Celebrate!

Minecraft Themed Party

This did not get posted yesterday, so pretend it is still the fourth! 🙂

Happy Independence Day!

I LOVE themed parties and making decorations for them, so I decided to make another blog category, called “Celebrate!”. My nephew shares his birthday with today’s holiday, and he is obsessed with Minecraft. I decided to make him a few Minecraft things for his party, and I can’t wait to see his face when he sees everything in a little while!

My husband and I made a trip to Target for Minecraft birthday presents and we found sheets, some legos, and a Creeper shirt! (I’ve never played the game, but I am becoming very familiar with the characters and objects, as I have been perusing Pinterest and Google images!) We also ordered some “pixelated” sunglasses for everyone to wear by the pool.

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I decided to wrap the presents in Minecraft packaging, so I got out my Cricut and got to work designing images from the game. TNT, a creeper, and a diamond sword were designed and then cut and glued together.

With my Cricut I also cut out a larger diamond sword for the birthday cake. It involved a lot of squares! I glued the squares on cardstock, cut it out, and then glued squares on the back to make my sword double-sided. Then I laminated it so the frosting wouldn’t ruin it.

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I ordered a piñata from iPinata, a site I found through Etsy, and they did a great job! It’s a TNT cube from the game, and this object seems fitting for a piñata! Instead of an explosion of destruction, treats will rain down around the birthday boy! We didn’t want to fill it with just candy, so we picked up little toys – bouncy balls, decks of cards, Minecraft figurines, silly string… but I also bought candy that resembled objects from the game. Hershey nuggets symbolized iron bars, licorice bites became TNT, and Swedish fish represented fish from the game. I printed out the images from the game and stapled them onto mini treat bags.

Last, I made an individual cake for my nephew. His parents have an ice-cream cake ordered for everyone else to eat, but we thought it would be fun for the birthday boy to have his own cake. I went the easy route and used Funfetti cake mix and mixed the batter according to the box directions. I used a 4-inch round, filled it 2/3 full, and then poured the remaining batter into a 9×13-inch pan. The small cake went in first and baked at 350 degrees for about 27 minutes. It took a lot longer than I expected for such a small cake. (The larger cake was made and then turned into patriotic cake balls! I just didn’t use a whole can of frosting with it.) Once my mini cake was cool, I made up a delicious buttercream and tinted it green for grass. I covered the entirety in green and then put square candy melts along the sides of the cake to be dirt. (Note: I made the squares ahead of time and stored them in the fridge until time to use. I used milk, dark, and white (with green coloring) chocolates.) The Cricut-made sword will go into the cake once it’s ready to serve. A 4-cupcake box was the perfect size to store the cake overnight, and it should travel well.

In case anyone is interested in an easy, yummy buttercream frosting, here is the recipe my mom and I use:

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
½ c Crisco (vegetable shortening)
½ c butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp milk

Directions:
In a large bowl, cream the shortening and butter and then add in the vanilla. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating on medium speed. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy. When not in use, keep frosting in the fridge in an airtight container. It can be stored up to two weeks! Just stir before using.

(If you want it to be white, use clear vanilla extract. If you are tinting it a darker color, the brown coloring of the vanilla does not matter.)

I hope everyone has a happy 4th!

Celebrate! · Food

Death by Chocolate

My husband’s relatives are visiting from Brazil, and it’s his cousin’s birthday tomorrow! I love a good opportunity to bake, and a birthday is the perfect occasion! I decided on a chocolate cake and went with a recipe that is loved in our family. It uses boxed cake mix, so it’s simple, but the added in sour cream, pudding mix, and chocolate chips make it more moist, rich, and extremely delicious!

I baked two 9-inch round cakes and decided to put chocolate frosting and heath bar in between them. I pulsed heath bars in my food processor to make a fine powder for this. I wanted the flavor but not too much crunch in the middle of my cake. Then I frosted the entire cake in more chocolate and added heath bar to the top as well. I piped on a few dollops of frosting and then covered it up to sit overnight.

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I also made chocolate bark with heath and almonds and plan on putting some on the top of the cake tomorrow! I want to add some more texture to the cake with varying heights of bark.

To keep the chocolate theme going, I decided to try my hand at making a candy bouquet. I see them in stores all the time, and it didn’t seem too difficult. I bought some of the birthday boy’s favorite chocolate bars and taped them onto wooden dowels. Then I wrapped them in tissue paper and stuck them in a mason jar. I added some ribbon, glitter stars, and a birthday card and then it was done! Very quick to assemble, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

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Here’s to a fun birthday celebration tomorrow and most likely a chocolate induced coma!

 

Recipe for Rich Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 pkg (approx. 18.25 oz) dark chocolate cake mix
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
½ c warm water
1/3 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 ½ c mini chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 c Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Increase speed to medium-high; mix 3 more minutes. Stir in chocolate chips by hand and then spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(Note: I usually use a Bundt pan, but for this cake, I used two 9-inch rounds. They took about 30 minutes to cook. Just test with a toothpick before removing.)