Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buckets of Love

I mentioned a few weeks back that both Henry and Grant are escorting little girls in their elementary school pageant. Well apparently getting fun gifts at the pageant is half the I set out to find something fun for my two boys and their girls:) I've seen these cute clear paint buckets before in gift shops {and in our local gift shop that is sending gifts to the pageant}....but being the crafter that I am, I always think "I can make that for so much less than they are charging!"
So my quest for craftiness began {and ended} at Micheal's were I found these large buckets for $4.99 each. They also had a cute smaller size for around $3.
 I used my Cricut to cut a few initials and some small dots out of vinyl. {You could totally do this with scrapbook stickers if you don't have a cutting machine.} Then I filled the buckets with pretty shredded paper and some goodies: a teddy bear, an activity book, decorative pins, and just little bit of chocolate:)
 I decorated the top of the lid and tied a small ribbon on the washer attached to the handle. It took me a while to figure out that you use the washer to pop off the top of the bucket:)
 Here's another one using white vinyl. I think it kind of looks like a white M&M!
 And here is the boys' version...less colorful and no polka dots:) I think my boys will approve, especially since there will be a DS game tucked inside their buckets!
These would be SUPER cute for Valentine's Day full of fun heart shaped candy and toys with a pretty red or pink bow tied to the handle!
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake

My grandfather's 75th birthday was last week, and he requested an Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a single bakery in our area that actually makes this yummy confection...maybe because they are kind of difficult to make. I the awesome granddaughter that I am offered to attempt to make it. Very ambitious, but also doable...even if it did take me two days and make a huge mess of my kitchen! It was totally worth it!

I couldn't find the recipe that I was looking for online, so I ended up calling an older lady that I went to church with a few years ago. She was thrilled to share her recipe with me...I think it may be an adaptation of a Southern Living cake, but she read it to me over the phone so I'm not really sure. And the instructions may be a little vague because of that too.

Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake and Icing
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup of milk
2 ¾ cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter in an electric mixer. Add sugar. Cream together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Mix sour cream and milk in a small bowl. Combine dry ingredients in another small bowl. Alternately add in the dry ingredients and sour cream mixture…start and end with dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla.

Bake 350 for 30-35 in a two 8' round prepared pan. I recommend lining the pans with parchment paper. After the cake has cooled, cut each cake round into two pieces...or more it you can. The thinner the layers the better.

3 cups sugar, divided
¾ milk
1 egg beaten
½ cup butter

Add ½ cup sugar in sauce pan {I used a cast iron skillet}. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar melts and is golden brown. Combine sugar, milk, beaten egg, and then stir in butter. Slowly add the mixture into the melted sugar.
Cook over medium heat until 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. This step should take about 15-20 minutes. Cool the icing for 5 minutes then beat with wooden spoon....I actually put the icing into my mixer and beat it with the whisk attachment for a few minutes.

{**I ended up doing a double recipe of both cake and icing**}

The cake is very pound-cake like and the icing is SUPER sweet...just in case you couldn't tell that from the 3 cups of sugar. I need to work on cutting my layers a little more evenly, but all in all I think this cake was a big success! The most important part was that it was exactly what my grandfather wanted:)
Have you baked anything lately?
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