Archive for May, 2010
Earlier this year, while visiting family in Omaha, we celebrated three different birthdays. Both my mom and sister bought gluten-free cakes at the Cupcake Island so we could enjoy their birthday cakes with them. The gluten-free cakes and cupcakes were delicious and decorated perfectly for the occasions. I hadn’t really investigated getting gluten-free cakes from local bakeries in Virginia. But when I came home, I thought I’d see if a local bakery could make a gluten-free cake for my daughter’s birthday. Surprise! Cakes by Happy Eatery in northern Virginia makes gluten-free cakes. Unfortunately, my daughter was having a lot of friends at her party, and the cake large enough to accommodate was going to cost $85-100. I just didn’t think that would fit into my budget. So, I made the cake myself.
I enjoy decorating cakes, but I was short on time this year. Rather than make the cake from scratch, I took the short cuts: Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mixes and frosting. I used four cake mixes. For the bottom layer, I combined two yellow cake mixes and baked them for about 50 minutes in a 9″x 13″ pan. For the top layer I did the same thing with two chocolate cake mixes. I used chocolate frosting between the layers, and vanilla frosting tinted green to cover the top and sides.
Now to decorate. My daughter wanted a Princess and the Frog birthday cake because Tiana is her new favorite princess. I bought the little Princess Tiana dress-up doll set that came with the frogs and firefly to help decorate the cake. That way I could quickly create a swamp and lily pads for the frogs. My daughter was pleased, and I got it done without too much time and drama.
Some of the tools I used to decorate the cake:
- Wilton Color Mist spray – blue and green for the swamp
- Disposable Decorating Bags
- Wilton frosting tips – Open Star Tip to decorate the edge of the cake, Leaf Tip and multiple-hole tip for grass to define the edge of the pond, and round tip for writing.
Want to purchase a gluten-free cake or cupcakes, instead?
Give these bakeries in the DC/MD/NOVA area a try:
- Cakes by Happy Eatery in Centreville and Manassas, VA
- Cherry Blossom Cakes in DC
- Free For All Cupcakes available by special order
- Mallow Drama in Reston, VA
- Sweet Sin Cupcakes in Baltimore, MD
More Notable Links:
My birthday this week didn’t turn out quite like I expected. I was hoping to spend the morning shopping, but instead had a sick child, and ended up keeping both of my kids home from school. But, although cleaning up vomit is not my idea of fun, it ended up being a pretty good day after all. We slept in late and spent the day in our pajamas watching movies, playing lots of games, creating mosaic art projects, and making brownie pops. Since we had the time, I decided to make the brownies into a fun flower bouquet. I thought they turned out so cute, I might just use the idea for a teacher gift at the end of the year.
What You’ll Need:
Cupcake Paper Liners or construction paper for the petals
- Mix the brownie batter according to the package or recipe instructions.
- Lightly spray the pan with oil. Then, fill the pan cavities 3/4 full and bake at the recipe/package recommended temperature.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until done.
- While the brownies are baking, prepare a vase for the brownie pops. I filled a ceramic vase with floral foam to hold the pops in place. You can cover the foam with tissue paper or wrapping paper to make it look prettier.
- Cut the cupcake papers to make flower petals. Fold the paper liner in half twice, and cut the bottom out. You can also do this with construction paper, but the cupcake liners are quick and easy.
- When the brownies are done, gently remove them from the pan and let them cool on a rack.
- When the brownies have cooled slightly, slide a pop stick into each of the brownies.
- If desired, dip the brownies into melted chocolate or candy and let dry completely before putting on the paper petal ring.
- If you’re not dipping the brownies into melted candy, simply slide the paper petal ring over the brownie pop and slide a pop stick into one side of the brownies. The stick will help keep the petals in place.
- I made 16 brownie pops with one brownie recipe.
You can really use your imagination to come up with more ideas on this one.
- I cut the edges of the paper liners on some of these to make more-defined flower petals. You could also cut petals out of construction paper or wrapping paper for brighter colors.
- You can dip the brownie pops into a variety of colored candy melts, for a more vibrantly colored flower. Add sprinkles or sugar while the candy is still wet so it sticks.
- Insert the pop sticks into the brownies at various angles, to give the bouquet some variety.
- If you don’t have the pop sticks, try Craft Sticks or chop sticks.
- You can also make these without the sticks. Scallop the edges of the cupcake papers to look like a flower, but don’t cut out the bottom. Then, just place the brownie bites, flat side down, into the cupcake papers. A plate of these brownie flowers would be a great way to offer a treat at a party. And thanks to the papers, no plates or napkins would be needed.
- These would make a great gift for teacher appreciation, mother’s day, or a flower theme party.
- Recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies at Gluten-Free Girl are made with brown rice flour and tapioca flour.
- Elana’s Pantry makes Chocolate Chip Brownies made with almond butter and agave nectar, but no flour.
- Emeril Legasse makes Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brownies made with brown rice flour, applesauce, and banana.
- The Spunky Coconut has Grain-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Brownies and a Vegan version too.