Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bowling Themed Cake

I love it (sometimes) when the kids decide what type of cake they want. It forces me to get creative. My son has been saying for months that he wanted a bowling party. I've known for months that he wanted a bowling cake. I was thinking bowling BALL. He was thinking bowling PIN. I found this out the day before I was to make the cake.

I wound up making the ball AND the pin. The cake theme didn't take alot of creativity. I did know I wanted to stay away from a black bowling ball. After the grill cake, I knew I didn't want to offer black icing to everyone. The creativity came about when I realized I was going to have to drive across town with the cake to the bowling alley where we were having this party...

I had originally thought about making a dome ball until my son informed me he wanted a bowling PIN. Then I shifted to an oversized bowling pin. I could make a 13x9 cake, cut it lengthwise and set the short ends together. But how would I transport it?

I could make a double decker bowling pin cake and carve it into something 3-D. I thought it might look a bit odd. I decided to make a single layer cake. It could then be easily transported in my Wilton Ultimate 3-in-1 Cupcake Caddy (with the cupcake insert removed).

From a 13x9 cake, I cut out a bowling pin shape. The kids munched on the rest. I also made two 9" round cakes. One layer went into the freezer for another cake. The other was trimmed to fit next to the bowling pin so I appeared to look like a bowling ball slightly behind the bowling pin.

The pin was iced with white canned icing. I reserved a little white from that can to color red for the stripes. I colored 1/2 can of icing purple and the other 1/2 can blue. I put both colors into a decorating bag and covered the cake. Then I gently smoothed the icing over the cake to create a slightly marbled effect. The leftover marbled icing was used to do the writing. If anyone can think of some better bowling birthday verses, let me know. My teenager decided he wanted to do the Extreme bowling party in March (when the bowling alley turns out the lights and the laser lights come on).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cookie Christmas Tree

Recently, one of my co-workers saw this blog and decided I could definitely contribute to this years company Christmas Party.

On one of her shopping excursions, she found a "Cookie Tree Kit" produced by Wilton. It was a set of 10 plastic star-shaped cookie cutters in graduated sizes from small to large, along with two decorating tips, 2 plastic piping bags and a booklet of recipes and instructions for each of the trees pictured on the package. I had never seen this kit (which surprised me because I am a frequent visitor to the Wilton website) and was certainly up for the challenge.
The kit had several design ideas on the package and my co-worker had already picked out the design she wanted. I was told to make it blue, white and silver (or any combination of the three colors) so the tree would coordinate with the decorations.

I knew just by looking at the picture that I would need to make this tree in stages. Baking, icing, stacking and icing again. This was fine because my regular work day begins at 7:30 am and ends at 7 pm. That doesn't leave a lot of time to play around in the kitchen.

The party was to be held on Saturday evening. The Monday before the party, I pulled out the Cookie Tree Kit and read over everything. When you are told to read over all the instructions carefully, it's for a reason. I should have read over the instructions twice.

The booklet contains 2 recipes for the Cookie Tree. One for sugar cookies and the other for gingerbread cookies. I needed sugar cookies for the tree I was to make. It turns out you need to make 2 batches of the sugar cookie recipe to make one tree (the same thing goes for the gingerbread cookie recipe if you plan to make that one). This would normally not be a problem, but, as I stated earlier, this was Monday. My husband had just come back from the grocery store, it was 9 o'clock at night and I realized I needed another 2 sticks of butter to even begin making the cookies!

I didn't get started on this project until Wednesday night and it took a combined total of 6 hours to complete (not including cooling and drying time). This is definitely not a last minute project. You could, however, try making the gelatin tree or crisped rice tree in less time. Instructions for these two items are also included in the kit.

I made the blue icing a poured it over the cookies. It dried with a nice shiny coating. I then piped each cookie with a white criss-cross star and stacked them on top of each other. You need to be sure the cookies are evenly stacked to keep the tree from toppling over. I placed a dab of icing in the center of each cookie to act as "glue" for the one above it.

To finish, I used a star decorating tip to pipe "snow" on the tips of each cookie. The I placed a silver dragee on the top of the "snow".

A simple silver bow with ribbon curling down finished the tree.

It was beautiful! It took awhile for people to start eating the cookie tree, but when we finally did, it tasted great, too!

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