I am your cake!

Darth Vader eventually went off to conquer another birthday party and overall I think he turned out quite well - not sure if I would ever want to make another one but it was lots of fun and a huge learning experience for me. My client and the birthday boy were both happy with the end result. I was a bit disappointed that due to the size, and having to start baking him so far in advance the cake dried out a bit and was not as moist as usual. I think next time I end up doing a really BIG cake I might freeze the cakes before hand to keep them moist for longer.

The same day Darth Vader left my house I got another call from a lady who was looking for some black and white cupcakes for an adult birthday party as well as a few kiddies ones. She was very specific about the kiddies' cupcakes and only wanted a thin outline of a car on them so that there would be the minimal amount of icing used. It took a bit of practice but I think they turned out really well and my client loved them, it was just what she wanted. For the 'adult' cupcakes I used a black and white swirl pattern with just a touch of edible glitter, they looked very 'grown-up' and she was very happy with them.

I had some black and white icing left after making the cupcakes so instead of wasting I decided to have some fun and play around with some cupcake stencils I got from a company called Paperkutz. I still need to play around with them a bit more but they are a really easy and fun way to decorate cupcakes.

Fun with food

Having fun is what cooking, baking and eating is all about.

I'm the type of person if you invite me to a party I'll spend more time in the kitchen picking up tips from the chef than mingling with the crowds. However, even I sometimes get stuck in a rut and then cooking seems like a chore or even a punishment, I get frustrated, tired and start thinking take-outs. Lately I have been trying to help my kids get through their exams, find ways to promote my business and finishing off arrangements for our Christmas holiday so its no wonder that after a very long day the idea of making dinner has just not filled me with joy and excitement. That was until my Hubby misunderstood a message from my mom.

My Mom lives in England and we communicate mostly through SMS or email, yesterday my hubby was reading one of my mom's emails in which she talks of the Squidlies that she saw. Now I know that, that is our 'pet' name for Squirrels but my hubby was a little confused so he did what we always do when faced with something unknown - he googled it and what he found turned supper into a big laugh.

It seems that Squidlies are one of the names used for a very interesting fun food dish where you start by sticking dry, uncooked spaghetti into hot dog cubes. You then boil theses little 'creatures' in a big pot of salted water till the spaghetti strands are soft and serve with a sauce of your choice.

My hubby decided we simply had to have these for dinner so promptly went on a grocery run after work to get all the ingredients. They were very easy to make and we all loved the end result, they look like little squid creatures and they taste great. My hubby served them with a plain tomato based pasta sauce (or as my daughter said, Squidlie blood) and we will definitely be making these again in the future.

Finding something new and unusual to make with everyday ingredients have once again sparked my imagination and this morning I found myself planning dinner at 8am.

Wonder what it will be.

Stressed? Just read a blog

This week I am taking on my biggest baking challenge to date, I have been asked to bake a Darth Vader cake and a few Star Wars cupcakes for a young boy's birthday party. At first I was not too worried about this but as the big day gets nearer I find myself obsessing about this cake 24 hours a day. I have worked out the basic shapes I want to use to build him but I'm still very worried about getting his facemask just right.

To top it all off my darling hubby has had to go on a business trip so I don't even have him here to calm me down and stop me from turning into a blubbering, icing covered wreck. To stop myself from going totally crazy I decided to peruse my favorite blogs to see what everyone has been up to. This is when I stumbled upon a 'new' blog, not new as in 'just started' but new to me.

Its called Life as Mom, its written by another busy mom trying to find "the road to joyful motherhood". As a Christian, daughter, wife, mother and friend, I'm always trying to do better, help more and be there for others but often this means forgetting about what I want. Don't get me wrong, I love every second that I can spend being there for my family and friends, the rewards I get from them are worth more that all the money in the world. I just think it is important every now and then to remember to look after myself and to find out what it is I need to keep me going. Reading through the Life as Mom blog I found myself smiling, its great to find that there are other moms out there also trying to find that balance between looking after others and looking after yourself.

If you are looking for some inspiration today, go read this blog. I know I will be back there soon.

What we all need

On Saturday I made a Manchester United cake for a 15-year-old fan's birthday. He wanted it kept simple so I just made it a square vanilla sponge cake, covered in white butter icing, then colored and rolled out some plastic icing to cut out the Man United logo.

I had a great time trying to get the logo just right and what made it even better was that my hubby decided to help out - so he cut out the soccer balls in the logo. He did an amazing job and the soccer balls rounded the logo off perfectly. He first tried to cut the red stripes using a template but eventually just cut the design by hand and it looked great.

Its such a blessing to have a hubby that is so supportive and creative - he always believes I can do anything no matter how big or small, complicated or simple, even when I am full of doubt and have no idea where to start - he just smiles and says he knows it will turn out great.

My hubby is no push over though, I always ask his opinion when I'm done with a cake as he knows I prefer to hear the truth - he has very high standards and will tell me quickly if he feels there is something missing or not quite right - but because of this I know I can trust his judgment and when he says its great; I have to believe him.

I know I am very, very luck to have him in my life, we all need someone who believes in us even when we don't, who loves us even when we are slumming it around the house and who is always there to make us smile when life gets in the way.

(and lets not forget; to taste our latest kitchen experiments)