Monday, November 1, 2010

Birthday Gift Ideas for a Loved One & cool cake

Everyone has a birthday once a year . . . unless they are sneaky and somehow get a second one :)

I am always confronted with the challenge of finding just the right gift and not being able to really think of anything good. I find that thinking of a good gift rather than a birthday gift is better. I don't focus on the birthday aspect and just consider what would be cool to give to someone.

My boyfriends birthday is coming up in December and I don't make very much money to get him something really amazing and cool like I would prefer such as going to an expensive restaurant, seeing a play, buying him a suit, etc. Things that he would like as a regular guy.

I found out his favorite car, and drew a large picture of it to the best of my ability (Picture Bellow), and I will take it to Jo-Ann's Fabrics and Crafts store to get it custom framed. Because I know it will be a little costly I drew the picture early on, and I will save up for a few weeks before taking it over with a %50 off coupon on this service.

Other gifts I have given to others are personalized quilts, drawings of the individual I give it to, cakes and cookies, etc. Home made gifts are some of the best I think. You find something that matters to the person and get something that relates to it.

An increasingly popular cake to make is Red Velvet! Here is a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

3 eggs
3/4 cup butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 recipe Buttercream Frosting
1. Let eggs and butter stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside.

2. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until combined. One at a time, add eggs; beat on medium after each. Beat in food coloring on low.

3. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture; beat on low-medium after each just until combined. Stir together baking soda and vinegar. Add to batter; beat just until combined.

4. Spread in prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until pick inserted near centers comes out clean (cakes may appear marbled). Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool.

5. Prepare Buttercream Frosting. Place layer flat side up on plate. Spread top with 3/4 cup frosting. Stack layer, flat side up; spread top with 3/4 cup frosting. Stack final layer, flat side down; spread remaining frosting on top and sides. Makes 16 servings.

Buttercream Frosting: In medium saucepan whisk together 1-1/2 cups whole milk, 1/3 cup flour, and dash salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Transfer to small bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cooled (do not stir). In large bowl beat 1-1/2 cups softened butter, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 2 tsp. vanilla on medium 5 minutes until light and fluffy and sugar is almost dissolved. Add cooled milk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; beat on low after each until smooth.