Saturday, June 15, 2013

Train Cake

If you ever told my 20-year-old self that I would be staying up until 2:00 in the morning making a train cake for my 5-year-old, I would have told you that you were nuts... and yet many, MANY years later here we are. 

Re-wind to last year when I found this train cake pan at Jo-Ann Fabrics and decided to make my husband a cake for his promotion.  I made a train cake with dollar signs on it and put some bacon sticking out of the train car because he was "bringing home the bacon on the money train." It was the VERY first time I actually decorated a cake with with a tube set and it turned out quite well because it was so easy. I used box cake mix and mixed food coloring in with store bought icing. 

So this year, for the first time, I decided to make my son a birthday cake. Last night,  the night before his party, I realized I forgot to start the cake the day before to let it cool. Oops. So I quickly got everything out and started at 8:30 PM. This was the first time I was going to try the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations. I bought 4 packets of color/flavoring but only used 2 cans of white frosting, so the color was a little darker and the flavor was a little stronger.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't really paying attention when I grabbed this particular box of cake mix off the ACME shelf because, that day, I was worried about my soon to be 5-year-old having a melt down in the super-market. Instead of getting the regular chocolate cake, I grabbed the first thing I put my hands on. At the time, it didn't seem that important because I just wanted to get the heck out of there... WARNING this is what happens when you use SUPER MOIST cake. Another oops!!

AT this point it was almost 10:00 and there was no way in heck I was about to go to back to the super-market and re-make the cake, so I mixed my frosting and I figured I would just load the icing on the train wreck and make it look as train like as possible. Only problem was, my cake wasn't 100% cooled down... This is what happens when your cake isn't cool, your frosting starts to melt. Oops number 3. 

All my icing was just sliding off the cake, the re-construction was even a bigger mess!!! So I had to throw that sucker in the freezer for 20 minutes. Something I should have done BEFORE I started icing the cake.

The front was just so mangled that the icing just wouldn't be able to re-construct an ENTIRE train front. So I ran around the kitchen trying to find something edible to hold up the icing. I found marshmallows!!! I just started shoving it under the icing that was sliding off the front of the cake. It actually looked pretty good! The marshmallows also happened to make good looking smoke too! 

Lets be honest, I'd never make the cut for a Food Network Cake Decorating Challenge or you'd never see me on an episode of Cake Boss, however, I did save money and my son thought it was great so that's really all that mattered. 

Grade: C

Skill Level: Moderate-High
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Frustration Level: High (don't start a cake at 8:30 at night!)

Duncan Hines Frosting Creations was a big hit, He couldn't keep his fingers off!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sun Catchers for Dad

Doesn't dad have a pile of ties and mugs from Father's Day past?
Wouldn't it be nice to give dad a gift created by the kids that didn't take space in the junk drawer? I was looking at my sun-catchers and decided that simulated stained glass project is the perfect gift for Father's Day. I have included print outs for you so that you can make them too!

You can always find plastic packaging around if its in your recycle bin or your trash can. There are several types of plastics that can't be recycled and those are the best kinds to use for this project. 

1) Wash the plastic with dish soap to remove traces of dirt and oil. Dry thoroughly.

2) Rub the side of the plastic that you are going to write on with sand paper then wipe with a damp cloth.

3) Slowly trace the plastic placed over the printout with Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers. My 8 year old did this and really did a wonderful job.

4) Cut out plastic.

5) Spray with clear sealant for fade resistance. This step is optional.

6) Use pin to push through the plastic to create holes for fishing line.

7) Tie on fishing line. This was the absolute worst part of the project. Tying all that little, thin, slippery string was very frustrating. I will have to find some alternative to fishing line because it is a bear to work with. Actually, I'd rather work with the bear.

8) Add plastic beads to make it pretty. You can find these at any craft or 5 and 10 store.

9) Cut out another piece of plastic (clear or colored) to make the top. I used a clear plastic bottle sliced in half and cut and inch and a half thick, so that it gave the final product a curved look. You can see it more clearly if you click on the big picture at the top of this blog page. 

After my 4-year-old son saw the finished product he wanted to confiscate it for his own. I'm sure daddy will let him keep it in his room!

Grade: A-
Skill Level: Easy 
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Frustration Level: Moderate (Oooooo, that fishing line!!!)

Make sure you check out the print-out below!!!

Print Me