Archive for August, 2010

Happy 25th, Hubby!

August 31, 2010

This past weekend we celebrated Mark’s 25th birthday in Houston with his family. His dad was in town from London so it was a great opportunity to see everyone all at once. At first, I thought this little road trip would cause me to break my tradition of baking Mark a birthday cake; but in the end I decided to make it at home and bring it along.

After seeing this rainbow-colored cake on Swiss Miss, I knew I had to try it myself. But first I needed a good yellow cake recipe. Sure, I had a few in the ol’ recipe box but I never remembered any of them being amazing, so to the internet I go. Any time I’m looking for a specific recipe I always search for it on Smitten Kitchen first and if she has it, I try it. Luckily, she’s dedicated an entire post to the “best birthday cake” and I decided to give it a go. Let me say this: that recipe produced the most moist, fluffy and delicious yellow cake I have ever made, period; I will never use another from this day on!

To make the batter more colorful, I divided it evenly into six bowls {for the six different colors}. At first, I added 6 drops of dye into each bowl thinking that should be enough; I was way off…it ended up taking a total of around 20 drops each to get the color dark enough to where it didn’t look like Easter pastels. I have to admit, the purple didn’t turn out as I had hoped; you would think equal parts red and blue would equal purple but apparently not.

Then I simply poured half of each color into two 9″ round cake pans, starting with red and ending with purple, and gave it a little swirl with a spoon.

After the layers were cooled overnight in the fridge, I cut out the shape of the Apple logo with a stencil that I had made on the computer. Icing it was definitely the hardest part. I think it would have been easier if I had made the icing from scratch because the store-bought stuff is so darn thick that it tends to pull crumbs off of the cake more.

Transporting it in the car for 3 hours took its toll on the icing; the leaf started to lean quite a bit and the icing between the layers bulged out at the sides a little. But we got it to Houston in one piece and the husband definitely enjoyed it!

Look at all those candles! Someone’s finally old enough to rent a car, haha!

The best part was cutting that first piece out and seeing all the colors pop against the white icing. I was going for a play on the new & old Apple logos. :)

The other event of the weekend was the black light party that was thrown for Mark and Daniel’s birthdays {his was only a few days before}. Daniel and his roommate spent a pretty penny to replace nearly all the light bulbs in their house with black lights and it…was…awesome.

Mandy and I went out and found some neon-colored clothing and some cheap sunglasses that we popped the lenses out of and painted with fluorescent paint. Once we got to the party we painted ourselves with black light paint and drew on each other with highlighter {did you know that highlighter glows in black light? I sure didn’t}.

They even made punch that glowed by adding vitamin B12 to the mix {thank you Google for that little tidbit of knowledge}. It was a pretty fun time and it made for some great pictures.

Overall a wonderful, long weekend spent celebrating the life of my favorite person in the world!


Ice Cream Festival

August 16, 2010

On Saturday, Mark, my brother and I went to the 14th annual Austin Ice Cream Festival at Waterloo Park. I honestly had no idea what to expect since this was our first time to attend, but with the advertised ice cream eating contest and popsicle stick building contest I went hoping for the best.

We made it to the park around 2:30 and the Texas sun was boiling hot and beating down on us. We walked a lap around the park passing by about 7 or 8 ice cream and food vendors along with craft tents, a caricature/face painting booth and a handful of kiddie rides. I have to say I wasn’t too impressed {I think the event is geared more towards kids} but nevertheless, we stuck around for the eating contest.

The event began with the introductions of the eaters announced by an extremely over-animated guy who has apparently been hosting competitive eating contests for over 22 years…what a job. There were 5 contestants from Austin along with Joey Chestnutt, the world record holder for various eating competitions.

They had 5 minutes to eat as much ice cream possible…Joey downed 1-1/4 gallons while the other eaters combined ate about a gallon total. It was pretty much disgusting and awesome at the same time.

There’s Joey in the center, finishing off his first gallon.

All things considered, I’d give the ice cream festival a 5 out of 10. It was just too dang hot to be enjoyable and there wasn’t a whole lot to do; not to mention there was no free ice cream and the ice cream for sale was marked up considerably. We most likely won’t go back next year but it was definitely fun to experience it once.