Monday, July 27, 2015

Minecraft Block "Cake"

There are some fantastic ideas on the internet, and this "cake" is no exception. It was M's other favorite birthday cake idea, but not ideal for the pool party last weekend. What kid doesn't love frosted, sprinkle-covered brownies, crispy-rice treats, and Jello blocks?

Add to that the fun Happy Birthday sign that M found at the cake-decorating shop last week, and the fantastic (free printable) paper crafts from PixelPapercraft, and we had a winner! Ten rainbow candles topped off this fabulous creation!

It was very cool to find a girl "Steve" for the cake, and (of course) a cake block, and she loved the mini squid, TNT block, bookcase block, and mini pumpkin. And, perhaps her favorite, the crafting table block that cousin Sophia and Grammy assembled (although I did pull it apart for quick reassembly since they glued the white tabs on the outside of the block...)

All-in-all, a fun and easy cake. The paper crafts took the longest, and next time I'll make the fabulous Colophon chocolate cake for grass blocks instead of brownies. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Happy 10th Mads!

Chocolate Chunk cake recipe from The Colophon Cafe. Cake Crafted, inspired by Minecraft.

Colophon Cafe Chocolate Chunk Cake
-a dark, dense, chocolate cake that's not too sweet, with a chocolate frosting to match. I also spread several tablespoons of fresh raspberry jam between the second and third cake layers to cut the full-on chocolate power of this cake.

2/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. boiling water

First, add the boiling water to the cocoa powder, whisking slowly. Set this aside as you prepare the rest of the batter. 

3/4 c. softened butter
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. vanilla

Cream the butter and sugars, add the eggs and yolk, then the vanilla. Once creamed, mix in the slightly cooled cocoa mixture. 

Then add, 

3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

And, blend to combine. Then, with your stand mixer on medium-low, slowly pour in 

1 2/3 c. buttermilk

Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again for 60 seconds. 

Pour batter into baking-sprayed 10-inch square baking pan and bake at 350-degrees F for about 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick-test comes out clean. (I used a professional anodized aluminum baking pan, so baked my cakes at 325-degrees F for almost 50 minutes). 

I baked two of these, then sliced each cake layer into two layers to fill and stack. I filled with the Colophon's chocolate frosting, slightly modified with vanilla extract, and frosted the whole cake with it too, then topped it with my usual buttercream (which I don't measure anymore, and would guess that I make with only about 5 c. of powdered sugar now) with a splash of almond extract and about 1/3 cup of cream cheese, plus some powdered lemon peel from Penzey's.

Colophon Chocolate Frosting

1 c. softened butter
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla 
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. half-and-half

Cream the butter and cocoa powder together, then add the vanilla and a splash of the half-and-half, and mix. Then, mix in the powdered sugar, and slowly add the rest of the half-and-half to the frosting, scraping the bowl as needed. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer: Kids in the Kitchen

Uncle Andy's smoked salmon and Ritz crackers got Erik to try cream cheese again. Which he loves now... So, after eating two batches of these this weekend, we had to make these with dinner last night.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cheers! Cookies & Gelato

Here they are... the 55 dozen cookies that I baked for my brother's wedding! They were very well received, and in the end there were only about 10 dozen left (for the clean-up crew to take home). #weddingcookies

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday: A Mom Lunch

Madeline very nicely asked me to make her lunch for camp since she was exhausted and wanted to get to bed. I agreed, since I'm up making cookies anyway, and she was very thankful. Nice how a few weeks of making her own lunches significantly improves appreciation of the family cook.
I even threw in a personalized, homemade fortune cookie.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer: Grilled Kabobs

He lit the grill, he sliced veggies and fruit and garlic, and he made a few kabobs. He loved the chicken, and the regular mushrooms, hated the shiitake (my gain there), and didn't choose any of the other veggies for his skewer. He did have some corn though. Someday he'll love more things. I'm ever hopeful. Regardless, it's only my job to provide the healthy meals - it's his job to eat them. 

The Walla Walla sweet onions and the grilled apricots were especially amazing, as were the pork kabobs. I also did oregano garlic potatoes and two small pork loins on the grill tonight for tomorrow's dinner, and they all look amazing. 
Radicchio, fennel, zucchini, white and shiitake mushrooms, apricot, sweet onions, potatoes and corn. 


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