Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Cake

My niece turned 4 years old a couple weeks ago and due to her Poppa Rod being out of town, her mom having her final finals of college and this and that, her birthday party was delayed a bit, but it was quite a fun time when it finally happened. Thankfully, 4 is still young enough to not be upset by such things. Technically, we celebrated her birthday for 10 days. Not a bad way to go.

Addison is slightly obsessed with My Little Pony. In fact, she has asked us numerous times on various occasions to call her Shutterfly Addison. When my Grauntie Les arrived from Boise and called her that, she was quite excited. (Yes, you read that right, Great + Auntie = Grauntie.)

Of course, I was so excited when it was decided that the birthday party theme would be My Little Pony because that meant I could make a rainbow cake like I've seen on pinterest! I topped it with Rainbow Dash and the white pony with purple hair...whichever celestial name that one is.

Blowing out her candles...

And ta-da!

Photo credit: Michelle Waters

I just LOVE how it looks on the inside! In case you were wondering, I used 3 boxes of white cake mix and colored the batter with food coloring, just like the multi-colored cupcakes. Baking the layers in a 9 inch pan, I used 1.5 cups batter. Next time, I will probably just use 1 cup of batter for each color because it was too tall to cover on my cake stand or in my cake transporter. If you do just 1 cup per layer, you can get away with 2 boxes of cake mix because I had plenty leftover...which I made into cake pops - I'll show ya later!

Then, I made the filling, which just happens to be the best in the world and my absolute favorite, vanilla cream. You have got to try it. Seriously. Finally, I covered the whole thing in buttercream frosting, based on Michelle's super yummy recipe.

This picture has not had any filter like the one above, which was filtered on Instagram.

Oh and we also had rainbow fruit kebobs. They turned out great and fit the rainbow theme nicely, while adding a bit of healthiness to the party.

I still can't believe she is 4. When we were driving away from the party and she was all buckled in her car seat, she said with a sigh, "I have everything I ever want." Word for word. I'm reminding her of that when she gets older. She is my favorite.

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Speechless Sunday

via dead link...please let me know if you know the source!

I would love to sneak away up these steps into a secret garden.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake

Grammy asked me to make this when she saw the recipe in Better Homes & Gardens. I love her and so of course, I did.

Lemon Raspberry Coffeecake
Better Homes & Gardens magazine

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded
1 egg
1/2 to 1 cup raspberries, depending on preference
powdered sugar (optional, for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare 9 inch round pan.

Mix dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Mix 1 cup sugar with butter until combined. Add 1 egg and vanilla. Beat on low-medium until combined. Add flour mixture then buttermilk, alternately, mixing until combined after each addition.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, until combined. Add lemon peel and 1 egg, beating until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to the edges. Then, pour the cream cheese mixture on the batter, spreading to edges, before covering with the rest of the batter. Try your best not to mix the batter and cream cheese layers. (I was unsuccessful at this which made the coffeecake bake a little unevenly.)

Bake 20 minutes or until puffed up a little and remove from oven in order to press raspberries into cake. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into the middle. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing it from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Pour a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) on a lazy Saturday morning and dig in.

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Speechless Sunday

I really like this print. The website has prints with state mottoes inside of the state outlines. Pretty neat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sister's Graduation Announcements

My little sister, Hailey, is graduating this Sunday from Oregon State University. Guess who is speaking at her commencement? Michelle Obama! Pretty cool. I'm excited to go and just so insanely proud of Hailey. She is such a stud. I could go on and on. [Update: The First Lady's speech was awesome. Lots of very smart thoughts for grads and the general population alike. Here is a transcript of it and the video link.]

I haven't played around in Photoshop for a while and had a lot of fun designing her invitation. I downloaded some fun arrows from a Creature Comforts and stuck with OSU's colors. I love the arrows and can't wait to find ways to use them more! (There are more than the two seen here in the downloadable bundle.)

Fingers crossed the weather matches the weather report of no rain!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Graduation Cupcake Bouquet [How To Tips, too!]

My old friend Andy's little sister graduated today from the same high school we graduated from far too long ago. It makes me feel old thinking about how little she was when Andy and I became friends. Oh time flies. Anyway, I went to her graduation party this past Sunday and made her a cupcake bouquet. It was my first ever and I love how it turned out! What do you think?

I had decided I wanted to make it a couple weeks before the party but of course I ended up crunched for time. Thankfully, I baked the cupcakes the night before. Here is what you need if you want to make your own:
  1. bucket or pot (I've seen ones done with terracotta pots and they look so cute!)
  2. styrofoam ball that fits into the bucket/pot
  3. 24 cupcakes, cooled
  4. frosting (piping bag and Wilton tip 1M if you want the rosettes)
  5. embellishments, if desired ("grad," M&Ms, ribbon, gift card, etc.)
  6. skewers, if you are using embellishments

Like I said, I was pretty crunched for time, so unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of my process while making the cupcakes. Based on what I had read about making these and giving it a shot on my own, I have the following recommendations:
  • When baking your cupcakes, fill some liners half full, some 2/3 full and some 3/4 full. It really helps having different size tops when arranging the cupcakes because they won't all fit just right if they are uniform.It was nice to have some smaller ones to stick along the bottom. While you can see there was a couple gaps that would have been easier to fill had I had some more smaller cupcakes.
  • Make sure your cupcakes are cooled. Even better, stored in the refrigerator because the warmer the cake, the more likely toothpicks won't hold it on. This means you have to plan ahead a bit. Baking the cupcakes the night before you need to assemble it worked perfectly.
  • Start at the top of your styrofoam ball, placing three toothpicks dead center and wiggle your toothpick on. Again, put your toothpicks in the styrofoam ball first, not in the cupcake first. Make sure you have sharp ends sticking up waiting for a cupcake. Dull toothpicks do not puncture cupcake liners very easily and will cause total mutilation of said cupcake.
  • Speaking of toothpicks, I used 3 in a triangular form for each cupcake. They weren't spread very far apart. A dime would not have fit between them but my pinky finger did. This gives each cupcake more to hold onto instead of one toothpick that is easily torn through thanks to gravity.
  • For the horizontal cupcakes around the bottom, I added another couple toothpicks sticking straight out of the styrofoam ball, not into the liner/cake but just for support underneath each cake. Please contact me if this doesn't make sense. Some of the cupcakes would not have stayed on when I added frosting if I had not done this.
  • Assemble the cupcakes onto the styrofoam ball before frosting. I repeat, frost very last! This avoids messing up the frosting as you stab each cupcake onto toothpicks. I did add my embellishments after frosting, which turned out okay. I nicked a couple with my fingers and skewers but it wasn't to bad.
  • Regarding frosting, if you do not have air conditioning and do have a warm house, you may need to take breaks when frosting to avoid it dripping off the cupcakes. Just frost a few, stick the bouquet in your fridge for a few minutes and resume, repeating as necessary.

Our high school colors are yellow and blue so I tied curled ribbon to toothpicks and inserted it into the styrofoam ball. I found the "grad" letters at the Dollar Store. They were originally glasses and I just broke the part that goes over your ears off, then taped skewers to the back to get it to stand up. I also added skewers to the gift card to poke into the styrofoam as well. Oh, and the M&M's are tied onto the handles on each side of the bucket, before I placed the styrofoam ball in the bucket. Here's a not so good camera phone picture after frosting before adding anything else.

Here I am with the graduate and her cupcake bouquet.

Photo credit: Dara's mom, Anne.

Congratulations, Dara! I can't wait to see what you do after high school!

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Multi-Colored Cupcakes

My niece's 4th birthday was yesterday and she was just as excited as could be. I really love the age she is at right now. She doesn't ask for more and more gifts, but is simply giddy with jumping up and down excitement that she is four years old. This morning, she informed me that she is 4 and next she will be 5. I just love her to pieces. Here she is, sporting her new goggles for swim lessons this summer at her birthday lunch.

Such a goofball. After a birthday lunch, she got to tie-dye her own shirt with hot pink, purple, yellow and peacock blue in a spiral. Yes, she told me, peacock blue. That evening, we decorated cupcakes together. We made fun multicolored cupcakes for her to decorate and take to share with the kids at her babysitter's house today. It was quite easy and Addison just loved how they turned out.

To make these for the kiddos in your life (or kids at heart or in holiday colors), simply follow these steps.

Make whatever cake batter you wish (except chocolate), preheat your oven and put cupcake liners in your tin. Split the batter up into however many colors you would like to use. Then, dye the batter with the colors you want. We used Kroger neon dye.

Drop blobs (yes, that's a scientific term) of batter into each liner, layering your colors in the order you wish.

Bake according to directions. Allow to cool. Frost as you wish. And enjoy the surprise when you bite into one!

Carrying over her beliefs from being 3 years old, Addison the now 4 year old, believes in unlimited sprinkles. Really, you can never have too many. You should have seen how many sprinkles missed the cupcakes and saw their last days on the plate. And floor for that matter. Addison Lynn: Single-handedly keeping the sprinkle business in operation since 2008.

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Speechless Sunday

via dead link. Please let me know if you know the source.

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