Apr 042014

My grandson loves to play Pokémon and requested this theme for his birthday cake.

Pokémon Black and White Versions- Isshu Region Pokémon (complete)

He agreed to narrow down the choices of his favorite characters to three for his cake.

After researching more about Pokémon, I found that some of the main images in the game are water, leaf, and fire.

Fortunately, these symbols were easy to make out of fondant.

Pokemon birthday cake

For the two chocolate cakes, I used a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Then half of the second batter was poured into a small metal bowl and the rest poured into a round cake pan.  The large cake was cut in half to make two rectangle shaped pieces.  The round cake was trimmed for the middle section.  Now the round bowl piece was set in the center of the three sections for the Poké Ball.

I love the Savory Sweet Life blog’s Buttercream Frosting recipe and one thin layer was spread on the cake shapes.  The cake was then put in the freezer, while I made the fondant.

Rice Krispie treats work great for molding the character shapes.  Since fondant is expensive and can sometimes be hard as a rock, I found the perfect recipe.  Marshmallow Fondant is great to work with and the How She Does It website gives a detailed step by step tutorial for a “no-fail’ recipe.Pokemon Cake 1

His friends are all Pokémon lovers and they enjoyed choosing which parts of the cake they wanted to eat.

Was it a labor of love?  Absolutely.

But this grandma works for hugs and birthday boy smiles.

What is the most unusual birthday cake you’ve ever seen?

Mar 192014

Minecraft is my grandson’s favorite computer game. Minecraft bug
What is Minecraft?  Kids use creative thinking, geometry, and some geology as they learn to build imaginative block structures.

Steve, Enderman, Diamond Axes, and grass were the characters and items requested for his birthday cake.

MineCraft Birthday Cake

Steve and Enderman were molded with Rice Krispie treats and covered with fondant.  The TNT is mini red Twizzlers.  Pretzels covered with chocolate pieces created the Diamond Axes.  Toasted coconut filled in the area and Kit Kat wafers added the bridges.  A Fruit Rollup had his name written with the Wilton edible writing pen.

I started with two chocolate cakes baked in 9 x 13 inch pans for the blocks.  Crushed Oreo cookies mixed with graham crackers were added to the frosted sides to look like dirt.  Green buttercreme frosting with a Wilton Grass tip, gave the blocks that grassy look.

Inspiration and helpful ideas came from this Coolest Birthday Cake website.  I’d love to hear about your clever cake ideas, since there will be more grandkid birthdays coming soon.

Jan 112014

SpongeBob Squarepants has always been my grandson’s favorite cartoon character.  So it wasn’t a surprise that he requested this theme for his birthday party.Spongebob Squarebants cake Spongebob birthday cake Spongebob Squarepants eyeball
Two chocolate cakes (his choice) were baked in 9 x 13 inch pans for the head and body.

Fondant used for the white eyes, teeth, red tongue, with blue fondant eye balls give him that smiling hello to the partying kids.

Mini donuts created his shoes and pant tops. Large pretzel rods were covered in fondant for his legs and arms.

To keep my fingers from looking yellowish red for the next week, I wore disposable gloves while mixing the colors into the fondant.

Fruit rollups created the tie & belt on chocolate frosted pants.  Rice Krispie treats shaped the hands and fingers and covered in fondant. Wilton’s food writer pens gave an edible birthday message on the fruit rollups.

Blue jello jigglers held the candles and gummy bears were added for snacking until the cake was cut.

Here’s looking at you grandma!  Half the fun of eating the cake is picking out what part they want to eat.

My inspiration came from the many great ideas shown on this Coolest Birthday Cake website.  I’d love to hear about your cake creations and any questions or suggestions you may have for shaped cakes.

Oct 222013


Is the Baked Alaska dessert from Alaska?  Was the German Chocolate cake first made in Germany? German's chocolate cake bloggerman chocolate cake
I assumed this recipe came from Germany.  Then I read out about a chocolatier named Sam German.  He created a sweet baking bar named “BAKER’S German’s Sweet Chocolate.”

When a Texan housewife sent a recipe using German’s Sweet Chocolate to a Dallas newspaper in 1957, everyone started making this cake.  The recipe went viral and the name was shortened to German Chocolate Cake.

Roasting the pecans and coconut takes them from ordinary to extraordinary.

Mix 1 cup chopped pecans with 1 teaspoon of butter and spread on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes.

Spread coconut thinly on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes to evenly brown.

4.5 from 2 reviews
German Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1⅓ cups flaked coconut (toast @ 325 degrees for 5 minutes, stir for even color)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (roast @350 degrees for 5 minutes, watch to not scorch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoon shortening
  • 3 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 - 9 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat water and 4 ounces chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.
  4. Pour into 3 - 9 inch pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  5. To make the filling: In a saucepan combine 1 cup sugar, evaporated milk, ½ cup butter, and 3 egg yolks. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread.
  6. Spread filling between layers and on top of cake. In a small saucepan, melt shortening and 3 ounces of chocolate. Stir until smooth and drizzle down the sides of the cake.

Do you say pee-can or pe-con?

Enjoy the “Foodie Tuesday” series on Inside Journeys



Oct 092013

Wine goes well with everything, but especially while celebrating my Birthday. Birthday Celebration An evening surrounded by family, with a delicious meal and wine selected for this event, creates a memorable celebration.

Merlot is always a favorite choice of ours and now I would like to invite you to another celebration.  Fall is grape harvest time and what better way to celebrate than with a MerlotMe event.

blog - merlotOn October 10th, a must-attend MerlorMe celebration is happening in San Francisco.  Twenty wineries will be pouring their signature Merlot wines and serving appetizers, while enjoying panoramic views of the area.

If you won’t be able to view the Golden Gate Bridge with a glass of wine on October 10th, gather some friends for your own MerlotMe wine celebration.  In case you’re wondering about the name, it is slang for “it’s been a long day, Merlot me!”

blog - merlot monthTo follow the celebrations and events happening in your area or anywhere around the world for wine lovers, click on this twitter or facebook link.

Cheers to a MerlotMe month.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions remain my own and may not reflect the opinions of anyone else.

Sep 292013

Blue Lily Photography is a traveling family that has been, and will go, everywhere!bluelily french vintage costume brick window

As they state in their bio, “A few years ago we sold our belongings and gave up our professions to take photos of families, while traveling the world.”

Their two children are home schooled while visiting the sites they study about.

They are getting an up-close and personal chance to learn about ethnic foods and meeting people from all over the globe.


Blue Lily’s nomadic life and work has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show and in the New York Times.bluelily french vintage costume doorway

Each year, their amazing talents are put to creative use for their children’s annual birthday photo shoots.

Keeping with tradition, Wendy and Tyler planned Isabelle’s sixth birthday pictures around another theme.bluelily french vintage dress twirling


To set the themed birthday shoot into motion, Wendy commissioned me to re-create a Regency period dress.

She sent me a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow from the movie Emma, a Jane Austen novel.

After sewing a dress in the fabric and colors she described, the outfit was sent off to her.

Wendy and Tyler had an idea in mind for her birthday shoot and took the Jane Austen era dress with them to Europe.
bluelily french vintage costume



They found the perfect location in this beautiful garden setting in Normandy, France.


Visit Isabelle’s themed 5th Birthday in Blossoms photo shoot in Kyoto, Japan here, and her 4th birthday with a Princess and the Pea theme here.

You can add your belated birthday wishes on their blog: http://bluelily.squarespace.com/blue-lily-blog/2012/7/17/happy-6th-birthday-isabelle.html/

Visit more travel sites with Travel Photo Mondays at Travel Photo Discovery

Sep 212013

Blue Lily Photography is a traveling family that has been, and will go, everywhere!   bluelily viking costume jasper canada

As they state in their bio: “A few years ago we sold our belongings and gave up our professions to take photos of families, while traveling the world.

Their amazing talents are put to creative use for their children’s annual birthday photo shoots.

bluelily viking hiccup costumeKeeping with tradition, Wendy and Tyler planned Isaac’s eighth birthday pictures with another theme (see last year’s Hobbit shoot and the year before- Tarzan).

Isaac loved the film, How to Train a Dragon, about a Viking named Hiccup.  So he decided he wanted to be “a ferocious Viking, with some niceness.”bluelily viking cotume glacier Jasper Canada

bluelily viking hiccup costume Jasper CanadaTo set the themed birthday shoot into motion, Wendy commissioned me to re-create the Hiccup costume.  She sent a picture of the Viking boy and the many measurements needed.  After sewing the clothes and covering some boots, the outfit was sent to them.

Wendy and Tyler knew when they arrived at Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, that this was the perfect location for the photo shoot.

This became Isaac’s favorite hike in the whole world, and as he told me later when we met for the first time, also “the coldest hike.”

Sit back and enjoy the travels and many creative pictures of Blue Lily Photography on their blog.

I’m sure Isaac would enjoy your comments of how ferocious, but nice he looked as a Viking at this link: http://bluelily.squarespace.com/blue-lily-blog/2012/8/5/a-very-viking-birthday-happy-8th-birthday-isaac.html

Linked to Travel Photo Mondays

May 282013

My husband stated “for my 50th birthday, there’s something I always wanted to do.”   I couldn’t imagine what was on his bucket list, that he hadn’t already accomplished.

His answer was “jump out of an airplane” and my response was “okay, is that with or without a parachute?”  Gosh, he was serious!
Lee's Birthday Tandem skydive 1Well, we celebrated his birthday by driving to the local airport and watching some skydivers.

It looked so effortless, that we both signed up for our tandem skydives.

Lee's In Flight Tandem 2

The jump begins at an altitude of over 1 mile above ground.  The drogue chute (see the yellow tail behind the parachute) is released to stabilize the jumpers.

After free falling down to 5,500 feet, the main parachute is opened.

Lee's Tandem Safe Landing 3 Now learning how to guide this huge tandem chute begins.

The toggle straps have double hand holds, so the trainer and student work together on making turns and landing in the pea gravel.

Lee was the perfect student and had a stand-up landing.

Neva's First Skydive Tandem 1It’s easy to smile at the camera and not be nervous when your feet are still on the ground.

We had a camera man take videos of our first jump.  I was so scared, I had to watch the video to make sure I actually did this skydive.Neva's First Skydive Tandem 2

The worst part for me was when the pilot opened the plane’s door.  The tandem master leaned out that open door to visually check the jump area.  Being buckled to him meant I was hanging out the doorway too.

The camera man exited and was hanging onto the plane’s strut.  At this point, I was more concerned about survival, than geeking the camera mounted on his helmet.

Once we were in free fall, it became the most amazing experience I could ever imagine.

After completing our skydives, we both knew we had to go out that open plane door again for another tandem jump.

What started as my husband’s birthday wish, became our newest hobby.Neva's Tandem Safe Landing 3

May 202013

My grandson chose a ‘Lego King of his Castle’ theme for his sixth birthday party.  The little king’s swim party was a success, even though his crown didn’t float very well.
Birthday Cake copy

The lego birthday king is wearing his red robe and flanked by his lego princess sister and prince brother.  They are shaped from Rice Krispie Treats and covered with colored fondue.  Wilton FoodWriter pens outlined the face and robe details.

Hershey chocolate squares were used for the castle door and windows, then outlined with piped dark chocolate.  Sugar wafer cookies are the drawbridge and held with chocolate licorice chains.

Birthday cake side pic
I cut squares out of the middle of the double layered chocolate cake and placed the pieces on each corner.  The turrets are chocolate covered mini marshmallows.  Waffle cones were placed on top of ice cream cones and chocolate frosting “glued” them together, with golden sugar glitter sprinkled over them.

Bubble wrap covered the tray and then frosted blue for the lego base.  Blue Jello jigglers were cut and placed with red Gummy fish around the cake for the moat.  Fruit rollups were used for the flags and banner.

Many of my inspirations came from the creative ideas for Lego Castle Cakes found in the website: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com.

Apr 292013

My twin grandsons decided that, although they will always share their birthday date, they shouldn’t have to share the same cake.  The one thing they both agreed on was that both cakes should be chocolate,

Dinosaur cake 3 copy
His twin brother loves trains and requested the train cake.   My dinosaur loving twin grandson chose a Stegosaurus cake.

Dinosaur cake birthday 2

His chocolate cake was baked in two round cake pans.  The dinosaur body is a round cake cut in half, with frosting holding the body together.  The tail is a crescent shape cut from the second round cake.  Then four feet were cut to fit next to the body.  A square piece was used for the front of the body’s neck base.  The head was cut and wooden dowels were placed into the cake pieces for support.

All pieces were frozen, so the cut edges frosted easily with less crumbling.  I  tinted white frosting green and used a spoon to help give the frosted body some scales.  The eyes are yellow yogurt candy and more candy was placed on the toasted coconut that I scattered around the dinosaur.  I colored some fondant yellow and cut triangles for the spikes on his back.

The little guy was made from Rice Krispie treats. The bars mold easily and stick together perfectly.  I cut ½-bar for the body and ½-bar to make the two legs.  Another bar was cut up to shape a round head, two arms and feet.  I used colored fondant to cover him and Wilton FoodWriter pens to draw fine lines for the eyes and other details.

To keep your fingers from looking yellowish green for the next week, wear disposable gloves while mixing the colors into the fondant.  Also, a little oil keeps the fondant from sticking to your gloves as you wrap and shape the Rice Krispie bars.

My inspiration for this dinosaur cake came from the many great ideas shown on this website: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com.   Please leave a comment, if you have any questions on the assembly of this cute cake.

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