It is amazing how fast the kids grow up. It seems like yesterday that I was holding 2 little 5 pound babies in my arms and now they have just turned 3! Running, talking, and bouncing with personalities all their own. So much more aware of life, what’s going on and getting so big.
Both Luke and Chloe were very excited for their birthday this year. They ‘got’ what was happening and that it was their day. They knew that they would get presents and started asking for things for their birthday. Luke asked for a police car and his own Playmobil set, while Chloe wanted some jewelry and pretty dresses. They had decided what they wanted for birthday cakes before Christmas – Chloe asking for a kitty cat and Luke a train (which turned into Thomas the Tank Engine specifically).
They enjoyed the balloons and the streamers and knew that when everyone came over it was for their birthday and their party. Chloe dressed up in a pretty dress and Luke in a nice shirt and pants. They looked dapper for their big day!
Even though they were twins, when they were born I decided that it was important for them to be treated as individuals, so their own gifts (though sometimes they get joint ones depending on what it is), their own cards, their own cakes. Which in theory sounds like a lovely idea, except when it is 1 in the morning and Mom is still decorating the cakes!
The cakes themselves were not hard to make, I had made one chocolate, one vanilla; as over the last couple of years I found some good recipes that accommodate our no sugar and no dairy needs. Plus I was able to rent a shape pan from Stir Crazy Fun Center here in Calgary to make Thomas (only $5 to rent it and definitely worth it! I had never used a shape pan before and it is the cat’s meow let me tell you 🙂 It was the decorating that took the longest and this was because of the icing I was using. I have tried a couple of white sugar free icing recipes, which I can then color for decorating. I had found a great replacement for icing sugar, but the icing recipe itself I have not had much luck with. The icings I have found, though they taste great are not easy to work with as far as spreading or pumping through icing bags.
In the past I had made a coconut buttercream frosting but found that after a bit of time it got too hard and was extremely hard to work with. It was difficult to spread right from the beginning and only got worse. So this year I decided to try the Wilton icing recipe which uses shortening, butter, icing sugar and a bit of milk – all of which I had replacements for – but I found this icing also extremely hard to work with. Difficult to spread and very hard to pump through the icing bags. Also after time, it got greasy and hard in the icing bags, no longer mixed together. I found the whole experience very frustrating and though I managed to finish the cakes and they looked great I am sure that with the right icing I could cut my time in half and not be up til 1 in the morning decorating!
Chloe’s cake, bless her, took me 20-30 minutes to cut out and decorate. This was because it was a simple design and I was able to use my sugar free chocolate icing, which is very easy to spread. Thomas was not so easy and it was not the detail it was the icing!
So I am on the search for a great sugar and dairy free, easy to work with, spreadable white icing recipe that I can color to decorate character cakes. I will keep looking and when I find a good one I will share it! In the meantime I will use what I have and see if I can modify them in some way.