Rift Half Birthday Cake Contest Winner!

Well I can officially say it now… I WON!

 

I told you so.

 

There were some totally AMAZING cakes, and I’m honestly astounded they considered me for one of two runner-up prizes. I mean, me? OMGWTFBBQ!!!!! I just do this on weekends, and I freakin’ WON! YAYYYEEEE!!!!!!

 

Okay, I swear I’m finished gloating (for now). The real reason you’re here is because you wanted to know how I did it. Well read on, my geeky friends :)

 

GamerMan and I were having lunch one day when he asked if I’d heard what Rift was doing for their Half-Birthday celebration? I answered no, but as soon as he informed me there was a cake decorating contest, I made him drive me to the store to pick up a sketch pad and some pencils so I could spend the rest of my day brainstorming cake designs! After some debate, we settled on a water rift design.

Something like this…

But how to fit it on a 8-inch cake!? Why 8 inches? Because we’re getting hitched next year and we’ve got to lose these Cheeto lbs before we walk down the aisle and have 10k pictures taken of us Because tiny cakes are cute! GamerMan sketched my vision into this (pic to come when our camera decides to grow a pair and not die mid-upload) and the Rift HHB cake was born :)

I then ventured to several local craft stores  to track down all the food color and mediums we’d need to construct this baby…

 

Several minutes and Jacksons later, I returned to work and couldn’t get this out of my brain. As soon as I got home we started leveling our cake baking/decorating skills. I used my standby vanilla bean cake recipe, but put a special Rift spin on it… Water rifts are blue and green, so naturally I had to incorporate this into the actual cake! Enter green and blue food coloring :) I dyed half the batter blue, half green, and swirled them together in the pans to create a superfun HHB foundation. After cooling for a few hours, I then iced the cake with cream-cheese frosting and covered that with Duff’s Marshmallow Fondant in Blue. BTW, this is some seriously tasty stuff… we may or may not have eaten some right out of the tub :x you.would.do.the.same

I’d like to say I took pictures of the entire process, but truth is my hands were covered in so much food coloring, GamerMan and I didn’t even dance with squirrels the whole two days it took me to decorate this cake.

Rather than mid-project how-to’s, here’s some post-op snappies and explanations!

Rift logo was created using edible paper, aka Sugar Sheets. They’re fun and insanely delicious for paper, minus the weird look you used to get from the kid who say next to you because you just couldn’t wait for lunch. I’m not going to lie, I had GamerMan print out the Rift logo three times so I could trace and cut out each level of the logo on the edible paper because my hand is about as steady as a buoy in a hurricane. After tracing and cutting and cursing, I sprayed the text and background piece with Duff’s Metallic Silver Cake Graffiti in Silver (edible spray paint is a majorly epic thing!). Luckily the Sugar Sheet came in purple, as well as white, so I didn’t have to bother locating purple spray paint! After a brief drying time, aided by a hair dryer, I sandwiched and glued all these babies together with some royal icing.

Crawler legs were made from Wilton RTU Gum Paste. After rolling and molding for what seemed like an eternity, I crushed up some black dragées and pasted them on with some royal icing. Once that dried, we took them outside and had a spray paint extravaganza trying to achieve a black color. Many shades of green, blue, and purple later, I think we accomplished our goal. Unfortunately I didn’t have the forethought to poke holes in the base of these guys to insert them into the cake, so one GamerMan + Dremel Drill + 30 min later, toothpicks were inserted and these claws were stabbed into the cake! WHEW!

And because at the base of ever claw (see inspiration pic) there are barnacles, seaweed, and rocks, we had to craft some way of incorporating those… enter more gum paste, pop rocks, and colored sugar! Barnacles were made from gum paste, brushed with silver edible glitter (not that you can tell… meh), and painted with a food-grade marker for detail. Rocks are obviously pop rocks and sprinkles. YUM! And the seaweed is sugar melted with a tiny bit of green food coloring, poured on a silicone baking mat, cut into strips, and twisted into varying swirly shapes. After they dried we either broke them into smaller bits (see above), or re-heated them to mold them around the base of the cake! Very scientific, I know.

Deep’s half-birthday cake was crafted out of gum paste, stabbed with some star-shaped tool for fancy-pants effect, topped with tiny shards of toothpick (which I did have the forethought this time to place in the mini-cake BEFORE it dried!), and topped those with teeny tiny balls of gum paste. After everything dried, I took a boat-load of red food coloring and Everclear and painted the cake red, and some yellow/gold edible glitter + Everclear to paint the “flames” on the candles :D Place that atop a Nilla wafter and you have yourself a HHB cake fit for even the tiniest of Telara’s critters!

Last but not least is our little Deeps! He’s so stinkin’ adorable it pained me to throw him in an Everclear bath post-cake cutting to see if combustion or liquid would win (let’s just say this little deep one will never be the same). We started out with a picture of Deeps, then roughly molded his form, then used an Xacto knife to carve out the details. All his limbs and hands and feet were created separately, glued together with icing. Then we went about the task of painting him with food coloring!!! This was the most tedious and exciting part of the whole process because both GamerMan and I had different opinions on what color Deep should be. Red, orange, blue, green… he’s a little bit of everything! We tried our hardest to make him look lifelike and boy does he ever! The finishing piece, and dare I say he clinched the win for us :) THANKS FOR COMING THROUGH, DEEPS!

 

Our deepest thanks goes out to the Rift team for an outstanding game,  holding such a fun even for their Half-Birthday celebration, and for considering us a winning entry in this contest! We gave it our all and we’re so grateful for your recognition :) We’re especially excited to view the game on an awesome new video card (now we’ll get to see what Deeps REALLY looks like!!1!!!!1) and can’t wait to see what another 6 months brings Telara!

 

GamerGirl & GamerMan

Peaches Three Ways

Last week our local grocer got a huge shipment of peaches, which meant they were on sale, which meant I literally filled my basked with those fuzzy orange beauties.

 

So, what did I do with all those peaches once I got home? Well I’ll tell you!

They sat on the counter all weekend.

 

You see, we’re not that fond of peaches. We’ll eat one on occasion, but there’s just something about a) their juice, b) their pit, and c) their fuzzies that drive us away. But since I bought a paycheck’s worth of peaches in one day, I decided we were going to like peaches if it was the last thing we do!

GamerMan then brought his genius to the table by declaring we should make drunken peaches. I’m not even going to lie, I love that man something FIERCE when the only recipe he can think up is alcohol + fruit. After looking in the liquor cubby for several minutes and not finding a single bev to pour over these juicy peaches, I decided upon three!

Peaches with Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka (uh… y.u.m!)

Peaches with Disaronno (I think I died and went to heaven) and Peaches with Peach Schnapps (because the only thing missing from peaches is peach alcohol o_O)

 

We let these “marinate” overnight and had a boozey Sunday morning. Don’t worry, we had some dairy in there so it’s TOTALLY ok for breakfast :)

….MMMMMMMMM….

 

There really is no recipe to this except to pour enough liquor over the peaches so they’re relatively submerged. What you choose to do with the leftover alcohol is your call – I’ve already thrown caution to the wind by eating these for brunch… anyone who judges you doesn’t deserve your peaches!

 

GamerGirl

 

Razzicot Jam

It’s taking all my self control not to turn the house into a jam factory. Why? Because of recipes like this from Wine Barrel Gourmet’s blog. I know you’re thinking “raspberries and apricots! wtf?”, and you’d be right because that’s exactly what I thought when I researched what to do with three pints of raspberries. But luckily I never back down from a jam session (see what I did there?), and what resulted was the perfect combo of tartly-sweetness!

Razzicot Jam (adapted from Renee @ Wine Barrel Gourmet)

2 ripe apricots, sliced into 1/2 in sections (I used red velvet apricots which are actually plum-cots because that’s all our grocer had in stock)
2 pints of raspberries, rinsed
2.5 cups of granulated sugar
Canning methods discussed at Pick Your Own!

Combine fruit and sugar in a medium sauce pot (fruit should come roughly half-way up the sides of the pot). Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat and boil until the gel point is reached (or until the mixture reaches the consistency you prefer via the cold plate method). Can per above instructions.

Smother on a peanut butter laden English muffin and enjoy!

GamerGirl

Maycon Dip

There’s no way to dress this up, so let’s call a spade a spade:

It’s BACON MAYONNAISE. No, not the stuff you get in a jar. No, we’re talking 1/4 cup of mayo mixed with three strips of chopped bacon. You see, sometimes the stars align and two glorious foodstuffs are brought together to create one colossal mega condiment which changes your life. And your pant size.

I’m not going to lie… This was absolutely amazing on an artichoke.

But eventually you’re going to run out of leafs, and then what are you supposed to do!?

Cut up the artichoke heart and add it to the dip! Oh yea, you KNOW I went there!!!

Delicious? Yes. Buying new jeans tomorrow? YES.

 

GamerGirl

 

 

Tried & True Tuesdays: Roasted Red Pepper Cream Cheese Dip

When GamerMan and I first hooked up there were times when we didn’t touch a vegetable for weeks. No lie.

But now that certain events are in motion and we’ve joined a gym (gasp!), we’re trying to incorporate those blasted planty things into our diet.

Some days are tougher than others, which is how this dip happened! A lone red bell pepper was kicking around the veggie drawer and instead of tossing it, i vowed to find a place for it in our tummies. Unfortunately GamerMan won’t touch bell peppers with a 10ft pole (seriously, you should see him eat a stuffed bell pepper… the man carves out the stuffing better than he can carve out a pumpkin!).

Forcing me to get creative is one of GM’s strong-suits. I love him. I also love dip. See where this is going???

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Cheese Dip

1 red bell pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 8oz brick of cream cheese (neufchatel is better for you! DO IT)

lemon

salt + pepper

Turn on your broiler. While that’s heating up, slice and gut your bell pepper, removing seeds, and the light pink bitter veiney things. Quarter the pepper and place it on a foil lined broiler pan (seriously, just toss a square of foil down and you’re good to go… no need to get fancy). Sprinkle peppers with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and salt. Heat under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Turn them over after about 5 minutes and pop them back in for another 5. Remove and pop in a paper bag for 10 minutes. Remove from bag and peel off skins. Dice the remaining pepper meat into 1inch cubes.

In a food processor, combine pepper meat and cream cheese until one nice big pink blob happens. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. I added a few drops of lemon juice to mine to brighten up the flavor, as well as make the dip more dipable. It was delish so I suggest you do the same if you like the lemonz :) Enjoy with pita chippies!

 

GamerGirl