Friday, February 27, 2009

Move out of the way, kids. Cake coming through!

Many of you know that, 5 years ago, I got bit by the "fair contest bug" and have been entering food contests at the L.A. County Fair ever since. It pays our way into the fair, we have won some fun prizes (including cash!), and I have been able to experiment with different recipes. However, the one contest that I have shied away from is the cake decorating contest. The cakes on display are AMAZING (well...they are amazing for the first week - after that, they start to look a little like this.) I always stand at the glass case and stare in awe at the carefully placed gumpaste flowers, flawless buttercream frosting, and fondant masterpieces. All of this helps to explain my excitement when this came home from school in my 5-year old's backpack.

A cake decorating contest for average moms like me? SIGN ME UP!

So, armed with fondant/buttercream recipes, a bag of supplies from Michael's, 3 cake pans, and 2 cake mixes (plus a bunch of other "baking stuff"), I went to work. I baked the cakes on Tuesday and prepared the fondant/assembled the cake on Wednesday. My kitchen was a DISASTER by midnight Wednesday night, and the fondant was much harder to work with than the recipe led me to believe, but the cake turned out pretty nice in the end.

Here is the aftermath of my baking frenzy (I think I'll be finding powdered suger in nooks and crannies for years to come)...

...and here is my apron. I even found a powdered sugar footprint in the hallway.


(drumroll please...)


I wasn't too thrilled with the yellowish buttercream next to the white fondant. I thought I had white shortening in the house, but all I had was the butter-flavored stuff. Erik tried to make me feel better by reminding me that gold was another patriotic color, but, although I appreciate his husbandly efforts, off-white is no gold. Oh well.

Thursday afternoon I rushed home from work and got everyone ready for the PTA program/contest. Erik dropped me off at the door to the school and I proudly carried my cake right up to the cake table.

Two cakes were already there.

And then a feeling of horror struck me.


It was a KIDS cake decorating contest.


Erik took a picture of the table while I took my red face as far away as I could get. Here are the three cakes all in a row.

1/2 way through the PTA program (and prior to the "judging"), Erik saved the day by sneaking to the table in the back, grabbing the cake, and whisking it off to the safety of our car. (Whew!) A couple of kids nearby were a little concerned, though. Erik overheard one say, "Hey! I think that guy is trying to steal one of the cakes!"

Lessons learned:

1. Don't assume anything. If there is anything non-specific on a flyer from school (go back up and look at it), ASK for clarification before spending two days making a cake.

2. Fondant is not my friend.

3. Buttercream IS my friend - it hides a multitude of fondant sins.

4. Don't assume anything, EVER.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Theological Comparisons...Kindergarten-style

In the car yesterday...

Claire - "John the Baptist is kind of like Winnie the Pooh."

Erik - "Oh, why is that?"

Claire - "They both have the same middle name - John THE Baptist and Winnie THE Pooh."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Big Bear pictures

I promised more pictures, so here they are...

To see even MORE pictures, click here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Snowy Weekend in Big Bear

We spent a couple of days this weekend at a friend's cabin in Big Bear and enjoyed playing in the snow!

First we stopped at Paoli's Pizza for lunch...

...then it was outside for some highly anticipated snow play!

On Monday morning, we woke up to beautiful falling snow.

Claire enjoyed catching a few flakes on her tongue.

What a GREAT way to spend a 3-day weekend!

There are more pictures to come...check back soon!