July 6, 2013

4th of July

Our church had an early 4th of July celebration out at a retreat/summer camp. They asked people to bring sides or a dessert so you know I had to take something Pinterest inspired!

I love to bake and decided to make a patriotic cake. It was red velvet and cream cheese frosting, I mean we are in the south now! 

Just a quick note on the recipe I used: I always use box cake mix to make my cakes. It is just so much easier and I am all for simple. However, I always make my own frosting from scratch. Homemade frosting tastes so much better than the frosting from a can. I don't know what they do to that stuff to make it taste so terrible. Plus using homemade frosting somehow makes the cake taste more homemade. Don't ask me know, but it just does. Also I have had quite a few people not believe me when I tell them my cakes are from a box. Like I said, it is all about the homemade frosting. 

So, now that I have sold you on making your own frosting (I did right? If not go back and reread that last paragraph) I should probably give you a recipe! I tweaked this recipe from all recipes to make it stiffer in order to be able to decorate with it. Now I didn't write it down but it was something along these lines.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (room temp)
1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4+ cups of powdered sugar, (original recipe calls for 2)

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla
3. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. If you want the frosting to crust (be able to hold its shape) you will need to add more powdered sugar. It should hold peaks and not fall off of your spoon. You may end up adding 6 cups of powdered sugar. That is fine! The frosting will be sweeter and more sugary the more powdered sugar you add (this seams obvious, but just thought I would throw it out there).
So if you want your frosting to really taste cream cheesy add less powdered sugar, but just know it might not hold its shape as well.
*Note sifted powdered sugar is ideal, but sometimes there isn't time for that and that is ok!

On to the decorating!

Fill your cake and stack it. I did a light crumb coating just in white. 

Take the remaining icing and divide it into three bowls. You will want the most blue, then white and then red. Tint your icing preferably using gel icing colors, but if you only have the grocery store liquid ones you can use those too. If you are using the liquid ones you might want to make your icing a little stiffer since you will be adding more liquid when coloring.

I used this tutorial from cake central to learn how to do the petal technique. I am not going to explain it here because she does a great job! Just go watch the video!

Are you back from the tutorial? Great! To create the flag effect I just did two dots of white, two red and then two white vertically and then went around the whole cake. Easy peasy, but a little time consuming. Just put on your favorite Netflix series and you will be good to go!

The stars on top are the sugar sheets from Wilton that you can find at the local craft stores. I used some star cookie cutters in different sizes to make the stars for the top of the cake. Done!

Also I just want to say that making the perfect cake does not matter! We are not perfect beings (only Jesus was perfect!) and thus we cannot make perfect things. So have fun with it!!

This fruit salad also easy peasy. Get a star cookie cutter and cut watermelon into slices that are slightly thinner than your cookie cutter. Then just cut out some stars and throw in some strawberries and blueberries. Festive and yummy!

This is Gavin and I with two of the women in the church. We are so thankful to have found a church where we can serve and grow! What a blessing!!

For the actual day of 4th of July we went up to Nashville for a Hot Chicken Festival and a free concert! Oh Nashville and your free concerts how I love thee!

Striking Matches started off the evening!

To finish the night The Band Perry played!!

They really are such a fun group to see live. So much energy in their performances!

The fireworks were set to a recording by the Nashville Symphony and were great!

The only thing that could have made the day any better was if it hadn't rained. I could not believe it rained on the 4th of July!! Even growing up in the Pacific Northwest I had never experienced a rainy 4th of July. Well there is always a first for everything! Here is hoping that next year is much sunnier and drier!!

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