Posts Tagged ‘birthday cake

18
Oct
10

Purple Haze and Birthdays…….

I am not necessarily a tradition based person.  We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with any sort of tradition.  In fact, we haven’t celebrated either of those two holidays for 2 years now.  They are merely two paid holidays from work.  That being said, I seem to have fallen into a tradition in October that used to only be reserved for my Halloween born grandson.

For the past three years I have made a special birthday cake for my friend and grasshopper, Emily.  Her birthday falls on October 15th.  Emily made several delicious home-made pizzas and I made a spice cake with cream cheese frosting for her 24th birthday.  For her 25th birthday last year, we celebrated by going bowling and eating the Root Beer Cake.  As Emily is maturing to the ripe old age of 26th, her birthday cakes are evolving as well.  We decided several months back that this was the year of the Purple Haze cake.

Crazy delicious cake!

I used my Red Velvet cake recipe and substituted Wilton gel violet food coloring for the “traditional” red color.  Although I had hoped the cake would be a more distinct purple color after it was baked, it was still a huge hit.  I’d like to think it was my crazy baking talent that made it so tasty, but perhaps it was the “special” butter used in the frosting  between the  four layers  that made it truly an experience.  As the late Jimi Hendrix would say “Are you experienced?”  After eating the Purple Haze cake, everyone was indeed experienced.

A light, birthday nosh and the Purple Haze cake

Emily wanted salad platters for her birthday meal.  She mentioned seeing salad platters in food magazines and she wanted them for her birthday dinner.  We ate kinda late, as she and Chuck came directly to our house from Breitenbush Hot Springs where they had spent the night and then spent the day soaking in hot springs, being pampered with soothing massage treatments and feasting on amazing vegetarian cuisine.  They were ready to continue eating  healthy fare and then indulge in a wicked treat of a birthday cake.

Emily did all of the food styling on the platters

I roasted potatoes earlier in the day, as well as crisp stirred fresh organic green beans.

We love our grains!

A couple of days before her birthday, Emily and I brainstormed about what we wanted on the platters.  We got all organized and made a list of possibilities.  There were a few more items on that list, but what I managed to throw together, I’d say everyone was more than satisfied with the food of the weekend.

Feta cheese on the outsides of the platter, moving in to the wheat berrie salad and then spicy quinoa  in the center, topped by chili powder sprinkled avocado slices.  So simple.  So good!

Tastes so good and it's so good for you

A little do ahead work and you have a light meal

The potatoes were tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic and onion powder and roasted in a 350 degree oven until done.  I sautéed the green beans in peanut oil, fresh chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and cracked pepper.  A splash of some mirin and put the lid on to lightly steam the beans for a minute.  They stayed bright green and very snappy.

We also had a bowl of mixed greens from the garden dressed with a creamy pesto concoction that I whipped up from what I had on hand.

And then came dessert………………………………

I was going for a certain look....

Ok, so when I think Purple Haze, I think hippies, tye dye, trippin’, Jimi Hendrix music (duh).  I envisioned a cake that looked like it was tye dyed.  This cake look more like stained glass window on the top (which was pretty cool) and the tye dye on the sides reminded me of some kinda medallions.  At any rate, it was a fun cake to make and it made an excellent conversation piece.  We kept it center stage on the table and sat around it, almost in worship.   But eventually we had to cut it.

It had to be done

See, it doesn’t really look purple in the picture, but it really had a purple tint to it in real life.  The frosting is my favorite vanilla butter cream.  The frosting between the layers  has coconut and almond extract.  The outer frosting is tinted vanilla.  It was a damn good cake.

Emily kept saying “this is the best birthday ever!”  Coulda’ been her best birthday ever.  Coulda’ been that she was exhausted from a spa day and a long drive.  Coulda’ been a belly full of delicious, nutritious food.  Or it coulda just been the cake talkin’.’

04
May
10

For the Record, This One takes the Cake!

It’s been a year exactly to this date since I posted the Elephant Cupcake entry.  Who knew that post would become, up until the triple evil devil cake, my most viewed entry?  As of today, that post has had 2,008 visits. Amazing!  In 1 week, my triple evil devil cake had 3,410 visits.  Even more amazing!  But, I digress.  Some of you may remember those elephant cupcakes.  They were pretty dang cute.  I’ve linked that post for the rest of you, or those who have already enjoyed it, to refresh your memory.   But that’s not the point of this post. 

I was once again hired to create something fun and different for Celia’s 4th birthday.  Her third birthday party theme was “Zoo Animals,” hence the Elephant Cupcakes.  She’s growing up fast and more sophisticated.  This year I was handed the theme “Dance Party/DJ.”  Albeit the dancing we’re talking about here is the Hokey Pokey and Musical Chairs, I believe I came up with a real winner this time. 

That's right, I have my own record label!

Miss Celia wanted her own chocolate cake for herself and her friends.  The vanilla and red velvet cupcakes were for the grown-ups and babies at the party. 

So, I made a record cake.  Four layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, each with an alternating color of frosting in between to match the frosting on the cupcakes.  The label was made from Wilton’s Pink Candy Melts.  I melted the pieces down over a water bath, then poured it into a stainless steel ring mold and let it set.  Before it hardened all the way, I used a pastry tip to create the center hole.  The ring was placed on a Silpat, so the label had a nice texture to it.  I’m not giving away all of my secrets here, so I’m not telling how I got the printing on the label.  A girl’s gotta have some mystery, ya’ know. 

The whole spread

Katie and I had a lot of fun with this photo shoot.  It’s a good thing we have tons of vinyl in our massive music room and concert quality speakers, to boot! 

Hand made treble clefs visually imply music

I’m sure glad I paid over $19,000 for culinary school.  How ever would I learn to temper chocolate without that training?  But temper chocolate I did and made these treble clefs and a few musical notes to top each of the cupcakes. 

Here's a pretty pink one

When Celia saw the cupcakes, the first words out of her little mouth were “Music!”  What a sweetheart.  The next utterance was, “I want that pink one!” 

I don’t know if you noticed, but all of the cupcake papers are blue, pink and green to co-ordinate with the frosting colors.  I do like to pay attention to all of the details. 

A nice shot of the blue ones

A fun shot of the green ones

I couldn’t help but notice as I’m putting this piece together that the treble clefs on both center cupcakes are dyslexic!  Guess I’m not quite as detail oriented as I fancied myself to be.  Opps! 

I thought I got them all right but, no, there's a dyslexic one in there too. Oh, snap!

One last look, just for fun

This total project was pure joy for me.  Lots of work but totally worth it, even down to the photo shoot.  Katie and I had a blast picking out the different albums to use.  Check and see if you recognise any.  I’m sure you will.  And yeah, the music was blasting the whole time.

19
Oct
09

Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

My friend Emily had a birthday on October 15th.  It was a pleasure and an honor to make a special cake celebrating her turning a quarter of a century this year.  The fact that I am over  a half a century old and old enough to be her mother doesn’t interfere with us being good friends.  Emily is my grasshopper.  I am her sensei in the food world.  We enjoy getting together often and talking for hours about food and recipe development.

We have an on going joke about how excited people get when they are offered root beer in our home.  I think it is pretty funny, running down the list of beverages in the fridge.  Beer, wine (not in fridge, of course!), water, juice, root beer.  ROOT BEER!  Every time, without fail, someone gets excited about root beer.  One night, Emily and Chuck were over for dinner and I start offering drink options.  Emily pipes up “ROOT BEER”!  From that night on, she’s on a root beer jag.  It seemed only fitting that I should invent a root beer cake for her birthday.

 

Root Beer Cake

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup canola oil

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

3 cups cake flour, sifted

2 tsp baking soda, sifted with flour

2 tsp root beer syrup

¾ cup root beer, room temperature

Grease 2   9” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper 

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Mix in flour mixture, one cup at a time and beat well.  Add syrup and root beer and mix well. 

Pour batter, evenly divided, into prepared cake pans.  Bake in a preheated 325° oven for about 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Remove cake from pans when cool, wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost.  Cooling the cakes make it easier to slice into four layers.

I used the buttercream recipe in the “A Fall Themed Birthday Cake” post omitting the melted chocolate and adding about 1/4 cup or more of Torani Classic Root Beer Syrup.  To make a more pronounced root beer flavor, I chucked a bunch of root beer barrel hard candies into the food processor and made root beer sugar, that I sprinkled over the top of each cake layer after I had frosted it with buttercream.  To be honest, it didn’t taste as root beery as I had hoped, but everyone really seemed to like it.  I think next time I will use the frosting recipe from the Elephant Cupcake post and add the root beer syrup to that.  If I like it better, I’ll let you know.

 




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