Sunday, August 2, 2009

Birthday Recap!

It amazing how busy I've been these last few days and I really haven't been doing much! Just shopping, eating and relaxing. I believe time just moving faster. I mean it is already August! In two months Halloween will be here and then shortly after Holiday season begins. BUT today it about my birthday that was on July 30th. I had a wonderful birthday. It was very simple, how I wanted it. I know it hard times for many of friends right now, so I really never expect anything from them. It doesn't bother me. To me it is always the small things that matter. Like my mother. I always say my birthday and any holiday will never be the same now that my aunt is gone because I don't get a card from her anymore. This was her sister and she was like another mother to me. What a wonderful woman she was. So my mother did something special and I had a "special" present come from my aunt. This was probably one of the best things she did, yes it was sad but it was wonderful. I had a card and flowers from my aunt.

I love the orange flowers but have no clue what they call them!
See the bud? I woke up this morning and several had bloomed. :)
This year I also decided I wanted to make my own birthday cake. I mean if I knew a bakery out here that made a S'mores Cake and it was delicious as the one I made, then I would of just bought my cake. This wasn't the case though. I was on Baking Bites and saw her post for a S'mores Cake. I instantly knew this was my birthday cake. Lately I've been obsessed with s'mores or anything dealing with a gooey marshmallow center! It so delicious, I can't help myself! I made my cake the night before my birthday so it could set and I didn't feel like baking on the day of my birthday! Plus licking the chocolate bowl and finishing the marshmallow off the spatula, priceless!
The cake was out of this world. It was everything and more I had expected. It was exactly the way it was described on Baking Bites. The cake was very moist and very delicate. The cake had a ton of flavor from the graham cracker crumbs. Which was the "flour" of the whole cake. The marshmallow creme set well because it calls for a layer of chocolate frosting on top of the first cake which is still warm, so it easily melted the marshmallow creme to spread evenly. Topped the rest and it was beautiful. The chocolate just melted down the sides. The warm chocolate frosting was slowly shifting my cake and making it lopsided. The creme was oozing out of the sides. I quickly put it in the fridge from any further delicious damage! To get the recipe you can CLICK HERE or look below.

Look at the oozing marshmallow creme. Mmm The tender cake was very crumbly.
S’mores Cake (from Baking Bites)  
Makes 1 9-inch cake, Serves 8-10Graham Cracker Cake Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or oil and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt. Working in two or three additions, alternate stirring the graham cracker mixture and the milk into the butter mixture.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, medium-sized bowl. Working in 2 or three additions, fold egg whites into graham cracker mixture, mixing until no streaks of white remain.

Divide evenly into prepared pans.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for 3 minutes, then invert onto wire racks (remove parchment paper) to cool completely before filling and frosting.

To assemble: Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread about 1/2 cup of the chocolate frosting onto the cake, then spread the marshmallow creme into an even layer. Top marshmallow layer with second cake round, then pour remaining frosting over the top, spreading it into an even layer with an offset spatula and allowing it to drip slightly down the sides of the cake.

Cake will set up quickly, and should be stored in the refrigerator if not being served shortly after being assembled.

Marshmallow Filling and Milk Chocolate Frosting Ingredients 
1 7-oz jar marshmallow creme
8-oz milk chocolate, chopped 
1/4 cup half and half/cream 
2 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp corn syrup

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate, half and half, butter and corn syrup until melted. Stir with a fork or small whisk to ensure that everything comes together smoothly. Proceed to assemble cake (above) once the frosting is prepared.

*If you grind your own grahams in the food processor, you’ll need about 20 graham cracker squares ( I used 28 squares and it gave me exactly 2 cups). I used a regular store brand, nothing fancy. Grind a little extra, so you don’t have to go try and process one by itself if you’re short.

My ingredients are ready to go. You can see my little cookbook library!
The graham cracker cake mixture.
My fluffy egg whites!
Cake batter evenly divided.
Baked up beautifully.
Chocolate frosting time. 
  Wish I was in this bowl. Butter, chocolate... Can't get any better! My chocolate oozed everywhere along with the marshmallow creme. Mmm The cake was slowly shifting. I like cakes that don't look pretty but taste makes up for it! My big beautiful slice. I felt this had the most oozed marshmallow creme. It had my name on it! Told you I have a thing with gooey marshmallows. This was after 3 people have a 3 big slices. haha
Will I make this cake again? Absolutely. It was easy and the taste was amazing. My boyfriend loves s'mores, and I told him I will make this cake for him when he comes home for a few days. I know he will love it. Everyone who tasted my cake loved it too. This is the kind of cake you could see in a bakery. The chocolate frosting really gives it that bakery look because it thick but creamy from the milk chocolate. Some things I will do differently next time:
  • I'm going to whip sugar into my egg whites instead of the butter. I want to see if this will make the cake a little stronger. When I put the cake to cool on the rack, it was a pain to lift, I had to use a spatula because it was sticking and crumbling up. I saved it though!
  • Next time I will remember to whip the egg yolks into the butter mixture. I completely forgot. I had already added the cake mixture in and then saw the yolks. I added them in, but I'm thinking this might of affected how the cake should be.
  • For the chocolate frosting, I used half n half. I think it might of been too "light" for the frosting because my frosting was very thin. It easily poured and dripped quickly down the cake. Regardless it didn't change the taste but a more thicker chocolate would make a prettier display for the cake. I will use regular whipping cream next time. I also think it would hold the cake in place, instead of tilting sideways.
  • Marshmallow creme. Have you ever read the ingredients on that jar? Very scary. One day I will attempt to make my own creme. This is when I own a second kitchen aid because marshmallow is very messy and sticky! I think fresh marshmallow would be delicious. Does anyone have homemade recipes?? Please share if you do!
So after having my cake on my birthday I was extremely full that night to even have my birthday dinner. We went to Yard House for lunch and had nachos and beer. This is one of my favorite cheat foods and I haven't had it in a long time. Then to top if off the bartenders brought me a chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream. Which I could of done without it because I knew I had my S'mores Cake! Hours later we were still really full and couldn't even think of dinner. I knew I wanted my cake and then.. more trouble. An unexpected gift appeared at my door and I couldn't say no.

Cookies. Sugar cookies. Sugar cookies with delicious frosting.
This was my favorite, cinnamon brown sugar cookie. 
I discovered these cookies at my girlfriend's baby shower. They are from Cookies by Design. This is the most creative business I have ever seen. I love it. It better then flowers because cookies can't die, you just eat them and enjoy them! They have tons of baskets on their site and for any occasion. I think anyone would enjoy a gift like this. I know I did! They are located nationwide so check it out. See if they are in your area!
So after all the sugar and nachos, I couldn't even think of my birthday dinner I had requested. Grilled filet mignon, corn on the cob, and butter lettuce salad. So we saved it for the following night instead!

That's right. Dinner doesn't get started till I get my glass of wine!
Since it was my birthday dinner I really didn't want to do any cooking! So I just ordered my parents around instead. I like to call it the bossy sous chef! I did husk the corn and put it in the pot of boiling water. I seasoned the steaks. Set the table. So the menu was petite filet mignon. I seasoned them with salt and pepper. That is all they needed. My father tells me I shouldn't salt the meat until after it cooks. It will take out all the juices and will be dry. Well I think the steaks came out perfectly when done. I let them sit for a few minutes to rest. They were tender like butter. They were cooked perfectly, medium- rare. What is your take on salting raw meat before or cooked meat afterward? I find salting it while raw makes them more tender after they are done cooking. The side was a simple white corn on the cob, boiled. Some people like to add butter to their corn, we eat ours plain. It doesn't need the butter, they are so sweet and tender without it!

Of course I had the biggest steak. About 10 oz. I saved half of it for the next day!
BIG salad!

For my salad, I requested a butter lettuce salad because I believe it pairs well with a grilled steak. My father use to make this salad all the time when I was growing up. It was still good!
Butter Lettuce Salad (Adapted from my father)
Serves 3-4 people  

1 huge head of butter lettuce (we bought the one in the container with the roots still on for freshness)
1-2 roma tomatoes
1/4-1/2 sliced red onion (depending on how much you like)
Red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil Salt and Pepper

Wash and dry the lettuce well. Top with sliced tomatoes and onions. Drizzle on the vinegar and oil. Make sure it isn't over dressed. Then sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Then right before it time to eat, mix the salad together. If you mix it early then the salad with be soggy and you will lose the butter lettuce texture of the entire salad. That is the trick, wait till it time to eat and then mix the salad. I thought some toasted steak rolls would go well with the dinner, so I paired it with my salad. We bought the steak rolls from a bakery in Las Vegas, Great Buns Bakery.

The wine with my dinner is again one of my favorites. I'm more of a red wine person. My personal favorite is a Pinot Noir. It is a lighter body wine and it goes down smoothly. I'm not very knowledgeable on my wines yet but I'm slowly learning. I know with steak a heavier red wine like Cabernet or Merlot would of paired well. I just haven't found a Cabernet or Merlot I like yet. I would love to take some wine tours, and learn more about wine.

I've had this brand at several restaurants. I really like it.

Then to top off the ending of my dinner, I had a very small slice of cake left just for me! I enjoyed every single bite. It was worth the minor birthday weight gain, but as of today I'm back to my normal weight. Phew!! Lots of weight training and sweating really pays off. This is a rather long post, but hey it took 2 days to celebrate my birthday! I want to thank everyone for the wonderful wishes and the cards/ presents I received. I never expect anything, and that when I am usually surprised the most! I'm still waiting on my package from my boyfriend. I'm so anxious, I want it now!!! LOL.

Happy Sunday!!!


Katrina said...

Looks like a great, yummy birthday! Love the flowers and hello--the cake! Happy Birthday!

Fallon said...

haha it was very yummy! Thank you :)

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful birthday!!! Happy Birthday to you!!! :) Looks like such a lovely time all around! I LOVE that you made your own cake...I do that every's either I prepare a birthday dessert for myself or else the in laws end up buying some less-than-pleasing grocery store cake.

Smores cake...I love smores! need to try this cake!! yum yum! :D

Fallon said...

Thank you!! I usually would order an ice cream cake but that becoming so boring! It so much more fun to make your own cake and really I believe everyone enjoys it more.

I already have a request for S'mores Cake once my friend has her baby. LOL

Pam said...

Happy belated b-day. It sounds like you had a wonderful day. Love the flowers and really love the s'more cake.

Amanda said...

Wow great post and what a great birthday! Love that smores cake, yum!