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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Belle and Horton Hears a Who: Recipe

I think I may be a bit of a nut.

Okay, don't comment on that. I know I am a nut but for the past few months I've worked on some baking projects with my daughter (that's not the nutty part) that coincide with her school reading effort. Let me explain...Once a month (this month we were lucky to have two turns up at bat) she gets to bring in any book she likes from her personal library for her teacher to read and she can bring in a "sharing snack," as well. In the beginning, I thought the snack went with the book - almost like a theme. But then it became clear from the other parents' treats (and the fact that it was harder to invent a theme each time) that in fact a theme was unnecessary.

Two weeks ago when my daughter insisted on a princess book that had short stories for each princess, I began to panic. The date she's supposed to be the helper each month is communicated well in advance but I work, as do all the parents, and honestly I nearly forget until her day is practically upon us! This book had something about Belle and her birthday celebration at the castle with the Beast. We decided to make Belle a birthday cake for the sharing snack. I think it went over well. When I brought it in that morning everyone said it was a gorgeous cake but my daughter said she forgot to tell the teacher that it was a birthday cake for Belle - to go with the book! Ahhhh!

Last night was a tough one as I thumbed through her book choice and I kept thinking to myself...why on earth am I beating my head against the book trying to figure out some food that goes with it? I know, I know...I do it for my 4 year old and not for anyone else. But trying to find a food theme for Horton Hears a Who was nearly impossible! Had I started a day earlier, I could have actually made mini sugar cookie clovers (part of the story). I have a mini clover cookie press (don't ask)! But you guessed it, I didn't start a day earlier. So we (I) came up with the idea to make mini cupcakes that were small enough even a "Who" could eat them. I used the same batter as the cake recipe below but I covered them in white chocolate - just melted in the microwave and cooled on parchment paper.

I do wonder if my craziness is 1)contagious - will my children suffer this food related illness? And 2) whether or not my kids even care. Would they actually prefer a bag of Cheese Doodles? Maybe. But who cares. They're stuck with me and all my craziness! And at least they get to be with me while I cook - and...they get to lick the batter! Now who doesn't love that??

For the buttercream frosting, please use this recipe once posted:

Belle's Birthday Cake
12 Tbsp. butter, room temp
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare two 9" round cake pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for about 3 minutes or until it is very light. Add the sugar and beat another 4 minutes on medium-high. Add in the vanilla and lemon peel and mix thoroughly. Add in the yolk and mix again, scraping the sides if necessary. Next add the whole eggs, one at a time and mix completely between additions.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine well on medium-low till fully incorporated. Next add the milk and slowly mix so it doesn't splash all over. Next add the remaining flour and mix well but not for a long time - no more than 1 minutes.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cake tops look golden and the spring back to the touch (or until tester comes out clean).

Cool about 10 minutes on the racks and then turn out of the pans and cool completely.

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