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Unicorns and Birthdays and Drawing in Frosting

Leah is our little free bird. She doesn’t make a lot of sense, but she doesn’t have to. The more random she is, the more joy she seems to bring.

I mean, one of the teachers at her school has nicknamed her “Prancing Pony.”

So when it comes to her birthdays, nothing she suggests is a surprise. She usually sticks to the pretty standard princess type themes. But when I inquire about what kind of birthday cake she wants, that is where it goes off of the beaten path.

Last birthday she asked for a flamingo.

This year when we talked about her cake, she said she wanted “That horse with a thing on its head.”

Now, a unicorn wouldn’t be so “out there” for some kids. But I’ve never heard Leah even mention one before (anymore than she’d been into flamingos the previous year).

Isaiah and I discussed whether I could pull it off or not. He said, “Well, if you can do a flamingo, I think you can do a unicorn.” Which made sense.

See, I’m not a cake decorator. At all. In fact, I’ve had some cake disasters. See here. And here. But I can draw ok. So I just thought of it as drawing in frosting.

Here’s the final result:

I wonder what she’ll ask for next year.

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Baking Disasters and Lessons Learned Therefrom

I’m not worth much in the kitchen. I mean, I’ve gotten better over the years. But I still have some basic flaws that cause me problems.

  • I don’t make sure I have all the ingredients before I start making something.
  • I don’t read the whole recipe through prior to throwing things in the bowl.
  • I substitute ingredients with an alarming disregard to the recipe.
  • And I count wrong.

But I have learned some things. Recently.

When your mom (or my Mom, to be specific) says that boxed cake mixes taste better than making one from scratch, you may be wise to listen. Being that I’m a path-of-least-resistance kind of girl, I would never try to argue this one.

But when there’s been a snow storm, and the only working car is with your husband at work, and you can’t get to the store… you start to think maybe your mom didn’t know what she was talking about. Maybe she didn’t have your panache in the kitchen (ha!).

Turns out, mom’s DO know what they’re talking about. Cakes made from scratch are solid. Solid as a brick.  At least mine was. After trying it, my friend told me, “I don’t even like cake, but I really liked this!” Um, that’s because it’s unlike any cake you’ve ever had before!

I’ve also learned that you can make frosting without using powdered sugar. I’m not saying you’d want to, but when you’ve baked a cake for an event that evening and then check to see if you have powdered sugar… you probably won’t. At that point, other methods of making frosting seem pretty appealing. And if you sprinkle colored sugar on top to “decorate” people probably won’t notice that your frosting is kind of crunchy. Or at least they won’t say anything.

Another thing I’ve been surprised to discover is that more is not always better. When all the cheesecake recipes you read call for 2 packages of cream cheese and then you find one that calls for 3 packages, the cheesecake won’t be richer. No. Actually, it will fail to fit in your store-bought graham cracker crust.

BUT… the extra cream cheese can be poured in a pan, baked, and stored in the fridge for scooping with a spoon whenever one desires.

So I guess not every baking disaster has to end badly.

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

The (Almost Not a) Princess Cake

Leah turned 4. Not quite sure how that happened, but in honor of the blessed event, we’re having a Princess Party. With a princess cake.

I’m no cake decorator, but I offered a cake with a princess crown on it. How hard could it be? I got a nice squeeze tube of pink frosting to do the trick. I did not read the back of that pink frosting.

Probably should of.

Did you know that when you buy Cake Mate Easy Squeeze frosting, that you also have to buy (or have on hand) Cake Mate decorating tips… to attach to the frosting? I didn’t.

I just assumed it would come with a nice pointy tip so that I could draw beautiful frosting designs all over my cake. But that was obviously not going to happen, so I looked at Chris and said, “I think I can make it work.”

And I’m pretty good at making things work. This isn’t the first time I haven’t read the packaging. I’m almost a professional wing-it girl!

It might not have been quite the look I was going for. But I think Leah will be happy. Especially because my way means double the frosting in each bite!

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