Surprise! I know it’s Sunday and I don’t usually post on this day, but it’s a special day here in my little corner of the blogging world.
Another year has flown by and shazam! My blog is now two years old! TWO! I wonder if the “terrible two’s” also applies to blogging? Gee, I hope not.
Last year, on the first anniversary of The Merchant Baker, I shared updated photos of a beloved Spiced Applesauce Cake. When I first started this blog, I shared some of my very favorite recipes first. Unfortunately, those recipes were paired with my initiation to food styling and photography.
So, let’s just say that while I had lots of support from family and friends about how good the photography looked, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t give each recipe it’s due.
I haven’t rephotographed all of them, but you really should give some of them a try…like Cinnamon Apple Cake. Really, it’s my favorite apple cake. It’s got cream cheese in the batter and is just full of apple flavor. Perfect for this time of year.
I thought I’d do something different and go a little “unicorn” to celebrate year 2. It started with my husband and kids talking about a show they used to watch, The Mighty B!
I won’t go into the show details, but there’s a song that they played on the show, Running with a Rainbow Unicorn, that my kids used to sing ALL the time.
So they pulled it up last week so we could listen to it and get all nostalgic. Needless to say, it’s been playing in the back of my brain for a week now. And yes, it’s literally playing in my head now as I write this. The song makes me laugh, but having it as an earworm is a little annoying.
Anyway, if you go to Pinterest and search for unicorn recipes, you’ll see all the unicorn action going on. It’s fun, rainbow-y, and I thought rather fitting for a two year old ;) And the best part? I had a sort of rainbow-y cake hanging out in my freezer begging to be used. What am I doing with an unfrosted rainbow cake in my freezer?
Well, for my son’s birthday, he wanted a Steven Universe cake. It had to have all of the colors of the crystal gems, Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst, Rose Quartz and Pearl. (For the fans of the show, yes I do know that Ruby and Sapphire are fused to make Garnet, but we separated them for this cake :)
After I made two 12″ layers of gem colored tie dyed cake, I saw the sour cream on the counter that I forgot to add to the batter! I could have cried that day.
I didn’t have the ingredients or the time to make another cake, let alone the will. I couldn’t even taste the cake to see if it was okay, because I couldn’t cut a chunk out of the cake and then use it! (I’m pretty sure someone would have noticed the missing piece.)
My husband swooped in to help, ran to the store and replaced all of the ingredients and I pushed through another giant batch of batter, carefully separating and weighing it into 5 equal amounts for coloring, to make the final cake. This time, I remembered the sour cream.
When my kids got home from school, they wanted to try the “failed” cake. (They’re always looking for rejects and leftovers to sample.) I told them they had to wait until I saw how the new cake came out before anyone was allowed to touch anything.
Long story short, the failed cake was totally fine…not only fine, but delicious! Ugh! I could have used it. But who knew? Now I had four 12″ layers of cake sitting on my counter.
And that, my friends, is how I came to have rainbow unicorn cake just ready and waiting to go for today’s post. Two layers for my son’s birthday cake. Two layers for the freezer.
To be honest, this white cake is semi-homemade and uses some (shhh!) “boxed” ingredients. I’ve been meaning to conquer a completely scratch version, but I haven’t yet, so I don’t have a cake recipe for you today.
However, this cake is frosted with my very favorite frosting, Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, to be exact. You must try that if you haven’t yet. It’s so easy and so delicious and will change your mind about frosting, especially if you’re like me and hate the ones that are just too sweet.
For my little celebration cake, I cut 2 (6″) rounds out of my 12″ cake layer. I’ve made so many giant cakes for my kids’ birthdays, it was fun to make a small cake for my blog’s special day.
I used a 1/2 recipe of Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting to fill and frost it. I also bought a can of prepared frosting. (Yes, we’re whispering here again.) You know that this is not something I normally do. It was simply back up since I wasn’t sure what direction I was going to take for today’s post.
I was originally going to do a trifle or a sundae or something and I wasn’t sure if I might not need some easy “edible glue” (aka canned frosting), for some of my styling ideas.
I bought sparkly paper and colored gem sprinkles and ice cream and some new glasses to insure I’d have enough materials to create something fun. The canned frosting was simply another craft supply.
When my husband and daughter saw the leftover can in the refrigerator, I overheard my daughter asking my husband, “Mom didn’t use that on the cake did she???” (It was like I committed a high crime or something.)
In my mind, this post was going to be more craft project than recipe and I was just trying to make sure I had options. And good thing I did, because a half recipe of my favorite frosting wasn’t enough to frost and fill the cake and do the tie dye watercolor effect I had planned for the outside.
So let’s forget about which frosting I used for the colors and talk about the pretty water color effect. Let’s also forget about the fact that my husband and daughter told me repeatedly that they could taste the canned frosting on the outside of the cake. I told them to get over it. I only used about a teaspoon or so of each color on the whole cake. I’ve created monsters, I tell you! :) But I digress.
This water color effect is a wonderful option if you’re looking for an easy but impressive way to decorate a cake. There’s no piping or complicated swirling involved. I didn’t even go for a super smooth finish on this cake. I liked the added texture.
I simply frosted the cake with my base color, in this case, a creamy white. Then I put about a tablespoon of that base in each of three bowls which I tinted with colors from today’s palette, in this case, pink, blue and purple.
I then dabbed a bit of each color randomly on the bottom half of the cake. (I put the cake on a lazy susan for easy turning.) Then, I simply dragged the colors with my offset spatula until I had my desired effect.
Don’t overdo this step or they will begin to completely mix and you lose the beauty of the individual colors. You can also continue to dab color on and blend it in if you have spots where you want more of a certain color.
If I were baking this cake specifically for this post, I would have had a lighter pink inside. Actually, there is a bit of a lighter pink in there peeking out under the lavender; it’s just not as dominant as the “ruby” color.
There were no unicorns inspiring the cake the day I made it. I like to think my unicorn cake has some boldness to it. Or, it might evoke Superman’s colors, too. I kinda thought that when I was cutting it.
My husband gave me a hand with the “2.” I simply provided him with sparkle paper and asked him to please make a nice “2” for me while I was busy spending 6 hours assembling and photographing this tiny little cake.
Of course he jumped right in. He’s been my partner in keeping this blog going for the past two years. He helped bring this blog and it’s design to life, he helps me format long beautiful pins for Pinterest.
And, he is my savior when “I” make videos. I could go on and on, but suffice to say, I couldn’t do this without him. Well, I could, but it would take a lot longer and it wouldn’t be as fun.
Year two went by as quickly as year one, and in that year, this blog has continued to grow beyond my expectations. Thank you to the thousands who have subscribed to my weekly posts and the hundreds of thousands that stop by to visit from hundreds of countries around the world.
Who knew what was possible when I published my very first post? I didn’t. That’s why I decided to take on this new world of blogging.
It’s been a huge growth experience for me and has provided a creative outlet, countless adventures and introduced me to a whole new community of friends. (It’s like that first batch of cake. You don’t know it’s good until you taste it:)
So thank you to everyone for supporting me in this creative endeavor. The Merchant Baker Turns 2 today! And that whole thing about the terrible twos? How is that even possible
when there’s cake involved? ;)