Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Of Cakes and Piñatas

I love making birthday cakes for my children. Although I am a really terrible cake decorator, I am a fairly good baker...and so I am assuming the great taste overshadows the not so great appearance! For my daughter Missy's birthday yesterday (28th), I made something clean and simple using a tried and tested moist chocolate cake recipe with white mountain frosting.

(The inside view...after being served...)

Missy didn't really have a party, but after getting the idea from a magazine, she decided she wanted a piñata. She patiently worked on it herself for a few days prior to her birthday. (I helped out only a little bit...just to make sure it would turn out nice and sturdy.) And then yesterday, filled with lollies and some packs of chips, we hung the piñata from the basketball ring in our backyard. My two nieces came after school to join in some quick fun!

Now that Missy's 12, giving her a toy seemed no longer an option. My husband and I gave her a lovely Billabong wrist watch which we luckily found on sale. She loved it!

Before I head on to bed, here's the chocolate cake and frosting recipes. You might want to try them out. These are easy and guaranteed to please!

1. Prepare two 9" round baking pans. Grease and line bottoms.
2. In a large bowl, combine:
2 1/2 cups plain flour
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
3/4 cup corn oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3. Beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes, then at high speed for another 2 minutes.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Blend well.
5. Pour onto prepared pans, dividing mixture equally between pans. Bake at preheated 180 degree C oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool a little bit before inverting onto cake racks. Cool cakes completely.

2 egg whites, unbeaten
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 tbsps cold water
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Over a double boiler, beat all ingredients (except vanilla extract) until mixture holds a peak (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract, then beat until cool and thick enough to spread.
Spread frosting in between two cakes layers, on top and sides. Decorate as desired.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How long has it been?

I don't even have a decent excuse. Except for the two weeks recently that I was overseas (where I had very little internet access), I had been nothing else but just too lazy to blog. I am still as lazy as can be but I am back today just to let you know that I am still alive!

I have not done anything crafty lately, so unfortunately, there is no new stuff to share. I did pick up a few things during my trip which I am happy to show you.

Pretty handmade bag...not that I need it...but nevertheless, had the impulse to buy.

Absolutely gorgeous pouches/wristlets...the top one has two zippered compartments, perfect for mobile phone and accessories. The bottom one comes with a mirror inside.

Overflowing with cuteness Japanese stuff... from left to right: pencil sharpener, rolling eraser, flat head pins, and my favourite, an auto-rewind tape measure.

There was just too much nice things to buy so I am mighty proud of how I was able to resist the temptation!

That's about it for now...I promise I won't be away for too long. My daughter's birthday is coming up and I am definitely planning to create something for her. But first, I have to get out of this weary disposition. That hectic holiday with my family took all the energy out of me! Cross your fingers!