Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Caution! Mudslide Birthday Cake

  • This cake was the big hit at The Boy's birthday party this weekend, but it's chocolate, so that wasn't a big surprise. Everyone loves chocolate! I doctored up my favorite Devil's Food cake recipe to make it taste like a mudslide and work with the party theme. No worries, of course, as the alcohol bakes out, so it is still safe to serve to children! Just don't eat to much of the batter as you are making it, or you'll find yourself with a happy buzz:) This makes a big cake, so make sure you have enough people to eat it or pack it up to take home or else it will be your breakfast for the next week. Which actually may not be a bad thing.

  • Chocolate Mudslide Birthday Cake

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 6 cups of your favorite fudge frosting. I ordered mine from ShopRite (gasp!) but it's hella good, yo. Better than any recipe I have tried, honest!

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa and espresso powder into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk and Bailey's into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture. 

Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool. 

Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Sliceone cake layer in half, from top to bottom, set aside. Place one full cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 cup chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second full cake layer, and spread with another 1 cup frosting. Add one of the half layers, spread with frosting and top with remaining half cake layer. Using a serrated knife, carve the top two layers on the diagonal to create a hill shape. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Decorate with chocolate graham cracker crumbs, malted milk balls, and trucks! Serve with Rocky Road Ice Cream!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jude!

Somehow in the midst of our crazy life, our Little Boy Who Was Once The Bean turned two. E-freaking-gad! I have no idea how he is a two year old who is over three feet tall, driving trains and singing "California Dreamin'." It's kind of insane. He is one of the oldest in his little kid crew of 12, so of course we had to have a party. Inspired by his current favorite book, I'm Dirty, we went with a construction truck theme. And yes, I gleaned the internet for everything truck-ish, Pinning as I went, until I had a plan. E happened to be out of town on business the entire week before the bash, so I did one thing each day to keep The Boy and I busy, and to prevent a stress-filled weekend of last minute mania. Here's the picture laden run down...

The invitation: A big ol' dump truck complete with coloring page envelopes and washi caution tape. 
They are not yet in the shop, but just hit me up if you are interested until I post them:)

We asked Jude's friends to make donations to St. Jude's Children's Hospital instead of bringing him presents, since with an in home day care in our basement, he pretty much has everything a kid could ever want. This is definitely going to be our annual thing. St. Jude's is the best childrens' charity ever.

 The decor: Jude and I built a paper mountain to cover the oh-so-pretty wall AC unit that currently resides in the dining room. He had a blast rubbing glue sticks on paper (and then his face) while we worked on it. 

The food: Dirt cups, pretzel lumber, Pirate's Booty, a bacon jalapeno cheese mountain, a tool box veggie tray, dried pineapple rocks, Boulder Cookies, and a Chocolate Mudslide Cake
I will try to post a few more of those recipes soon!

A closer view of the cake, decorated with chocolate graham cracker crumbs and malted milk balls.

I made a table runner from the coloring pages left over from the invitations.

Luckily we had gorgeous weather, so the kids got to play with the split pea and rice sensory boxes on the deck. It took only minutes for them to start tossing it, so I am thrilled we didn't have to do it inside!

In case of rain, we set up a demolition city in the basement playroom. 
It was great motivation to get my craft room in order and unpack the last lingering boxes from our move!

I painted this dump truck based on the one from his invitations. I think it will hang around a while!

He actually ate sweets! Well, this is yogurt, but it has chocolate crumbs on top!

This morning I finally let him pull some of the decorations off the walls. 
He has been driving cars on this road all day!