Happy First Birthday, Summer (and a doggie cake and ice cream recipe)

It all started when my daughter, Hannah, showed me a Facebook post about a 5 month old golden retriever that needed a home.  My cousin, Teri, posted it.  She runs a dog rescue in Los Angeles called Henry’s Hope.

Our New Puppy crop

That weekend, on August 16th, we drove to Los Angeles to bring home that timid little 5 month old puppy.  On the way, we talked about what we wanted to call her.  It didn’t take long for us all to agree on the name “Summer.”

When we arrived at Teri’s house in L.A., we met her.  She was so scared of everything.  She tinkled on my cousin’s floor when we cautiously approached her.  “Do you know her name?” I asked my cousin.  “Yes,” she replied.  “Her name is Summer.”

Some things are just meant to be.

Over the last seven months, Summer has grown and changed.  Gone is the timid little puppy that was afraid of everything.  She has been replaced by a curious, friendly, carefree little girl who loves everyone and everything.

She has destroyed our yard and has eaten drywall, chewed up toys, slipper, dog beds, underwear, and so much more.  We can’t leave any food on the kitchen counters or it will be a snack for Summer.

She loves the rain.  There is nothing more exciting to her than to run around the yard and get as much mud on her body as possible and then run around the house leaving mud everywhere.

When we go for walks, she walks like a drunk.  She can’t walk in a straight line down the sidewalk.  There are just too many interesting things to see to the right and to the left.

Yet, despite all of this, she is our joy.  She makes us smile and laugh every single day.  She loves everyone she meets.  She loves her big brother, Dusty, above all.  She wants to play with all people, all dogs, cats, bunnies, birds – all living things.  She loves to watch animals on TV, including cookie monster.

Summer watching cookie monster

Today, we celebrate her 1st birthday.  We don’t really know if her birthday is on March 16th.  We only know that she became a member of the family on August 16th and that she was 5 months old when we brought her home.  So from now on, Summer’s birthday will be celebrated on March 16th.

For her first birthday, Summer got cake and ice cream.  Here are the recipes:

Summer’s First Birthday Cake (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s Peanut Butter Carrot Doggy Cake)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour your pan.  I used a Pantastic Dog Bone Cake Pan that I purchased here.  Whisk together the flour and the baking soda in a mixing bowl Add the other ingredients  and mix until combined.  The mixture will be pretty thick.  Spoon the batter into the pan making sure it is level.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

You can cool the cake and serve it un-iced if you’d like, or you can add some icing.  I decide to add icing since this was a special occasion.

Summer's 1st Birthday Cake unfrosted

Cottage Cheese Doggie Icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • whole wheat flour

Separate the whites from the yolks of two eggs. Add 1 cup of cottage cheese to the two egg whites and blend at high speed (or you can use a food processor like I did).  Sprinkle the mixture with flour a tablespoon at a time until the icing reaches the consistency you like.  I used about 2-3 tablespoons but I also drained as much liquid from the cottage cheese as I could before adding it to the egg whites.

Summer's 1st Birthday Cake

 

2016-03-16 20.20.43

Doggie Ice Cream

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 32 ounces of plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
Place the banana in a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt, the peanut butter and the honey.  Mix until well blended.  Pour the mixture into small containers of your choice (paper cups, small plastic containers, ice cube trays or muffin tins).  Freeze.
I’ll add the photo tomorrow.  I’m too tired now. Sorry.
Happy Birthday, Summer!  I hope you enjoyed your cake and ice cream!

 

 

 

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! Or if you prefer,

Happy 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307…

Pie Cookies

Thanksgiving Pie Cookies

These are one of my first ever decorated cookie sets!  Not bad for a beginner way back about 5 years ago!

Finished Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

These are from Thanksgiving 2014.  Much better than pumpkin pie, which is one of my least favorite pies ever. (Sorry, pumpkin pie lovers).

I hope you get some pie today!

Ninetieth Birthday Cookies

My former mother-in-law, Shirley, celebrated her 90th birthday several days ago.  She is known by her family as Nama since that is the name her first grandchild and my daughter, Stephanie, gave her many years ago.

This woman is truly amazing.  She is in great shape.  She has an active social life, she still drives, and you can count on her showing up to her great grandson’s T-ball games and soccer games.  She has more energy than I do.

90th birthday cookies cake candles

90th birthday cookies banners tags

90th birthday cookies

Okay, the photos aren’t great.  I took them in the evening when the lighting wasn’t great.  But the cookies turned out great and she loved them.  Here’s to making her more cookies for her 100th birthday and for all of the birthdays in between!

My Birthday Cake

My birthday was on Friday, and since I’m the baker in the family, I decided to make myself a birthday cake.  I didn’t ask anyone what kind of cake they wanted.  I didn’t ask them how they wanted it decorated.  I just made what I wanted to make.  And here it is:

My Birthday Cake

My favorite cake is chocolate cake, and my favorite cake recipe is Beatty’s Chocolate Cake Recipe by Ina Garten on Food Network.  This cake is a chocolate cake with buttercream icing.  I’ll share the recipe later.

It’s purple because my birthday is in February and the birthstone is amethyst.  Plus, I like purple.  It’s a rose cake because rose cakes are pretty, and because they are fast and easy, but they don’t look fast and easy.  But let’s make that our little secret.  If you want to know how to make a rose cake, here’s my favorite tutorial.

I’d love to show you a slice of this cake, but I can’t.  “Why?”, you ask.  Because I have an 18 year old son.  He decided to do me a favor and carry it over to my daughter’s house.  He set it on the counter, but he didn’t really set it on the counter.  So it fell on the ground.   Thank God I took a photo before we left the house!

Those of you who decorate cakes and cookies know that this is exactly why we, and by “we” I mean cake and cookie decorators, insist on transporting our creations ourselves.  No one else will be as careful as we are because no one else knows how much work went into that edible work of art.

By the way, we were still able to eat the cake.  That cake carrier is amazing.  The lid did not come off but the whole cake fell sideways and upside down.  So we scraped it off of the lid and cut it and ate it.  It was delicious, but it was not pretty.

 

Sports Themed Baby Shower Cookies

Sports themed Baby Rattles

Sports-Themed Baby Rattle Cookies

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more of my baking projects on this website. This will require me to remember to take photos while I’m baking and decorating, organize my time more efficiently, and learn to take better pictures.  That’s a tall order for me, but here I go.  Baby steps.

So here’s my first post of 2016: Sports Themed Baby Shower Cookies.  These are not my original design. My customer sent me a photo of the cookies she wanted and asked me to include soccer cookies along with the baseball cookies, football cookies, and basketball cookies from her photo.  I tracked down the photo to Baking In Heels on Etsy.  Her cookies are  beautiful.

I used a baby rattle cookie cutter like this.  For the football cookies, I also used a football shaped cutter from this set. I combined the two cookie cutters to get the football shaped rattle using this tutorial.

I didn’t take any photos while baking and decorating this time, but cut me some slack, this New Year’s resolution is a work in progress.  Teeny, tiny baby steps.

To make these cookies, you will need:

  • baby rattle cookie cutter
  • football shaped cookie cutter
  • your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  • your favorite royal icing recipe
  • Americolor chocolate brown food color gel
  • Americolor bright white food color gel
  • Americolor super red food color gel
  • Americolor super black food color gel
  • Americolor orange food color gel
  • Food color marker ( I prefer a light color like yellow – see instructions)

Football Baby Rattle Cookie: Outline and flood the football shape in brown royal icing.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the handle in brown.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the shaft of the rattle in brown.  Let dry overnight.

Once dry, add the football detail in piping consistency white royal icing using a small round tip. I used a PME round 1.5 tip, my favorite decorating tip.  Then add the white bow.  Finished.

Basketball Baby Rattle Cookie: With a small round tip (I used the PME 1.5 tip again), pipe the black detail of the basketball with black piping consistency royal icing.  Let dry completely to avoid bleeding of black icing into orange icing.  Why do I mention this?  Let’s just say I may have learned the hard way.  And I truly want to save you the frustration. You’re welcome.

Once dry, carefully fill in the basketball with orange royal icing.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the handle of the rattle in orange.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the shaft of the rattle in orange.  Let dry overnight.

Now you can add the bow in black piping consistency royal icing.  Done.

Baseball Baby Rattle Cookie: Outline and flood the baseball shape in white royal icing.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the handle in white.  Let dry.  Outline and flood the shaft of the rattle in white.  Let dry overnight.

Once dry, use piping consistency red royal icing with a small round tip to pipe on the baseball details and the red bow.  Done.  This one is the easiest of the four.

Soccer Baby Rattle Cookie: This is the most challenging of the four cookies, but with my iPad, the Camera Lucida app, and this tutorial, you can draw the soccer ball on the cookie with a food color marker.

Next, fill in the black part of the soccer ball with black royal icing.  Once it is completely dry, fill in the white part of the soccer ball with white royal icing.  Let dry.  Now outline and flood the handle of the rattle in black royal icing.  Let dry.  Then outline and flood the shaft of the rattle in white royal icing.  Let dry overnight.

All that’s left to do is pipe on the bow with black piping consistency royal icing using a small round tip.

Your cookies are done!  Enjoy!

And now I am done with my first post of 2016.  And I’m well on my way to keeping my resolution.  Yay me!

 

Anatomical Heart Cake For My Husband’s Birthday

My husband had a birthday on September 28th.  I won’t say how old he is, but he’s old.

I had his cake all planned out, but my plans changed a few days earlier when I was at Costco and I got a text from him that said, “I’m in ER with chest pains”.  Well, that’s obviously not the kind of text message you want to receive from your husband, or anyone else for that matter.  Luckily, he had some tests done and they determined that it was probably just indigestion.

So I made his birthday dinner, Baby Back Ribs, Crack Potatoes, and Baked Beans.  And I made his cake.  He requested a white almond sour cream cake with custard filling and buttercream frosting.

I’m grateful that everything turned out okay and that we can laugh about it now.  But I am not taking it for granted.  We joined a gym the following week!

Gary's Anatomical Heart Birthday Cake

Gary’s Anatomical Heart Birthday Cake

Not anatomically correct!

Not anatomically correct!