Friday, May 8, 2009

Bean's Birthday Castle

My Jilly-Bean (the baby) turned 5 this week. It’s a good thing I started “The 30-Day Shred” or I might have actually been sad. Thankfully every muscle in my body hurts so the only tears I have cried have been in true physical agony. No time for mental anguish around here. I didn’t even get teary when we went to the K assessment today. I was too busy trying to find a less painful but still graceful way to sit down.

A few months ago my SIL gave Jill a gorgeous book (she works for a publishing company and often gives us the most FABULOUS books). The book was a Fairy Tale craft book full of tons of beautiful, meaningful crafts that this lazy mom will probably never do. But the crowning glory of this book was the Princess Castle Birthday Cake. Oh it made Jill’s eyes glaze over, mine too but for a totally different reason. Jill tore the page from her book (gasp) and put it on the fridge with a reminder that THIS is what I want for my birthday. And how can you deny your last child who will ever turn 5? The cake had a bazillion directions and included things like fondant and homemade jelly roll turrets. These are not in my vocabulary! Now, I’m pretty handy in the kitchen. I can cook up just about anything, but a pastry chef I am not! Come on people, I AM MESSY!

But then I remembered ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and since my child very often dresses like this, I knew I didn’t have to be an Ace of Cakes in order to make her dream come true! Think lots of bling-bling and tons of icing…and head straight on over to the Family Fun website to find a simpler cake. Here is their original recipe.

And here’s how I adjusted it and made it even cheaper and easier. I bought: 3 yellow cake mixes, 2 large containers of icing, 1 box of ice cream cones, and 1 can of pink decorators icing at Target. No coupons with me on this trip so I end up spending somewhere around 10 bucks. I already had some gorgeous white and multicolored coarse sugar left from Christmas baking (bulk $2.20/lb) used less than 50 cents worth (I’m guessing I have no idea!)

I baked the cakes the day before ( 3 - 9 x 13s), froze them overnight, cut one cake in half & stacked to make the base of the castle. The other cakes I just cut and pasted (with icing of course) until it looked like I wanted it to!
Gave the whole thing a crumb coat and took the second container of icing (these are the jumbo size) and popped it in the micro for a couple seconds. Gave it a few drops of purple food coloring and a good stir and then dumped the whole thing onto the top layer. That’s right, that’s how I decorate (this really effective with cupcakes warm the icing in a bowl, dip and swirl cupcakes). The warm, smooth icing just drips and slides down the whole cake. With just a couple of swipes from me, just evening out the puddles, voila! I’m done with the icing.

Now is this the most beautiful way to decorate? Heck no! But now for the bling-bling, just liberally toss sprinkles/coarse sugar all over said cake and you’ve got instant kid approval. Add a few cones, slathered with icing, and dredged in more sprinkles and, have mercy, your child will be squealing in joy.

Now here’s the other cheapo additions that really make the cake. The flags on the cone turrets are just clip art that I cut out and taped to a toothpick (see the tape in the pics?). But my daughter’s favorite part was seeing herself dressed as Cinderella on the cake! Again, clip art!!! I printed a pic of Cinderella and on the same page I put a picture of Jill (this should have made it easier to gauge the size better..should). Cut them out, paste a lovely face over Cinderella, and attach to a skewer and …there you go!

Every child deserves a mom-made birthday cake at least once…(please don’t tell Jill that the first two children got a special mom-designed cake for the first 5 years of their lives..sigh..)

This post is linked to The Grocery Cart Challenge’s Recipe Swap and Life As Mom’s Frugal Friday!


Melissa said...

That cake turned out great!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...



Hoosier Homemade said...

That's awesome! Great job! Thanks for sharing!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Gorgeous cake! I love it!!!

Happy birthday to your sweet little Jilly Bean.....

....and p.s. I just started Level Two on The Shred....