Wednesday, June 17, 2009

adventures in baking

The last day of school has arrived. I had been hopping around in blog land and saw someone's adorable rainbow cake. And I straight up copied their idea. I wish I could take all the fabulous Martha Stewart, Suzy Homemaker, Mrs. Cleaver credit, but alas I cannot. I filed away the info and busted it out for the last day.

It was going well, the cake making. I had all the colors, I made the cake batter according to my grandmother's betty crocker secret recipe. It was 2 boxes of white cake mix, because of course you have to mix the colors in, and have enough for each layer. I carefully measured out my colorful batter and distributed it evenly into 6 greased cake pans. (disposable ones, because I don't own 6, and I have patience the size of a gnat's eyelash). I then set them in the oven to cook.

See. Cooking beautifully. I took them out and let them cool.

fast forward to icing time. I'm mixing the icing.....when the Baloney strikes. Just because I planned on this gorgeous cake full of color and promises of happily ever laughter, lucky charms, money in a pot... doesn't mean I'll get it. She walks behind me and dumps a cup of water on top of the purple layer, in it's cake pan. Now I have goblin puke floating in a metal circle. I think even the devil quaked a little in his boots when I realized what she had done. I banished her to community service and dishwasher duty until she's 36. A fair punishment.

Until I realize the green layer had met a similar fate. Soggy cake remnants crumbled in my hands, along with my dreams of creating a Norman Rockwell school ending homecoming. Instead we're about to have cake, 2 colors short of a rainbow. I felt defeated. How were my kids going to come home and not question their mother's intelligence? I mean my first grader was going to have a hard time figuring out why I don't know there is more colors to a rainbow than four....

I slapped the remaining colors together, iced the heap of colorful failure I call cake, and decided to hell with it, I'm decorating with m and m's. And then I did.

So that's the story of the rainbow cake that wasn't.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Cupcake fever

The husband does not like cake. He doesn't hate it or anything, but I will never hear him request cake. Unless it's pineapple upside down cake. Then he will ask for that. But he loooves cupcakes....try to figure that one out. Who wants to break the news to him that... um... cupcakes are like the single serve portion of cake. Weird, I know.

For his big 3-0, I decided I wanted to make him Samoa cupcakes. I think I saw them on foodgawker and knew he had to have them. He loves Samoas... eat-the-whole-box-in-one-sitting kind of love. I worry every year that he will leave me for that little hussy of a purple box, but then I always realizes it's just a spring time fling. I still have my eye on those caramel and chocolate man stealers though, you never know.

I decided to make both pineapple upside down cupcakes, since he did ask for that, and surprise him with the samoa cupcakes. I used the recipe on this website, she has some yumtastic recipes, like stuffed artichokes, and carrot cake ice cream... heaven.

Now, there was an original recipe that she linked to, but it was way too involved for me, so I followed her instructions. No homemade caramel sauce here. There is love for Martha Stewart, and there is love for Sandra Lee. I can do the Martha, but most certainly this was time for channeling my inner Sandra. I used caramel sundae syrup in mine. These cupcakes were the love child of Sandra and Martha.... complete with homemade ganache and store bought yellow cake mix.

Pineapple upside down cupcakes were easy. I melted brown sugar and butter together, put some in the bottom of my cupcake pans that were greased, no liners. I then cut half a pineapple ring, then cut off a smidge more and put them on top of the brown sugar sauce, then a cherry, and poured yellow cake mix on top. Easy Peasy. When done, I popped them out, upside down of course and made homemade whip topping. Which is easy. My servant KitchenAid does all the work. I like being lazy like that.

He devoured both cupcakes, all 6475 calories of them.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Grass is always greener

Sometimes I wish it would go away.

I've lived back in California for almost 3 years. Three years of making memories, making a "place" for us. It's funny, growing up I longed to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. To live in a little house on a prairie. I was drawn to country, victorian houses, and a simpler way to be. I had blue skies, a beach not 5 minutes away, and yet I always wanted something else.

That's why when I made the choice to go meet my husband in Ohio, I took it. I remember arriving in his little, but big town. It was fashioned after a town square in New England, and it stole my heart. Hanging baskets from every lam post, tiny neighborhood grocery store, farmer's market on Saturday. Fireflies illuminating the hot summer nights. Peonies brighten the yards as a late winter surprise, early summer greeting. I do love peonies. Big, pink peonies. Cape cod style houses. Vintage farm houses. Victorian houses. It absolutely captivated my dream of beautiful houses. So.... I stayed. I stayed for 8 years. A million reasons made the list of why we moved. Back to the coast, the San Diego paradise many desire.

I should consider myself lucky.

I do, truly I do. Yet a very big part of me longs for my Ohio. I saw some photos the other day and I saw the green grass. Oh, the green green grass and green green trees. If I had seen peonies, I might have turned into a blubbering mess. It tugs, pulls and makes me want it back. I want my buckeye fever back. Where everyone in the city goes crazy. Here they look at my buckeye leaf like it is drug paraphanelia. I want my children to be out chasing fireflies. And going to schools with only 300 students. Not just being # 6 and #14 in school that has a thousand kids in it. I want my crisp falls, playing in the red, gold, and orange leaves. To drive by the hospital where my three beautiful girls entered this world. And the friends..........There are no words.

Quite honestly, I just want to be happy with where I am. Happy with why I'm here. I feel that I am, until I see a small reminder of...... home. I know the reasons why I fell in love with Ohio. The biggest reason is right here with me. I just want to know, when, if ever, the pain of leaving goes away. If I can ever look at pictures and not feel my heart tug in a thousand directions.