Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Holy Swiss Roll Batman!

Thanks to my friend Steph for the title of this post. Of course it refers to the Daring Baker's July Challenge, Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake. The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

I've never tried to roll any kind of cake before so this was all new to me. I made a chocolate cake, rolled a vanilla whipped cream filling in to the middle of it, sliced it, lined a bowl with the slices, then filled the bowl with layers of vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and chocolate ice cream.

Voila! A bomb! (Term for a round, frozen ice cream and cake layered dessert.)
Please excuse the pitiful photography. It really was a delicious dessert but I didn't have time to set up beautiful shots of it....because ice cream melts, very quickly in 100 degree heat!

If you'd like to try making one of these babies on your own (which I highly recommend) you can find the recipes and directions here. Happy Baking!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Four Years and Counting

Four years ago today Kinley was born...after 17 minutes of labor, without a doctor present, in a hospital with no air conditioning...and we couldn't have been happier. Since then it's been one smile after another as we watch our sweet baby girl learn and grow. It's hard to believe that she is already four years old and getting ready to go to preschool.

This year we had two birthday parties again, and she shared both of those with her brother (and one with her cousin). For her portion of the party I decided to do a Hello Kitty theme. Little did I know that while Hello Kitty is popular in clothing design and stationary sets it is not popular in the cake and cookie world. I couldn't find a HK cookie cutter anywhere...not even to order online. We don't eat much cake around here so I usually try to avoid birthday cakes and do some other kind of treat instead. I finally saw an idea online for how to piece together a HK cake and decided to do that.
It was simple to make two round cakes (two layers each), cutting one in half to make two semi-circles and cutting the other on in to strips, one to go between the semi-circles to form an oval and the other two to be cut into triangles for the ears. I covered the whole thing with a crumb coat of thin buttercream icing.

I then decided to try making marshmallow fondant for the first time ever. It was super easy and looked great. I just mixed one large jar of marshmallow creme with 2 pounds of powdered sugar...and then kneaded it until it was dry enough to roll out and cover the cake. I colored portions of it for the eyes, nose, bow and whiskers and added those at the end. It turned out cuter than I even imagined.

There was no way I wanted to have two half eaten cakes laying around my house so I was determined to make cookies for the second party. I finally cut out a picture of HK from an activity book and traced around it over and over again on the cookie dough. It worked well and I decorated the cookies with the same icing I used for Cainan's Star Wars cookies.

Overall we had two great parties with yummy treats and lots of presents. Happy Birthday Kinley!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Seven Years and Counting

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy! Seven years ago today I was trying to politely keep my eyes open (with little success) as people came to visit you. I was slightly exhausted from the events of the prior evening.

I went in for a routine appointment and (as with all 3 of my kids) he told me to stay and be induced because I was ready and he didn't have much going on. Well, all that changed about 6 pm when he got stuck in a difficult and high risk caesarean and called to tell the nurses to stop my labor until he could get there. So they shut off all the drugs (except the epidural, thank goodness) and we sat there for 5 hours until Dr. Houck could finish up the surgery, go home and eat supper and come back for the 20 minutes it took to deliver you.

Needless to say by the time it was all over with and I was snuggled down in my bed for the night it was close to 3 am. So those 8 am visitors had to deal with a very sleepy mommy. Somehow I don't think they cared.

So happy birthday to my boy who still wants to snuggle in bed with me and sit on my lap during prayer time. To the Star Wars fan and SpongeBob watcher. To the baseball player and shoe straightener. To the instigator and the helper. We love you!

Now...the party!!

By now you should all know that we rarely do the traditional birthday cake. This year I decided to to cookies. Mainly because I found some that were so cute I just couldn't resist making them.
While cruising around on my favorite cookie decorators blog I found these adorable cookie cutters. I had to have them. So I zipped over to Williams Sonoma and ordered them on the spot. They are the best cookie cutters ever! They cut out the cookie, emboss it with the lines for decorating and push it out of the mold all in one simple push of the button. Not to mention the fact that they are perfect for my family of Star Wars enthusiasts.

For the Darth Vader cookies I made Bridget's chocolate cookies and used this recipe for the black decorator icing. For the Storm Troopers I used Bridget's favorite sugar cookie recipe, the decorator icing again and my own icing recipe to cover the bulk of the cookie.
My Favorite Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix it all up. It will be runny. Just dip the cookie in, let the excess drip off and lay flat to dry. It will dry hard. It needs to dry completely before adding the decorator icing on top or you may get some bleeding of the colors (like I did on the storm troopers).
Of course there were lots of presents, some Slip-n-Slide action, a couple of baseball games and time with family to enjoy too. Overall it was another great year celebrated with two fun birthday parties.
Happy Birthday Cainan, we love you!