Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Thomas!

My little guy turned 2 years old today. What a little man! Lately he's been really into growling and roaring and stalking around like a predator. So when someone at work gave Jeff a couple green chocolate alligators, we knew we had the perfect inspiration for Thomas' birthday cake.

So cute, and so easy! I made a 9x13 yellow cake (from a mix, they were on sale for 69 cents a box). Then I frosted it with my go-to decorator frosting recipe (found in this post).

I frosted the cake normally, then I built up the "sand" corner with some extra frosting. I wanted it to be a bit of an incline. I left about 1/4 cup frosting for the water. I dyed that blue and spread it over the "water" corner. Then I crushed up some sandwich cookies and pressed them into the frosting on the "beach" to make up the sand, just like I did for his first birthday cake. Yup, when I find an idea that works, I keep using it! :-)

For the plants, I just bought some aquarium plants, one package of the cheapest kind they had; it was less than a dollar. I figured aquarium plants would work perfectly because they're meant to look aquatic. I stuck a couple pieces of the plant along the edges of the pond, and one more on the beach. Then I just plopped on the chocolate alligators, and I was done!

I really enjoy doing cakes that look special, but are simple to make. My cakes are nowhere near professional quality, but I sure think they're cute!

Picture of the birthday boy, enjoying the goodies!

Sorry for the strange lighting. This apartment can very unforgiving in the lighting department sometimes!

Having recently been given a new (to us) ice cream maker, we decided to make ice cream today after church instead of buying some. We didn't have any cream, but nothing stops me when I put my frugal mind to it!

Ice Cream (the cheap version, lol)
4 cups evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk (made my own, recipe to follow)
2 tbsp. vanilla

In ice cream freezer container, combine all ingredients; mix well. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze leftovers.

So thrilled to have an ice cream maker! It worked really well. Next time I would let it churn a little longer to let the ice cream thicken a bit more. But it turned out so good!

Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 tbsp. melted margarine

Combine all ingredients in blender container. Process until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Yields equivalent of 1 can sweetened condensed milk.

Yeah, I'm a tightwad and proud of it! The ice cream turned out fantastic - delicious and creamy. It was the perfect way for us to break in our ice cream maker, and the perfect accompaniment to our alligator cake. Having used homemade sweetened condensed milk and canned evaporated milk, it of course had a different flavor than regular ice cream. But sometimes I like different, it makes things interesting!

Happy birthday to my little guy! It's been such a fun two years!


Rebekah said...

Cute!!!!!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Jamie said...

I love it! That cake looks great, very cute! I'm totally craving cake and ice cream now.

Bridget said...

What a lucky little guy to have that cute cake AND homemade ice cream on his birthday!!!

Frogmama said...

I love that cake! Green chocolate alligators??! How unusual! That was some pretty awesome timing coming across THOSE! ... I like to make unique cakes for my girls each birthday too - mostly from my Family Fun cake book (the horsey one with bubble-tape hair is the usual, lol)

Happy birthday to the little guy!

Tiffaney said...

What a cute cake!!!!! You have such a talent for using what is available to you and making it turn out wonderful. I love the idea of using crushed sandwich cookies for sand (I'll have to file that away and use it later :-) ). And that homemade ice cream made my mouth water! I hope that you thought of me when you ate it ;-)

Stephanie said...

Yeah, those alligators... One of the techs at Jeff's work owns(?) a candy shop, and often brings over stuff that didn't sell before it's date. It's still good, but she can't sell it anymore so she brings it to the lab and gives it out. The alligators just happened to be in the stash that Jeff brought home the other day. How awesome is that!

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite ice cream recipe. You may be able to substitute whole milk for the half and half or cream.

Best Ever Homemade Ice Cream
Serves: 2
2 cups half-and-half or 1 cup milk and 1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients and place in ice cream maker. Pack with ice and salt. This recipe can be doubled many times.

Katy ~ said...

You are so clever! What a terrific cake for a growling little boy. Loved it! We have a couple of dinosaur lovers so you have inspired me.