Friday, January 27, 2012

Cake Cuts

I have no idea where the tradition of having a cake to celebrate an event came from, but I fully support the decision!  Think about it, the cake is kind of a big deal.  Whether it's a wedding cake, a birthday cake, a shower cake, a graduation cake, or an anniversary cake, it often takes center stage with the person being honored.  It makes the pictures, is the center decor piece of the party theme, and is displayed for all to see.  A good looking cake is only the tip of the iceberg; everything from the frosting texture to the moisture and flavor of the cake will be evaluated by the party guests as well.  That's an awful lot of pressure for something that will ultimately be cut into tiny pieces and become crumbs by the end of the night. 

So do you buy a cake or attempt it yourself?  This of course is where the frugal find comes into play.  Buying a cake from a bakery or private baker can be pricey but often people are willing to spend a little more to play it safe.  If you are adventurous or simply compelled by frugality, like myself, making a cake is the way to go.  Depending on the size of your cake all you will need is a box of cake mix, some basic frosting ingredients (also available pre-made), a box of food coloring, and any other tools or toppings you need for your specific design.

This past week my husband had a Birthday and I needed a cake.  After finding my inspiration for the cake (a board game we enjoy playing called Settlers of Catan), I purchased the few ingredients I did not already have on hand (about $3 worth), and set to work.  When it was all said and done not only was I pleased with the cake, but was thrilled to save some money in the process.  My husband's Birthday cake is this blog entry's frugal find. 

Tip:  First draw your design into the frosting with a toothpick before adding any color or toppings.  That way, it is easy to smooth and start over if it doesn't look right.

Tip:  Keep a picture of your inspiration with you for an easy comparison not only as you design the cake, but as you shop for toppings and match colors as well. 

Tip:  Be creative with you toppings.... what kind of cookies can be crumbled and used?... can you use some of those baking chips in the freezer or the red sprinkles you bought at Christmas?  Think about candy.... the possibilities are endless.  (I crushed vanilla wafers, used baking chips, and bought mints for the game number pieces)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bag Toppers

Don't you just hate it when your computer dies when you have a bunch of things you were planning to post to your blog?  That is my explanation for why, four weeks after Christmas, my next few posts will  be about more Christmas crafts/projects that I did.  Seeing as how we recently received our first real snowfall here, this will be strangely fitting. 

Over the past few months, the world of Pinterest has sucked me in.  I have gathered so many good ideas and have even tried a handful of the them.  One of these ideas is homemade bag toppers.  All you need is a zip lock bag, a stapler or some glue, and some fun paper. (not to mention something delicious to put inside of the bags)  Simply cut the paper slightly wider than the top of the bag, fold it in half, and fasten the paper to the bag with a stapler or glue.  The rest of the creativity is up to you.  It is a frugal way to dress up those homemade goodies that you give away.  Happy frugal crafting! 

Packer Party Caramel Corn

Owl Themed Christmas Candy Basket

Bags too big?  Fold them in half before you staple the top on.