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Baking Dad: Ninjago Birthday Cake

Baking Dad: Ninjago Birthday Cake

The tradition continues!

In the months preceding my (now) 5-year-old son’s birthday, I frequently asked him what he wanted me to make for his special cake. For a long time the answer was “Monkey,” his favorite stuffed toy. Then he changed his mind, and decided he wanted all of the Avengers. When I asked him to narrow it down, he decided on Iron Man, before again changing his mind and saying he in fact wanted Monkey again, only Monkey who has turned into the Hulk… which lasted right up until a couple of weeks before the party when he scrapped everything and said he wanted a Ninjago cake — specifically of LLOYD, the Green Ninja.

Suffice to say, I took that and ran with it. Here’s the result!

Ninjago Birthday Cake

I could nitpick a lot about this in terms of how I saw it in my head and difficulties with sticky fondant and food-coloring, but altogether it turned out really well, I thought.

Thankfully, he and his friends loved it. That’s what matters. 🙂

Blowing out the candles on the Ninjago cak!

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Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

As I mentioned previously, for his 6th Birthday last week my son requested a Space Shuttle cake to go along with the general, ongoing “I want to be an astronaut!” theme to his life.

Not gonna lie, I’m really pleased with how this one turned out.

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Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

One of my friends recently asked me why I had never collected together in one place all of the birthday cakes I have made for my sons, and it occurred to me that it was high time I rectified that oversight. Sure, I’ve posted pictures of them on here, or on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (are you following me in those places? You really should be following me in those places…) but I’d never put together a post to send to people and say “Look! Set your eyes upon my mighty works of flour, and sugar, and fondant!”

So… here we go.

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How to Eat a Cupcake like a Pro

How to Eat a Cupcake like a Pro

I learned this technique years ago, and it has served me well in avoiding a dreaded case of Frosting Bite on my nose. But it always amazes me how many people have never heard of it.

Consider yourself enlightened to a better way!

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Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants… cake.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants… cake.

It was my son’s 5th birthday last week, and as has become my tradition I made him a fancy birthday cake based on something he loves for his party on the weekend with family and friends.

SpongeBob SquarepantsThe theme this year was, clearly, SpongeBob Squarepants.

In some ways this was not too difficult a theme (a square character being, like, the dream subject for a cake decorator) so I wanted to really stretch myself in trying to get it really, really “on model,” as it is called in the animation industry. That is, I wanted it to look like SpongeBob is supposed to look, like the animated character come to life in 3D, rather than some garish yellow travesty.

It wasn’t without its little mistakes and flaws, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. More importantly, it also tasted really good and my son loved it.

Now to get to work his little brother’s cake for January…

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Foodie Friday: Puffins

Foodie Friday: Puffins

If you’re like me, breakfast with the kids can be pretty hit-or-miss. Some days they’ll eat whatever I set in front of them. Other days they’ll ask for something specific (and might not eat a bite of it). They’ll have favorites one day, that they hate the next.

So I am always happy when I find something that they (almost) always eat happily, are easy to put together, makes extras that store well, and are delicious to boot. This is how it was when I found out about “puffins,”

No, not the bird.

Puffins are, essentially, just muffins made with a pancake-like batter. It gives you this awesome pancake/muffin hybrid that doesn’t require a long time by the stove flipping anything. Maple-syrup is added right to the batter to make them sweet already (which, in our house at least, avoids some major mess) but if you’r adventurous I suppose you could make mini versions of these and dip ’em in all sorts of sweet goodness. As always, experiment, and enjoy!

Click here for a larger version of the recipe.

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Foodie Friday: Skillet Biscuits

Foodie Friday: Skillet Biscuits

Who doesn’t love a warm, freshly baked biscuit? Slather on some butter, honey, or preserves. Mmm. Yes please!

I saw these made on the tee-vee a year or so ago now, as part of a schnitzel sandwich recipe. The sandwich looked good, but I was mainly intrigued by the biscuits. I’d never seen them made in a cast iron skillet before, and as a lover of cast-iron cooking, I had to try them.

So glad I did.

Click here for larger version of the above graphic.

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lego

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lego

Lego cake success! A little misshapen, but it tasted good, so there.

And everyone who told me to try making homemade fondant was right, it’s way easy (if messy) and way, way tastier.

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Foodie Friday: Cheesy Fish Biscuits, aka Homemade Goldfish Crackers (or "Toddler Crack")

Foodie Friday: Cheesy Fish Biscuits, aka Homemade Goldfish Crackers (or "Toddler Crack")

A few weeks ago was my son’s fourth birthday, and as he asked for an Octonauts cake, I decided to go for a casual “undersea” theme overall. In addition to some surprisingly good “octo-dogs” (bbq cocktail weiners cut so they looked like little octopi) I finally tried my hand at making some homemade goldfish crackers.

Now, ask any parent and they’ll agree, goldfish crackers are like “Toddler Crack.” Every kid loves them. Any time, any place, my boys will devour a bag of them like they’re manna from heaven. It turns out they are also SUPER easy to make at home.

Foodie Friday: Cheesy Fish Biscuits, aka Homemade Goldfish Crackers (or 'Toddler Crack')

This recipe was a lot of fun to do, because Tucker actually got to help me out quite a lot, cutting the shapes and laying them out. With only 5 ingredients I’m sure it would also adapt well to different cheeses, healthy flours or grains, interesting seasonings, and the possibilities for the shapes are endless.

Give them a try!

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An Octonauts Birthday Cake

An Octonauts Birthday Cake

*WHEW!* Octonauts Birthday Cake, I dub thee “Good enough for tonight.”

Octonauts Birthday Cake

I hope he likes it. 🙂

P.S. Captain Barnacles it a stud.

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Foodie Friday: Aarti’s Baked Chicken & Mango Samosas

Foodie Friday: Aarti’s Baked Chicken & Mango Samosas

It’s probably no secret that I watch a lot of Food Network, so it probably also comes as no surprise that my wife and I were among the people tuning in to (by which I mean “letting the TiVo record”) this most recent season of The Next Food Network Star.

We really liked several of the contestants a lot, but our favorite as time went on became Aarti Sequeira, the former CNN producer whose unique Indian heritage and childhood in Dubai led her to a passion for making Indian food more accessible. In the end, she won (YAY!) and her new show started last week, but she’s not exactly new to hosting a cooking show. Eager to try her hand at it, she and her husband started making their own cooking show and posting it online.

Incidentally, Tucker fell in love with her instantly. She’s second only to Elmo now, and if he recognizes the Food Network is on he’ll shout “AWTEE! AWTEE!”  It’s pretty dang cute.

All of that is to say that in reading through her website, I found this amazing looking recipe for baked samosas.

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