Cake Walk Birthday Party

cake walk birthday party

cake walk birthday party

Back in June, we had a cake walk tragedy… and it came to pass that we would have a CAKE WALK BIRTHDAY PARTY this year for Teddy’s fifth birthday. Does the world generally know what a cake walk is?? Or is it a Canadian thing, or a carnival game of yesteryear? It’s like a cake-version of musical chairs, where you walk in a circle, jumping from number to number, and when the music stops, a number is drawn from a hat, and if that number is the one you’re standing upon, you win the cake.

cake walk birthday party

I made nine mini cakes for Teddy’s family birthday party – one for each cousin, plus my sister had two Japanese exchange students visiting.  Before you think I’m completely crazy, know this: I love that shit, plus, baking nine cakes wasn’t too bad – I used the ol’ sheet pan method, baking two sheets of cake then punching out layers with a four inch round silver cutter! I whipped up a huge ass batch of vanilla buttercream, filled some piping bags and away I went!

mini cake

Buttercream burgers.

cake walk cakes

astronaut costume

Ground control to Major Ted!! Birthday present astronaut suit. Jealous of those silver gloves.

chomp chomp

A happy and excited cake walk winner!! (um, everyone won.) No fork, no problem. Teddy’s squeals of excitement and the cheering of when his number was called and seeing him and his cousins BOOGYING to the music… all worth it! xo Lyndsay 

Rilakkuma Cake For I Am A Food Blog!

brown bear cake - rilakkuma!

rilakkuma cake by cococakeland.com

Look at that dreamy fluffy adorable face! It’s so hard not to just snuggle the daylights out of this Rilakkuma cake face. I made this lil guy as a secret surprise for my blog bestie Steph! Three years ago now, I received an email from her saying “hi” and seeing if I wanted to meet up for coffee, since we both live in Vancouver. I love that – blogger blind date! I am a legitimate huge fan of I Am A Food Blog - her and Mike make the most delicious recipes and I love their crisp, stylized photography and overall sense of design. Plus, their Friday Finds are also always some of my favourite reads of the week!

rilakkuma cake by cococakeland.com

Dark chocolate cake, coffee buttercream and almond toffee crunch – I got the toffee recipe from Erin of Erin Bakes! She has a sweet new book out, and it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure style cake recipe book jammed with cakes, frostings and textural fillings, plus easy decorating ideas and Erin’s comedic writing style. The toffee recipe is dangerously legitimate. Buttery, sweet and salty, and I added toasted salted almonds, making it crazily addictive. The toffee set up like a charm, and I snacked HARD on the leftovers while watching Broad City on Saturday night… oops. Looking forward to making more from Erin’s book!

brown bear cake - rilakkuma!

kawaii rilakkuma cake - coco cake land

take a slice outta rilakkuma

Oh buddy!!! So sorry for the lobotomy! Steph and I had a fun afternoon power walking in the sun, eating Japanese rice bowls at a cute little cafe and then, cutting into little brownie bear Rilakkuma cake.

rilakkuma cake by cococakeland.com

I’ve really been enjoying just slowly working on cakes these days. It feels simple and pure, with good intentions. I’ve needed that lately, as I’ve been feeling so crotchety and lite-cynical about the blogging machine. Getting flour-dusted and meditatively piping cakes feels like the right move at the moment. Happy birthday Steph! So glad I finally got to make you a cake, hehe! xo Lyndsay 

Red Panda Cake For Teddy’s 5th Birthday

red panda cake by cococakeland

teddy and his birthday cake

On Teddy’s last preschool field trip, the big old yellow bus rumbled along the highway all the way out to Aldergrove, BC to the Greater Vancouver Zoo, a place I had no idea existed. Lions, giraffes, zebras, gorillas??? white timbre wolves… all of these disparate animals from all over the world converging on a piece of land outside of Vancouver Canada – where the temperatures aren’t very hot and snow is a very real possibility every winter – every single day for them must be a giant WTF. I missed the parent sign-up sheet to ride on the bus with the kids so I ended up driving behind the schoolbus like a special police escort. Once in the zoo, the lions confronted their 4-year-old viewers with maybe a disturbing lip-licking intensity, coming right up to the glass with glazed, stalker-ish looks in their eyes. Giraffes hunkered around, chewing things. One singular red panda hid behind a tree in his leafy compound. The whole thing reminded me of this panda Kit Kat commercial from when I was a kid.

teddy and his birthday cake

Red panda finally made the most fleeting appearance, showing itself ever so briefly before scrambling back into hiding. Although, it was enough of a glimpse that Teddy and I googled “red panda” later on and giggled at their adorableness. Hence, the red panda cake idea was planted.

red panda cake by cococakeland

teddy and his birthday cake

Turning five is a bigger deal than my heart was prepared for. Turning five means starting Kindergarten, which means full school days away, and little lunchbox eating, and recess-snack-eating, and playing on playgrounds and monkey bars and falling off swings and getting scrapes, bruises or worse, to being subjected to bullies or getting feelings hurt, or any other tiny micro aggression that may shape my son’s character, to making all these sweet little independent decisions and making new friends and learning and laughing and using the toilet to take a dump, all without me there to help or guide or hug to feel better. Turning five came really really fast.

red panda cake cococakeland.com

Five is still little but five is big. I love this little man so much and I am proud of all that he has become. Happy 5th Birthday Teddy! Love, Mama.

red panda cake cococakeland.com

Buttercream Rose Meringue Kisses Cake

swiss meringue kisses recipe - cococakeland.com

buttercream rose meringue kisses cake - cococakeland.com

I’ve been on a bit of piping train lately CHOO CHOO -if you can’t tell! I’ve always loved vintage buttercream piping techniques but I am really into this buttercream rose meringue kisses cake with its mix of modern meringues and “old timey” piping vibes. Crispy chewy sweet meringues give such a nice textural element to this cake, along with not-too-sweet buttercream.

buttercream rose meringue kisses cake - cococakeland.com

buttercream rose meringue kisses cake - cococakeland.com

I used my Swiss meringue kisses recipe for the pretty meringues. With meringue making, you want to go low and slow. Don’t open the oven to peek at their cuteness while baking, as any sudden temperature changes will crack your meringues. I like to bake them at night, and then after the baking time is up, I’ll turn off the oven and leave them in overnight to thoroughly dry out.

buttercream rose meringue kisses cake - cococakeland.com

pretty party cake - cococakeland.com

These meringues were particularly dry and crisp but still chewy – the perfect dryness to accompany buttercream roses. If possible, place meringues on a buttercream cake only a few hours before serving, to prevent any wilting of the meringues and to help retain the meringue crispness.

buttercream rose meringue cake - cococakeland.com

I like my buttercream “not too sweet” – my go-to simple vanilla buttercream recipe is two cups of unsalted butter at room temperature, four cups of sifted icing/confectioner’s sugar, two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and a teensy pinch of salt. Beat the butter, then add the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla and salt. Beat this on high until the buttercream has doubled in volume.

pretty floral cake - cococakeland.com

I tend to be wildly overzealous with the leaf tip piping bag but I kinda like the look – it gives it both a leafy and ruffly look, and the leaf tip is awesome for filling in any “bald” spots. If I’m already on a piping roll, I like to use up any extra buttercream by piping tons and tons of buttercream roses to save in the freezer for future use. Lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes; then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.

slice of cake

Happy baking, cake pals!! xo Lyndsay

Square Buttercream Flower Cake + Teddy’s “Graduation”

square buttercream flower cake - cococakeland.com

square buttercream flower cake - cococakeland.com

My lil man T “graduated” from preschool in June. My heart was both filled with joy and pride but also brutalized by sadness – hearing his scratchy little singing voice belting out “He’s got the whole world in his hands!!” amongst his class of cuties, well, I was basically a puddle on the gym floor afterward. It was a potluck, so I made this square buttercream flower cake – originally my idea was to pipe “I BELIEVE THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE” on it… but opted for crazy colourful piping instead.

boy with balloons

I had a bunch of balloons leftover from my cake book photoshoot so we brought those to the party. Here he is, captured in a quiet little moment of singing to himself while playing on the living room floor before the graduation party.

teddy with balloons

T wore his “fancy guy” shirt, a candy-striped number from the adorable brand Ultraviolet Kids. I would so wear this shirt in an adult size.

easy kid friendly craft pasta necklace

Teddy painted good old pasta necklaces as presents for his teachers – I took photos of him painting them and printed the photo to use as a thank you card. Ok I just looked up Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All” on YouTube and those opening notes just made me teary-eyed! Hoo boy. Watching my baby grow up has been the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever known. xo Lyndsay 

Strawberry Sheet Cake

Strawberry Sheet Cake Rosette Piping

 

strawberries

strawberries-2

INTRODUCING, COCO CAKE LAND SALMON MOUSSE!! Jk, jk – this is not salmon mousse. In fact, it is a light and fluffy pink tinged strawberry sheet cake piped rather OCD-like in strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. The cake base recipe is from A Cozy Kitchen, except I didn’t roast my strawberries, I just puréed them – but be like her and don’t be so lazy like me!! Can we expound on the delightfulness of a sheet cake? Holy sheet, you just pour the batter in to one pan and set it and forget it. Dump cake 2017, but not really. I like how the rosettes fancified up the sheet cake too.

Strawberry Sheet Cake Rosette Piping

I tried several piping method before settling in on classique rosettes – I attempted a cute fan pattern, but the fan pattern looked like … yeah, salmon mousse. Happy Birthday, Amber and Ashley!! xo Lyndsay 

Piped Rainbow Buttercream Flower Cake

Piped Buttercream Flower Cake - cococakeland.com

Piped Buttercream Flower Cake - cococakeland.com

I made this CAYOOT piped rainbow buttercream flower cake for another local school’s cake walk – one of the teachers follows me on Instagram and has asked me for a few years now to make a cake – so this year I rolled up ye old sleeves and power-piped out this cake. It was supposed to be a three layer affair but wuh happened was, I stayed out *late* the night before because my dear pal Amy was in town from NYC. Therefore, karaoke. Therefore, old man Winter L Sung went to bed later than her usual. Therefore, Teddy wakes up at his regular 630am “the sun is up!!” time and it doesn’t matter that L Sung went to bed at 2am. Therefore, bleary-eyed, and still humming “Live To Tell” – I dropped one of the cake layers onto its poor freshly baked face, just as they were coming out of the oven. Fart. Other bangers we belted out included “Wonderwall“, freaking Cranberries “ZOMBIE” … haha… I went for it with a little Boyz II Men “End Of The Road” (um, not in my range – those boyz can SING!) and so many more. Phil Collins “Easy Lover” also mighta snuck in there…

Piped Buttercream Flower Cake - cococakeland.com

I used a few of my favourite piping tips for this: good old classic open star tip Wilton 1M, plus it’s brother from the same mother 4B, and a sweet little leaf (sweetleaf??) tip, which I like to use to fill in any “bald” spots. I pretty much just piped where the wind took me – and tried to step back and make sure colours and patterns were a bit balanced. My only real thought was: cover this muthah in bright frosting to entice a CHILD to choose it. I hope it worked. xo Lyndsay 

Macerated Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova Coco Cake Land

Summah, babies!! Sorry, I’ve been listening nonstop to Two Dope Queens and it has been affecting my casual times Canadian vernacular. Listening to a current podcast is very 2017 of me which I am somewhat proud. Starting Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode 1 is very 2008 of me, which I am also proud, because millions of people have said to me “WHAT??! You’ve never seen BREAK-ING-BAD??” like I’m a Chinese tree dwarf with no cable (spoiler alert: I don’t have cable.) I know the reason why I never watched it before: SHIT IS INTENSE!! I had nightmares and woke up in the middle of the night mind-spiralling about the moral and ethical dilemmas in the show. K, the acting is REMARKABLE. I’ve watched three episodes so far, hehe. Ten years lattttterrrrrr! Back to baking now: strawberry pavlova! Doesn’t the word macerated just feel so medieval, so macabre, so masochistic?? No need to be so dramatic, guys. It’s simply fresh straw-babies (HELP) covered in sugar and a gentle squeeze of lemon left to sit until it becomes this juicy syrupy topping. Ice cream, pavlova, whatever you need, maceration will be there.

Strawberry Pavlova Coco Cake Land

This is the perfect summer dessert because: LAZY EASY CRUNCHY CRISPY CHEWY SWEET CREAMY FRUITY TANGY fuggedabout it plonk it down slice in and serve seconds, should there be any left. To be honest, I could eat an entire pavlova like I was emotionally eating Hawaiian pizza.

Macerated Strawberry Pavlova

12 messy slices

For The Macerated Strawberries

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

For The Meringue

  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 

Prepare Additional Ingredients

  • If using, pit some fresh, sweet cherries, rinse some blueberries or blackberries, pluck a few organic edible petals.

Macerate The Berries!

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the sliced strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and pinch of salt to cover the berries. Let stand at room temperature until syrupy and juicy.

Make The Meringue

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Cover a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and pinch of salt in and beat on high speed until firm.
  4. With the mixer on high speed, slowly add the granulated sugar until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the vanilla.
  6. Using a spatula, carefully dollop the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper, spreading it with an offset spatula into a semblance of a disc, about a 9 inch pillowy round.
  7. Bake the meringue in the oven for 11/2 hours, then turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside the oven to dry out further and cool completely in the oven, about an hour or two.

Make The Whipped Cream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar in, then add the vanilla and continue to whip until stiff creamy peaks form.

Assemble The Pavlova

  1. Carefully remove the baked and cooled meringue from the parchment paper and place on serving plate or cake board.
  2. Generously dollop billowy whipped cream on top, spreading the whipped cream to the edges of the meringue.
  3. Spoon the macerated strawberries on top, adding any other fresh fruit you might like.
  4. Finish with a few edible flowers or mint leaves, or leave as is!

Strawberry Pavlova Coco Cake Land

Happy summer-ing, babies! (sorry) xo Lyndsay