Monday, September 5, 2011

In Which I Destroy A Perfectly Tasty Cake

So, my little boy is turning seven next week (!!!) and that meant it was time to throw a party on this beautiful holiday weekend :)
Nothing crazy, just friends and family, a bouncy house, something grilled (Mr. Cate's specialty), and some fun party-type snacks. Also, in accordance with the lil'est Cate's wishes, the party should have a Lego theme. Awesome. Rectangles. I can do that.

Being the spectacular mom that I am, I spent a half hour looking for fun recipes for this party, and I found about 45,000 websites talking about cake pops. Wow, that's cute. And it looks like something I could do*

Basically, you smush up a cake and frosting into a big blob, roll it into little balls, dunk them in a candy coating and decorate. Really, you could do this without even baking, although I made a cake from a box and everything. The cake and frosting part went fine. The big pasty mess even tasted delicious. I used strawberry cake and icing. Yum. The problem came when I tried to do the icing step, so the little guys would look like Lego heads, and not raw meatballs on a stick.

I'm renaming these things "Little Failure Balls".
Main problem - I couldn't find candy melts in yellow. There was some Big Bird themed wedding going on, or some other event that required every store in three counties to have no yellow candy melties. I tried just coloring some melted white chocolate chips with regular old food coloring - Don't Ever Do This. Chocolate is high maintenance, and I'm that girl on the bleachers in the Taylor Swift song. (Sorry if that reference went off the rails. But for the record, I've never seen her jeans and sweats. She seems pretty high fashion to me. But hey, it works for her, cause she's 17 and she should enjoy looking that cute. I would have worn a lot of fancy stuff when I was that age, if I was doing things like singing at the VMAs and such.)

Actually, in regards to the white chocolate, do this, because the reaction from the chocolate was kind of interesting from a chemical perspective. Creamy smoothness became a chunky, globby, half-dried paste in about nine seconds.

So, after making a yellow globby disaster that would be good as a plumbing sealant and little else, I tried this petit fours icing recipe that my mom has used, with Fantastic! results for all kinds of fancy party food. That recipe is pretty simple, too. Half cup of corn syrup, eight billion pound of powered sugar, sifted.
I followed the directions like a girl scout with that one. Carefully blended that mess, added the powdered sugar ever so carefully, making sure no clumps or lumps should fall into the bowl, lest I be shunned from party planning forever... And it made a beautifully smooth, flowing icing, that poured over the cake heads and blocks like silk. ( I made some little cakes, too, to look like scattered lego bricks.)
My petit fours icing was see-through. So then I had little raw meatballs, coated in egg yolk. YUM! Who wouldn't want a big mouthful of that? (on a side note, this might make a great halloween treat if I left the icing plain white- little candy Jars of Brains)

All of this took about five hours.
In the end, we had cake, and it was tasty, and it was cut into the shape of blocks with little marshmallows on top. Done in twenty minutes. And I did manage to come up with my own recipe that all the kids loooooved. Are you ready? Make sure and write this down. You will need the following

1 bowl, large
3-5 bags of M&Ms (enough to fill the bowl)
1 bounce house.

Add M&Ms to children, wait 10 minutes.
Add children to bounce house, allow to simmer for 6-8 hours.
Children remain unaware there were supposed to be adorable little lego head cake pops that went perfectly with the Lego theme. They will however, have fun.

I believe the theme of every children's party could just be "Run Around and Eat Sugar". Because ultimately, that's the mostest fun.

* There are two areas, despite my many talents, in which I simply have no natural gifts. One is music. Despite years of lessons, I am a moderate to terrible cellist, and an utterly crap composer. The other is cooking. I can make food that is edible for human consumption. And that's about all.

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