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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Birthdays Part 2 - The Big Milestone!!

Last week, my girlfriends and I (and the dogs!) celebrated the first of our summer birthdays. This weekend we took it up a notch! One of my best girlfriends is about to turn 30 (!!) so we threw a party at our house!

Of course, as a law enforcement family, our friends are primarily also LEO families. And for this particular evening, somehow the stars aligned perfectly and ALL FIVE of the men happened to have the night off!! (Trust me, this is a HUGE deal!)

It was such a great evening! It's always fun to get everyone together, especially since this life doesn't allow for much of a social life. And how great that we got to celebrate a big milestone birthday all together!

Of course, I was completely in my element. I love playing hostess and I love cooking! This was your typical summer cookout party (chicken, sausage, pasta salad, fruit tray), but the most exciting part to me was getting to make and decorate a cake! My mama and I used to decorate cakes and cookies all the time, but it's been years since I've pulled out my toolbox.

I used this cake recipe from Taste of Home (, omitting the almond extract and doubling the vanilla extract. I also didn't use the frosting recipe included with it. My family has our own butter cream frosting recipe that we use for every cake and cookie decorating adventure.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Throw it all in the mixer and blend until smooth!

For this particular project, I doubled this recipe, because I needed enough to do a filling between the two layers of cake and decorate! I have plenty left over though, so I may have been able to get away with a single recipe. The middle filling was a deep purple to contrast with the lilac color on the outside.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give about decorating a cake or cookies is to NEVER EVER use the standard liquid food coloring that comes in the little drop bottles. For good quality color, use the gel color made by Wilton ( You get buy it at Michael's or WalMart for about .60 cents for a single bottle. It takes a light touch to figure out how much to use, but just start with a few light strokes of color in your white frosting and gradually increase from there.

I'm super proud of how my cake turned out, even after so many years of no practice! It's like riding a bike. I feel inspired now to keep it up! Hope there are some folks eager to eat lots of sweet goodies!

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