Happy Birthday, baby

I guess Seven is officially a Big Boy now, all of 2. Time certainly does fly. I can still remember the taste of the hospital chicken & dumplings I ate for every meal after having him, it seems so recent. (By the way, those dumplings were good enough to warrant getting pregnant again.)

Tonight we celebrated his birthday for the third time in a week…and each time I made a cake. First was the Devil’s Food Strawberry Cake. Then came the huge party cake with the farm animals. Then tonight was another Devil’s Food, but this time with tons of raspberries and both White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Mousse.

I made the cake today and used raspberries from our garden, which, for some reason, decided that our first harvest in late June wasn’t enough and have since rebudded and offered us a ton of fresh berries for the past two weeks. Hey…I’m not complaining. It’s like a Christmas Miracle, Charlie Brown.

I divided this torte into 4 layers of cake. Two of the layers received white chocolate mousse with a bit of raspberry extract mixed in as well as loads of fresh berries. The center layer I filled with milk chocolate mousse and again threw on as many berries as it could handle. The top and sides were iced with leftover vanilla buttercream that I piped on with a star tip. As you can see, a few rows on top were piped with more of the chocolate mousse. On it;s own, this cake was very good looking. But….

Helen. It’s all because of Helen and her site, Tartelette. If you aren’t a reader of hers, you should be. Her photos are ridiculous, her recipes knock my socks off. Anything she dreams up comes to life on her blog and does so in such an amazing way. Add to that she is kind hearted and eager to help a newbie like myself and well, I’m just a sucker for her.

She just recently posted about pulling sugar. For those of you who have ever attempted ANY kind of sugar work- glass, caramel, hard candy – you know how unstable and scary it can be. I know it scares the bejesus out of me. However, she had such a soothing way of making me think I could do it. It’s easy, she said in a Tweet to me this morning. Easy. Umkay. If you say so.

But I went for it. What was there to lose? A little bit of sugar and some time? Worth it to try. I’ll admit, the first few pulls were not so good. I followed her directions to the letter, and they were spot on…only I had to use rubber gloves instead of pastry gloves and the hot sugar kept sticking to them. By the time I pulled the candy off the gloves, the rest had hardened too much to pull. So I tweeted. “What to do? Am I screwed?” and calmly, she says to grease the gloves. From that point on I was set. Everytime the candy hardened, I slipped it into the oven at 220 and waited for it to soften. After about an hour of the pulling, twirling and rewarming, I had a ton of sugar curly-cues.

FYI – these can NOT be made ahead. They are sticky and very prone to humidity, so they will only last a day. I made mine at around 11 am, and while they are now 12 hours old and still looking okay, they won’t make it much longer. So don’t plan on making any in advance to use on a cake 3 days from now…it will be a total waste of time. And no, you can’t refrigerate them. Just don’t.

So see…I did it. No ER visit, and I’m not yet in the loony lock up. If I can do it, so can you. I fully expect to hear about your sugary conquests in future blog posts…so get on it! You can do it!

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