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    The Great Cake Tradition

    March 5, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    When I was little, my mom made most of our birthday cakes. I have a very distinct memory of her making a very blue Cookie Monster cake for my little sister. I remember it because my sister got in big trouble for sneaking into the office {where it was hiding} and taste-testing the cake. I also have a memory from when I was older. I remember finding a picture of a cake that I wanted her to make for my special day. I brought her the picture and she made it and I was thrilled.

    This is why I started out, from the very beginning, making our cakes. These cakes are made from the box mixes and with grocery store frosting. Someday I plan on learning to make it all from scratch, but that is a bit much for me right now. Grace helped me make cakes back before we had a digital camera. If I had had one I would have to post not only the photos of the finished product, but also of us gluing the cake back together with frosting. Once it was decorated, folks never knew how close it was to disaster!

    We acquired our digital camera {using Christmas money} in January of 2006, so all of these cakes were made in the last year or so. All but one of the instructions can be found at the Family Fun website. Also, notice that a lot of them are decorated with candy. Candy can be very expensive. I cut costs by using a local grocery store that sells candy in bulk. I can then buy three gumdrops and one gummy worm if that is all I need. This saves money. It also means that my kids aren’t begging to snack on the excess candy!

    Fun Fat Piggy Cake
    This cake was for A.’s first birthday. I said I would post the finished product back then, but I never did, so here it is. I chose it because the only thing I knew A. liked for sure was the color pink. As an aside, I must mention that the green tablecloth really wasn’t that dark. That February was very busy and we had a simple cake and punch party at night, hence the lighting.

    E. was just starting his interest in heavy farm machinery, so as a gift we bought him a John Deere toy tractor set, complete with cute little farm animals, a wind mill, and fencing. I thought that a good way to use it was as a very heavy cake topper. This cake is two 9×13 cakes, stacked. I decorated half with chocolate and half with vanilla tinted green with food coloring. The chocolate half was a field for the tractor, and the green was pasture for the animals.

    Happy Father’s Day Cake
    This was for my dad on Father’s day. It was fun to frost a cake in a shirt box! The cuffs and neck were made with cardstock. I decorated the cake the night before, and the frosting bled onto the cardstock. So sad! If I could go back, I’d still decorate it at the same time, but I would leave off the cardstock until the party was about to begin so that it looked nice and crisp.

    Flower Power
    I was happy with how this turned out, but I had to modify it a bit. The cake called for mini-cupcakes, but I couldn’t find anyone who owned a pan and I wasn’t going to spend the money for a pan that I would rarely use again. So I just used big cupcakes for the big flowers, and then chose one uniform design for the small flowers and placed them directly on the cake. The instructions also called for candy leaves, but I have a friend who lent me her cake decorating set so that I could use green frosting. It was a nice touch. This was one of the best times I’ve had decorating a cake because I used my own ideas rather than going strictly according to the directions.

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  • Reply Kimbrah March 6, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Those cute underground creatures are definitely making a comeback. I hear there’s a movie in the works for release in 2008. We have the first season on DVD and are considering buying the second season for Bobby’s birthday. He just loves “Frag Rock” as he calls it. That is what he always wants to watch for their 30 minute “movie time” that I give them after their naps.

    Anyway, I might just go with the horse cake, because he’s also really into horses right now. I think I will let him choose, and then try to figure out what I’ll do. I copy other people’s work too or wait until Michaels has a great sale and then purchase a specially shaped pan. Now that is really cheating!

  • Reply Kristie March 6, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    I think the flower one is my favorite!

  • Reply Brandy March 6, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Fraggle Rock?? Are you kidding? Wow, that brings back childhood memories. I had kind of forgotten about the cute little underground critters. 🙂

    But, no, I’m not really that creative. I usually follow someone else’s directions to make someone else’s cute cake. Sorry. 🙂

    I’d love to see your creations!

  • Reply Kimbrah March 5, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Those are all so cute! I have never posted the pictures of the cakes I have made for the boys, but I guess I can do it after Bobby’s birthday at the end of this month. I can’t believe he’s almost two! Where does the time go?

    By the way, any suggestions for how to do a Fraggle Rock cake? 😉

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