Monthly Archives: September 2011

St. Basil’s Cathedral Cake

Last weekend I had the opportunity to make my first wedding cake.  It was not a traditional wedding cake, but I don’t think I would ever attempt a traditional wedding cake.  That sounds like way too much pressure.  My cousin asked me to make this cake for her because she and her husband were planning a big family party to celebrate their mew marriage.  Her husband is Russian, so we decided on St. Basil’s Cathedral for the inspiration for this cake.

It is a beautiful cathedral with such intricate detail and bright colors.  My fear was trying to do too much detail and having it look sloppy.  I decided to keep it simple with the brown fondant and small details with white and green royal icing.  My main focus was the onion domes and getting those right.  In the end I was happy with the colors.  I used gum paste to make the domes and the color scheme was right on.  The shape could have been better, but I think people definitely got the idea!

The best part of the cake was probably eating it!  The kids enjoyed eating the ice cream cones filled with cake and piled with sugar.  My daughter polished hers off in about two seconds.  It was an honor to make this cake for such a wonderful couple.  Best of all we had a great day visiting with family.

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Lemonade Mouth Cake

My daughter decided to have a Lemonade Mouth birthday party this year.  Today is her birthday, but I can still say she is seven until 4:51 pm!  Her party was yesterday and we had a blast.  We invited all of the girls on her dance team, a couple of friends from church and school.  We ended up with the nicest bunch of girls in our house yesterday afternoon.  I have been counting my blessings ever since.  God is good!

The cake.  We spend more time planning the cake than anything else for parties in this house.  My girls have become quite the cake designers.  Emma requested a cake that looks like the electric bass used by Mo in the movie Lemonade Mouth.  She was standing over my shoulder supervising every detail.  If the fondant color wasn’t quite right she had me keep working at it until it was just the way she wanted.

The guitar was made from a sheet cake.  I cut the shape out of it and then covered with marshmallow fondant.  The neck and head were a long bar of rice krispie treats covered in fondant.  The strings were piped with royal icing and the details are black licorice, junior mints and chocolate chips.  I also made a bunch of lemon cupcakes to go around the cake to help with the Lemonade Mouth look and theme.

The big surprise.  The day before the big party we had the good fortune to meet up with the dad of one of the actresses from Lemonade Mouth.  He watched Emma and her dance team perform a routine to one of the songs from the movie.  He was very impressed and made a point to talk to the girls after the show.  We mentioned Emma’s birthday party, so he said maybe he could get her an autographed picture as a birthday present.  Then, in private, he told me that he would try to get his daughter to make an appearance at the party.  And that is exactly what happened.  Hayley Kiyoko, the incredibly sweet actress from my daughter’s favorite movie, showed up at her birthday party.  She signed lots of autographs, took pictures with the girls and answered all of the girls questions.  It was so much fun to see the joy on the kids faces as they got to meet Hayley.

As my daughter said, “that was the best birthday party ever!”

I’ll Be There For You

I am posting this cake only because of what it symbolizes.  I made it several years ago and can now think of many things that I should have done differently.  I frosted the cake with white frosting and then spray painted it with food coloring from a spray can.  Why didn’t I just make purple frosting?  I made the picture frame out of fondant instead of gum paste and then painted the frame gold after it was assembled.  I think the painting was a good choice because I used the sparkly powder that you mix with clear vanilla extract or vodka.  I used vodka because I had never heard of clear vanilla extract.  I now know that Wilton makes it.

Anyway, if you are wondering what in the world that is a picture of, then you are probably not from my generation!  My best friend decided to have a Friends themed birthday party for her 30th birthday and the cake is the gold picture frame that hangs on the inside of Monica’s front door.  The tv series produced some fun episodes when it was time for the characters on the show to turn 30.  Of course, the real reason that this was the appropriate party theme is that my friend and I are a little obsessed with this show.  We watched Friends when it first aired and have kept up on our knowledge of the show by purchasing all of the seasons on DVD.  We often use lines from the show to communicate and have found it to be quite effective.

We have been friends since eighth grade and have really seen it all together.  We survived our teenage years with our friendship in tact and since then have been through college, starting careers, marriage, childbirth, and death.  So, today I am posting this in honor of my dearest friend.  Proof that there really is such thing as a BFF!  🙂

The Great Homework Debate

School has been in session for a couple of weeks now and it seems like the hot topic this year is homework.  Our district has decided not to give homework to kindergarteners in an attempt to save money.  I don’t understand how this is saving them much money, but I am fine with it.  My five year old doesn’t need to come home with homework.  So far my fourth grader has had a reasonable amount of homework.  She is required to read for twenty minutes, complete one spelling page and one math page.  It doesn’t take her too long to finish her work unless she is in a bad mood, so I have no complaints with our school.

However, I have heard from other parents that their kids are coming home with large amounts of homework that keep them up late and prevent them from enjoying other after school activities.  They are a bit older than my kids, but not too much older.  Is there an age when it becomes appropriate to send home that much homework?  I don’t think so.  Our kids spend at least six hours in school and then come home with a minimum of an hour of homework each night.  Is it possible to be a good student and participate in sports and other after school activities?  Are kids being forced to choose between grades and sports?  How does this work in your family?

Bonus question: Why is homework so important anyway?  I was able to teach my daughter at home in far less than six hours each day and she learned what she needed to learn.  We just received her first standardized test results from the district and she scored in the advanced category across the board.

Cast your vote.  Voice your opinion.  Inquiring minds want to know!  Well, I want to know. 🙂