Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have passed the Quarter Century Mark…

bithday1(Glasses courtesy of my Big Sis!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It’s a Boy!!

I guess I haven’t mentioned that a really good friend of mine is expecting! For this I am really really excited! This past weekend we had a baby shower for her and her husband, and what else would I do but to honor her and the little guy to be with a really cool cake? I did a lot of brainstorming for this one, and even took a peek online to see what great ideas others have come up with. I wish I had not. Since I didn’t even want to post these pictures on my site, I’ll simply link to them if you care to check them out (some slightly NSFW)! I’m pretty sure you’ll stop looking after about the second pic.

Well after my eyes had been scarred forever, I took a took a few pain killers and started to think happy thoughts regarding a new baby boy and got to work! IMG_4775IMG_4779IMG_4780IMG_4782IMG_4786IMG_4791IMG_4795IMG_4800IMG_4801IMG_4803photo 4photo 1

These little guys were a lot of fun, but really time intensive to make! Holding on to one spot too long left very visible finger prints, and sometimes meant starting all over again! I got a lot of my ideas for these characters from this book, and others I came up with on my own. All characters were made of fondant, and were left out overnight to harden.

Once the entire crew was assembled, I had to visualize the cake, and how I would arrange the characters on top. I also needed to size the cake with the characters because I still had one very important element left to create! IMG_4808

Those Crate and barrel ramekins are imitating my baby letter blocks. I used the wax paper circle as a guide to the size of the top of the cake, and then with all the little creatures hanging around I needed to find something that would be a good size for the blocks. They needed to be big, but not so big that they out ratio the animals. I thought this looked pretty good, so I got back to work!

IMG_4812photo 5IMG_4821IMG_4822

You can see that I made a pattern for the blocks on regular printer paper and then covered it with the was paper. This is important to do because you just have to slide the bottom paper to a new spot to keep creating the exact same letter block- the exact same SIZE letter block. Very important in constructing the box!

So once all the frills were created and left to harden, I went on to the most important detail! Mmmmm the cake and icing!


I had to make “baby” cupcakes!


Then of course a proper cake. Two layer cake with a buttercream and raspberry filling. The Filling is quiet simple. I just eyeball the amount of raspberries I need (fresh or frozen), add to pot, add a tablespoon or so of white sugar and let them boil down while I mash! While the pot is cooling on the stove top I’ll add about a half cup (maybe more!) of my homemade butter cream frosting. Once the pot has cooled significantly, like to the point that I can touch it, I’ll put it in an ice bath (You will warp your pot if you put it in the ice too soon. Let the metal cool naturally). This lets it thicken up, annnnnd I don’t want to put warm filling in the cake; that’s asking for trouble. You can see that I also put a layer of plain butter cream on both insides of the cake layers. This does two important things. 1) keeps the fruit filling from making the cake gooey! and 2) More icing :) As I am not professionally trained, over time I have screwed up discovered a  few things. The first being if you put too much icing outside of the cake, it will breakdown and destroy any hope you have of covering your cake with fondant. The second being, everyone loves icing and lots of it! By me adding the two “safety” layers of buttercream to the inside, it ultimately allows for what everyone really wants. Again… more icing!!! 


So here the cake is stacked, iced (lightly), and put in the fridge to set up over night. This allows for me to go to sleep start the day of with a really fresh cake, ready cover with fondant, decorate, and walk out the door to the shower.

The next morning consisted of:




IMG_4838IMG_4840Color, Prep, and match fondant colors!

IMG_4847The fun Part… Decorate!

edit1And Serve!

The cake was a big hit! All the ladies loved it… problem was, everyone felt bad cutting it up! I fixed that after they had taken a sufficient number of pictures! I have to tell you… there wasn’t one piece of cake left. Exactly 18 servings, and they ate the fondant too!

This cake was a lot of fun, and I’m really stoked to do a few more as I have several “mothers in waiting” in my life!

…oh, and don’t forget the cupcakes!IMG_4832

Monday, November 29, 2010

Touched by India… Literally.

We have left the crowed streets of Bangkok and are now settled in in India. Having no idea what to expect from this Delhi / New Delhi place, I braced myself for whatever this city might have in store!

We started off the morning by meeting up with our city Guide. Initially I was not too excited that we had been assigned a “guide” for the day; In fact I was a little displeased as the Boss and I usually have very little problems wandering cities on our own. As the story continues you will understand that Ruby (our day guide) was without a doubt a necessity for our trip!


We started off at various mosques and tombs that were built hundreds of years ago for the Mogul Emperors. I found the architecture and symmetry of these buildings fascinating, and even more so when you factored in that the architects were without the technologies that we have today.

While I was wide eyed and taking in the sights, I couldn’t help but notice that other visitors seemed to be just as fascinated by me!?! Was there something on my face? My shirt?

lookinglooking2looking3looking4            (this bottom one is a favorite… the two boys in the middle)

Then there was a continuous steam of boys and girls alike who wanted to shake my hand or touch my bare arm?? Ruby (the day guide) told them to get lost, and then she explained to me that I was a young white girl, to which is not a common sight for them, and that they were just being foolish. “hmmmm” I thought, “surely this behavior is  only because they are school children , and I shouldn’t have any other problems throughout the day”…

So we moved on to another mosque, and then hired a bike taxi to take us through the crowed alleys of Delhi. IMG_4209IMG_4225

What started out as a lot of fun, ended up as frustrating experience. I just wanted to take pictures as we bumbled through the streets; mean while the people of the streets just wanted to touch me? Every time I rose my camera to my face to snap a pic, a local (male) from the crowd would run their finger/hand up the outside of my leg! I, needless to say, was livid! What am I supposed to do? Can women snap back in this country? Plus, we eventually have to turn around and go back out the same way… I would eventually be going right by those guys again!


Getting down from the bike was not an option, this would certainly cause a mob of beggars, hawkers, and pick-pocketers. After all it was actually more efficient to move through the crowd on this 3-wheeled contraption than by foot. So what did I do? Nothing. I hang my head and admit I did nothing in retaliation. Instead I kept my camera down and my eyes on the crowd ready to stare down anyone who looked suspicious. That seemed to work. Plus the Boss was also taking plenty of pictures.

As the day went on there were several more sights to be seen. But mostly what I will never forget, was some of the scenes of poverty. Surely there are some outstanding sights to be seen in India, but for a country of some 1billion people, there are going to be vast extremes. For this I was not prepared. IMG_4187IMG_4251IMG_4306begIMG_4307


After a long day we headed back to the hotel for the night. I was exhausted, but sleep did not come easy.

Tomorrow we head to the Taj Mahal. I hope for a better day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun Run in Bangkok

After having traveled for the last 5 days I was starting to fee a little antsy, and really needed to get some exercise. I really don’t know how inactive people do it, I cannot maintain any state of normalcy without exercise; crankiness, sleeplessness, and zero appetite started kicking in about 24hours ago. Granted, I have done many many miles of walking over the past few days, but that just isn’t enough. So what’s a girl to do for a exercise in the busy city of Bangkok??

… well there are lots of things really!


The Fan

2. Sword

The Sword

3.  IMGP3712


4. IMGP3717

The Moon Walk

5. IMGP3730

The Recumbent Bicycle

6. IMGP3722

Pump some Iron

or simply…


Just go for a run. Which I did! 7 miles in the sweltering heat and humidity of Bangkok, to which I must say, the air quality was a little painful.

It was just down from our hotel that there was a really great community park, “Lumpini Park” IMGP3710

So I picked a route and just kept on like Forest Gump.

Although really hot and humid, it was a beautiful day and I found myself totally decompressing, day dreaming, and pondering the worlds wonders (otherwise known as my next cupcake creation). Just a word of warning, daydreaming even while in a enclosed park area can lead to big trouble!


I found myself in the middle of the road,  face to face with this guy. Now don’t let the picture fool you, the Lizzardy Thing was massive. From Nose to tail I am sure this guy was 4 feet long! YIKES!

With a little help from a kind old lady (who was practicing her Tai Chi) we stared him down and he left! Lizzard2

This was an important lesson learned for what is known as an “Oh $hit” Moment! Always be aware of what is lurking!

Because of this particular situation, I feel now is an appropriate time to talk about the one symbol that is universal to all runners as “Thank GOD”… BathroomEven in as far away as Thailand, the symbol does not change. I have also learned from my travels that although this symbol is a sign from the heavens, the inside might not be as much of a luxury as you had hoped, and therefore you should always bring a little tissue with you when you ”go”.

Stay tuned for the continuing adventure. Next stop New Delhi!

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