Festive Birthday Pennants and Birthday Cakes 2011

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I try to make a new birthday decoration every year for my kids to go with the birthday theme for that year. This year, my son’s theme was trains(again!).
My son says the ticking reminds him of a conductor’s hat so that’s why I went with that. It looks kinda mariner to me when it’s by itself but it went well with his train items.
His birthday cake turned out soooo good and I spent less than an hour of total time on it. I made a 13X9 hot milk sponge cake and used giant train cookie cutters(thrift store for $.50) to make train shapes. Then I topped the cutouts with warmed peanut butter, firmed that up in the freezer, then covered the shapes with Wilton chocolate melts. I put the confetti on while the chocolate was still wet. I used the last bit of canned icing I had in the freezer to decorate this in 5 minutes. It’s not perfect or terribly fancy but I’m out of practice and I knew he’d love it anyway!


My daughter’s theme this year was Cars 2.

I actually bought a shaped cake pan for the first time since my daughter is just crazy about Lightening McQueen. I used a homemade chocolate cake recipe and had no trouble with getting it out of the pan(well, I did but I knew that was because the cake hadn’t cooled enough so I waited and it came out the next try without damage). I couldn’t find the special icing dyes for McQueen anywhere and I wasn’t too excited with the idea of all that coloring anyway. I’m extremely sensitive to coloring. I accidentally licked my finger while decorating with the colored icing and my tongue swelled up. :/ And that’s why I only have a set of colors in the house for making homemade playdough. :D So I came up with the idea of icing the cake in almost all white and using red colored sugar to get color without as much dye. The wheels and outlining are melted chocolate. :D

I was really tired when I decorated this since we’d been celebrating birthdays for about 60 hours at that point, plus entertaining out of state relatives. I was muttering under my breath during the hour of messing with icing about never again decorating such a complicated cake. It just wasn’t turning out as well as I wanted it to and I was getting upset. Then something happened that totally saved the day. We lost power just as I was about to serve the cake. So we lit a bunch of candles and proceeded with the cake. The cake magically looked 10X better in the low light! And the birthday girl loved it. ;)

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