Pokémon Go Party – Part 2

Today’s party post will be a bit of a mismatch of ideas and photos – but all relating to the Pokémon Go party we held on the weekend for our 11 year old son…

As I’ve said in previous party posts, we begin thinking about the party in that quiet time after Christmas. I start a new Pinterest board, in this case Pokémon Party, and I usually start a word doc where I list any ideas that come up. This year I caught up with the times, and started a Google doc! It makes it easier to keep random thoughts together, until it comes time to start party planning proper 🙂

And the first thing that needs creating is the invitation.

I decided to model the invitations on the screen when a Pokemon has been caught, in the game Pokémon Go. I remembered there had been a special release of ‘party Pikachus’ on the game’s anniversary, so I searched for that image to use. Can’t get much more appropriate than that! I pinned it here. Continue reading

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How to Train Your Dragon Party – The Cake!

I think the birthday cake’s design is much more important to the mum creating it than the birthday child. Well, it is in our case 😉  While the kids appreciate a good-looking cake, really once you’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’, blown out the candles and made a wish, the cake gets cut up and eaten. All that work destroyed in a matter of moments!

My son told me he was very impressed with the cake I made, but he says that every year, and I think he would say it whatever I made. I am a lucky mum!

However, I am still prepared to put in an appropriate amount of thought and effort. And he gets to look through Pinterest at examples and see what takes his fancy, so he is happy.

We narrowed it down to three examples, which we then combined. The first one is reasonably simple, and I thought we could replicate it by using a Toothless toy on top of the cake. (Link to pin here.) The second one had a great idea for candles (check out Life is a Party for that one).

But the third idea came to me as we were watching How To Train Your Dragon 2 (for about the 763rd time!). Hiccup’s mother Valka lives on an island, which she shares with the snowy Bewilderbeast. Together they provide a safe haven for other dragons Valka rescues. It seems the Bewilderbeast has provided camouflage and protection for the island by creating ice caves and glaciers.

Here are some images from the movie to give you a bit of an idea. The images are saved on my How to Train Your Dragon Party Pinterest board, which you can check for individual links.

Collection of images from Pinterest

These images reminded me of the beautiful sugar shards which other mums were using to decorate their daughters’ Frozen cakes. Check out Pinterest for many, many examples of those! In fact, one of my friends had done one for her daughter.  So I combined the tips she gave me with some research of my own.

Most recipes for sugar shards call for corn syrup which is not a common ingredient here in Australia. I found an English website which substituted golden syrup, but not wanting a final product as golden as that, I continued looking. Since it is only toffee, surely it could be done with just sugar and water. That’s when I came across Martha Stewart’s ‘Broken Glass Cupcakes’ which uses clear shards as decoration on the cupcakes.

I used her recipe, remembering my friend’s tips as well, and I had success first time! I was very excited 🙂 Martha’s recipe is:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until mixture just starts to turn pale gold around edges. Remove from heat, and immediately pour caramel onto a rimmed baking sheet. Working quickly, tilt pan to spread caramel to edges to make a very thin layer. Let cool to harden.

In Australia granulated sugar is normal white sugar, the stuff you may use in your coffee or on your cereal. Instead, I used caster sugar, which is finer and dissolves a little quicker.

What I did: stirred my caster sugar and water over high heat until the sugar dissolved, then I turned the heat down and let it bubble away without stirring. I wasn’t sure I would see it start to turn gold at the edges so I went with the tip of getting it to ‘hard crack’ stage. This is when dripped into a glass of cold water the toffee is hard and cracks. It doesn’t squish at all, it goes totally hard and snaps when you bend it. It also goes all squiggly when you drip it in the cold water, which is quite cool! I kept my glass of water in the fridge so it stayed nice and cold between testing. For me, getting to hard crack stage took around 10 minutes.

I was so excited when it got to the definite hard crack stage, that I quickly ran to get my phone to take a picture. Of course the rest had gone quite golden in the 30 seconds or so that took!

Hard crack stage of making toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

But that was ok, I stirred in some blue food colouring and poured it on my baking paper-lined trays and watched it set. It was beautiful! I divided the toffee between 2 baking trays so the shards would be nice and thin, and that worked well with this amount. I didn’t have to wait long to see that it was hard, and I couldn’t help myself, I had to snap it. It was indeed like broken glass.

HTTYD cake 1 sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Being that my first attempt had turned golden, adding the blue food colouring made the toffee green. I had read this was a common complaint from mums making these for Frozen cakes, but for this cake it didn’t bother me at all. What I intended to do was make several batches of varying colours. You can see the ice caves and glaciers are colours of blue through to green, so whatever I got would work. I even kept some clear/white. The batches that were beautifully clear until I added the food colouring ended up crystallising. That would generally be considered a failure, but it added to the colour and textures so I didn’t mind a bit!

Crystallised blue sugar toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

This crystallised toffee crumbled a bit when I broke it up, but I used those crumbled bits as decoration on the cupcakes that went in to school, and it also went on the actual cake

HTTYD cake sawitdidit.wordpress.com

So you can see all 3 ideas were combined to create this cake. A plastic Toothless figurine atop a square vanilla cake with blue icing, with the various colours and textures of the sugar shards forming the backdrop. I also used the curly candles to represent Toothless’ plasma blast. To save accidents, I added the decoration to the cake at the park, just before it was served. So taking photos of it were not my priority. Special thanks to my friend Melissa for taking these. She was also the one who gave me sugar shard making tips, so she was a great help throughout this process!

Here it is with the candles lit:

HTTYD cake with candles sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Yes, a certain birthday boy couldn’t help but add some extra decoration around the edge of the cake!

Strangely enough, many of the boys asked if the ‘glaciers’ were edible, and declared them delicious when they were allowed to taste. See the big plate of fruit next to the cake? I made whoever come back wanting seconds have some fruit before they could have more cake 😉

HTTYD cake...sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Linking up with:

The Pin Junkie

Birthday Profiteroles

Today is my friend’s birthday, and during the week I discovered that one of her favourite dishes is Profiteroles. She was actually trying to find out what my favourite cake is, for my upcoming birthday!

Anyway, I decided the time was right to try making these awesome puffs of goodness again. When I posted on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sawitdidit) that I was going to do this, my cousin reminded me that we had made these together when we were much younger!

I pinned this great recipe from Taste.com.au http://www.pinterest.com/pin/26529085279400500/ although I used another recipe for custard and chocolate sauce.

I admit I was a bit nervous, people seem to talk about making choux pastry with hushed voices. But I needn’t have been, it was quite easy although gave my arms a good workout!

Here is the recipe from Taste.com.au:

Ingredients

  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 80g butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked

Following their instructions I melted my butter in the water,Profiteroles1removed the saucepan from the heat, tipped in all the flour and mixed it in quickly (stopping to take a photo, of course!)

Profiteroles2After letting the mixture cool for a few a minutes, the beaten eggs were added a little bit at a time.

Profiteroles3It felt like the mixture wouldn’t come back together, but of course it did

profiteroles4

I placed spoonfuls of the dough onto lined baking sheets, and used my wet finger to smooth them down. I also sprinkled water over the trays as per the instructions

profiteroles5Then it was into the oven to bake. I pulled them out after 30 minutes, but they were not quite cooked. So I put them back in for another 5 minutes. profiteroles6

They were beautifully golden on the outside, but still a little doughy inside.

profiteroles7
I remember when mum made them ‘way back when’ she just scooped any uncooked bits out, so that’s what I did. Then I popped them back into the turned off oven to dry out a bit more.

I made some custard and chocolate sauce while I was waiting for the pastry to cool. I waited as long as I could to taste test them, but it really wasn’t that long 😉 The custard and sauce were still hot and runny, but they sure tasted good!

profiteroles8Yesterday afternoon we had a little party where these were served. The custard and sauce were nicely chilled and thickened, and they were delicious!

Happy birthday Yvette x

profiteroles9

So, they really weren’t that difficult to make. They look impressive, and taste just as good. I think they will be on the menu again!
Have you made choux pastry recently?