Sunday, June 1, 2008

Birthday Baking

Two very special people in my life celebrated birthdays during the month of May, my mom and my husband, John. And birthday celebrations call for baking!! For my mom, I was excited to try out my new Wilton giant cupcake pan. To decorate, I decided to do something of a tribute to all my mom's hardwork on our wilton character cakes when we were growing up (I recall strawberry shortcake, cookie monster, He-man for my brother, among others), using the star tip, #21. The cake was hazelnut and filled a hazelnut chocolate mousse, topped with buttercream. I think from this distance the cake looks all right...

But up close it was just a big old mess! (I am hearing Cher say this from Clueless) From the start, there were problems. The cupcake pan doesn't really bake evenly and I didn't have the patience to bake the two halves separately. And then there were multiple decorating disasters.... a basketweave that refused to adhere to the cake, a top border that had to be completely removed, and by that time, I was just too flustered to do my drop stars very neatly. I nicknamed this "a cake only my mom could love".
Taking a break from birthday cakes, for John's birthday I made a strawberry rhubarb galette from a Millenium recipe (the recipe is online), one of John's favorite fruit combinations. The walnut pastry crust turned out great, and it was a pretty fancy little dessert that required minimum effort, especially from a Millenium cookbook (this is the first time I have made anything from it!). Next time, I would add about half the fresh ginger the recipe called for in the fruit filling, it was a bit overpowering.
And finally, an actual meal (it seems like real food always ends up at the end of my posts lately?!), the orange chipotle glazed tofu from the June issue of Vegetarian Times. Very tasty and so simple! This was also a recipe that John and I could agree on since I like sweet sauces and he likes spicy ones, and this dish was a little of both.
I finally got my new blog banner up after about six months of procrastinating! I went for a Texas theme that I'm sure makes my mom proud.

41 comments:

romina said...

Oh my gosh, they make giant cupcake pans?! Fantastic! And what a beautiful cake you made indeed. Such detail in the decoration. =)

I love the new look of your blog, by the way!!

VeggieGirl said...

The galette! The cupcake-cake! The new blog layout! All gorgeous, my friend :0)

Cherie said...

Oh, I was looking at making that galette sometime. I'll keep the ginger to a minimum if I do. Thanks! :)

Ruby Red Vegan said...

I definitely noticed the new banner -- it is so cute and Texas-y! I love it!

Williams-Sonoma has a ton of cupcake tools, and I shouldn't have been surprised about that when I saw it, but I was. Sometimes I just think of cupcakes as a vegan thing. I know you were disappointed with the giant cupcake cake, but it's still adorable and awesome merely for the fact that it's a giant cupcake. I wouldn't say no to that galette, either.

I love sweet sauces too -- especially on tofu!

ricki said...

I soooo enjoy all your baking posts--love seeing the beautiful, creative decorating you're doing! That tofu looks yummy, too. I love the sweet/spicy combo--just made some tempeh in a s/s sauce that I'll be posting about in a bit!

poopiebitch said...

In my world, giant cupcakes and galettes ARE the 'real food'. Your pictures are definitely making me hungry.

springsandwells said...

wow, lots going on here!

I like the new header for your blog - it looks great.

I'm happy to see a review of that Tofu from Vegetarian Times, it caught my eye as well. There's a lot of good looking stuff in that issue, huh?

I love your term "a cake only my mom could love" - so cute!

Galettes are awesome. Thanks for linking to that recipe. I'll check it out.

By the way, some of the Artful Vegan recipes really ARE time consuming, but others aren't. Also, I very often make some variations or leave out or two parts of the recipe...otherwise you could be in the kitchen for 3 hours! Or longer, in many cases.

:) Amey

aTxVegn said...

That is the cutest cake ever! Moms can overlook a few imperfections. John's dessert looks so fancy and sounds delicious.

I second what Amey said about the fancy cookbooks - pick out one or two components of a long recipe and add it to something simple. It will still be worth the effort.

aTxVegn said...

Forgot to say I LOVE the new Texas style banner!

Vivacious Vegan said...

I have to disagree. That is NOT a cake only a mom could love. I love it - even up close and personal. It really is a work of art and all the "quirks" just add to the delightfulness of it. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Enjoying the new look! Makeovers are always fun.

Animal-Friendly said...

Aw- the cupcake cake really is great! You're being far too hard on your decorating. I'm sure that is WAY better than I could ever do!

Jenny said...

I love the new blog banner!

You are too hard on yourself about the giant cupcake. If I attempted something like that, I don't even think my mother would love it! :) All of your decorated cakes are adorable!

vegan addict said...

Wow, the intricate detail on your giant cupcake cake is unmatched. That must have taken you a long time and steady hands, no doubt! Amazing talent Amanda, seriously.

I was thinking of making the tofu recipe from Veg Times, so it's good to know you enjoyed it. The vegan ice cream recipes in that issue are on my list too!

CeciLiA said...

Wow, the giant cupcake looks fabulous, don't be too hard on yourself :0)Wow, you can do weaving with buttercream?! Amazing!!!

the strawberry rhubarb galette looks like a dessert that comes out from a restaurant!! Well done!

Oh last but not least, I love your new banner, you're so creative!

Liz² said...

I love your new layout, it's so festive!

And a giant hazelnut cupcake sounds like the best birthday cake in the world, pretty much!

Mihl said...

Great new banner and look!

That cake doesn't look like a mess at all. What an awesome job, you definitely are the cake decorating queen. Please come to my birthday and bring lots of cake!

jessy said...

oh WOW! i think is ALL looks AWESOME! :) and i love the new spruced up page! it's really fun!

Vegan On Stage said...

wow that cupcake is absolutely beautiful!!! even up close!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

I think I would like to have a giant cupcake even if it's not baked evenly. It's too awesome!

shellyfish said...

Your blog looks so swanky!
I also think the cupcake cake looks swanky, really! It is just beautiful and I can only hope to learn to decorate like you do with your mad skills!
And I love galettes! I think you have inspired me! Haven't made one in ages and we love them!

elizadoohicky said...

seriously going to make that galette like TONIGHT!!! and that tofu looks scrumptious!

Your fondant cake a few posts ago is as pretty as it gets. Don't suppose you would be interested in taking orders from paying customers?

Glad to have found you on the WWW!

Peace!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ah you’ve sent me back to my childhood—Strawberry Shortcake, Cookie Monster (ok, that one’s still relevant), Clueless (yay for vegan Alicia Silverstone!).

Why oh why did you give your pretty cake such a mean nickname? May I suggest a name-change to “A Cake EVERYONE could Love because it’s so Darn Cute!”?

Theresa said...

I love the new look! And icing problems or not, I would love a bit of that birthday cake, too. And don't kids always say that when they grow up, they'll have dessert before dinner? I see no problems with that.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

I just saw your pretty photo of quinoa salad on Dreena's blog... It's so awesome that Mrs. Burton herself is recognizing your blog!!!

Bianca said...

The banner looks great! How do you do that? I'd like to make mine look better but don't have a clue how to starts...

And you know what's funny, I just finished looking at that tofu recipe in Veg Times and then I checked your blog. Yours looks almost just like the picture in the mag, only sans the rice.

And I think your cake is beautiful...way better than I could do.

Chris said...

Well the cake sure does look good from a distance ;-)

And I was eyeing that tofu recipe too. Glad to hear it came out good.

Andréa N. said...

Great new look for your blog!

Vegan Invasion! (Ashley Nicole) said...

Wow, I really love the new look of your blog!! I was born and raised in Texas (San Antonio) and love the Texas themed banner!! I used to love take pictures of all the fields full of bluebonnets near my house when I was younger.

That cupcake cake is ADORALE; your mom will definitely love it. The galette and the tofu look incredible, too!

Cody said...

Now you've got me worried about the outcome of my giant cupcake... whenever I get around to it. (I got it as a birthday gift in April. Oops.)

I think it looks lovely, though. (And I immediately got the Clueless/Monet reference...)

kindkitchen said...

I LOVE your new layout-yowza! Looks super chic. How did you do it? I am technically challenged...

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I told you that cupcake pan is the pits! haha. I think it looks wonderful though!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

Too bad you had so much trouble with the cupcake pan... It certainly LOOKS amazing, though. And I love your new banner! So cute.

Katy said...

That giant cupcake looks amazing! I wish I had your cake decorating skills!

Hannah said...

Aw, I think your cake looks great! Seriously, if you were to look closely at my cakes, you would find the same sort of issues, too!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I'll be sending you an email tomorrow :o)

Vaala said...

I love the new banner...it's got heaps of character.

That is one huge cupcake! No wonder it had a few cooking issues!

Vegan On Stage said...

oh by the way... i dont know if im late on this one... but congrats on the veg blog award!!!!!

you deserve ittt!!!!!!

The Voracious Vegan said...

Chili and lime is one of my favorite flavor combinations - delicious! And your giant cupcake cake is gorgeous!

Like always, I love your blog!

Billy said...

Congrats on your VegBloggy award! I hope we get to meet up in San Francisco at the VegNews party.

Maggie said...

I have to try that walnut crust. It looks really good. I think the cupcake looks great! All those stars and the basketweaving as well is a lot of work.

madcapcupcake said...

That cake looks damn good to me.