theweeklydiner

Archive for the ‘Cakes and yummyness’ Category

I am by no means a cake making professional.  However I LOVE making and eating cakes.  The majority of the time I use boxed cake mixes.  Usually this is because I have lots of treats to make for my son’s birthday and I am trying to save on time.  Every once in awhile, it is nice to slow down and take the time and make a cake from scratch.  Today we are going to look back over a few of the more FUN cakes and cupcakes I have made.

This first cake I made for bunko.  It was the second time I tried to do block cakes.  I like tender, moist cakes and those tend to crumb up when you ice them.  That’s what happened with these cakes, they sort of crumbled.  So while they do not have clean edges, it still turned out cute.

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These cupcakes I made were for the Christmas party at my son’s school.  They took a little extra time to creat but were pretty easy overall and looked amazing!

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The style of these next cupcakes were for showers.  I found this idea while browsing pinterest for ideas.  The first set were for a baby shower and the second for a bridal shower.  In case you were wondering, yes….it is a pain in the behind to tie all those little ribbons on the cupcakes.  Though after awhile you can find your rhythm.  And of course you must match your frosting to your ribbon string for a full effect.

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Sometimes simple is better, especially when it is for a class party.  Grocery stores sell some very cute kits to quickly decorate cupcakes if you are tight on time.  The ones below came with the picks, sprinkles and cupcake liners that I matched with store bought confetti cake and matching frosting.

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For some reason, teachers are always associated with apples.  So what better treat to make for teachers than these apple cupcakes.  These ones weren’t actually apple flavored but I am sure you could work that in.

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This next cake turned out so pretty.  I found the cake idea while sitting browsing a magazine at the doctor’s office.  Isn’t that where you find some of the best recipes??  I made it for a 4th of July BBQ.  To me watermelon and BBQ go hand in hand!

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The next cupcakes I made for an end of school year swim party.  Both the apple cupcakes above and these cupcakes were found in the book, What’s New Cupcake?  This book is full of fun ideas, some more difficult than others but worth the effort.  These were just too cute!

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This next cupcake was another pinterest find.  My husband loves to fish and this was an easy way to get my young son involved in decorating the cupcakes.  He put the pretzels on then I would draw the fishing line and then he placed the fish.  My husband loved them!

IMAG0716Next is the infamous Kit Kat Cake, perhaps one of my best pinterest finds.  I first made this cake for a birthday party for my friend’s daughter.  She was protective of the cake and was upset when her grandfather asked me to make one for another party.  I have made four total with cake #5 set to be made this Friday for a dessert auction.  I may just have to buy it myself.

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The first time I made the cake using vanilla cake and chocolate frosting.  The birthday girl wanted a rainbow cake.  I am a lover of chocolate and I found that using a chocolate frosting was just too much.  So I now make them using Duff’s Zebra cake mix and vanilla frosting unless otherwise requested.  As far as cake mixes go, his products are the best!

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We made one for the teachers of his preschool when we were leaving the school.

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And yet another for a friend’s BIG 3-0!! (my son: the master at photo-bombing)

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Ok- so maybe this isn’t technically a cake, but I did use a bundt pan so I am counting it.  I found this idea on Pinterest.  I don’t really look anywhere else these days for inspiration.  Why should I when I get Pinspiration?  Pretty basic cake: rice krispy treats with M&Ms mixed in at the last minute so they don’t melt.  Then you push the mixture into a greased bundt pan.  Once set, turn it out and drizzle in the chocolate of your choice.  This Christmas dessert went fast.

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The next is a very simple yet lovely looking cake for a school Valentine’s party.  I took cake mix and baked one square and one round cake.  You cut the round cake in half and put each half one side of the square to make a heart shape.  Then frost and decorate.  For this one I also dyed the cake pix hot pink using Duff’s Electric Color Gels.

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The next cake is the prettiest cake I ever made.  Of course I had the help of my husband who helped me cut the layers of the cake.  The rest was all me, and Martha of course.  This recipe was found through a google search.  I came across Martha Stewart’s recipe for Ultimate Coconut Cake.  I almost didn’t make this cake.  It is a very intimidating recipe and there are a lot of steps.  It was worth it.  This cake was a thing of beauty.

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For a friend’s birthday, I took the same cake but used chocolate frosting instead.  It was tasty too, no real coconut this time.

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My friend threw her daughter a roller skating party last year, like real skates not blades.  I had recently ordered the Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator.  So this was my first time piping.  For fun accents I used the Duff’s Stuff  Cake Tattoos.  The skates were a bit more difficult.  Most things I came across used the Wilton Skate Cake Mold.  Then after some random searching, I came across a project to teach a child to learn how to tie shoelaces.  So I followed the project to make the shoe part of the skates.  I used chocolate donuts for the wheels and marshmallows as stoppers.  Then I found those awesome glow in the dark shoelaces.  This cake was a hit!

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The next cake was made by request.  It was just a “please make me a cake for my birthday.”  So I had the freedom to create anything. Since this was for a 10th birthday, I wanted something fun but not childish.  After searching Pinterest, again, I blended two ideas together.  I decided on a purple hombre cake surrounded in sprinkles.  The birthday girl loved it!

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This year for Christmas, I found this cake on guess where????  That’s right, Pinterest!  I actually made it incorrectly and had to run to get more cake mix.  I had accidentally used black food coloring instead of green.  Oops!  Take the time and read the labels.  Lessoned learned.  I loved this cake!!

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This last item isn’t really a cake but it is made with cake batter and was too good not to share…  Cake Batter Blondies!!  Try them out today!

Cake Batter Blondies.  Good plain--- AMAZING frosted!

I could eat the entire pan

As you can see, I like to have fun with baking.  If you’ve been wanting to try a new recipe, I say go for it!  Baking brings people together, so heat up your oven and invite some friends over.

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The first day of spring snuck in on us between St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.  However, now that we are in April it feels more like spring.  The weather is warmer, a little sunnier, the outlook brighter.  However, this is my least favorite time of the year.  All you fellow allergy sufferers can sympathize with me.  As I was driving through the neighborhood today, I saw a yellow cloud being blown down the street.  Pollen is not my friend.  I think it’s about time to up the medication dosage.

And a quick non-food related note: I opened an Etsy shop!  delivEARingMemories  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney and Disneyland.  Obviously, I threw my son a Disneyland themed birthday party.  I originally set up the shop to sell my pictures of Disneyland since there is a market for them.  And I am getting there.  There are edits and groupings and having to find a print lab.  So in the meantime I have made jewelry from vintage Disneyland tickets.  And they are simply gorgeous!  Check out the shop and let me know what you think.

Vintage Ticket Necklace

Vintage Ticket Necklace

Map Pendant

Map Pendant

My favorite- a Vintage Walt Disney world Magic Key ticket turned pendant

My favorite- a Vintage Walt Disney World Magic Key ticket turned pendant

This past week I made my favorite Coconut Banana Bread.  It has been three months since I have even tasted its deliciousness, let alone made a batch.  I usually make mini-loaves so I can freeze them and not overindulge in this super moist, delectable bread.  And it smells heavenly while baking.  Definitely my favorite bread.

two batches of Coconut Banana Bread

two batches of Coconut Banana Bread

This morning I came across this bread recipe for a Sweet Potato Bread.  It took everything I had not to run to the kitchen and make this bread.  The only that stopped me was that I had some coconut banana bread lying in wait to be eaten.  So I do have plans to make this bread in the upcoming week.  As soon as I eat the rest of my banana loaf.  ***This is a really good recipe.  I am not used to spiced bread since I am not a carrot cake fan.  I made four mini loaves so I could share the bread and not eat every last crumb. I had overcooked the sweet potato some so I had to through out some chunks that wouldn’t mash.  And I initially though that I had overcooked the loaves as they appeared really dark brown but they are so moist, soft and tasty.  I will be making this bread again.

One of my besties in coming in to town at the end of the week.  I plan on making coconut macaroons for her.  I recently found out they are one of her favorite types of cookies.  Goes to show you can always learn something new about your friends.  However this is a secret recipe that I cannot share with you.  However, this friend of mine also let me know about coconut M&Ms.  I hadn’t really ever paid attention to them despite being a coconut lover.  So I bought a bag.  They have stayed closed in my pantry.  I have been saving them.  Saving them for these M&M Cookies.  I made these cookies with regular M&Ms and they are INCREDIBLE!!!.  Definitely a recipe that deserves the title “THE BEST.”  Give them a try, you won’t be sorry.  And, so you don’t eat the entire batch in one sitting, you can freeze the dough and pull out a couple at a time.  It’s perfect! ***Using coconut M&Ms was a delicious choice!  But you must like coconut.  I have a friend who kind of likes it and she wasn’t fond of the coconut flavor.  I promised her that for her birthday I would use peanut butter M&Ms with this recipe.  I am not sure I can wait until October though.  

Plain M&M Cookies

Plain M&M Cookies

Coconut Macaroons, Brownies and Coconut M&M Cookies

Coconut Macaroons, Brownies and Coconut M&M Cookies

 

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FRIDAY

SMOOTHIE: Pineapple Mango Green Smoothie–for this smoothie I make a few changes.  Instead of measuring individual fruits, I just use 2 cups of frozen mixed tropical fruits and add a dash of coconut extract.  Now if I could just magically transport myself to Hawaii!  I drink this so fast every time!!

I devoured this green smoothie.  Extremely tasty with the coconut extract.

I devoured this green smoothie. Extremely tasty with the coconut extract.

DINNER: We have a roll over recipe form last week.  I had more leftovers than anticipated so from last week we are making the Pork and Ginger Wonton Stir Fry.  I will still serve this as planned with Cucumber Salad.  The coolness of the salad should balance the heat of the stir fry.White-writing-29491444-516-350

 

Pork & Ginger Wonton Stir Fry

Pork & Ginger Wonton Stir Fry

 

SATURDAY

SMOOTHIE: Pumpkin spice Green Smoothie.  A can of puree lasts for about three smoothies so this will be it for a few weeks.

DINNER:  new recipe alert!!!!  This came from my Cooking Light Magazine: Pan-Grilled Chicken with Chorizo Confetti.  (I will probably grill my chicken outside if it isn’t raining.  I love cooking on a real grill!)  A reviewer of the recipe served hers with black beans which sounds delicious.  Or maybe a side salad with a salsa-vinaigrette.  I will also be making a Jalapeño-Cheddar Crusty Bread.  It’s my personal favorite.  I need to try a few new savory recipes like bacon-cheddar, but sometimes you have to stick with what you know.  ***While I did make the crusty bread, my dinners got moved around and I never did get to try this chicken recipe.  Maybe in the next week or two.

jalapeno cheddar loaf in stages

jalapeno cheddar loaf in stages

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SUNDAY

SMOOTHIE:  My favorite Banana Fudge Green Smoothie!  Look for the recipe on my prior post Monster Mash.

DNINNER:  Since my friend from Boston is in town visiting her folks and we will be having a BBQ!!  So what goes best with BBQ??  Why cole slaw of course.  Never buy store-made cole slaw again!  This recipe is super simple, you make it a day in advance and tastes amazing!!!

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MONDAY

SMOOTHIE:  The one that started them all, Skinnytaste’s Monster Green Smoothie.

DINNER: new recipe alert!!!  Chicken Pillows!  These look a lot like my favorite Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole but with slightly less sauce and cheese and a little more crunch.  I can’t wait to try them.  I will serve it with these green bean fries (another new recipe).

 

Chicken Pillow with Parmesan Green Beans

Chicken Pillow with Parmesan Green Beans

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TUESDAY

SMOOTHIE: none

DINNER: From the hilarious and yummy cookbook 50 Shades of Chicken, we will be feating on Sweet Potato Hash.  This is a delicious recipe, especially for the sweet potato fan!

Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash

Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash

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WEDNESDAY

SMOOTHIE:  Strawberry Cheesecake Monster Smoothie

DINNER:  One of my personal favorite recipes, Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins!  I am undecided as of right now if I will be making the crockpot buffalo chicken that is the base for this recipe, or just cook some chicken and add buffalo sauce, either way these skins are scrumptious!!

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THURSDAY

SMOOTHIE: none

DINNER: leftovers

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We have gone to the jungle, ridden a pirate ship, seen how to make a volcano, gone down the bayou and been to Disneyland.  Birthday #5 takes us to the Carnival!!!  I honestly can’t remember how we came to this idea at all.  I know I came up with it,  I created a binder to house all my ideas, and I got Thomas to agree.  The binder thing….it started with this party.  Basically my head gets so full of ideas that I can’t sleep.  Once I get these ideas down on paper, my brain can settle.  However, part way through planning this party is when someone introduced me to Pinterest.  What a revelation!!  I was now able to keep track of all my ideas in one place for this party, rather than a list of bookmarks.  Sometimes all you need is a visual reminder rather than the actual steps it takes to produce that idea.

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Once again I went with my two favorite online party supply stores, Oriental Trading and Shindigz.  Sometimes they have the same stuff, sometimes they have different stuff, but both together can help take your party to new heights at a great price.

I had all my signs designed by an etsy store, Frosting & Ink.  She did an amazing job and worked well with me for customized signs.

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The weather all week before the party was AMAZING!  And then the night before the party, scattered showers appeared.  So we had to move the games into the garage.

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5th birthday 023The games of course were free and no matter how well they were played, the kids received tickets.  When the kids arrived at the party, I passed out their boxes to hold all the tickets. At the end of the party they got to claim their prizes!! (Basically a build your own goodie bag.)

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There were other activities as well.  We had face painting, a magic show, balloon animals, a piñata, and they could hold a snake if they wanted to or take a turn on the pachinko machine.

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And of course we had the hottest party accessory….a photo booth!!!  I called Lowe’s and asked for an old refrigerator box early in the morning.  The best they had that day was a stove box so I took it, kids can fit in a stove box.  I painted the outside a light cream color and the inside red.  I bought some photo booth props on etsy and we were ready to go!

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trying out the box before the party

trying out the box before the party

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One unique idea I got a decoration for his birthday came from Pinterest.  We made a number 5 out of wallet sized pictures of my son.  It hung on the coat closet door in the main entry way.

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The food!  What better food is there than carnival food??  I had the fryer out for this party!!  We made corn dogs, french fries, mozzarella sticks–nearly anything I could fry–I did.  I had the crockpots out with chili, nacho cheese and hot dogs.   The next day I has a food hangover but oh man did the chili cheese fries and hot dogs taste amazing!!!  And then there was the candy table.  We had licorice, cotton candy, animal (circus) cookies, and five flavors of popcorn!!!  I ordered them online at Popcornopolis which has amazing popcorn.  We made original buttered popcorn and then I purchased, Zebra (my favorite), cupcake, cinnamon toast and kettle corn.  I was just happy to get to use my Disney popcorn containers!!!

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Next up is the cake!  I found the idea for the cake on Pinterest.  It was basically modeled after a circus/carnival tent pattern.  I made the banners myself out of scrapbook paper and some string.  It is that easy.

5th birthday 188This was the first time I threw a kids party for my son’s friends from school.  Rather than make two cakes, I make a bunch of cupcakes for the kid party and saved the cake for the family party.  I had the cupcakes boxed up and ready to give out as the kids were leaving the party.

5th birthday 030The cake table was decorated with carnival toys, some vintage inspired and some new.  These toys are still played with by my son even today.

You can see the boxes for the background that the cupcakes were housed in.

You can see the boxes for the background that the cupcakes were housed in.

These bumper cars won't fall off the edge of the table.

These bumper cars won’t fall off the edge of the table.

Here is a shot of the cake table in its entirety:

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Happy 5th Birthday Thomas!!!!

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His actual birthday fell on the day after the party.  And since I am a believer that birthdays should be celebrated at least all week long, I made him special birthday pancakes for breakfast.

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He got a new bike for this birthday, and he wore his helmet all through breakfast.  It was his birthday so who am I to argue?

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So we have made several visits to the past and explored my son’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th birthdays.  We are now onto birthday #4!!!  For this birthday my son wanted a Princess and the Frog birthday party.  However, ALL goods related to this movie were made for girls.  Disney wonders why these types of movies aren’t as popular with the boys and I can tell you is that there is no merchandise tie-ins made for boys.  This movie is equally enjoyable by boys and girls, same with Tangled, yet about 90-95% of the merchandise is geared to girls.  Ok, rant over.  So even though my son had chosen a Princess and the Frog party, he did not want purple plates with Tiana on them.  So we decided to throw a Mardi Gras party.

The stairs of our house

The stairs of our house

Decorations for a Mardi Gras party are easy to come by anytime of the year.  There are two websites I turn to when throwing a party, Shindigz and Oriental Trading.  Unless it is January/February, there are slim pickings for Mardi Gras decor at the local party supply store.  To add some Princess and the Frog theme to the party, I turned to my very talented friend to draw up some pieces of artwork based on the characters of the movie.

These still hang in my son's room today.

These still hang in my son’s room today.

I like how she made the pictures special to the party.  Ray is carrying a birthday present.  My favorite though is Louis with four candles on the cake.  Perfection!!

more railing decor

more railing decor

more fun decor

more fun decor

decorate yourself!

decorate yourself!

I suppose the inspiration for the party came not only from the movie but also the Princess and the Frog: Tiana’s cookbook: Recipes for Kids.  This cookbook is full of Louisiana inspired recipes.  They are both fun and easy to make.  The cake in the back of the book sealed the deal.

all supplies needed for the sweet treats

all supplies needed for the sweet treats

the bases

the bases

The cake was an alligator cake and the cupcakes were frogs.  Simply too cute to pass up.  And since it is a child’s cookbook, relatively easy.  And on a side note, ‘Stuff by Duff’  is an excellent line of baking goods.  His pre-made frostings are superb.  I needed a lot of green for this party and didn’t want to mix it myself.  His frosting packets are extremely tasty, especially when you find yourself short on time.

regular shot of the gator cake

regular shot of the gator cake

fancy shot of the gator cake

fancy shot of the gator cake

Luckily there was a new candy store in town where I was able to get a lot of the decorations needed for the cake and cupcakes.  While the assembly of both the cake and the cupcakes took some time, it was well worth it.

regular shot of the frogs

regular shot of the frogs

fancy shot of the frogs

fancy shot of the frogs

Thomas in the morning when he first saw his cake

Thomas in the morning when he first saw his cake and cupcakes

In addition to the alligator cake and the frog cupcakes, we went with traditional Louisiana fare to eat.  We had jambalaya, red beans and rice, corn bread, creole chicken, among other basic foods. We also had plenty of Tabasco on hand to spice things up!

the birthday boy helping make his cupcakes

the birthday boy helping make his cupcakes

This was a fun party!  Thomas had a great time.  And, after all, if he’s going to be like Louis, he needed his own trumpet.

Blowing on his new trumpet

Blowing on his new trumpet

For his school party, I found a cutout of Carl’s house from ‘Up’.

Up, up and away

Up, up and away

close-up of Carl and Russell inside the house

close-up of Carl and Russell inside the house

My husband was a champ and assembled the house for me.  We stuck the printout onto a cereal box for a sturdier structure.  That made the folding harder, but it turned out great!  Then we covered an art board with foil, spray painted it blue.  Once the blue dried, my husband spray painted the clouds.  I think it turned out really cool.

awesome 'Stuff by Duff'

awesome ‘Stuff by Duff’

Again I used ‘Stuff by Duff‘ to spray paint the top of the cupcakes in order to get a vibrant color without using too much food coloring or having to make sure I had enough frosting of each color.  Check his stuff out next time you are at Michael’s or your local craft store.

That’s it for party #4!  Next week we will take a step into the big top and look at the fun had at Thomas’s 5th birthday party on our final stop of birthday party flashbacks!

So we have visited Thomas’s first birthday and his latest party for his sixth birthday.  We are currently on a journey through the rest of the parties to see how party #6 got to be so big.  There aren’t many pictures from parties two and three.  Who knew I would start a blog?  However we do have cake pictures, and let’s face it….everyone loves cake.  Even if they don’t like cake, they like to look at cake.  And now with pinterest, the fun and easy cake ideas are endless!

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Birthday #2!

So for my son’s second birthday I went with a pirate theme.  I found a cake on the family fun website and it seemed easy enough.  I was also celebrating my 30th birthday so we had a joint party.  This year was all about the cake.

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I didn’t theme the food.  It is the only birthday party that I didn’t theme the food.  However, to be fair, I don’t think pirates ate very well.  We had pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, pesto pasta and some bread.  That’s what I remember these many years later. For decorations we just hung some red and black streamers and I kept some Halloween decorations out if they had skeletons.

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Birthday #3!

So for birthday number three I felt I needed to top the cake from birthday number 2.  How do you top a pirate ship with candles as cannons???  Why with an erupting volcano of course!!!  Again there aren’t any pictures of food or decorations, nor are there any still pictures of my volcano while erupting.  I guess that means I will have to make it again!!

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While I don’t have many pictures the fun stuff, I do have a few stills of the cake itself.  With an erupting volcano, I planned a Hawaiian themed birthday over a dinosaur party.  It would be easier to theme the food with a Hawaiian party.  You can’t have a Hawaiian themed party without spam!  I also served white rice, chicken teriyaki, a hawaiian fruit salad (recipe lost), hawaiian dip, and my favorite hawaiian luau bbq chips.

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And now for the cake.  I honestly don’t know how I came up with the idea to make an erupting volcano cake.  These were the days before pinterest which is now my go to place to search for recipes.  All I know is that I must have googled fun cakes or something and searched through recipes.  The recipe I found and went with has multiple steps.  There were six different recipes involved to make this cake.  I left out the Kahlua recipe since this would be going to the kids.

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In making this cake, I found a wonderful website for baking goods.  Shop Baker’s Nook is a great resource.  I found all the little sea creatures, sea shells and palm trees on that site.  This website also carries basic baking supplies, sometimes much cheaper than the local craft store and even cheaper than Amazon on occasion.  This was also the first time I ever boiled sugar to make candy.  A little bit scary but overall pretty easy.

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So the above picture is an above shot of the cake.  You put a glass down the middle to house the goods needed for the lava.  This cake may seem a little bit daunting with its six recipes to build it but it really was rather easy.  If you need a cake to wow a crowd, then this is the cake!

Join me next Monday as we take a trip down the bayou for Thomas’s 4th birthday party!

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“If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.” — Ratatouille

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