Thursday, May 19, 2011
Last day of school. Oh, and how to turn a boxed cake mix into an afternoon of fun.
Today was Mary Ella's last day of preschool for this year. Next year she'll start K3! I can't believe it. I battled whether or not to put her in 3 days a week or just 2 days. I had originally signed her up for 3 days but switched it back to 2 after thinking about it. She'll have the rest of her life to go to school, and I enjoy having days where we don't have to be anywhere, so she'll keep going Tuesday and Thursday only.
I made this quick collage on Picnik showing how much she's grown since starting MDO. Crazy!
We took zinnias to her teachers and the ladies in the administrative office. I printed these cute tags from SkipToMyLou and glued them to popsicle sticks, then stuck them in the pot with the flowers. They turned out super cute and I was able to get 4 teacher gifts for under $10! Can't beat that.
Here's Mary Ella with her friends Campbell and Elyssa. Their last day!
This smile looks exactly like mine when I was her age.
And on Tuesday afternoon we had our neighbors, Aniston and Griffin, over for some afternoon fun. Since my house was clean for once, I decided we'd mess it up. So we made a cake. A rainbow cake. And THIS, my friends, is fun. And you should try it. It will impress people. I promise. And you will see why in a minute.
(Notice Griffin in an apron that my grandmother made for Chad. It says "What's Burnin?")
I'd seen these rainbow cakes on tons of blogs and always wanted to try it. I happened to have a white cake mix and some food coloring, so I figured we'd apron the kids up and give it a go. They pretty much did everything, from Crisco-ing the pans to coloring the batter to licking the bowls. (Yes, Lindsey, I let them lick the bowls. And the spoons. And the droppings that were left on my kitchen floor.)
All you need is a white cake mix, oil, water, eggs, food coloring (enough so that you can make as many different colors that you want - we had 6) and some icing. We just used one tub of regular vanilla icing and I mixed that with half a tub of cool whip that I had in my fridge, just to make it spread easier and last longer.
It's an easier and faster process if you have:
b) 6 cake pans that are all the same size.
I was lucky enough to have both.
So, you mix up your white cake batter in a large bowl, using the recipe on the box. Then, transfer that batter to 6 different small bowls (I didn't measure, but I'd say maybe a little less than 1 cup of batter per bowl.) Then color those batters 6 different colors. We used pink, orange, blue, green, purple and real-dark-pink. Yellow would've been pretty too.
Make sure your pans are good and greased and sprinkled with flour. Pour your batter into your 6 different pans. You'll have to spread the batter out in the pan with a spoon because it will NOT fill your pan immediately. So spread it til it's touching the edges. These are super thin layers; like pancake-thin.
Now, you need to bake them. And you need to watch them while they are baking because they take NO TIME at all. Like, MAYYYYBE 10 minutes at most. I would say less. But just watch and wait until you see the batter start to look solid; it will start to "back away" from the edges of the cake pan, and that is how you know it is done. You can also use the toothpick method, but these layers are super thin so it's hard to even insert a toothpick into them. But whatever works for you!
(Sorry I don't have pics of the baking process; I was too busy trying to keep little hands away from hot ovens.)
So, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Then use a fork to gently loosen the edges, if needed, and take out one layer at a time and place on your serving dish. Ice the first layer, then stack another on top, and ice that layer, and so on and so on until you have all your colorful layers stacked up. Then ice the whole cake, all over, sides and all.
Your kids will have the best time ever making this and they won't become too impatient because the baking time is super fast! And your FRIENDS will have the best time ever eating it, because they'll think it's just a plain ol' ordinary cake, until you cut it. That's when the magic happens...
You'll hear "oooh's and ahhh's" from across the room. And you'll be like, "Yeah, I know. I'm awesome." Even though you know it's just a plain ol' boxed cake mix. Enjoy the moment. Cause this cake won't last.
And THAT, my friends, is how you turn a box of cake mix into an afternoon of fun. (And an evening of kitchen-cleaning. *Sigh*)
For a prettier (and probably much tastier) version of this infamous cake recipe, go here.
But my recipe is way easier. :)