pans and then made some cupcakes. Actually the cupcakes were made from a gluten free mix and were delicious! I substituted milk for water, butter for oil and added some chocolate chips and they were moist and rich. 

Once the cake was cool, I tinted the icing and frosted the top half blue and the bottom half green for the grass.

For the figures, I used white fondant and colored it with gel food coloring. It would have been a lot easier buying colored fondant but I couldn’t find the exact colors I needed and it would have been a lot more expensive. To get the shape of the pigs, I found a coloring page online, printed it out, cut out the different parts, put them on the fondant, cut around and then drew in the details.  If I had to do the cake again, I would give myself much more time to cut out the figures and get them just right and also, I would find a tool specifically for cutting fondant because using a knife just didn’t cut it.  Hehe

I took a couple of in process pictures of the pigs, but not too many(I forgot). You can get the basic idea though. After the pigs were on and arranged, I shaped some tails and then made a rain hat for Peppa. The mud and clouds were made using a fondant shape cutter thing I found at the craft store. 

So if your child asks for a Peppa Pig cake, don’t panic! Get some fondant, bake a cake and wow them!

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New York in a month…

3 May

Next month is my husband’s 40th birthday and I wanted to do something special with him. We never really had a honeymoon or celebrated our 10th anniversary and I didn’t really want another milestone to go by without marking the occasion. Plus, I’m really looking forward to having almost two days of just “us” time. So a few months ago, I bought plane tickets for NYC. I’ve never been there before and I knew that my husband would love to go. Unfortunately right after I bought the tickets, we got a $3000 bill from the mechanic which wiped out my trip money….and then some.

We are still going, but just on a more limited budget. The good thing is that our plane tickets and hotel room are taken care of so we just need to figure out food and entertainment. I looked up food and there are tons of food carts, little restaurants, etc that are budget friendly and  supposed to be really good. And I can’t go to New York without buying a hot dog from a truck or finding a place for great cheesecake.

I also found a site that sells  day passes at a reasonable rate and they are supposed to be good for many of the things we may want to see……museums, Empire State building, etc etc. We are going to be there less than two days so I’m planning on making the most of our time. When I get back there will likely be a post about visiting New York on an extreme budget and I’m sure there will also be a post about packing light for a two day trip. That will be a little harder for me than my husband, but I think I can handle it. I’m only taking one carry on so I have to fit my clothes, makeup, camera, and whatever else I will need in it. This also means I pack one(yes I said one!) outfit. I will already be wearing clothes for the first day so I just need something for our 2nd day. I’ve never packed without bringing tons of different outfits and shoes, just in case. 

If anyone lives in New York, visits there or is a pro at packing please chime in. I can use all the help and advice you have to offer. I would love to hear about great places to eat or visit or what I shouldn’t leave without seeing! I promise to take lots of pictures and will definitely post about all the places we visit. 

I’m really excited…..hopefully this month flies by!

Flower Cookies

26 Feb

I won’t even try to make excuses about why its been so long since I’ve posted, so I will just jump back into it. I’ve been doing lots of projects….mostly painting, but lots of cookies too. I hate decorating cookies so I’m not sure why I keep doing it. Sometimes I think I just like to torture myself.

The last cookies I made I didn’t actually mind doing. My sister in law just had a birthday so I made her a cookie flower bouquet. I had fun with it since I didn’t have a deadline I had to follow and honestly, its more fun for me when I’m not getting paid to do it. Weird, I know.

The recipe for these rollout cookies  is the best one I’ve found so far. I make the dough, chill it in the fridge for an hour and roll between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper and then cut out. The cookies hold their shape pretty well and don’t spread. They come out thick and chewy, which I love. If you are looking for the thin, crispy buttery kind then these are not for you. I pair them with a basic buttercream icing and easy peasy. A lot of times I make the icing without the shortening and it turns out good

Once the cookies cooled, I separated the icing in to bowls, tinted the color I wanted and put into pastry bags. I used a small star tip to add texture. I let the cookies sit overnight and then placed into cookie bags. I was looking for a cute container to put the cookies in and found this one in the Easter section of Target.

These would make a great gift not only for birthdays but for teacher’s gifts, baby showers, Easter, etc.

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I have moved around a lot of rooms, painted, organized, etc so I will be hopefully adding new posts this week with some before & afters.

 

I even had my little helper in the kitchen this time 🙂

 

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Cakes!

3 Nov

I was just going through some of my old pictures and came across some cakes that I’ve made in the past. Some of them I’m ok with showing and some of them make me cringe to look at! But I’ve said from the beginning that I will share the good and the bad alike, so here they are. I have many many more but can’t seem to find them at this moment(probably a good thing).

Enjoy & I hope you have a good laugh like I did….especially at Fiona & her plumped up lips!

Oreo Cheesecake!!

11 Oct

I do not have the best track record with cheesecakes. At all. They either crack and then sink, burn or are too underdone or once, I actually baked a paper towel into one. I have many talents.

My sister’s birthday was yesterday and I really wanted to make a good cheesecake. I had a ton of Oreos(thanks Sam’s Club) so Oreo cheesecake it was. I looked up many recipes before I settled on this one. Its supposed to be the copycat recipe for The Cheesecake Factory…..I’ve never had theirs so I really can’t compare. It just looked like it would be decent.

It came out really good! The only thing I would do different is baked for 1 hour instead of 1 hour and 15 minutes and then leave in oven(turned off) for an hour. The texture was nice, it came out of the springform easily and it was delicious. Everyone seemed to like it a lot so this is definitely a keeper!

I didn’t have sour cream so I used a cup of plain Fage greek yogurt – I will probably do this from now on. Its a bit more tangy than sour cream, but the texture is perfect.

Also, I used a 10″ pan instead of 9″ and it worked just fine.

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We all know that I can’t stand fussy recipes and while this one isn’t too bad, there are a few things I did differently:
– My cream cheese was not room temperature….it was still quite cold and I beat it in the mixer on low to medium for awhile (at least 15 minutes) and it was fine. I know every recipe says not to use cold cream cheese , but I’m a rebel

– I didn’t chill the crust(mostly because I forgot) and it came out awesome

– I threw as many oreos as I thought I should instead of following exactly ….use your judgement. The ones for the filling and on top I just crushed with my hands

– I didn’t grease, nor do I ever grease my springform pan and it was fine. The ring came off without a problem. Make sure you let it cool for at least 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge and then open.

Now for my tips:

– I really think 15 minutes less in the oven would have made this perfect…..but every oven is different so if you are more comfortable, stick with the recipe

– The most important thing(I think) is making sure you beat the cream cheese until fluffy and make sure there are no lumps

– Do not overbeat the eggs!

– Don’t overfill the pan(trust me!)

– Have fun!!

OREO CHEESECAKE

1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (about 18 cookies finely chopped)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
5 Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
7 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies, for the top of cheese cake

Directions:

Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Cover bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides with crumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
All ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning.
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Add sugar gradually and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended.
Stir vanilla, salt and flour into cream cheese and egg mixture.
Add the sour cream.
Turn off the mixer and gently stir in the 5 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.
Pour mixture into springform pan; top with the 7 remaining coarsely chopped cookies.
Place pan on top rack and in the middle of a preheated oven at 325 degrees and bake for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop the door open several inches and let the cheese cake stay in the oven for one hour.
Cool on wire rack.
When cool, refrigerate.

I almost forgot….I made a chocolate whipped topping.

Put your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for a few minutes. After you take those out, pour in about a half a quart of heaving whipping cream. Beat on medium until it starts to thicken. Add about 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Mix well. Turn mixer up a speed and whip until a peak forms. When you lift the whisk attachment up, the whipped cream should stand up a bit and form a peak. Do not over mix! The mixture will separate and become butter-like! Add to cheesecake and enjoy!

Wish me luck

31 Aug

Against better advice, actually best advice from the most talented baker/decorator I know, I’m baking the cake in the KA mixing bowl – no heating core or fancy gadgets. Mainly because I don’t have any. Her advice was reasonable, experienced and made a ton of sense, but because I’m me , I will do it anyway.  I did listen to one piece of her advice though – I didn’t fill the bowl all the way. See Tonia, I can follow directions.

I will be back in about an hour and a half to brag about my brilliance or laugh at the wreckage.

I will attempt to put this:

Into a cake baked in this:

 

UPDATE: I’m calling this one a victory!! I may have even done a victory dance….don’t worry, I won’t show you.

I baked this at 325 for 1hour & 40 minutes…you can tell where its darker on bottom, but considering what could have gone wrong, I’m happy so far.

Because I only filled the bowl a bit more than half way (which I recommend), its a bit smaller than I wanted so I’m baking a round cake to put

underneath it.

Ta da!

2nd Birthday Party!

27 Aug

 My daughter’s 2nd birthday is coming up and since her party is this Saturday, my head feels like it will explode with all the jumbled ideas. My problem is that I need to learn to focus…..I’m always coming up with tons of ideas and trying to do them all. It always ends with me going insane and being completely overwhelmed. I thought maybe if I write down my thoughts, it will help me to form a plan.

The present: Fortunately this is all done….I just finished shopping for it yesterday and now all I have to do is put it all together. It incorporates her love of Dora, superheroes, jewelry and pretend play. I would tell you what it is, but whats the fun in that…..I guess you will have to read my posts this week to see a picture of the completed gift.

The food: I have 3 kids so over the years I’ve done many different things for parties from pizza to a taco station to a cookout. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet…..I’m thinking of making a big pan of rigatoni, loaves of french bread, veggie & fruit tray and of course a cake. 

The cake: This is where my thoughts usually jumble. I used to decorate cakes and sell them a few years back….I haven’t done it for quite awhile, but I recently started making cakes for the kids again. I used to make stand up barbie cakes for my oldest daughter(who’s now 14)….I had so much fun with them and they always went over so well. My youngest loves Dora so I thought I would make a stand up Dora cake. Finding a Dora doll that fits into a cake was a challenge but I ordered one from Amazon and I’m hoping it fits. I can’t find my Wilton pan for the skirt anywhere so I may have to bake it in a mixing bowl.Again, I will make sure to post a picture.

I wish I could stop at the cake but I just can’t.I feel like it needs cookies or cupcakes with it. This is usually the point where I veer off course and end up a crazy person. She loves Elmo and Cookie Monster so I was thinking of making their “furry” faces on cupcakes. Yes I know its mixing themes, but I’ve never been much of a matchy matchy person anyway. 

I don’t have to worry about party favors, treat bags etc because our parties are usually just family and friends. I will worry about that stuff in a few years. 

Decorations: I usually don’t go crazy in this area…..I might put up a few banners, maybe some balloons, different colored plates, napkins and will probably use the cake as a centerpiece

If you guys are like me and on a budget, I try to keep the party (food, decorations, cake) under $100.00. This may seem high or low depending on how you look at it and what area you are in, but things add up quickly. I will write another post showing what I used for the cake, the food, and decorations and the cost for it all. I’m open to any suggestions and tips and I’m hoping this will help others plan their party.

Make sure to check back in for pics of the cake, food and presents!