Friday, March 25, 2011

Cake War :: Boy Scout Edition

You all know I love to bake.  I also love watching Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss.  For someone who really doesn't watch a whole lot of tv, I love love love those two shows!  Fortunately for me, my oldest daughter is becoming quite a fan of baking and of watching baking shows on tv, too.  We watch them together.  :) 

I've also started a collection of cupcake books, a list of favorite baking blogs, and have made a fair share of both cupcakes and {birthday} cakes alike.  Whereas I used to be the girl who bought boxed cakes and canned frostings, I have come to appreciate melting chocolate for homemade cakes and creating a nice homemade butter cream.  I would call us - me and The Pooks - amateur oficionados.  We know good cake when we see it.

You can imagine, then, that when the call came from the boys' Scout Pack leader that there was to be a cake baking contest, I believe but will not verify that I did a little happy hippy dance, flung my hands in the air, and shouted "Yahoo!"  May or may not have been me.  But I was stoked.

First rule in Boy Scout Cake Baking is that the boy perfoms 80% of the work.  In my book, that includes coming up with the theme of the cake.  T immediately decided "Camping" without hesitation.  He baked a two layer cake.  Dyed vanilla frosting a perfect shade of emerald green.  Frosted the sides and top in an un-uniform 'grassy' forest bed.  He piped stars along the top and bottom of the cake.  He frosted ice cream cones to look like conifers.  T arranged poptarts to mimic a tent, pretzels and M&M bits for a fire, and - using a technique from Hello, Cupcake - formed marshmallows, Starburst, and mini Vanilla Wafers into sleeping campers.  His creation?  Divine.  His persistence and patience and ultimately perseverance? Inmitable. 

He did not win.

Meiners chose to look through my cake books.  I guided him to Hello, Cupcake - knowing cupcakes would be slightly easier for his 6 year-old hands to manage.  Much to my excitement, he chose "Popcorn" cupcakes, using mini marshmallows to create the kernels of popcorn.  I cut the mini marshmallows into three pieces for each popcorn kernel (mini marshmallows, a pair of scissors, and a 6 year-old middle child did not seem like a good equation).  Meiners dolloped frosting on a whole mini marshmallow and smooshed it into the center of each 3 piece clover-shaped cut mallow.  Over 200 times.  He baked 24 cupcakes with his grammie and frosted each.  He and I positioned each of the 'popcorn kernels' onto the cupcake - at least 4 white clusters and 3 yellow clusters apiece.  On 8 of them, he sprinkled powdered cheese from a package of mac&cheese.  On another 8, he drizzled melted chocolate and melted caramels.  He left the final 8 plain - or 'buttered.'  Then we filled an old BoyScout popcorn tin with newspapers and piled his 3 'flavors' into the tin and titled the creation "Boy Scout Popcorn: YUM!"

He did not win.

When we arrived home, their sister stealthily disappeared into her room.  Ten minutes later, she emerged and presented the boys with their award. 

We then celebrated their hardwork and creativity by cutting into and enjoying their fabulous, award-winning, clever, tasty, and absolutely perfect Boy Scout cakes.

Win or lose, I have the best kids.
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