Ode to a Boy Cake

8 Jul

Boy, the Peach Pit {home, sweet, home} is turning into a bakeria!

[Reflect] It all started at age 16 with a simple job of scooping 31 flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins. To fill my down time (besides tasting every flavor with those small pink plastic spoons), I watched another coworker decorate cakes. Now, there is a certain art to decorating a frozen ice cream cake.  You have to carefully select the size and shape of the cake and then match the ice cream layer accordingly.  After the assembly is completed, then you have to slather on a layer of ice cream-ish frosting that conforms to the cake and freezes to a glossy consistency.

My obsessive cake-watching soon became obsessive cake-creating. There were only 2 flavors of cake (chocolate and vanilla), but endless combinations when married with all those ice cream flavors. Jamocha Almond Fudge with chocolate? Cherries Jubilee/vanilla? Why would [that customer] even consider combining German Chocolate Cake with vanilla? I soon began filling the display case with my handiwork. Beautiful red roses and greenery. Vibrant purple pansies with trailing curlicues. Until one day my boss (who I thought was completely oblivious to the onslaught of cakes despite the lack of orders) said, “Why is there a Homer Simpson cake?” Oops…didn’t realize Homer wasn’t a real hot seller! I’m sure that cake ended up in the garbage along with the many other cakes that didn’t sell (and no, all the tossed ones weren’t necessarily mine either…).

So, here we are over 20 years later and I’ve become obsessed again with creating the perfect cake. Since my boys aren’t familiar with the Simpsons (and hopefully won’t be for a while), I’m “happy” (if not slightly anxious) that they’ve requested cakes conformed to the image of “Star Wars”.

I’ve been thinking about this cake for some time now [and by “cake” I mean “cakes” plural since I have 2 boys]. I’ve done so many Google searches for “Star Wars cakes”, “General Grievous cakes”, “Storm Trooper cakes” that I have an entire battle scene going on in my mind. And why someone would want to bite into a cake of a skeletal-robot-who-was-once-a-man-but-fell-into-a-burning-vat-of-something-and-rebuilt-himself-into-blah-blah-blah” simply means that I house a couple of Star Wars-obsessed fans…or at least Evan is…Jack, being the younger brother, well, you know the rest.  So, Jack wants a Darth Vader cake and Evan wants a General Grievous cake (the burning vat guy one).

Now that that’s settled, I turn my attention to the actual cake and what it will look like. Do I use fondant {yuck}? Do I make a cake or cupcakes? Do I make one image of their chosen character or multiple figures in case they choose a new “bad guy” to obsess about…which happens quite frequently? Once again, I am bound by what Google has to offer me.

And here I arrive. I’ve decided to make mini “heads” (as shown above) of some of Jack’s favorite characters. I’m not sure what I will do with them at this point. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned.  Are the designs original? Mais non, but I found them littered across the internet and then made my own modifications. Since I don’t want to revisit the freehand drawing of several key characters (as seen by my hours-long dedication to creating Hulk), I’m thinking that I will have to resort to fondant…

I’ve been directed to a wonderful website (http://whatscookingamerica.net/pegw/fondant.htm) thanks to my friend Lindsay who fondants all the time. This recipe is quite delicious but the method is definitely mad, {MAD}enning. I will let you take a look at the recipe but all I can say is two things: “ooey, gooey” and “Crisco”.

As I sit here at the computer while my pink-eyed laden child is swathed by the glow of his Playstation2 (and my other is just plain sitting in front of the t.v. for babysitting’s sake), I must bring this post to a close. But I can’t wait for the “big reveal” which I will pass on to you in my spare time…as well as a full on discussion of the disastrous mess marshmallow fondant makes to your counters, floors and self. And thanks librarian, dollar store clerk, Kroger cashier et al {who saw me, watched me, observed me} for pointing out that leaning on a counter full of Crisco, marshmallow goop and powdered sugar will result in a not-so-discreet white-ish midsection.

To Infinity and Beyond…oh wait…

18 Jun

As a child, I remember my mom hosting many different girl-themed birthday parties for me. And I also remember gobs of neighborhood kids who attended en masse these parties. Maybe my memory is creating a larger-than-life experience (as I don’t remember my siblings having huge blow-out bashes), but I certainly like reveling in the fact that I had fabulous birthday parties.

And here comes the “then/now” statement. That was then…now I have 2 boys of my own. There are no princess parties with magic wands, tutus and braided hair. I’m subjected to bounce house parties where we must exhaust our children at all costs (then liquor them up with sugar – not liquor).  I’ve been to Chuck e Cheese where “a kid can be a kid” but a mom is still a mom {“Don’t touch that knob; that little boy over there just licked it.”, “Did you just pee in the elevated tunnel?”}

Another now statement: Now I have two boys who share a passion of Star Wars. And so I have a couple requests for intricate Death-Star-fighting-matches-with-1o-characters birthday cakes. So thankful that their birthdays are 2 weeks apart…

But alas! Jack no longer wants to be the add-on to Evan’s parties even though they share the same friends. So now I have embarked on a mission to create two awesome, amazing, stupendously fun birthday parties that won’t be compared by brothers but in a small-ish sort of way. And short of hiring Duff Goldman to create a lifelike image of General Grievous (you can google him) or “Dark Grayvous” as the boys call him, I may be slapping together some boxed cupcakes topped with prepackaged sugar-molded characters (remember those?). Now do you think I would go ahead and do something like that? I guess you’ll just have to check back to “something sweet” before the summer is over.

So, what to do? Where to begin? I began with the design of Evan’s invitation which you can see above. {Jack, by way of when he came into this world, is having his invitations emailed to his two friends.} Not very enticing and will end up in every friend’s garbage can. But yet I’m still compelled to add depth and “an-invitation-like-no-other” to it. But…this is a start.

pépites de chocolat

14 Jun

Whether I’m baking cookies, muffins or pancakes, I must insert a small army of chocolate chips. In fact, I just took a pan of sad-looking enchiladas out of the oven and I caught my hand hovering precariously over the jar of chocolate chips. Maybe they will improve the taste {if not appearance} of said dismal enchiladas.  Sorry mom, but the enchilada recipe tasted so much better when I was in college…

Even while baking during my many attempts at the “less is more” diet {butter}[APPLESAUCE], I always manage to throw a fistful of chocolate into the batter as if to make up to the recipe that I really cherish its original contents.

Well, here is the recipe that poured sunshine into my Michigan spring morning today:

Banana Muffins

*Makes approximately 16 muffins.

{Add chocolate chips/chunks/shavings, si nécessaire}

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a separate mixing bowl, combine:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed banana (approximately 2-3 ripe bananas)
  • 1/3 cup butter (though I split this between real, as opposed to faux butter & applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup milk

Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not over mix as this will make tough, rubbery muffins and then nobody will eat them no matter how many chocolate chips you drop in to the batter. It is at this point that I need to separate the batter for the sake of my younger son who strongly dislikes…CHOCOLATE CHIPS! I fill 4-6 muffins 2/3 full with the plain, boring batter. Then I add in a liberal handful of chocolate chips to the original batter. I fill the remaining cups with this enticing, delectable chocolate chip-laden batter.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

*The original “bones” of this recipe come from Kraftfoods.com. But like all bakers, there are hidden-to-you modifications!

There is also a seriously yummy banana muffin recipe on the joyofbaking.com website. Please visit it as well at:

RED ALERT! RED ALERT! Just went to their website and the recipe no longer exists! There is another banana muffin recipe but it’s just not the same. I will share this recipe at another time when I actually feel like posting another banana muffin recipe post…{NOT}!

b.i.g. dessert

12 Jun

a place for seriously big appetitesF.Y.I.: This post has nothing to do with a sweet confection that I created – though a life-sized cake of Big Boy (*see left) would be sweet {no pun or other witty mark intended}.

If you’re not familiar with the Big Boy restaurant chain, then…familiarize yourself with it. There is no redeeming quality to the food, and the name of the restaurant alone gives you a hint as to the menu (lettuce wraps and green tea are not served here) – as does the enormously large statue of a rather biggish boy. What mother wouldn’t want to dress her chunky little boy in red-checkered overalls with shellacked hair all the while holding a platter of beef?

Well, it must work because Little Boy Big draws in the masses with its enormous hamburgers and my favorite meal: Slim Jim, fries & a chocolate shake.

But I digress – this post should be about something sweet and that is where I land myself…literally. Last night after enjoying a much-needed girls’ night out eating Mexican food, we were drawn to the ever popular post-dinner-must-continue-talking-so-let’s-keep-stuffing-our-face option…DESSERT! And Big Boy just happened to be conveniently located across the street.

Now, do we continue to enjoy the authentic Mexican cuisine by indulging in fried churros, fried ice cream or fried…? NO, Big Boy’s swirling beef platter is calling to us! And by “swirling” I mean he’s a giant statue turning, turning, turning on a post outside the restaurant taunting passers-by (passer-byers? passers-bys? anyone?)

We loaded ourselves into the car and crossed the street. This is where a modicum of exercise would’ve come in handy, but driving seemed a much better way to let the Mexican food deposit itself in/on/around us before indulging in…DESSERT à la Big Boy.

And this is where I will share with you a recipe for “something sweet”. I will not mention the names of those at the table who did not order this heavenly delight. However, this dessert is meant to be eaten alone…which is precisely what I did. And here I sit in a sugar stupor…8 hours later…

Big Boy Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

  • slab o’ cake
  • carton o’ ice cream
  • slab o’ cake
  • fudge, from a spigot {heated to a dangerously narcotic level as to put eater in a stupor}
  • whipped cream
  • cherry

Layer ingredients in above order. Slather on/in/around hot fudge. Top with an unimportant amount of whipped cream and let the cherry roll off and under the table.

This is what you’ll get…

And, thanks to Facebook, you can now “friend” it.

twitching eye

10 Jun

No, this post has nothing to do with my own personal eye twitching. It’s a sarcastic reaction to my beloved Scooby who uses his vocal chords (since his own twitching eyes have pretty much ceased working, as well as a large amount of his hearing) to get what he wants. Right now I want to sit in front of the computer to surf and type mindlessly while my children feed each other Captain Crunch (for dinner) and cold chicken nuggets. Hey, at least they can fend for themselves – why can’t he? So here is a sample of what I’m listening to in lieu of tranquilité.

(p.s. – notice how his tail only wags when he barks…)

Thus, “He who barks the loudest…wins.”

A synopsis of Scooby

After 13 years I {deal, deAl, DEaL} with a dog who a) lost one eye due to his interference with a cat, b) lost partial use of his tail-wagging abilities due to his “run-in” with a gang of coyotes, c) lost a large majority of his hearing due to age.

For the weak-hearted and weak-stomach(ed), please turn away now because I shall tell you that in addition to his infirmities, he’s managed to:

  1. drag a dead fawn up the 1000 ft driveway, through the doggy door and onto the carpeted living room floor.
  2. drag a dead fawn {in addition to the former} up the 1000 ft driveway, placing it in next to the main door but conspicuously à gauche de “company” car {knowing full well that there was human owner’s company as his audience}.
  3. snap the neck of a baby kitten while his {Scooby’s} female owner howled, wailed and screamed at him to stop which he promptly did upon death {not Scooby’s-which seemed desperately imminent at the time}.
  4. drag assorted squirrels, chipmunks, field mice, bunnies, birds, possums, SKUNKS {whole, not whole, alive, half alive} through the doggy door, sometimes to the aforementioned carpeted living room floor, sometimes into our bed.

Shall I continue?

Should I write about something sweet next?

Ode to Daphne

8 Jun

Dear Daphne,

You are lovely. You are kind. You are patient. You are obedient.

You have rightfully earned the nickname “Piggy”, but let me defend you. You are also fluffy and fluff goes a long way to a girl, am I right?

You peered out to me from the litter with your big, soft, timid eyes. I got to choose you – how lucky!

You like:

  • human food (obviously)
  • car rides (front only, please, even though the driver can’t see past the “fluff” to look out the passenger window)
  • laying on the bathroom floor (right in front of the tub which makes it hard to actually get in and out of since you don’t move)
  • did I mention human food?
  • sleeping
  • food?

You dislike:

  • being groomed (which makes the shedding-of-the-fluff part overwhelming)
  • diets
  • loud noises

You and me are the girls of the house.

conversations with the young

7 Jun

How can you resist such cuteness and charm?

For some reason, Jack’s cogs started turning wondering about burglars and if they were to break into our house how they would do it. But I eased his mind telling him that God put a shield around our house to protect us. Little did I know (duh) that the cogs would spin out of control at this comment. And this is how our conversation turned…

Jack: So, there’s a force around our house that bumps them off?

Me: Well, um, sure, yes.

Jack: But it doesn’t bump us off?

{pause}

Jack: What if they shot at us, would the force bump the bullet off?

{pause, pause}

Jack: Can the robbers break in our windows? Would the force around the robber’s house…do robbers have forces around them…around their houses?

Me: Only if we believe in God (are forces put around us).

Jack [sudden change in subject-ish]: Why does God know all the words I’m going to say?

Me: Because he created you and knows all about you.

Jack: That’s why he knows all the words I’m going to say?

{Silence}

Then a conversation begins between brothers as they debate how loud they can talk {pause} then think {pause} for God to be able to hear them.

Evan: How can he hear everyone at the same time if he doesn’t have 150 eyes?

Jack: How can he carry the whole world if he only has 2 hands?

No really, this is all in a 10 minute car ride to church. Things turned slightly doctrinal at this point.

Jack: If someone put a nail in him would he die?

Me: He did die.

Jack: That scares me.

Me: He already did it so you wouldn’t have to go to hell.

Jack: Is Jesus in hell?

Me: No, he’s in heaven with God.

Jack: When Jesus was down here did he have any pets?

{A side conversation ensues between Tom and Jack about the types of animals Jesus would own.}

Evan [to me]: So Satan was an angel and wanted to be God and then got kicked out?