Day 15 of My Month of Gratitude

I’m late, it’s no longer the morning! I’m really busy today, and that gives today’s thing to be grateful for!

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. .
  17. .

Yesterday was one of step-daughters 21st birthday. She had her party last weekend and I made the cake – it looked great! And then yesterday her mum planned something special for her, for her actual birthday. So today I am making her chosen birthday dinner, and she gets her present and her special dessert.

Each of the kids have a particular dessert that they get for their birthday – the eldest is a red-velvet cake, the next has always been ice-cream because he doesn’t eat cake but has recently decided he likes roulade (so guess what I’m learning to make for his birthday next month!), the next is chocolate biscuit cake with white chocolate decorations, the next is cookies, the next is brownies, the next likes to be surprised but likes to have a fun and rich flavoured cake (like a ferrero rocher cake or salted caramel!) and so on….

As it is her 21st birthday, we have a tradition for 18ths and 21st that they get money – at 18yrs they get a bit more money, but just handed to them. The 21st present is money, a bit less than at 18yrs old but it is given in a fun way. We’re on our fourth 21st birthday, so have spent a good bit of time coming up with ideas and always thinking ahead to the next one (I’ve had todays way of gifting the money chosen for the past 3 years following a comment she made 3yrs ago!)

A lot of my friends think that I am mad spending so much time and thought on making these occasions special, particularly as the last two years I was pregnant and then had a newborn and we fell behind in the birthdays. But yet I wanted to catch up on them, as opposed to just starting over fresh – or doing one big meal. However it is important to me, and I love doing it. I think that this is what memories are made of, they know that I will always do my best to make their special days special. I did catch up, I think I did one big meal and four different cakes! And then got back into doing the rest of them close enough to being on time for the rest of the year! And this year I’m being more on the ball, and getting the birthday meals organised quicker!

I have decided to simplify things for myself and for my own kids I have just been doing a cake and tea party where everyone comes for literally cake and tea to blow out the candles, and then for the older kids I am doing the birthday meal for just the birthday person (and their partner and kid/s if applicable). It means I am only doing the big meal for the 17 of us twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas, possibly also Fathers Day. Their fathers birthday we do a big take-away here, nice and easy, no cooking!!

But I am so grateful for all these little opportunities to spoil and remind our children how special they are, and for us to get together and make memories with all these special occasions.

 

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Rainbow Cake

It was the baby’s first birthday a few weeks ago, and I had seen rainbow cakes last year and I really wanted to make one. I had planned to make it for my other half’s birthday but when I looked up recipes I realised I needed to use gel colours or it could look wishy washy. So I ordered the gels and planned it for the 1st birthday instead.

A friend, who had a cake business, told me the key to good colours was to use a yolk free batter, so I found a recipe for an angel food cake. The recipe I used had 12 egg whites, and you beat them to nice and puffy – but of course once you split it between six bowls (it loses a bit of air, and “puff”) and then mix in the food colour gels, it had lost all its air and all its puff. Which I think then affected the texture and taste.

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I had a bit of an issue with my orange layer. I decided to work through the rainbow starting at red, then orange. I put in equal amounts of red and yellow food gel to make the orange, not realising that the red dye was extremely strong. I ended up having to put about half the jar of yellow food gel into it, and still in the bowl it looked red. It didn’t look at bad once it actually baked.

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Once they were cooled, I wrapped them in clingfilm and put them in the fridge overnight.

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Next morning I made a lovely white chocolate buttercream icing (that I found the recipe of here: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/16140/white-chocolate-buttercream-icing.aspx) and added a layer in between and on top. The fun began when I tried to do the sides. I just didn’t have the patience, it kept falling off.

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Luckily, the other half stepped in, with a hot knife, and his nice calm patience!

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And so it was all ready for the big reveal! I was more excited than the kids! 🙂

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I was very impressed. Now, I must admit that the sponge was not lovely and light, or moist and tasty – it was dense and rubbery to be honest. I think that if I was to make it again, I would just use a normal cake batter, egg yolk and all. What do you think, taste or looks – which is more important in the case of a rainbow cake?