Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Root Beer Cake

My friend Matt is very popular.  He throws birthday parties like I do.  In ridiculous places with ridiculous numbers of people.  This year, Matt had his (40th) birthday party at an indoor trampoline gym place.  And here's the thing.  I really like to bake when there are going to be a lot of people.  Parties are my thing, it makes all the time washing dishes and being covered in butter seem worthwhile when I get all the eventual praise.

The trampolining was fun.  The people working at the trampoline place were terrifying.  The cake was amazing.  Seriously, people are still talking about it.  Well, at least I am, and I'm people.

Matt likes weird things (it's why we get along), so I decided to make him a root beer cake.  The recipe cake from the Baked cookbook and their stuff is pretty much no-fail.  Also, it gave an option of using root beer schnaps and I happened to know that my brother had had a bottle of root beer schnaps in his basement for about ten years.  I decided it was time to liberate it.

I wanted to find an icing that would make the whole thing taste like a root beer float and I did find an icing recipe that said it tasted like vanilla ice cream.  I even went out and spent $12 on special vanilla bean paste rather than just using vanilla extract.  I didn't really the icing lived up to its hype, but other people (who aren't quite as offended by sweets as I am) definitely enjoyed it.  And now I have the majority of a bottle of vanilla bean paste too, so that's something.

The cake itself was quite tasty.  It was moist and rich and really tasted like root beer.  I'm not sure this cake is going to make it into my recipe vault, but at least now I know what to do for people who love root beer!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any shots before I put 41 candles in, but it's pretty this way too.

40 is a lot of candles when they're all lit up!

Nothing says "mature" like a guy in a balloon hat blowing out the candles on a cake made out of root beer!

The Ten Month Quilt

I have been getting a lot of lip recently about not blogging, so here we go.  This post is going to be very unsatisfying to those of you who like sweets, but very satisfying for those of you who are looking for another reason to think I'm awesome.

I made a quilt.  This is not the first quilt I've made, but it is the first one I've made in a long time.  I was super due for a new quilt/bedspread thing for my bed since I was mostly using the same quilt I made right before I went to college 1,000 years ago and it is in a variety of shreds and tatters.

The plan was to make something plain, patchwork, or something pretty easy, but then I went to Amsterdam and we went into all these quilting stores and I was awed and inspired.  

I decided to do triangles.  Then I decided to do blocks of triangles.  Once I'd figured out what I wanted to do in the general sense, and purchased the fabric (including a lot of fat quarters, which are the ends of bolts of fabric and mean it is incredibly hard to find more when you run out), the cutting began.  For this, I owe a lot of thanks to my father who is a bit of a cutting machine if you plunk him in front of the TV with a board, some fabric, and a pair of left-handed fabric scissors.

The cutting was followed by the pinning and then the sewing.  Most of this happened on the Cape and almost all of it took place while listening to the Harry Potter books on audio for the 700th time.  At one point my father asked why I didn't listen to something new, but I pointed out that listening to something you know very well is good when the sewing machine is going to be going off at random 15 second intervals. 

By the end of the summer, I had blocked all the pieces together and then school started.  So, the pieces sat in my living room for the next eight months.  Once in a while I looked at them.  They were pretty.

Come April vacation, I schlepped the sewing machine back down to the Cape (there is more space there), and set back to work with my scissors, ironing board and sewing machine.  It was an absolutely beautiful week, so I put the ironing board and iron outside on the deck, and left the sewing machine inside on the screened porch.  It was kind of bliss.

Four days of ironing, sewing, stitch-ripping, more sewing, and swearing later, it was ready to be sewn together.  This part took three women and my being inside the quilt on multiple occasions.  

But when it was done, it was worth it.

Here it is in all its glory.  The Ten Month Quilt.