Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to make a Shaun the Sheep cake

So here is my tutorial on how to make a Shaun the sheep cake (you could easily replicate it in smaller form for cupcakes and using premade frosting eyes).shaun

I decided this would be a fast easy cake for my 4 yr. old’s birthday, which inconveniently falls a few days after thanksgiving- and I was right- probably the easiest cake I have ever done.

So I made my favorite almond pound cake in 3- 9” rounds (that’s what a batch makes but you could have just as easily used 2-8” pans or a Bundt pan and it would be fine). IMG_7075While the cake was baking I melted down 1/2 a bag of wilton midnight black colored candy melts. (this was much faster and easier than making black fondant- and tastes as good) I created a template for the head and ears and legs and eye centers. I put he melted chocolate in a decorator bag with a wide round tip so I could pipe it out.I slid the templates under the wax paper so I could make the chocolate shapes the right size. Piped the out shapes with the decorator bag and let the chocolate sit until hardened.  I then made up one batch of my favorite buttercream frosting. I trimmed the top layer so it domed more on the top and then assembled and frosted the cake. Then I placed the face on a stuck mini marshmallows into the frosting all over until the entire things was covered (it took less than I bag of mini marshmallows) then I cut a large marshmallow in half and added the chocolate center for the eyes and and places the ears on and legs in. 9I also piped out my sons name in chocolate which I will stick up out of the top when we serve it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

I know apple cake sounds like a dark horse- but honestly I think this is one of the best cakes ever… it’s a famous fall treat at our house-it is so soft and has such full flavor. Allen often requests it for his birthday.

IMG_40522 cups of sugar

1 c. oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 T. vanilla

2 eggs

1/4  c. lemon juice (I use fresh)

1 t. salt

3 c. flour

1 1/4 t. soda

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

3 1/2 c. apples finely chopped (I use granny smiths 3-4 BIg apples or else like 6 smalls)

Combine sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and salt. Beat well. Add flour soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well. Fold in the apples. Bake in a greased floured bundt pan at 325 for about 50 min or until the center comes out clean (I usually make a bundt and 4 small bundt cakes) Remove from pan and cool.

Cinnamon Icing Glaze

5 Tbsp of butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. vanilla extract

+/-2 Tbsp milk  (to desired consistency)

Mix butter and sugar, add milk, vanilla an cinnamon. Spread over slightly warm cake.

would you like to touch my coat?

blanket coat…because I will let you.

So the other week when I was in California for the VBF conference,   I decided to kill the few pre-conference drizzly afternoon hours shopping alone across the street at fashion island (well first I had lunch at PF Chang’s -where these 2- 70ish “orange county women who lunch” at the table next to me struck up deep conversations and ending it by insisted on buying me dessert- but that’s another story for another day – you know how funny random events follow me…)

I was  perusing forever 21, yes I know I am 35, (it does fall to the “teenage store” category but I love to go there for fun statement pieces). I was looking for something  colorful when I walked by the neutral section, mind you I never look in this section because with fair skin and blonde hair such colors make me look naked or dead. And I do know color well enough to know what I can pull off and what I can’t. This coat looked so soft -- I touched it,  and yes it was soft, REALLY soft, REALLY REALLY soft, I hesitated but the walked past thinking imagining the palor of my skin next to it and generally I make it a point to only purchase flattering clothes.

As I circled back through the store I saw it again. I was curious so I slipped it on. It was heaven in clothing form. The inside was lined in the softest satin and it was warm. Given that I live in frigid New England, I knew no matter what it looked like on me I was buying this coat if for nothing else then to wear it in the privacy of my own home for utilitarian use and my own pure sensory enjoyment. You could work out every childhood blankie attachment issue wearing this coat. I looked in the mirror and to my shock and elation-- there is a specific color of champagne that I can pull off.

Being in the early stage of impetuous clothing infatuation, I had to wear it home on the plane, well my relationship with the coat quickly grew into a passionate love affair and I have been hard presses to tear it from my body. This coat is very charismatic, its pull is magnetic. People on the flight were petting me, even the airline workers. It has become a joke among friends who immediately reach out and touch it and compliment it. Yes, this coat and I are a serious item.In a short period of less than a week the coat has already achieved legendary standing and is known by all. We’ve analyzed it’s polyester composition, its ability to be dressed up or down, it’s coziness, it’s bargain value. The conversations end with me pleading that they do not walk but run to their closest forever 21 to ensure their own jacket happiness find one of their very own (that is unless you are someone who will get upset when random people touch you).  Ahh to be a woman in love… with a coat.

(and no forever 21 didn’t ask me to post about their clothes this coat earned this blog post of its own merit)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

life is always better with new pillows

new pillowsI knew it was time to recover my white chair pillows when I noticed my 3 yr old had done a lovely contour line drawing on one of them with an ink pen. I ran across this fabric (reverberating stripe by paul smith for maharam) on modern fabrics 2 weeks ago and knew it was perfect for the job. I decided to pony up today with my best cowboy sewing skills and get the job done. I must say the room looks much better with these hot little numbers on each of the red chairs. I love how it picks up the colors in the volumes, NY, (I can’t figure out where this is going in this room but I want it somewhere) and bus paintings in this room.