Monday, August 29, 2011

Cakes I've made!

Cakes, through the years!

My first attempts at making a "fun" cake - Carolyn's choice....Baked in a bowl :o) (2005)

Play Ball!! (2005)

I baked this cake "for no reason" to try out some new techniques.  It was fun, and delicious! (2005)

 Happy Birthday Candy!  This was the first cake that I made for non-family! (2005)

 Baseball Hat for Baseball Paul.  I think I might have baked this one in a bowl (to get the round top - instead of trying to cut it out)   (July 2006)

  This was a cake that I made for my cousin Lisa for her Bridal Shower (Summer 2006)

Happy Birthday, Tain!! (Summer 2006)

This is the top to a wedding cake that my friend Christina and I made - we were re-creating her parent's wedding cake.  She was the main baker on this one...I was the main helper :o) (Summer 2006)

 Happy Anniversay, Claudia and Steve!!  (This cake was met with amazing amounts of catastrophe, mainly because of the frosting, lol) (October 2008)

Happy 1st birthday, Chloe! (January 2009)

Happy Birthday, Michael!!  Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate whipped cream!  YUM!!  (February 2011)

Rubber Ducky! (August 2011)

Rubber Ducky, You're the one!!

Rubber Ducky, you're the one!  And I don't mean bath time!

As we all know, I love an excuse to bake.  I like to think of myself as a good baker, and when it comes to cakes, I always have fun decorating them!!  Although, with every case of baking a cake, there comes a story of disaster (or near disaster) with the decorating.

I have come to volunteering cakes, either as a "silent auction item" for the United Way campaign at work, or just for family or friends.  The last cake I was to make for the UW campaign really fulfilled the description of "disaster."  Let's just say that the strawberry filling was way too think and we had a cake-landslide in the kitchen, as well as a tantrum at 11pm from me.  I ended up fixing the cake, but not without that crying fit.

Rubber Ducky was a cake that I made for my friend Jaclyn at work.  Her daughter's birthday was back in January, but they weren't able to celebrate with the family, so they had a 2.5 birthday for her this weekend, and she requested a rubber ducky cake.  I have to say, that in the scheme of disasters, this was one of the easiest (and disaster-free) cakes I've ever made.

Notes about the cake:  I seriously overfilled the pan.  And I knew this even before I put it in the oven to bake, so I lined the lower shelves of the oven with tin-foil, mainly so that there would be less of a mess to clean up.  The cake took over an hour to cook, but it cooked!  After it cooled, I split it in half, and put buttercream frosting (from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook), there was no way I was trying filling again for a cake I had to give away.  I did have to make 4 batches of frosting, but I uesed almost all of it....I just forgot to save some to color for the writing (all that I had left was already colored dark ) so I ended up writing in tubed-gel (which I've never done before, and probably won't do again).  In any case, I had no disaster with the decorating, and here's the end result (I ran out of writing gel, and had to get some more before the delivery)!!

 Fun stars covered the entire cake!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Martha's Vineyard....In more than a few words

So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how I needed to write in my blog, and yet, I haven't done it.  Well, here is the long awaited post.

We recently got back from Martha's Vineyard, which I think was one of the best vacations we've been on since our Honeymoon.  Now that I say that, it is the first vacation we've been on since our Honeymoon.  Either way, we had a great time.  We rented a house with 3 other couples, and had a fabulous time! 

Noteworthy things from our trip I would like to share:
  • Definitely bring your bike, as in your bicycle.  It's great exercise, and bringing my bike helped me lose almost 3 pounds on my vacation (I ate and drank what I wanted, but I tried to make decent decisions and count my points, but went over my daily quota almost every day...The exercise definitely helped!).  Although - I would research the directions before you try to go somewhere on the bike.  We wanted to ride to Aquinnah from Edgartown (which is a 20 mile ride), and after 19.5 miles, we were still only 2.5 miles away from home....So research would have been a good idea.
    • I biked on 4 different occasions last week. 
      • The first day, we went on a little adventure with 2 of our friends to find a beach, and rode about 4 miles. 
      • The next day, we rode to Oak Bluffs from the house (in Edgartown), and while it should have been just 5 miles to get there, it took us 12 miles because we got lost.  Plus the 5 home, we totalled 17 miles. 
      • The next day, we tried to ride to Aquinnah, and that was a lost cause, with 22 miles of going nowhere. 
      • And finally, on Friday, we rode our bikes through Edgartown and into Chappaquiddick, for a total of 17 miles.  And since I calculate my weight-watcher activity points, and I get more points if I averge over 12-mph, I tried to keep my speed up so that I could get more points (and therefore not feel super guilty about my food/drink choices).
  • Definitely go with friends.  I love my husband, but it's awesome to go on a trip with friends.  We knew everyone we were travelling with, but I really feel that we were able to make some strong friendships while we were on vacation, and that made me really happy. 
  • Do everything you can.  We really had a ball.  We visited as much as we could, and we even jumped off a 15-20' bridge into the water - it was such a rush, and super fantastic!  I think next time, we'll be able to be more prepared, and have a specific list of things we want to do/see - things that we missed this time. 
  • Don't kill yourself bringing food over.  So a lot of people had advice for us, where to go, places to check out - and these suggestions were awesome..  The only piece of advice that I didn't like (in hindsight) was to bring as much food as possible, instead of buying it on the island.  Why?  Well, we were told that the prices on the island were much higher, but they really weren't that different, except in the meats (and obviously if you were eating out 3 times a day)...I killed myself bringing food and carrying it on the ferry, etc.  Next time, I think the only thing we would bring would be the meats.  Everything else, I would buy there.  I was so frustrated with what I had to carry there, that I refused to bring anything home with me, and left everything (except the massive bottle of Kettle One that was on sale and a box of cookies I finished yesterday).

All in all, we had a great trip.  I m excited to plan another trip sometime soon...Although with all the weddings we have next year, I'm sure we'll be able to plan a vacation around then!