Happy birthday to Jenny! I think that we’ve given her a nice long birthday weekend, starting on Thursday–her actual birthday. Elena took a long afternoon nap. We went to a fun place called Homestead Gardens to find a pumpkin, and in the process found a straw-bale maze and petting zoo. Jenny seems like her presents, and appreciated the cards and facebook birthday wishes!
Yesterday I took Elena up to her grandparents’ house for the night. Jenny and I went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, in honor of her childhood, when she always wanted tacos for her birthday dinner. Then we rented a movie and watched it at home, extra cozy because we lit a fire in our fireplace for the first time. We had waffles this morning before going to pick Elena up and run errands.
To tell the rest of the story, I have to go back to before last weekend. I had wanted to go camping with my parents and sister at some point this fall, and last weekend seemed to be a good option. However, Jenny’s family was also coming into town because her brother was going through the temple for the first time. I had promised to try to make an ice cream cake for Jenny’s birthday, and decided that it would be better to make it while her family was here so that they could help us eat it, as it would have been unwise for us to eat the entire cake alone, even with Elena’s help.
With good reason, Jenny worried that my camping plans would interfere with the rest of the weekend. Even though my original plan had been to take Elena camping with me, we decided against that because we weren’t sure how she would handle it, and didn’t want to leave a sleep-deprived baby with a sitter for several hours while we went to the temple. I got home at the right time on Saturday morning so we wouldn’t have to rush too much, but I didn’t have enough time to start the cake.
That was a critical error–when we got back that afternoon, I just didn’t have enough time to make the cake properly. In my naivety, I thought it would all work out. I made the cake, molded the ice cream into a spring form pan, and stacked it all up. Instead of frosting, we poured on a homemade cookies and whipped cream mixture, which Jenny’s stepbrother Nick helped to make. As we were pouring it on and returning the cake to the freezer, I could already see the ice cream melting out from between the two layers of cake.
It wasn’t a total loss–the cake was tasty, but I’m not sure it could really be called an ice cream cake by the time we ate it later that evening. It was mostly just a normal cake on a bed of half-melted ice cream. It was good that I thought to put the cake stand on a cookie sheet before putting it back in the freezer. I think I just needed to give it more lead time. I should have made everything the night before, so that it would have had time to hard freeze before assembly. But I was out camping instead.
To redeem myself, on Wednesday night I prepared a new and different cake-based dessert item. I had heard about cake pops from my mother and read about them on the internet, and determined I should try to make them for Jenny’s birthday. The hardest part was finding chocolate bark; I think average grocery stores don’t start to stock it until the holiday season, and by the time I looked for it I was too late to try far away or specialty stores. I did find something that worked, but it was in the fruit aisle next to the strawberries, not the baking aisle where I expected it.
The cake pops turned out really well. As you can see in the slideshow above, Elena helped to make the cake, but she had to go to bed before we got to the fun parts. They made Jenny’s birthday extra sweet.