Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birthday prep: The Frankencake

I love it when Drew is home because we get to feel like a real family.  Sofia is getting bigger, interacting more and it's so cool to see them together.  As much as I hate when he's gone, the glimpses I get when he's home remind me of what we have to look forward to once we're in the same city.  He was home all last week and it was so cool to have family time!
Showing Sofia what her blocks can do.  She prefers to just stick them together.  

However, when Drew is home my blogging seriously suffers.  The only time I can really write is at night after the baby is in bed.  But, at night after the baby is in bed is the only chance we have for Couple Time and I always feel guilty when I'm in the living room on my computer and he's in the bedroom on his iPad.  So, when Daddy's home, no blogging for Mommy.

Drew is gone this week so I'm back and I can tell you all about my Frankencake!  And how I nearly cut my finger off!  And how I'm going to attempt to hem my jeans and how I'm so nervous I would be hyperventilating from anxiety but I'm not because I'm on Zoloft now!

But since that would be a ridiculously long post, we'll just start with the cake.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I had some of the moms over to hang out and help me celebrate.  It was so much fun and I really enjoyed spending time with them, and no celebration is complete without cake.  I'd been wanting to practice making Sofia's birthday cake so the night before everyone came over, I got started.
Because I am no baker, I bought box mix and canned icing.  Don't judge me.
Seriously, I am no baker.  I can't even open the package without making a mess.
This is my inspiration photo, from here via my Pinterest
PS, follow me already!  I need meal/clothing/crafty/house decorating ideas!
I saw this and laughed.  The best part about making cake is licking the bowl!

I started my cake after the baby went to bed, so that meant I couldn't use the electric mixer which may have been an issue, I'm not sure. Spoiler alert:  My cake did NOT turn out like my inspiration photo.

I got the bright idea to tint the cake using strawberries instead of food coloring because in my Googling, I read that too much food coloring could cause the cake to taste bitter.  Since I am no baker, that scared me away from food coloring because I would most assuredly end up using too much.  I mean, I can't even open a plastic bag properly!

However, the only strawberries we had on hand were frozen ones.  That required blending.  But the baby was asleep.  And I didn't want to wake her.  And I need to make my sentences longer.

I briefly considered taking the blender out to the garage, but that would require going outside at night which I quickly nixed because I'm afraid of the dark.  Nightime is when the werewolves and serial killers come to hide in your bushes and get you when you're taking your blender to the garage to make your baby's birthday cake.  Fact.

So I took the blender to the farthest point from the baby that was still inside the house.
I would have put the blender in the shower but the cord wasn't long enough.

I blended the strawberries, flipping it on and off hastily, holding my breath each time because I was sure the baby would wake up any second but thank the baby Jesus, she didn't.  However, the strawberries didn't blend smoothly because they were frozen, so I had to scrape out the chunky frozen mess and nuke it right quick to soften them.  I am no baker.
It worked though!

So, with my pans out and cake mix properly portioned, I brilliantly poured my strawberry puree into each pan.  I patted myself on the back for my genius.
French vanilla cake with strawberry flavoring - this is going to be so good!
Spoiler alert:  I probably shouldn't have gotten so excited.

Then I noticed that I didn't portion all that well since two of my pans had almost the same amount of filling, which meant they would be too close in color.  I didn't want to blend more strawberries, so I went looking for something else that was red.
Aha!  Raspberries are red!
A quick second in the microwave to liquefy it and in the pan!
I'm inventive!  I'm resourceful!  I'm a baking genius!

I popped them in the oven and briefly daydreamed about the beautiful cake I would present for my baby's birthday.  I'd walk out in my flowing skirt with my perfect hair and they would marvel at my skills!  Marvel!
I tried to find a brown housewife but there weren't any. 
What's up with that?

The timer went off and it was time to marvel at my masterpiece.
Umm, they all kind of look alike.  Crap.

By this time, it was like one in the morning and I was exhausted from all my baking so I shoved them in the fridge and went to sleep.  The next morning I awoke refreshed and unwilling to let a little thing like identical cakes get me down.  I took each cake out of the pan, flipped the pan over and set the cake on top so I could cut each layer to make them level.
The one farthest away had the preserves in it and apparently preserves will make your cake very dense.  Who knew?  Whatevs, that can be the bottom layer.

I started at 8 in the morning, the girls weren't supposed to be there until noon, I had plenty of time.  HA.  I am no baker.

It took FOREVER to cut the layers, feed the baby, change her diaper, walk around holding her because she was cranky, feed the dog, try and get dressed one-handed, pick up the house, vacuum and clean the bathroom.  That's why I didn't realize that you need two cans of icing if you're going to try and ice a five-layer cake.  

Did I have two cans of icing? Noooooo.  Did I realize that when I'd only iced the layers and still had the outside of the cake to do with fifteen minutes before everyone was supposed to arrive?  Yeeeeeeess.

So I grabbed the baby, put shoes on and ran to the grocery store and grabbed the two more cans of icing, just to be safe.  I thought I'd purchased two extra cans of buttercream icing, but of course I didn't.  I'd gotten one buttercream and one cream cheese icing but I was already home and the girls were coming in like two minutes.  Oh well!  Buttercream and cream cheese it is!

I have the best mom friends.  They ate my Frankencake with a smile on their faces.  It really didn't taste that bad because it was a French vanilla cake flavored with strawberries and buttercream/cream cheese icing.  None of those flavors are really overpowering and they sort of go together so it didn't completely suck.  It just didn't look quite like the picture.
Once again, for comparison.

I'm probably going to have someone else make her birthday cake.



  1. I still think it turned out pretty good! I've never done a five layer cake, heck I've never done a two layer cake! You did good

  2. That cake is awesome! I just want to give you a hug for all you went through to make that cake. I think I would have given up after ripping the bag of cake mix open (which I can never be neat with either). Practice makes perfect, right?! :)

  3. I think it turned out well! I mean the colors aren't quite as bright, but it's better tasting for sure! AND better for you! I bet that cake in the inspiration photo tasted bitter. And yours tasted awesome. :)

  4. I think your cake looked fabulous. Honey, the most layers I have even worked up the nerve to do is TWO! lol. It is soooo intimidating.

    The way you didn't want to use the blender because the baby is sleep sounds like me. I REFUSE to let the microwave timer ding while Zo is napping. And I type softly. I promise she knows when I'm trying to blog.

  5. Girl, I try not to BREATHE too loudly when she's asleep. I know they say you shouldn't do that because they need to learn to sleep with noise but that does not work for my kid!

    And I stab the microwave like a ninja to keep it from beeping too much! I stand there, ready to attack so it cooks for the full time but doesn't make a full beep!:-)

  6. I'm already thinking about what I could have done differently. I might try one more time before letting the pros do it.

  7. Aw thanks!

    Please excuse the brevity, sent from my phone

  8. I actually think it looked pretty good. If you want the bright perfect colors you are going to need food coloring (also easier to measure), but I would happily eat your cake. You are being way too hard on yourself and your cake. It looks like a very nice homemade cake. It does not look like what a good professional baker would produce, but that is way too high a standard to set.

  9. you know I knew something was up last week when I noticed no blog entry! I agree!! Hubby and family time when he's home!! I bet it was so nice!! and p.s. you're not following me on Pinterest missy! :-) I have, however, been stealing ALL of your birthday party ideas!! It's going to be the cutest 1 year old party ever! holler at me:

  10. oh and that cake came out so well!! what are you talking about!! I love to bake and I've never attempted a multi layered cake yet!

  11. Aw, thank you so much! You know, I may just give this another try. We need some cake in the house. :-)

  12. How in the world am I not following you? Inconceivable! *clicking 'follow all'*

    There, I fixed it! :-)

  13. I tried a layer cake before and letting it cool in the fridge is key. Cutting the layers to make them level is another story though!

  14. You and I are very similar in our baking skills :D

    haha...'nailed it' - that's awesome :D

  15. Oops! I want to clarify I was certainly not making fun! I think you did awesome I just have a similar way of never quiet looking like the awesome pictures that so inspire me HA!

  16. Oh, no worries! Cake Makers Extraordinaire magazine will not be contacting me anytime soon and I'm okay with that!:-)

  17. LOVE IT. I am totally having our school nurse make the cakes because your experience would put me over the edge. What a good sport you are! Those are really cool blocks, too. I got my invitations in the mail right after you told me yours came. You have to post all your party details. And, you commented about busting out the sewing machine--in my dreams! I used the old back-stitch I learned in Home Ec on those tee shirts:o)

    I was so impressed when I saw your straw-sippiness. Our speech therapist and Occupational therapist both said to skip the sippy and go straight to the straw. Good job, mama!

  18. I can't believe it's less than 3 weeks away!

  19. LMAO - oh my gosh - I SERIOUSLY laughed out loud at the "nailed it" comment. So funny. So frickin funny. You tried, and you get points for that. :)

  20. ROFL! That is so funny!!! You did a great job. At least you started the nite before. I've tried baking cakes the day of.

    Not A Baker Either

  21. I was totally not expecting the end result and comment. Thanks so much for my belly laugh of the day.

    +1000 points for effort.

  22. all is now right in the world! whew! :-)

  23. I think it looked pretty darn close to the picture actually but times like this post make me question my choice in befriend you! lol You making me laugh extra hard at work and have people looking at me crazy!

    Try the cake again, thats what I'd do!

  24. lol! story of my life. nothing that i prepare ever turns out quite the way i think it will. wish me luck, because i've decided to cook all the food for A's 2nd b-day party this weekend, (gulp).

    question: what did you mean by cutting the layers of the cake when you were putting it together?

    p.s. i'm glad to know that i'm not the only one who is scared to leave my house after dark. i blame it on watching too many episodes of dateline and 48 hours mystery.

  25. the last nailed it pic :)
    Good try girl. I might want to attempt this.

  26. I cackled at the last photo and caption. It looks pretty good! I'm very interested in your progress since I'd like to do something like this for some baby-related event in the future so keep practicing! Hahaha.

  27. I'll let you know how my second attempt turns out!

  28. Cakes naturally raise in the center when they cook, like a little dome. So you have to cut that part off so the layers will be level enough to stack.

    And I'm scared to even look outside after dark - I'm always scared something will be at the window and give me a heart attack!

  29. I laughed until I cried for about 2 minutes when I saw the final picture. But not because the cake looks bad! It actually look pretty great for your first time! Thanks for keeping us all laughing :)

  30. Andrea Melberg ThompsonMarch 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Jeepers! I think your cake looks simply FABULOUS!!!!!!! Nifty!


When you leave me a comment, my phone chimes. I run to it from across the house, anxious to read what you've said. I save them in my email and read them multiple times a day, which is why you may not get an immediate response but I promise I eventually respond to every comment that has an email address.

You make me smile - I just thought you should know.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin