Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthday Cake!

Many people asked about my birthday cake this year. Did I make it? What kind? Where is it? Are you sharing? Can I have a bite? Etc.

Well, historically, my birthday cakes have been made by this very special lady:

And this year was no different!

A delicious, rich cake with burnt butter frosting and caramel syrup was delivered to my house this past weekend by my dad who was on his way back from dropping my littlest brother off in Chicago.

My mom told me over the phone, "You better be careful when you eat that cake. You might pee your pants it's so good!" Now I know where I get my modesty from. Love you Mom!

Saddle Up!

At the barn this afternoon, I was greeted by a black horse in a big ol' saddle.

Miss Pixie had a long afternoon of training that involved getting used to the saddle and weight on top. Both Farmer Ted and Horse Whisperer Paulette got in the seat and took a stroll (a definite WALK) around the indoor arena. Pixie also met The Boss, a life size, weighted dummy that sits in the saddle. She walked, trotted and cantered with The Boss.

And she did a great job! Doesn't she look beautiful in that saddle? Head down, soft eyes, a true black beauty!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Size DOES matter!

Eight-inch versus 9-inch versus 10-inch....

Come on ladies, get your minds out of the gutter, I'm talking about cake pans!

So for years, I thought I had two 8-inch pans and two 9-inch pans. As it turns out, after several "9-inch" pan disasters and careful measuring, I realized that, in fact, have two 9-inch pans and two 10-inch pans!

A sample of each:

How embarrassing! All these years I've been cursing the 9-inch pans when they are really 10-inchers. It wasn't their fault they produced pancakes.

Now that I have this figured out, baking life should be much easier. Plus, Mr. Z got me two REAL 8-inch pans for my birthday. Now I have just about everything I need!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 3

Today is day three of the 30 day shred. I'm not doing it everyday, rather sprinkling it in among yoga and elliptical time. It's still hard. Although, I can tell it's getting easier.

I've been trying to eat better, but it's really difficult. I just love food. And I love food that isn't the greatest for me. And the winter months are so hard. You have Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and then New Year's and then... my birthday! So I feel like I have a good two months of excuses to eat whatever I want. I keep thinking, ok, I'll start eating healthier after X holiday. The good news is, my birthday is next week. So NO MORE excuses! Although every day I do try to do my best.

I've been doing very well with the cakes actually! I've stuck to one tiny piece a day. And that is usually my treat for the day. And yesterday we ran out of cake! I guess it's time to make another.

Although it was kind of a disaster to put together, Red's birthday cake tasted very good. The texture was interesting (remember the two cups of heavy whipping cream?). I'll tell you all about it when I'm able to upload some pictures.

As I hate leaving a blog without photos, here is a picture of my birthday cake from last year made by my amazing brother and sister-in-law. Can you tell who it is? (like you have that many choices...)

Yep! It's Pixie. White socks and all on her back feet. I loved this cake.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Red!

This morning I baked the cakes for Red's birthday celebration tonight. After work I will head home, whip up some frosting and put everything together! It's a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. There are two cups of heavy whipping cream in the cake. I'm very excited to taste the finished product.

Me and Red

I tried getting on the elliptical while the cakes were in the oven, but since I didn't have music blaring (it was 7 am, and Mr. Z likes his shut eye), I was able to hear an annoying squeak coming from one of the wheels. So I sprayed it down with some lube, which fixed the squeak, but filled the room with a toxic smell. Hopefully the chemical odor will be gone by tomorrow morning.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Space Man*

*Mr. Z sporting the fancy flannel space-themed pajama pants I made him for Christmas. Ain't he cute?

Devil's Food with Quick Fudge Frosting

I'm sorry to report that can't post the recipe for this cake, since I've lent The Book to Red (it's her birthday on Tuesday and I told her I would make any cake she wanted from it). So if you'd like the recipe, just comment on this post and I'll be sure to add it when I get the book back.

Here are the ingredients:

The recipe calls for two 9-inch or three 8-inch layer cakes. Since I only have two of each size I went for the 9-inch cakes. They ended up being really short. This is two layers:

I should know better. Don't mess with the 9-inch pans unless you're doubling a recipe or something. They will always leave you with flat cakes.

Luckily, it didn't take away from the taste! It's pretty delicious and chocolaty.

WARNING: This cake must be consumed with a large glass of milk! (however as I type, Mr. Z is on the couch eating it with a tall beverage of the malted variety)

p.s. I also spent 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes doing strength training today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Man Catcher Pound Cake

I made the first cake from All Cakes Considered for New Year's Eve. It's called "The Man Catcher Sour Cream Pound Cake." I substituted vanilla yogurt for sour cream and it turned out very tasty. I served it with triple berry sauce (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) and fresh whipped cream.

Here are the ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature

3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup vanilla yogurt (or sour cream)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

Since I don't have a 10-inch tube pan, I used one of my fancy shaped bundt pans:

Center rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees F

Prepare a pan.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream.

Add extracts. Beat until flavorings are incorporated and mixture looks smooth and even.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 90 minutes.

Although the bundt pan looks pretty cool, releasing the cake from it is a huge pain and the finished product ended up missing a few chunks. Didn't take away from the taste though!

As for my other resolution? Well, I started the 30 Day Shred today.

It kicked my tail. Seriously. It has three levels, I was on level one, following the lady who modifies to make it even easier!

Jillian kept promising it will get easier. We'll see. And Mr. Z got the elliptical up and running today, so I should be able to take that bad boy for a test drive tomorrow.

Here's to lots of cake and exercise in 2010!