America the Brave Cake (aka Christine’s birthday cake)

This is probably the first and last time I will ever get to make a Fourth of July cake.  Or at the very least it will definitely be the last time I make it in March.

As you saw in my last post, my good friend Christine recently celebrated her 21st birthday (we were very nearly birthday twins, but she beat me by a day).  In honour of this USA-coming of age and her partial American heritage, she had a “Legal in America” theme, and with such I was required to prepare for my first ever all-American themed bash.

The birthday girl, looking fab (as usual)

I am not one to take party themes lightly.  I knew I had to bake something extra impressive for Christine and her birthday, since she has so patiently sat through stories of a variety of my cakes, cupcakes and cookies, without getting to eat a bite.  Hopping around on the Internet one night, I stumbled on this really cool cake concept on a blog called “17 and Baking.”  First, HOLY, this 17-year-old (Elissa) is a baking/blogging rock star.  She’s been featured on loads of websites, shows and EVERYTHING and she is still only in her teens.  I graciously bow in her presence.  Also, she’s a j-school student and half-Asian.  Other than the fact that she is way more awesome at the aforementioned two things, we seem very similar.  Anyways, the inside of her cake looked like an American flag, and I fell in love.  Check out the link here (I would feel bad posting one of her fantastic pictures on my blog).

As wicked as Elissa’s cake looked, her instructions were a tad time-consuming, and were not ideal since I had left the making of this cake until the morning of the party (all before I rushed to class at 11:30 a.m.).  And so, I decided to tone down the American hype just a bit and go with a checkerboard-like pattern, still embracing the good ol’ red, white, and blue of our neighbouring nation.

If you ever plan on making coloured cakes, you MUST invest in gel food colouring.  It is amazing.  Great, great, magical stuff that makes colours more bright than traditional food colouring ever could.  My cakes looked like colourful sponges that would be used in a kindergarten classroom.  After my initial disturbance by seeing such brightly hued cakes, I decided that regardless of their wonky colour, they would still be delicious.  Also, I LOVE that I’ve conquered my kitchen’s oven.  Not to brag or anything, but these cakes were perfectly baked…

Disturbingly bright cake colours, mid-frosting

FINALLY (I seem to be using a lot of unnecessary caps in this post, I’m channeling my inner Kanye West blogger apparently), white chocolate icing is really yummy.  I added twice as much chocolate as the recipe (see below) requested, and am so incredibly happy I did.  It was like eating a creamy chocolate bar.  Yum.

I officially award this cake the “most badass birthday cake award” and feel like I have finally topped (or at least tied) my pool party cake.  What comes next?  I’m thinking a rainbow cake (this girl is also 19, apparently I’m really far behind these talented American teens).

Enjoy the pictures and, I guess I have to say this, god bless America!

PS: see my adaptation of this recipe below the pictures.

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Happy Birthday Christine!

Christine, I know that this is a slightly belated post, so I apologize.  I blame the chaos of newsroom day/my own birthday for the delay.  If anyone is wondering who the small figures are in the poorly cut paper television screen, they are Tim Gunn and Mondo from Project Runway.  Talking about this show was kind of how Christine and I became friends at the beginning of the year, and I thought I needed to pay tribute to this moment through card-form.

Also, there will be a semi-related blog post coming in the next few days showing the cake I made for Christine’s Red, White and Blue bash (all-American theme, will explain more later).

In the meantime, all you need to know is that March is THE BEST month to be born in.

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes: happy birthday to ME!

I do a lot of happy birthday wishing to a lot of different people on my blog.  This entry is a 100 per cent self-indulging birthday post to ME.  That’s right.  It is my birthday today and I am now 21.

My birthday celebrations, circa 1993. My cake was chocolate and shaped like a snake.

I wish I had time to post this earlier, but I’ve had an absolutely exhaustingly busy day.  Today in my television class we had our first same-day assignments due.  For those of you who don’t understand the j-school lingo, this means that we had to interview and edit a news feature piece on tight deadline.  It was a tad stressful in the end, but thanks to my two awesome teammates Ariel and Christine and a little birthday luck (also found wicked lucky quarter on the bus this morning), we got through it.

I didn’t actually intend to bake or cook anything special for myself, so when my class was cancelled yesterday morning, I spontaneously made the decision to spoil myself.  While I’m glad I did, my spontaneity left me with several kitchen dilemmas.  First, I had to rush to the local grocery store to buy milk, whole milk and raspberry jam.  Second, I realized after the oven was preheated and the cupcake batter was mixed that I was out of cupcake liners.  Oh terrible misfortunes!  THANK GOD I live in the best neighbourhood that has ever existed.  I quickly got changed out of my pajamas and rushed around the corner to Grace in the Kitchen where a speedy visit provided me with these semi-ugly but completely effective unbleached muffin liners.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Also, while I was there I met one of the workers, Andrew, who says he has read my blog!  So what if this is mostly because I shamelessly plugged it to him when I bought a massive amount of white chocolate, it’s still neat.

Anywho, I got this fantastic recipe off of Tastespotting.  The blog is called A Spicy Perspective, and the original recipe was named “zingy raspberry lemon cupcakes.”  Two reasons I liked these: (A) the blogger totally made up the word “zingy” and (B) they were completely adorable.  As a half asian, I 200 per cent fulfill the stereotype of liking cute things.  I squealed with delight when taking the pictures you see below.

PS: Britt got me a brie baker for my birthday!  BRIE. BAKING. Need I say more?

Finally, can we please just appreciate the cool and creative qualities of iPhone photo apps (thank you Hipstamatic!)

Happy Birthday Amanda! ft. white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Yesterday one of my dear roommates Amanda celebrated her 21st birthday.

Seeing as she is the first of us to hit this age of eternal youth and glory, we were obviously expected to celebrate in style.  No one, and I repeat with emphasis NO ONE loves their birthday more than Amanda loves hers.  She even has a name for her week of birthday festivities: Amandapalooza.

One of her birthday wishes this year was for me to make her white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  You see, Amanda almost loves cookies as much as she loves her birthday.  And so, a birthday wish was granted, and three dozen mini clone cookies were created.

But WAIT!  Just because Amanda’s birthday was yesterday doesn’t mean that the fun has stopped.  I may be out of town this weekend with my other roommate Britt, but the festivities continue.  Amanda, have a blast this weekend and have a shameless time feasting on cookies and cupcakes (calories also don’t count on your birthday weekend!!!).  Have fun and make this the best Amandapalooza ever (until next year, that is)!

PS: the recipe for these cookies can be found here. :)

Happy Birthday Iman!

My good friend Iman just celebrated her 21st birthday this past week!  I met Iman in March of last year when she plopped herself down next to me at a group interview for this Summer Orientation leader job that we both ended up getting (she was the best parent presentation partner EVER!).  From the moment I met her, I knew there was something different about this girl (initially it was because she somehow creepishly knew who I was).  This girl has the sweetest, most innocent personality in the world, and when she turns on her cute Malaysian charm, you won’t know what hit you!  Iman, I hope you had the best birthday ever and that your 21st year continues to be full of magical moments and the best of luck.  PS: Parent Trap handshake soon? :)

The birthday girl and I working up a storm at Expo Carleton.