Sunday, March 08, 2015

Celebrating Ellie's 18th Birthday, Birthday Crafting +an Almond Cake with Raspberry Filling Recipe

Ellie turned 18 on Friday. We celebrated with a small family party. We had a potstickers for dinner as they are Ellie's favorite. We had ice cream and sprinkles as well, but we never actually got around to eating it.

After dinner she opened presents. Kohlton give her a picture on a wooden cradle frame, a red star shaped marque and a set of shelves shaped like hexigons. We gifted her with fun white and gold foil paper goods, another set of hexigon shelves and a smaller ukelele that had a bunch of great things included such as a tuning tools, extra strings, a case, a polishing cloth, etc.
Ethan also gave her a "Life" game, which we promptly played that evening. It included lots of silly actions.
As far as she knew at that point, we had a dinner plans at a nice restuarant for Saturday night. The truth is, I had been secretly planning and executing a surprise birthday party. I was pretty sure that she had figured me out and was just humoring me since she knows from personal experience how much work it is to put on a surprise party. She began asking me lots of questions about where we were going so that she could figure out what she should wear. We told her that it was not at Taco Bell and that she did not need to wear a long ball gown. She seemed to grow nervous. Kohlton tried to get me to tell him where we were going. I told him that it was for his own good. I knew that if he knew and he smiled even just a off, she would know and she would get the information out of him.

The next day we had a really nice, casual family breakfast. I told Ellie that I was going to have coffee with Natalie and that we could go for manicures later that afternoon.

I then raced over to Grandpa Don's house where I decorated the cake that I had baked on Friday. I had also started to decorate earlier in the week and was at the point where I needed a tall person's help to put up the rest of the decorations. I wanted the entire main floor to be decorated and exciting.

During my lunch hours and during a day off of work due to a snow day (and she still had school) I made gold sequin streams, a birthday banner, tassels, feathers dipped in gold paint and glitter and 18 himmelis.

I made a three layer almond cake that was supposed to have raspberry filling, but I forgot that at home and so it had apricot filling instead, which worked out nicely. (I have included the recipe below.) Ellie loves hexigons, so I hand cut about 300 of them out of fondant that I sprayed with edible gold food coloring. I also made a bunch of tiny flowers that I forgot to use. I had planned on cover only part of the cake with the hexigons and then incorporating some flowers and swirl designs made out of dragees, but it did not work out, so I ended up with what you see above. I added a touch of fun by dusting it with an iridescent edible glitter.

I also made Parmesan chicken that was supposed to go with spaghetti with a garlic cream sauce, but I did not have the time or energy to make the pasta part. I was also ready to make garlic bread, but ran out of time and energy to make it, too.
I felt bad that I could not execute the entire plan, but at that point I was out of energy. It had been an intense week at school with parent/teacher conferences, 3 after school meetings and standardized testing.

final stages of decorating and food prep. took long than I had planned, of course, and so I did not make it home with enough time to get our nails done at a saloon. Ellie was good about it, but I was feeling bad that I had disappointed her two days in a row by taking so long to return home.

Later that afternoon Ethan and their friend, James, went over to the house to take care of the guests and make sure their cars were not in front of the house.

Ellie continued to worry that she would not be dressed correctly, but we assured her that it would be alright. She was worried that the people at the restaurant would not make a spectacle of her. By the time we were ready to leave, she seemed very concerned. We tried to assure her that it would be okay, that it was just about having fun.

We told her that we needed to go over to Grandpa Don's house to pick up Ethan. Her mind quickly started to think about where we might be headed on that end of town. Once we arrived, Larr, Ellie and Kohlton zipped into the house. I was a bit slower and missed her reaction to the crowd of people jumping out and yelling, "surprise." Later I found out that she was truly surprised, that she did not suspect anything until she started up the walk way to the door. It was a lot to take in.

Lots of our friends join in for the party. The house was pretty full. There was food in the kitchen, snacks in the living room and games taking place in several rooms.

We ate, sang and had a great time.
She also received some nice presents, like concert tickets and earrings, and silly presents, like an eagle had mask made of rubber.

We all stayed up later than usual and had a great time. I think it was a grand success.

Almond Wedding Cake Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling
via: Shugary Sweets
** This recipe made one 8x8 round cake layer. I tripled the recipe to make the cake for Ellie's party.
For the Cupcakes:
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp almond extract

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cup powdered sugar
For the Filling:
1/2 cup Raspberry preserves

For the cake, whisk together the egg whites, almond extract and 2 Tbsp milk in small bowl until combined. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixtures. Beat in remaining milk.
Fill cupcake liners half full with batter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes. Remove and cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Fill a pastry bag with raspberry filling. I used a small star tip and poked it into the top of each cupcake. Give a good squeeze, you will see the cupcake rise at is fills. Remove and continue until all cupcakes are filled.
For the frosting, beat butter and heavy cream in mixer for 3 minutes. Add in almond extract and powdered sugar. Beat an additional 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe on cupcakes. ENJOY!

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