Something kind of weird is going on with Josh's ties. Over the past week, several of them have gotten dirty, which is strange because in almost ten years of marriage, I can't recall that ever happening before; taking a tie to the cleaners feels like something I have never done before.
Having just reread those two sentence, I can be fairly certain that one of two things have just happened - either you've clicked away because why in the world is she talking about ties or you're still here because you're my mom or your name is Alissa.
Anywho, Josh needed a specific tie (aka - his one really nice one) for this weekend but the dry cleaners could not have it ready in time. In a panic, I asked my mom if she could drop a couple of ties at our house on her way to work; my dad has, estimated conservatively, about a thousand ties, all of them really nice because my mom purchased every last one of them. Me, I wouldn't know a nice tie if a whole rack of them fell on my head*.
Last night, I mentioned to Josh that my mom was coming in the morning with a selection of ties for him.
And he said, (so happily) really? Your mom's coming with pies!?
And then I had to say, no, not pies, ties.
And he wasn't so happy anymore. He was actually kind of sad.
Don't get me wrong, he appreciated the ties, but for that one brief shining moment he was envisioning my mom walking through the door carrying four or five bakery boxes filled with an assortment of pies for him to sample. Just the idea of it made him so happy - and until that moment, I had no idea that this was a dream of his. See, who says you can't learn new things about your spouse?
So yeah, I kinda sorta had to bake a pie today. Just one, not an assortment, let's not get crazy. But we are going to make a crust. Don't worry. And just so we're clear, I made this recipe up. My kids think it came out great, but just in case your kids don't, I just wanted to put that out there.
Anyway, I googled and googled and could not find what I was looking for. So I took a little from there and a little from here, and came up with the following:
For the crust -
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used chocolate graham crackers)
1/2 cup melted margarine or oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into a greased pie plate, pressing the crumbs down the bottom and up the sides, as far as it will go.
Bake for 8-10 minutes
While the pie crust is baking, gather together:
2 cans of unsweetened and full fat coconut milk
2 boxes chocolate pudding/pie mix
Pour the coconut milk and pudding mix into a pot. Bring it to a boil, whisking it the whole time. It will start to thicken as it nears boiling point - it's kind of like making pudding in a pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the filling to cool sightly and pour it into the baked crust. Refrigerate for an hour until the filling is somewhat solid.
Now it's time to add the topping.
For the topping, gather together:
1 4 oz. container of Rich's Whip
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Using a hand mixer, whip together the whip and the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the topping onto the pie. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve cold, straight from the fridge.
I was very nervous about this pie, for several reasons. To start, I've never made a cream pie before. And second, I had never before cooked or baked or even opened a can of unsweetened coconut milk. But much to my delight, this was, in the words of a six year old who should not be speaking like this, freaky good. We might need to have a conversation about language later tonight, but for now, even I can attest to the fact that it was freakin good (at least that's what I think he was trying to say) - yeah, I know, the Whole30 round two. I cheated. It was my first cheat since this whole Whole30 thing started. It was a choice, I made a choice to taste my pie and it was totally worth it. I had one spoonful and I walked away. Having said that, the rest of the pie has now been packed away, awaiting Josh's return from work.
And also, I locked the baby gate to the kitchen. I know that I know how to open the gate, but it is a mental deterrent for me. I'm good.
*Wouldn't you know, something just like happened to me once, courtesy of one of my kids at age two. The combination of me kneeling down next to a tie display in Kohl's to pick up a sippy cup and a toddler's outstretched hand was, shall we say, not good.
It's absolutely freezing outside today and I so thought these snowman cookies
would be appropriate right about now.
The little one and I had the pleasure of visiting my four-year-old's
kindergarten classroom last week to bake cookies. The class has been learning
about the brachot or blessings on food and last week was mezonot* week.
We arrived at school at 9am and left three hours later after a visit that
was messy, exhausting and a lot of fun. The kids and I made sugar cookie dough**
together; they each got two turns to pour in the ingredients and hold the mixer and
then all of a sudden, it was snack time! I love snack time!
After the snacks were cleared away, hands were washed and the tables wiped
down (so much cleaning in preschool - I've either forgotten about that part of teaching
or I wasn't such a tidy teacher), it was time to roll out the dough. But alas, there
was no rolling pin. So we just kind of smashed the dough down and everyone had their
turn to use the snowman cookie cutter to cut out their cookies.
Once the cookies were baked, the real fun began.
To make these snowman cookies at home, just gather together the following:
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
6 tbsps water
6 tbsps light corn syrup
Oreo cookies, scored and halved for hats
jelly beans for a nose
mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth
mini dot candies for buttons
either Pull 'n Peel licorice or Sour Sticks for the scarves
some popsicle sticks
a big mixing bowl and a spoon
I know, it seems like a lot, but it all came together pretty quickly.
The teacher (Morah Sarah - love her! So far all of my school-age kids have had the
amazing experience of spending a year in Morah Sarah's kindergarten!) divided
the kids up into three groups because cookie decorating with 16 kids at once,
plus an extra two-year-old, can get crazy pretty quickly.
One by one, the groups came to the table and spread the white "snow" icing
on their cookies.
To make the icing, pour the confectioner's sugar into your mixing bowl. Add
the 6 tbsps of water and mix until all the sugar is diluted. It's fine to add
more water if needed, but don't let the icing get too thin because then it will
run right off the cookies and the snowman will looked all melty. Once the
sugar is diluted, add the corn syrup and mix well.
Using a spoon, drop a small amount of icing on each cookie and let the kids
use (clean!) popsicle sticks to spread the icing. The icing also acts as the
glue for all the candies and cookies.
I had made one cookie ahead of time and left it on the table for the kids
to look at, but they were free to decorate any way they wanted.
The cookies ended up being absolutely adorable and were even cuter
looking once they were all lined up on the table together. Sadly, I was so
focused on the decorating, I forgot to take too many pictures.
On the way home, I realized that I had hardly taken any pictures at all but I
remembered that Morah Sarah had said she was going to send home a cookie with each
student. I figured I'd just take a picture of the one my daughter was going to
bring home, but sadly (or maybe not sadly, maybe they were just that yummy),
hers was eaten before it was my turn to pull to the front of the pick-up line
Oh well, at least my little one took a very long nap that afternoon. School is tiring!
*Mezonot? Mezonot is the Hebrew word for the category of food that includes
cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins, really anything you'd find in a bakery,
except for bread, which has its own bracha.
** It was awesome because I found a recipe that did not need to be
chilled for 30 minutes, like so many sugar cookie recipes require. Instead, we
went from measuring to mixing to rolling out the dough in less than 45 minutes,
which, when baking with 16 four-year-olds, is really the equivalent of two
minutes. Maybe three.
Remember the Gingerbread Man? I'd like you to meet the Maccabee Man. Catch him if you can!
The dreidel girls. Kind of like the rockettes. But not.
The dreidel guys. My kids thought they were French dreidels but those are kippahs on their heads, not berets.
Mini two-bite dreidels.
These are bigger dreidels, but if you open your mouth really wide, they can be two-bite dreidels too.
My kids sampled one of each kind of cookie and they all approved. (I wanted to write "unanimous approval" there but I wasn't sure how to spell either word. Did I spell them right? Wrong? Who knows.) My point? All the cookies are exactly the same, just in different shapes. The kids were not grasping this and so many many cookies were eaten in the name of "just tasting". Josh better come home soon if he wants to "taste" too.
Anyway, would love to see your Chanukah cookies!
This might be the most awesome (and easy) birthday cake I have ever made.
Sadly, I did not think of the idea, I found it on a blog called Paige's Pantry
, but I totally
wish I would have thought of it, it's that good of an idea.
We made our newly minted two-year-old a family party on Sunday with cousins
and grandparents and aunts and uncles and some friends. I was not in the mood
to do a whole big fancy cake and really, who needs such a big cake. We (Okay, I) should
be eating some carrot sticks anyway. I had a vague idea of wanting to make
some kind of cake decorated with candy because it seemed so
much easier than decorating with icing and frosting and molded chocolates and
things. So I googled, and shockingly, did not come up with much, until I hit the
jackpot with this kitkat and m&m cake.
It really couldn't get much easier than this for a good-looking cake.
Step 1. Bake 2 8"round cakes. You can do this with just one box of cake mix.
Step 2. Frost the cake between the layers and all over the top and sides.
The beauty here is that you don't need to make it pretty because the whole thing
(yup, the whole thing) will be covered so no one will see your frosting skills.
3. Unwrap the kitkats. Try not to eat them - and I'll tell you why.
It's not because I don't want you to have them, it's because you will
need the whole bag to surround the cake. Stand the kitkats up around the sides
of the cake, pressing them in slightly.
4. Open the large bag of m&ms. You can eat some of these because you will only
need about half the bag to cover the top of the cake. Pour and kind of pat them
down into a single layer.
5. I thought the bow in the original picture on Paige's blog was kind of overkill
but once I was done, I realized mine needed a bow too, if just to keep those kitkats in line.
Wrap, tie the bow and store in the (basement) fridge until cake time. I don't really
know if you need to keep it in the fridge, but in my house, it's always better and safer to
be out of sight, out of mind.
Sing Happy Birthday and enjoy!
And then when everyone leaves, have yourself a handful of m&ms when no
one is looking because there's gonna be a whole lotta dishes in the sink waiting
My now two-year old loves loves love balloons. So we made balloon cupcakes for the little party we are making tomorrow.
These could not be easier even if I tried to make them easier. Don't believe me? Watch.
1. Bake cupcakes.
3. Stick lollypops into the cupcakes.
And you're done.
Listen as the kids squeal in delight, not so much because they appreciate the aesthetics of a cupcake, but more because they get to have a cupcake and a lolly at the same time.
To each his own.
We're about to go slightly overboard with a little girl's second birthday tomorrow.
The first installment of party fun are these cupcakes. She really wanted Curious George but we were working with what we had in the house, so Cookie Monster it is.
Does he look like Cookie Monster? I kind of thought yes but with maybe something slightly
off that I couldn't put my finger on. So far though, between my husband and my brother
and my oldest, I have been getting comments like: "I think he looks more like Grover." "Isn't Cookie Monster's head more football shaped?" "I think his eyes are weird, no?" "Why does he have only a few pieces of cookie in his mouth?"
And my personal favorite: "Who's that?"
Whatever. Here's the how to:
a batch of whatever cupcake your birthday kiddie likes.
. And when I say frost, I mean that you should open a can of Duncan Hines vanilla
frosting, tint it blue (the brightest blue you can find, preferably using gel colors and not
liquid based colors. Also be sure to wear gloves when using gel colors, they make a huge
and hard to wash off mess) and frost your cupcakes.
3. Attach the eyes.
There are probably many different ways you can go with the eyes - for example, mini marshmallows or white candy melts for the eyes, along with some melted dark
chocolate or an appropriately colored M&M. I went with what I had in the house - white Mentos candies and chocolate chips. I attached the chocolate chips to the Mentos with a drop of frosting. I realize that Mentos are not exactly a child-friendly candy so I will just remove them before the kids start to eat.
4. Make a mouth.
Again, several ways you can go here. You can bake your own small chocolate chip cookies to stuff into Cookie's mouth or you can just buy a bag of cookies. I actually
find baking the cookies easier than going to buy the cookies with the kids but to each her own, ya know? I found that the whole cookies were too big to use, so I tried breaking them in half. Those looked okay, but then I saw these cookies
and thought these were way funnier. So I crumbled
up a cookie to make it look like Cookie Monster was eating his cookie right now.
Remember to make appropriate Cookie Monster noises when you eat these - om nom nom!
I made these a few months back for my 6 year old's birthday party at Home
Depot. If you've been following along, you'll know what I am talking about. If
you're new here (welcome!) then you can see everything about that really fun
party right here
My son had requested that we have a barbecue at his party, but since it was
to be held inside
the Home Depot, I wasn't really sure how to pull that off. So
we made these hamburger cupcakes and cookie french fries instead and they
were a hit. And I know that there are several mommies in my son's class who did
not believe me that these were really easy to make, so I'll show you.
The original idea came from Bakerella
and I pretty much followed her
directions exactly (for once!).
I baked a batch of Duncan Hines cupcakes using the yellow cake mix, but
followed the directions for the pound cake on the side of the box, using a box
of vanilla pudding, extra eggs and whatever else that recipe calls for.
Then I baked two boxes of Duncan Hines brownies, the cakey kind, not the fudgy
kind, because as much as I love a good fudgy brownie, I needed them to hold
While the cupcakes and the brownies were cooling, I made the frosting.
Using one larger size container of Duncan Hines vanilla frosting, I tinted most
of it green using the green colored food gel colors from Wilton. The rest (about
6 tablespoons worth) I tinted ketchup colored, using red and purple gel food
colors in a 3:1 ratio - so that would be 3 drops of red to 1 drop of purple.
Once your cupcakes are cooled, slice them in half horizontally, to make
them look like hamburger buns. If I had had a little more time, I probably would
have cut them in thirds and discarded the middle piece so that the buns were not
quite so thick, but it worked out fine this way too.
Then, using a round cookie cutter or a glass cup the same size as your
buns, cut out circles from the brownies. I was able to get 12 brownies from each
pan of brownies, which worked out well because I had baked 24 cupcakes to begin
As Bakerella suggests, you'll know what do with the brownie scraps. I have faith in you.
Remove the top half of each bun and place a brownie burger on each cupcake
bottom. Fill a sandwich bag with the green icing and if you have a cake
decorating tip and a coupler to attach the tip to the bag, go for it. Well,
actually, go for it before you fill the bag with icing - but if you have the
coupler and tip you would already know that. If you don't have those items and
have no idea what I am talking about, no sweat! Just fill the bag with icing,
twist the top of the bag closed and snip a teeny-tiny corner off of the bag.
When you squeeze the bag, the icing will flow out if that tip.
Or, and here's what I did - it was 11pm and I couldn't find any couplers. But
I could find the cake decorating tip - so I improvised. Get some good 'ole duct
tape and attach the tip to the bag with tape. Perfect.
Pipe lettuce onto each brownie. Then do the same with the red icing. Pipe
ketchup. Replace the top of the cupcake on to the brownie, pressing down very
lightly so the lettuce and ketchup icing flows out of the sides a little.
I stuck a toothpick into each cupcake at this point just as a little
insurance policy. I really didn't want the tops sliding off of the brownies
because of the icing.
Then take your super-expensive and tiny jar of sesame seeds and marvel at the
cost of so few seeds. Brush the tops of your burger buns with a small amount of
water and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Delight in the fact that they now
look like actual hamburgers.
Place all your hamburger cupcakes in pans and set them aside. On to the french fries.
First, I want to say that the template for the adorable french fries holder
came from here
. It was probably more time consuming to put together the
envelopes for the french fries than it was to make the fries.
The second thing I would like to point out is that having a Silpat mat when
baking these or any cookies is really the way to go. These mats are made of
silicone, can be placed in an oven that is up to 500 degrees and don't allow
your cookies to stick to the pan. They also help the cookies bake to an even
color. I don't know why and I don't really care, but I do know that I love them.
So go, go now and pick up a few for yourself. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Start by mixing up a batch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix, using the recipe for the
roll out cookies. Divide the dough in thirds and roll out the dough onto the
Silpat mats, baking one batch at a time if you have only one Silpat mat.
Once the dough is rolled out onto the Silpat, use a knife or a pizza cutter
to cut the dough into french fries. Starting from the long side of the dough.
cut narrow lines vertically through the dough, making long thin french fries.
Then make one horizontal cut through the long side of the dough, in the center,
cutting all the french fries in half. Sprinkle the cookie dough with a nice
amount of sugar.
Right when they come out of the oven, hold onto the pan (use an oven mit,
please!) and with the same knife or cookie cutter, recut the initial line that
you made before you baked the cookies. Sprinkle with a nice amount of sugar
again and let cool. My cookies spread in the oven a little more than I had
liked, so I used the pizza cutter to cut those in half, vertically, again, while
they were still hot and before they got crunchy.
Once they cooled off, I piled them all into a pan and baked the next batch.
Once all the french fries were done, I packed them into the little holders and
off we went to the party.
Wait, that's not true, We didn't go right off to the party. The party was three days later.
But the good news is that I stored all the cupcakes, covered, in the fridge and the
cookies, covered, high up in one of my cabinets where no one would look to find
them, and they were still fresh and very tasty the morning of the party.
Thanks so much for reading! If you like what you saw, please leave a comment!
The birthday parties are over and the cleanup is almost done. I looked
around the house the morning after, and I wasn't sure which caused more mess -
the hurricane or the party. But they were great.
We started the day with the most important part: Mommy's coffee.
From there, we headed to the Home Depot, where Andrea, the wonderful and
amazing woman who works at the Home Depot and who pulled this whole thing together, met us there with a huge bunch of balloons in her hand and a huge smile on her face.
The kids had an awesome time. They got to glue, hammer and use stickers to
build race cars that really worked. Each birthday party guest was given their
own wood kit, which included all the pieces they would need and with the help of
Andrea and a couple of her co-workers and with the blessed help of some
wonderful parents who stayed to pitch in, each child was able to build their own
car, and shocking, no one banged any of their fingers with a hammer. That was my
big fear. Well, that, and someone throwing a hammer but they restrained
themselves and all was well.
From there the guests all took turns hitting the very-candy-filled-pinata.
There was no space in the party room to do the pinata game so Andrea moved it out to
the hallway, which really, was an just an aisle in Home Depot. I was very nervous
taking the kids out of the party room and into an aisle - what if someone walked
away? or what if one of the customers was not, you know, child-friendly, but
this being Home Depot, where you can apparently find anything you need to run a
day care center (pinata stick? no problem. plastic bag for each kid's stuff?
also, no problem. Sharpie marker to label the cars? Here's one!), there were all
of a sudden two of those huge orange gates that are used to close off an aisle
for repairs or whatever. And Andrea closed off the area around the pinata.
Each boy had a chance to hit the pinata and when that candy finally flew out,
bam, those kids were on the floor as if they hadn't eaten in well, ever. They
all grabbed their candy and sat back down at the table while the adults enjoyed
five minutes of quiet - or as quiet as kids can be when they are slurping their
Laffy Taffys and crinkling wrappers everywhere. At least they were all sitting.
Next up, (and last) was the birthday cupcakes. I made these*.
I didn't make them up, I saw them on the Bakerella
website, so huge thanks there, but they did come out pretty cool and some of the kids were convinced they were real mini hamburgers and french fries. That's why I like six year olds.
They ate, they drank their juice and went home. And we were off to the next
party! *Easy and quick instructions are coming! No really, they are. I made 24 of them in one evening. All from cake mixes and containers of frosting...
Much like kids everywhere, mine love love love their birthdays - and in our house, we always try to make a huge deal out of birthdays. Each kid usually winds up with several parties - a family party with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins on the Sunday near their birthday, a party in school weeks and weeks before their birthdays (we have summer birthdays) and a birthday cake made by his of her siblings, on the morning of their birthday, with everyone still in pajamas.
Here are some of the cakes I've made for those big summer-family-parties.
And here you can see my first blog post, also birthday related.
Do I go overboard? Do I do this for me? For them? What's my motivation here - besides for having an excuse to eat a big piece of chocolate cake? I believe the hope is that these are the memories that my kids will take with them as they grow older, for when they want to spend more time out of the house than in the house and for when they stop thinking that mommy-made birthday hats and cakes are cool.
So if most of the kids' birthdays are in the summer, why am I introducing this now? I'll tell you - we are entering the season of half birthdays. And we like half-birthdays. Half birthdays are like the cream inside a cupcake. You can't really tell if a cupcake has a cream filling until you bite in, and if there is, then hey! What a fun surprise! Half birthdays are like the cream, an unexpected surprise. My kids never know when their half-birthday is coming, so it always, hey! What a fun surprise!
Half birthdays are laid-back. No real party, no big presents - and no mommy-time spent trying to find that big present. Half birthdays consist of cupcakes, a balloon and a hug and a kiss. And this year, we are introducing a new element to half birthdays. The Half-Birthday Book.
The Half-Birthday Book is really just an extra marble notebook that I found on the shelf in the porch. And then I decorated it, using paper, mod podge, scissors, and a pencil. And it was all done between the opening credits of last night's The Good Wife and the second commercial break. Pretty quick.
A How To:
Step 1: Turn the notebook sideways - my plan is for anyone who writes in the book to do sideways. That's just my preference.
Step 2: Trace the cover of the notebook onto a paper and cut it out so you have template of the notebook's cover.
Step 3: Use the template to cut a piece of pretty paper to fit the notebook's cover. Mod Podge it on. Let dry.
Step 4: Use the rest of your papers to decorate - I printed out the words "Happy 1/2 Birthday" on the computer and glued it on top of some other paper, to create layers. I would have preferred to use a paper-cutting machine such as a Cricut or Sizzix, but sadly, I do not own one. But they do make lovely gifts. Just saying.
Step 5: Keep decorating or stop if you're done. I drew a cupcake and then cut it out of various colored papers and glued it on. Anything goes. You can just glue a picture of the family on the notebook and be done.
And now for the essay portion of the test:
Was is the purpose of the notebook?
The purpose of the notebook is to engender nice feelings between siblings. And I guess parents too. Each family member will draw a happy birthday picture or, for those of us who have learned how to write, a note, either on a paper that will get glued into the notebook or in the notebook itself for the half birthday boy or girl. And since all the pages will be in the notebook, the kids will be able to look back on it for years to come and see the funny/sweet/silly/scribbled black rectangles that were made for them on their annual half-year mark.
And now onwards to figuring out what to do when the baby turns one(!) in February. We never had a winter birthday before...
So I used to bake and decorate cakes as a small (tiny) home business. People would call, order a cake, I'd make it, they'd ooh and ahh and I'd feel proud of myself. It was a win-win for everyone. And then I had one kid and I stopped taking many orders. Then another child came and I took even fewer orders. Then baby number three showed up and I really only baked for good friends who were in a bind. And once baby #4 arrived, I pretty much stopped decorating alltogether. But then a couple of weeks ago, a really nice guy in the neighborhood asked if I could please make a cake for his wife's 40th birthday - and he asked so nicely and is just generally such an all around good, sincere person, that I couldn't really say no. And truth is, I was kind of excited about taking out my cake-decorating toolbox again. We hadn't spent much time together in a long while and I was eager to catch up. I hoped it wouldn't be weird or anything.
So out came the pink toolbox, from its shelf in the laundry room. What? You don't keep kitchen utensils in the laundry room?
Anyway, I opened it up, only to find that all my gel colors for tinting frosting were expired. Hmmm, so it'd been that long. But not a problem - this called for a quick trip to AC Moore. YIPPEE! Except that I needed to go during the day, so I had to take the girls along. So a little less yippee, but still, a big hooray, but with no exclamation mark.
The cake requested was a super chocolatey cake with a mocha filling and a chocolate fudge ganache on top. Oh, and the Hebrew letter "mem" on top of the cake, because the numerical value of "mem" is forty. I tried to sell the guy on a heart or a flower or pretty much anything other than putting his wife's age on top of her cake, but he was insistent. Always listen to the customer.
So to start, I baked two 8" round chocolate cakes. Any chocolate cake recipe will do, as long as it is somewhat firm. I used another recipe, but a great, easy cake to make is to take a chocolate duncan heinz cake and add a box of chocolate pudding mix to the cake mix, along with 4 eggs, 1/3 cup oil and 1 cup water. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake.
Here is the finished cake:
After the cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Once it has cooled all the way, trim the rounded tops off the cake, like this:
While the cake is cooling, make the filling.
I used this mocha frosting recipe:
1/2 cup room temperature margarine
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
12 tbsp coffee
Cream the margarine, vanilla and cocoa. Add the salt, sugar and coffee and beat until light and fluffy. Either use right away or refrigerate it in a resealable container for a week.
The next step is to fill the cake. Place one of the cake layers, cut side up, on a cardboard round that is not much bigger than your cake. You can hold the cake in place with a dollop of frosting between the cake and the cardboard.
With an offset spatula, spread half of the frosting onto the cake layer, spreading it into an even layer. Top it with the second layer of cake, cut-side down.
Use the rest of the frosting to crumb coat the cake. And what does this crumb coat mean? It means to lightly frost a cake, essentially sealing in any stray crumbs so that crumbs do not get mixed into the final frosting layer.
Stick the cake in the freezer for about half an hour or until the crumb coat feels firm to the touch. While it is in the freezer, make your chocolate fudge ganache. Ganache is probably the easiest way to cover a cake, you pretty much can't mess it up.
16 ounces of Rich's Whip
18 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
Pour the Rich's Whip into a small pot. Bring the Rich's Whip to a simmer, not a boil. Pour the Rich's Whip over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a towel for five minutes, allowing the chocolate to melt. When the five minutes are up, mix it with a spoon until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature, stirring it every so often to make sure it doesn't become too thick to pour.
Remove the cake from the freezer, place the cake on a cooling rack set over a jelly roll pan (to catch the drips) and slowly pour the ganache over the cake, using the back of a spoon or a small metal spatula to gently push the ganache over the side. If the whole cake does not get covered on the first go-round, wait until the ganache layer has set and pour a second layer. Don't worry if the bottom section of the cake isn't beautiful because you are now going to cover your tracks by pressing either sprinkles or shaved chocolate or cookie crumbs into the ganache as a pretty cover for the lower edge of the cake.
This is what it will look like:
To make the chocolate "mem" or really, whatever shape you like, for the top of the cake, follow these directions:
1. Draw or print out whatever shape you are trying to recreate, in the size that you would like it to be.
2. Turn it over and with a marker, outline your shape on the back of the paper.
3. Still turned over, tape the paper to the counter.
4. Tape a piece of wax paper over the first paper.
5. Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, at 30 second intervals.
6. With a medium-sized clean (and unused for paint) paintbrush - I use a foam brush - paint your design onto the wax paper, following the lines of your drawing. Remember, you will be seeing - and painting - the image backwards because once the chocolate had hardened and the wax paper is peeled off, the design will be flipped over and the flat side of the chocolate will be face up - and professional looking.
7. Finish painting the design and let dry on the counter until firm.
8. Carefully peel it off the paper and flip it over. Using the rest of the melted chocolate, paint a very thin layer on the flat side of the design and immediately sprinkle with the colored sugar of your choice and allow to dry.
9. Using a small amount of frosting, just the tiny amount that is probably left in the bowl, adhere your design to the top of the cake.
Package your cake in a cake box (also from AC Moore) and you're good. No need to refrigerate, the ganache seals the cake and keeps it fresh for a weirdly long time.
Deliver your cake and come home to clean up the kitchen.
Sigh as you look around and remember why you don't do this craziness too often.