Monday, June 3, 2013

Slaying the dragon

I'm not sure how it's possible (parents always start birthday posts that way, don't they?), but my baby girl turned five this weekend. My little girl is a warrior princess: she loves everything princessy, pink, and sparkly, but her favorite princesses are Eowyn (Lord of the Rings), Leia (Star Wars), and Merida (Brave). While dressed in fancy princess dresses, she climbs trees, shoots bows and arrows, and runs from Darth Vader.

When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she first said princesses (she loves looking at the Disney princess cakes at the big grocery stores). Then she wanted a castle. And finally, she settled on a red dragon. (Smaug - from the Hobbit - is her favorite and has been her Halloween costume for the past two years.)

There are many pictures of dragon cakes out there, and many seem to follow the same basic pattern. I followed this set of instructions. The birthday girl requested "vanilla cake," which I took to mean yellow. I asked on Twitter for a good, sturdy, yummy yellow cake, and my friend Rebecca recommended Rosie's golden cake (recipe can be found here). I used my 9" rounds, and although the recipe said to bake them for 35 minutes, by 32 minutes, they were already very done. Didn't matter; the cake was moist and delicious. And (most importantly for me!) very sturdy.

I used the same ATK 7-minute frosting that I used for the little guy. It makes a ton and the kids love the marshmallowy flavor. Despite a lot of red gel food coloring, the frosting never got darker than a deep pink. It's okay; the little girl loves pink, and she easily adjusted her expectations.

The girl and her daddy were in charge of decorating design. She picked the colors for all of the pieces, and she helped Daddy design the flames and wings. Given our recent unprocessed journey, I was quite distressed to spend so much time in the snack aisle looking for decorations: luckily, I didn't have to buy too much. I found a multi-colored fruit slice pack, which I used for the claws, eyes, and eye brows. The chocolate-covered graham cookies were perfect for the spikes. And I found a multi-pack of fruit roll-ups and fruit-by-the-foot, which became the wings and flames. We already had chocolate chips (eye balls) and kisses (nostrils).

The cake was a huge hit; it was definitely my biggest cake-decorating success. The guests all loved the dragon, and the kids had fun requesting body parts, starting with the birthday girl, who wanted the head. And I'm happy to have a new no-fail cake-building yellow cake to add to my chocolate cake and frosting. Happy birthday, sweet girl!