26 April 2011

The Girl Wonder | Cake and Cookies

Du-du-du-du-du-du-du-du-Batman! This may be the best cake I've ever baked for myself to date. Oh, and others. That sounds presumptuous but it may be a little bit true. Luck was on my side this time.
You see, I have this funny little habit of trying out new recipes when I'm going to be feeding other people. I always need a reason to try something new but this can be a little frightening because I won't know how it tastes until everyone already has a piece. If it's terrible then that's it. No back up plan.

I knew this couldn't fail, though. I chose my recipes from Martha Stewart (genius) and Rosie from Sweetapolita (love this blog), both of which I've tried recipes from before.
I'm a chocolate lover and the words "Ultimate Chocolate Cake" from Martha kind of sold me. The inclusion of coffee was great because I always have good coffee in my home and from what I understood it would really bring out the chocolaty flavor. It did not disappoint. It was moist and dense and all those wonderful things a cake should be.

To tone it down a bit I decided to go with vanilla frosting. Going back to that whole "trying new things without a test run" I decided to give Swiss Meringue Buttercream a try. Rosie always makes it look so beautiful and delicious. She recently put up a blog post all about it, how could I fail with perfect step by step directions? I may not go back to powdered sugar buttercream for a while because this stuff is delicious. It has a way more subtlety sweet flavor than regular buttercream and it is so easy to work with!
Once the base was made up I added some yellow dye and two vanilla beans and I had what you see here. I made those little ruffles with a 104 decorating tip, to make it as feminine as a Batman cake can be, and I am very happy with the results. They're not perfect, but again it was a first, and the buttercream was very forgiving.

I love those little vanilla seeds. I couldn't tell you exactly why, but they're great.

The Batman logo I made out of marshmallow fondant. Surprisingly, not a first, but I'm still not sure about the consistency of the stuff. It held it's shape well enough, but I can't help but think it should have been a little firmer. I've never worked with fondant that I haven't made myself so hopefully after those decorating classes I'll have a better idea about it.

Oh, and speaking of fondant. I made party favors. 

24 April 2011

The Girl Wonder | Cape

Happy Easter!

So the last few days have been crazy busy for me. Many hours of baking and sewing. I am exhausted today; I slept in until 9 o'clock. I never do that, 8 o'clock is usually late for me. I would have usually been irritated with myself for staying in bed that long but this morning I did not even care.

The superhero bowling was a success, but I still have yet to post about the cape. Tomorrow or the next day I'll show off the baked goods. They were pretty great.

Onward to the cape! Or, in this case, caplet. It was pretty adorable. I searched around to find a good tutorial and found this one. I liked it because it looked relatively easy and had good directions. This only uses on piece of fabric, but I used two because Robin's cape is black on the outside and yellow on the inside.

I lucked out on the fabric. Again, thrift stores are amazing. I found a large about of this amazing, shiny black fabric for $3.50 and bought a yellow pillowcase for $0.50. Yay!

First things first, and I undid all of the seams from the pillow case. I then pinned it to the black fabric to use as a template, to insure both pieces were the same size.
Once I had those I folded each piece lengthwise then crosswise and pinned all the sides together.

20 April 2011

Cake Decorating

I finally did it. I signed up for Wilton's cake decorating class, hosted at my local Michael's arts & crafts store. I'm really, really excited! This has been something I've been wanting to do for a long time and have never had the nerve.

Yes, the nerve. I don't know what it was about cake decorating that had me a little scared. I do it at home and I'm not that bad at all. I have the Wilton book (that I love) and many supplies. A class, though, is different. Other people will see my cakes and, undoubtedly, my mistakes.

This is just the beginning course but I plan on later taking the fondant and gum paste courses, too.

I'm most excited about flower making. I'm not sure if we'll be doing a whole lot of this in the basics course but I hope we will. Even a little bit would be helpful. I have yet to make a successful flower, but I'm hoping by the end of May I'll have it down. Or at least a better idea of what I'm doing.

Wish me luck!


18 April 2011

The Girl Wonder | Top

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Not just because it's spooky and there's candy involved; although I do enjoy that. I like Halloween so much because of the costumes. I love dressing up and I'm surprised I haven't had a costume party before.

I have to say, I really have a sense of accomplishment with this Robin costume I'm making. I've never made my own costume before. For those aforementioned Halloweens my mom's helped me make a costumer (and by "help" I mean "sewn herself") so this is a nice change. More than nice, it's great. I'm doing this on my own.

It may not be much, but I'm going in baby-steps here. The next step in the Girl Wonder project is the top. Pretty simple and I finally got to use my sewing machine!

I'll just take this moment to say that I found all of the shirts and fabric I use/will be using at thrift stores. They're an amazing resource for that kind of thing but remember to wash everything before using it. You just never know.

  • Green t-shirt
  • Red t-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Pencil
  • Yellow craft foam
  • circle to trace: I chose a cup
  • Pins (not pictured)
  • Sewing machine (not pictured)

 I'm going to point out that when I assembled all of my materials for this project I had already taken off the sleeves of the red shirt with a seam ripper.

14 April 2011

The Girl Wonder | Introduction | Utility Belt

Has anyone had an idea, a simple idea, that ballooned into something larger? Something so incredible you can't believe you didn't think of it earlier? It may now be the best idea ever?

Okay, I may be building this up a bit. Simply put: I am a five year old boy at heart.

I decided that this year for my birthday I would have a Batman themed party. I was really just thinking of going to Target for some party supplies, make a yellow and black cake, and call it good. As I was telling this to a friend of mine, however, she made the statement that "we could all dress up!"

A light turned on. Yes, yes we could dress up.

That is, if everyone was willing. Not everyone enjoys that sort of thing but as luck would have it, my friends are awesome. I've got myself a costume party. Not just any costume party, either. Did I mention we'll be bowling?

This of course means that I'll have to make all kinds of things! There are goodies to bake and costumes to sew! I gave my friends free range and told them it doesn't have to be from Batman if they'd like something else. Funny enough, there will be a Batman but it won't be me.
As the blog title suggests: I'll be Robin. So for the next week I'll be going through the party crafting process. Today is the utility belt.  

11 April 2011

Snack Attack!

Spring has sprung! ... Well, a little bit. Once in awhile we'll get a nice day of sunshine. It rains a lot where I live. When we do get that sun to come out we try to make the best of it. A day at the beach, a nice walk sans coats and, of course, barbeques!

I attended one of these little shin-digs the other day and when asked if I needed to bring a dish the host asked if I would like to bring dessert. Me? Dessert? Oh... I suppose.

At first I was thinking cookies. Cookies are simple and delicious. They didn't feel barbeque enough for me, though. You know what does feel like barbeque food? Puppy chow.

Not real puppy chow of course, but chex cereal covered in peanut butter and chocolate. Yes please. It's crunchy, sweet, and a great snack to munch on while playing Apples to Apples. Oh, and it's easy. Ridiculously so.

For anyone who has never heard of this snack (and don't feel ashamed, I hadn't until last summer) here's the recipe.

Puppy Chow
1/2 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 (17.5 ounce) package crispy corn or rice cereal
1 pound confectioners' sugar*