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Sunday, March 20, 2011

A tractor for Grayer

Okay... for those of you who don't know... I like to think that at some point in my life I will be my own version of Paula Deen... just the cake/cupcake version.  So pretty often I set out on these adventures to make something tasty, creative and fun to eat.  The sad part is that it usually turns out to look more like my five year old made it than Paula Deen - but oh well - its usually pretty fun anyhow.
     Well, with Grayer's first birthday coming up... and with "farm birthday" as the theme - I have convinced myself that I can make my own tractor cake.  Lol... what was I thinking?  I didn't keep any evidence of my first tractor attempt... but lets just say - it was a DISASTER.  Within 30 minutes of completing the cake... the icing was running down the sides and apparently the cab of the tractor had been hit by some tornado... because it was millimeters from detaching completely from the bottom half and ending up upside down. 
    So anyway, today felt like a perfect day for attempt #2.  Rather than making a huge cake again ... I decided to scaled it down a bit and try my hand at individual, miniature tractors.  I guess I thought making them smaller would also make it easier... buuuut...  that wasn't exactly the case.  So, here is todays attempt.

     Quincy found out right before Valentines day this year that he had to be at work in El Paso... and so in a moment of guilt he decided to make up for his being gone on Valentines with a gift... and well, I didn't argue.  :)  Three days earlier my hand mixer had broken and he ever so lovingly decided to replace it ... with the amazing Kitchen Aid 5-Quart Mixer in Empire Red - perfect for Valentines.  <3
And let me tell you... if you are still using a hand mixer... it is definitely time for an upgrade! This thing is awesome!! So needless to say I was completely stoked today when I remembered I had this to use instead of our ten year old hand mixer! 

     Anyway, Betty Crocker has some amazing Triple Chunk brownies ... so I ALWAYS use them to make everything... even cupcakes.  This was the easy part... follow the instructions on the back of the box and you can't go wrong.  It's the next part that needs work.  I guess if I plan on tackling tasks such as this... some baking research or classes would help... but I guess trial and error works too. 

     Dilemma #1 - green icing.  Never in my life have I needed to make green icing... but no matter what I do... I get pastel Easter green icing rather than John Deere tractor icing.  Remind me later to look up the topic... "Making DARK green icing."  Todays icing probably tastes like food coloring... seeing as how I have almost an entire bottle of blue, yellow and green in mine. Three bottles of food coloring... and still Easter green icing.  Nice. 

     Next step... making the shape of a tractor.  Easy enough.  But now I have to ice it.  I don't know if I'm just icing challenged or what... but I made four miniature tractors today and all of them look like I melted some icing and dumped it on top of the tractor shape.  And I didn't melt any icing.  I see these shows on food network where the icing looks so beautiful and perfect... well, thats not my icing.  That makes icing the second item to research.   

     Well... now that my little tractor is iced (sort of)... all that is left is the finishing touches - wheels and the little black pipe that sticks out of it (Quincy would be so ashamed of me... I don't even know what that thing is called).  So, I used Oreos for the back tires and then tried both Milk Duds and miniature Reese's Peanut Buter Cups for the front tires. 

In the end... this attempt was MUCH more successful than the first attempt.  I mean, atleast this tractor is still standing... icing and all!  Hopefully, they will just keep getting better with each attempt!  And please... and tips will be greatly appreciated.  :)  Until then... happy baking!


Mom2Four said...

Super cute!! I don't think you could have done any better. Wilton sells food coloring, as I'm sure you know. I have to go that route anytime I need to make a specialty color. They have just about any color you could imagine. It's pricey...but lasts FOREVER.

Have you ever heard of the magazine "Disney's Family Fun?" I have a subscription to this and can't wait for it to come every month. They also have a website with a search bar...if you type in "tractor cakes," I can alomst bet they have some version of it.

Daley said...

Ha ha ha please take a picture of the tornado-strewn tractor next time!! Your tractor is sooooo cute, I love it. Maybe instead of a giant tractor cake you could make lots of small tractors. That's what your baby sis is!!! I'll come over the night before and we'll tackle this project.
Check this out:

Mom2Four said...

Oh, I forgot about this website I use for ideas on the kids' cakes. I like Daley's should make a bunch of little tractors.

Mama Hancock said...

Thank you so much for the ideas Liz! I will definitely be checking those things out. :) And Daley... the tornado tractor was a pre-blog incident. lol. You will definitely get pictures of the next one! I tried to view the Angry Birds cake at work but we don't have flash so I'll have to view it later! :( Can't wait for your help on the cakes!!

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