Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zebra Cake and Other Foolish Promises

Hey cake-in-ators. Trying to reach you at least one more time before my little guy comes busting out of my belly. I am 37 weeks and 2 days. Doing okay, other than the odd contraction here and there.

So my cousin is going to study abroad and is having a little shindig tomorrow. A bon voyage party, if you will. I asked if I needed to bring anything, and mistakenly suggested that I would bring a zebra cake, which by the way, she is super psyched about. If you have never seen a zebra cake, here is a preview of what it is supposed to look like:

Super cool, but not the most practical item to make between contractions.
Now, I didn't want to let her down so I am going to walk you through this wreck-in-action and hope you enjoy the ride. I didn't invent this cake, but it is all over Pintrest and the blog has its own explanation how to do it. However, I assume you guys love me more than her, so you will stick by to see how mine panned out.

Now, I used a Duncan Hines classic white and devil's food cake. Some of the instructions I read for this cake called for thickening of the batter by adding less water. Unfortunately, Duncan Hines has changed the formula for its cakes since the original pin was posted. So, I had to wing it. I went ahead and made the batters per the box instructions. However, I think I should have added about 1/4 cup of water to each batter separately, as the mix was very thick, and you need a medium-thin consistency.

Anyways, I mixed the batters up in two separate bowls. Next, I greased my 2, 8" round cake pans and proceeded to shovel approximately 1/4 cup of alternating batters into the center.  Use a different spoon for each bowl, you don't want to blend the batters. Just keep piling them on top of each other. Bang the pan on the counter gently to help spread the batter if needed.

Meh, a good faith effort. I think if my batter had been a teensy bit thinner,
I would have had the Polly Perfect concentric circles. Maybe. Oh well, Zebras aren't
perfectly banded, right?

Fill the pans about 2/3rds of the way full and cook according to the box instructions. You will have some batter left over which you can use to make cupcakes with. I am gorging on my spares unmercifully right now. The cake will bake up in the stripe pattern you laid out. So in lieu of fighting with my crappy photo editor (still have not found an adequate replacement for my beloved I will let your imagination go to to town about the results. Also, here's an important tip to remember...

Do not drop smart phones, IPads, or any other electronics into your batter.
Just a piece of friendly advice.
 Feel free to ice the cake as you wish, just make sure to level the cake first, lest there be a repeat of the
 wall cake incident. The party is tomorrow, so I'll post a slice shot from then. Happy baking.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nesting, Butcher Blocks, and Babies

So it's been awhile. *Holds head in shame* I hope there are still a few of you out there wanting to experience the wreckiness that is my domestic life. Let me just take a moment to complain about a few things.

First of all, tablets are not made for blogging. Because I only have the use of my Ipad right now, it has made it very difficult to dash of anything other than a quick picture for you guys. My PC is hooked up, but in his infinite wisdom, Jon told me to return our wireless router to AT&T when we cancelled our plan. Now we are back with them, sans the wireless router, because the PC was not hooked up when the installation guy was here. That being said, I have stolen Jon's ancient work laptop for the afternoon, and I am going to blast a post out.

Just in case you were wondering, here is a few photos of my expansion:

Four months pregnant.

Six Months Pregnant

Thirty-three weeks pregnant
I have zero energy and my memory has gone to shit. I also would like to comment about how Google has gobbled up, my favorite photo editing tool, and has replaced it with some where Google+ app I can't figure out in my present state.  So now I'm having a hard time making cute and hilarious pictures to add here.

Enough with the rant. I am nesting hard core. The house is a mess and it is driving me bat-shit crazy. We are 98% moved in, but Jon is the ultimate procrastinator. If it were up to me, the nursery would be done, and we would be worrying about how many birth announcements to order, but that is not the case.

The nursery is covered with clothes because we were hoping to get a dresser off our registry. No dice. After a catastrophic prego meltdown yesterday, we went to Target to see what options were available to us. The dresser to match our set was $300 and made of what I can only assume is paper mache. In fact, all the furniture we looked at everywhere was cheap crap. After much back and forth you are not going to be believe what we settled on for a dresser/changing table:

Yes, that is a butcher block...
...And NO the baby's room is not bakery or cupcake themed. Here is our rationale:
  1. That butcher block is wide enough for our changing pad (the other dresser choices were not.)
  2. This piece is rated to carry a 200 lb load. Most of the dressers, like I mentioned earlier, looked like the couldn't carry the weight of canary.
  3. There are pull out shelves that can hold baskets of stuff like a dresser.
  4. The wheels are optional, we will be installing legs instead.
  5. It is MUCH taller than the dressers we looked at, which will save our backs.
  6. Finally, when baby years are over, I can hopefully use it as a craft or baking area. (After a thorough bleaching of course.)

Right now, this thing is in 500 pieces on the living room floor. I have separated the pieces into their various steps, so Jon can put it together tonight. After it is together, I can finally get the remaining nursery things put away, and focus on the rest of the house. Like my messy kitchen.

All of the baby books, blogs, and websites say that at this stage of the game, you really should start freezing meals for after delivery. *Sigh* Since Jon hasn't really had a home cooked meal in the last quarter, this one is something I really need to get into gear about. I went to the grocer today and got $100 worth of goods. Hopefully, over the next coming days, you can see my efforts as I put that stuff together.

Wish me luck.