rainbow cake

Rainbow Cake, French Macarons…and some other good food

macarons mirabelle's burlington vermont capability mom IMG_5924 IMG_5851 IMG_5852I have been doing things other than visiting bakeries and eating, thank you very much, although you will not find proof of that here. A rainbow cake at Frontside Grind in North Conway, NH and (rainbow) french macarons in Burlington, Vermont with some great bagels and yummy sandwiches… ummm, sandwiched in between. Yes, Mirabelle’s in Burlington is my new favorite bakery – even further away than my other faves…better for the waistline.

We visited North Conway, NH, a place we have been visiting for years (Storyland, anyone?) and Frontside has terrific coffee and wonderful bagels – the rainbow cake came as a total surprise. Flatbread for dinner – best fresh food in town. Salads with local fresh cheese and greens. A don’t miss.

Then to Burlington Vermont where making a food decision gets even more challenging. Lunch at The Red Onion which has terrific fresh baked bread made in house. Dessert  – ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.

We ended up (after much consideration and three generously offered opinions from the staff at the hotel) at Scuffers with fresh salads, great burgers and an extensive beer selection.

Mirabelle’s baked goods were served at our hotel (a terrifically well-run Marriott Courtyard) for breakfast so I knew it would be wonderful and we grabbed lunch to go for the ride home. And also stocked up on more than a few baked goods. I keep checking to see what’s left (not much).

We did do other stuff in between the food activities, like visiting colleges and dropping off a child at the AMC Teen Wilderness Program (better weather needed next time).

Pretty amazing food all around.

The story of the rainbow cake on the day we had compromised water*

capability mom makes the rainbow cake - spoonsHere is the thing. I love to bake but am not especially gifted in this area. Oh, pshaw, Capability Mom, you say, it looks like you are…well, capable. I am capable but I am not inspired. I am a nervous baker and can’t easily adapt a recipe or change part of one that I like and add something else instead. I have friends who are incredible bakers and so I know the difference.

capability mom attempts the rainbow cake

These are the pretty cakes.

When I made The Whisk Kid’s crazy gorgeous rainbow cake, for instance, I followed her recipe exactly…except when I didn’t. Here is another thing about me – I love to read but not directions…like on cake flour boxes. So I had cake flour and thought how nice it would be to use it for a cake, logical, yes? But I failed to read the box which told you the formula (not difficult – just another tablespoon or so of cake flour for each cup called for in recipe) and when we made the first batch (yes, this was before we had no water – thankfully) and they were flat and full of airholes and some were quite raw. The colors were gorgeous but I knew the cakes were a failure. Sigh. I do so dislike failure. After determining that all were mostly lost, we remade the cakes with all-purpose flour – as I should have known to do in the first place – and they came out perfectly wonderful round layers.

At this point we called it a night. I had made the base butter cream frosting from The Whisk Kid’s recipe – my first ever – and was thrilled because it was delicious.  I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, I made the top coat of butter cream frosting and waited for the under or crumb coat frosting to come to room temperature. Despite the heat of the day (and it was so hot), that butter cream remained unspreadable. Rookie that I am, I was too nervous to do anything to it other than jab at it with a spoon (this does nothing) and make 3 or 4 more batches of the top coat (because I had started frosting with that and was now committed to it). Luckily, I had tons of eggs and sugar (and a container of egg whites that vaguely felt like cheating). Why did I not just go to the store and buy Duncan Hines? Because I am stubborn and I was making this cake and it would be from scratch because that would show my daughter that …what, exactly? The lesson learned was that her mom is, if anything, determined and stubborn, yeah, like that is news. I was pretty flustered but mostly capability mom's rainbow cakekept it together (except when I gave up and enlisted two middle schoolers to frost the cake because this is an area of great weakness for me) and I was putting together a party with a moonbounce, cotton candy machine and no water, thank you very much.

It was a success and thrill and surprise to most of the guests and worth the eggs, sugar and time spent. Next time I might read the directions, too.

*There was water – running water – we just had to boil it to use it for washing dishes and drinking and brushing teeth. Good times.

Chocolate refrigerator cakes, best chocolate chip cookies, googly bands and fun

nabisco famous chocolate refrigerator roll We love chocolate at our house – well, except my husband and instead of deeming that a character flaw (which it surely is), I have decided to embrace the positive result of this particular preference which basically means…more for me. It does mean I don’t have to hide chocolate (except from the children…not that I would do that) and I know any stash (if there were such a thing) would never be disturbed even if discovered. So – all good for me. Above is a picture of a easy fun cake to make with kids that a friend just reminded me about (we made it last for a favorite stuffed animal’s birthday party).

Basically it is Nabisco FAMOUS chocolate wafers, whipping cream and vanilla. Here is the recipe from NabiscoWorld.com including the nutritional information – oh, come on, there is some vitamin A in there and some calcium.  My mom made this with us when we were young (it is a classic) and it is so easy (whipped cream and chocolate cookies). Let even the youngest of toddlers stack the cookies and spread the whipped cream. Sure, it’s a little messy but the little ones can make their own and will be so excited about it. Freeze for about 4 hours. When cut on a diagonal (by an adult) it is really cute. Almost rainbow cake cute but a black and white version.  A good project with no baking but you still get a cute, fun cake.

I made the following amazing (I am so modest) chocolate ship cookies for the same friend (a while ago! but talking to her just now made me connect the two) and just made a batch for teacher gifts on Tuesday. Best chocolate chip cookies ever. From the Ghiradelli bag of milk chocolate chips and the Ghiradelli website.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

11 1/2 ounce(s) Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 375ºF.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. I use the milk chocolate chips – or semi-sweet if you must. Really, really good.

Now…same friend and I talked about the crazy craze for googly bands.  I was going to post on these anyway because I answered a call to action from TwitterMoms about getting googly bands and writing about them but was shut out by the ferocious response by other mom bloggers like the post here on child hood – I also found out that there is a contest for designing new shapes of googly bands.  My kids love these and are all about getting more. Here is the weird thing, for me anyway. These self-same bands were out – oh, about 7 years ago in pastel colors and farm animal shapes. I know because they came in a little plastic suitcase and we gave them as a goody bag gift for a birthday party (Wow. I have way too much trivial information stored in this brain). Nonetheless, we did. When a sister asked if my girls were into them (3 weeks ago) I replied that we were past those…thinking of the ones oh-so-long ago. Thanks for the reminder of these fun things, KR!

googly bands on capability mom

Rainbow cakes are everywhere

You know I made the rainbow cake

rainbow cake capability mom
Capability Mom's Rainbow Cake from The Whisk Kid's recipe

from The Whisk Kid (and she was on Martha) but now I find rainbow cakes everywhere. Here are some of my favorites:

rainbow cake with fruit from huckleberry stew Huckleberry Stew This rainbow cake is not only topped with fruit but the coloring of the cake is fruit based – in case you are wary of using food coloring.

huckleberry stew rainbow cake capability mom

The recipe comes  from I am baker blog – gorgeous, creative and fun.

rainbow cake sweetnicks

Here on Sweetnicks, a mom makes her rainbow cake from a box mix and it is beautiful. Hey, small kids, no time to bake, purdy peas rainbow cake capability momMartha wouldn’t cut those corners but I would. Above, from Purdy Peas is another beautiful cake – check out that icing. All good and fun cakes – perfect for upcoming graduation parties.

Of course, this gorgeous outrageous layer cake from Kevin Sharkey on MarthaStewart.com

kevin sharkey's rainbow cake on martha stewart

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