I have had the privilege of making every one of my kiddos' birthday cakes. Some were from mixes, but lately I have really strived to not use a mix. There are a lot of unkown ingredients in cake mix and in the last few years I have tried to narrow down that kind of thing. Besides, the only extra steps are measuring flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
Cakes can easily be made when you have the time and then frozen until you're ready to decorate; just wrap the cake really tightly before freeezing and then defrost at room temp still in the wrapping.
This year we had a campout birthday and I was inspired by this and this and this.
I used the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe from the back of the cake flour box, which is one of my favorite yellow cake recipes. I really think cake flour makes a difference in a great cake (and beating the butter and sugar for at least 10 minutes). This recipe always works fine for me but for some reason this time it fell in the middle. If I could ever remember to get into the baby's room before he takes a nap to dig up my Cookwise book, I could figure this out, but I am only capable of thinking when he is sleeping. You see my dilemma.
Since I knew that I was going to dig out a piece to make the campfire, I figured I could make it work. Do not underestimate the magical leveling power of frosting either ;)
I made this from two graham crackers "glued" together with icing at the top seam. Once it was dry, I colored and rolled out a square piece of fondant and drape it over the tent and trimmed the bottom. I also added a single graham cracker with a smooshed marshmallow for the pillow.
This is my "go to" frosting recipe because you need some a stiff frosting for decorating but I don't like to use frosting made completely with shortening. Then I marked out a river and frosted that part blue and the rest green. I tinted the leftover green frosting a darker green for the trees.
|Ice cream cones in place for frosting|
The trees and rocks:
The rocks are chocolate candy I bought at the store. The trees are made from frosting piped onto ice cream cones. I know how to pipe frosting, but my mom has mad piping skills and she loves to be a part of her grandkids' cakes so she did the trees. Although if you saw the robot cake, you already know she is a piping queen! I also cut a mini-marshmallow into quarters and stuck two of them onto toothpicks to make the roasting sticks.
I dug out a hole for a rounded piece of foil and nestled it down into the cake. When the moment came to light the cake, I soaked a sugar cube in lemon extract and placed it in the foil and lit it! This ellicited a lot of ooohhhs and aahhs (in all the excitement we failed to take an awesome picture of the lighting).