Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Creation of the Train Cake

When we decided to make a train cake for Luke's birthday, I got on pinterest and google to see what other mom's had done.  I came across this blog post  and was totally inspired.  Then we incorporated Luke's favorite book, Freight Train , and felt pretty confident that it would turn out...and not be too hard.  

Well, in August, we finally got neighbors (trust me - there's a point to this tangent).  We had them over for ice cream a few weeks ago, and mentioned Luke's birthday and our idea for the cake.  It just so happens that our new neighbor stays at home with her daughter and decorates cakes for a hobby.  So she offered to help!  Little did I know she's GOOD.  And has a tackle box, completely loaded with cake decorating stuff (bags, tips, books with directions and pictures, and a piping gun!).  She was a lifesaver. Mainly because Matt and I had tried a "practice cake" - and were completely clueless.  Dirty frost and let it dry - had never heard of it.  Thin the frosting to dirty frost.  Thicken the frosting to pipe.  Have more than one bag for piping.  

And to top it off, she was an engineer - so she's detail oriented!  Every time I said, "that looks so good" she said, "oh - well, what if we pipe on some more detail here".  Okay.  Done.  So, what was a fun idea to start with turned into this really incredible and gorgeous cake!  Thank you Kim.  

I used the cake and frosting recipes from the blog I already mentioned - and they were great.  The cake was incredible; moist and dense enough to stick together well.  For this project I made a double batch, which from the picture below you can tell was almost too much for the trusty Kitchen Aid.



We used the Wilton steam engine cake pan, and I followed the accompanying directions to a T.  

















The cake, dirty frosted.  The cars are from mini loaf pans, filled with approximately 8 oz of cake batter.  That turned out to be too much batter.  When I took the cakes out, the bottoms fell off most of the mini loaves because there was just too much cake in the pans.  I think 6 ozs would have worked much better.  The double batch of cake batter made enough for 10 mini loaves (which the extras were great - because it guaranteed enough cars were in tact enough to utilize.)









Oreos as wheels, and 1 oreo with the white frosting as the light.  

Twix as the "hitch" between cars, and the railing on the cattle car.  





Pictures of the final product (before we finally mustered up the courage to cut it).  










Choo Choo Kachoo Look Who Turned 2!

We found the letter cars while on vacation in Boulder, CO.




It's hard to believe that Luke is 2 now!  Thankfully 2 has come with a verbal explosion.  He is easily saying three to four new words a day.  Even with his exploding vocabulary, Luke still only says choo choos, never "train".  But he LOVES them (he's still talking about our choo choo ide from vacation) - so we thought a train cake was appropriate!   

One of Luke's FAVORITE books (and daddy's, for that matter) is Freight Train, so Matt and I thought we could make his cake based off the book.  Our original plan was to make the cars, with the basic colors (red caboose at the back, orange tank car next, yellow hopper car....oh...Luke's taking a nap, I don't need to recite it).  And we thought, "That will be pretty easy, 7 colors of frosting, 8 cakes (made in mini loaf pans), one engine, oreos for wheels, and we'll have a cute cake.  

(I will post later about my amazing neighbor Kim - who's hobby just happens to be decorating cakes - and the creation process.)  



 





Luke asked several times for a "ite" during the baking and decorating process - so he got an extra big piece of caboose!


Luke's friend Ivy - testing out the tracks before we cut the cake.





Luke with his new dump truck.   He LOVES his dump truck.

Ivy taking a spin on the scoot and zoom.  

It's a good thing Ivy was there to help unwrap presents!  Luke was being very meticulous (much like his mom).  Thank you Ivy for speeding up the process!  

Luke's on his new balance bike!  Although it's been raining non-stop so he hasn't really gotten to try it out yet.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Boulder Falls








"choo choo ide"

Luke's favorite part of vacation was the Georgetown Loop Railroad.  

By far.  

He's REALLY into railroads and trains.  












Saturday, September 1, 2012

Shmem got hitched!

Our trip to Colorado all started in order to celebrate the wedding of my good friend Em (Shmem) who I worked with for several years at camp.  There really aren't words to describe how beautiful this wedding was.  Besides seeing and catching up with friends who I haven't seen in several years, the ceremony and vows were a testimony to the journey both Nick and Em have been on to get to this place!  And it was a true testament that relationships are a process, not a destination.  






Rocky Mountain National Park


We just returned from a weeklong adventure in Colorado!  
It was jam-packed with spontaneous outdoor with lots of rocks and dirt.  

Our trip at Rocky Mountain National Park started on the west side of the park, near the town of Grand Lake, and we drove across the entire park.  The highest point of the drive was well above the tree line, at around the 11,700' mark.  



At the Continental Divide, in RMNP.  

Near Grand Lake, on the west side of RMNP.  

Luke loves "woks" - and climbed anything that he could get to the top of!  

Moose sighting!