Sunday, August 5, 2012

Savannah Cake, Watermelon Cake, Hulk Cake and Birthday Dinners!

Some of my regular readers may remember that every July I have a few days where I am on birthday overload.  SR's and JK's b-days are six days apart; my dad's is a week earlier, and my mom's is a week later.  For the kids, I have a long day where we have two birthday parties back to back.  It's fun, but we always take a deep breath when it's done.  I always let the Blessings pick what kind of cake they want and what they want for the birthday dinners.  Since we eliminated artificial colors and flavors and preservatives, along with the already eliminated msg and corn syrup, a couple of years ago, they only get to have the "bad" stuff on their birthdays.  They can pick anything they want to eat at their parties.  With that in mind, two of the cakes below have colors in them, but one is all natural, and I'll share what I did with that. Enjoy the birthday tour!

SR turned 15 on July 20th, which was the same day as her acting class.  I made these cookies 'n' cream cupcakes for her to share, which we have at least once a year.  They are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

SR wanted to go out for her dinner and picked one of our family's most favorite restaurants: Andy Nguyen's II.  Do not mistake this for Andy Nguyen's, which my mom took me to on my birthday; this is No. 2, and although it is not a vegan restaurant, the veg choices there are excellent.  It is so unfortunate that this shot came out blurry because their Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup is outstanding.  We always ask for extra tofu to be added.  Some of the fam likes to add steamed rice to their bowl with the soup.

These are their Vegetarian Rolls - so good.

These are their Crispy Noodles with Tofu - awesome.

This is their Vegetable Fried Rice without egg - yums.  Andy's is located at 10145 Folsom Blvd. in Rancho Cordova, CA.  Their phone is (916) 362-2270.  They know us so well that when I call them up, Vinny the co-owner, says my name before I can say who I am.  A nice touch.

The next day was the birthday parties. JK turned 6 on the 26th and said he wanted a Savannah cake for his party.  Savannah cake, hmm?  Well, I first tried to find a little bag of toy animals that were Savannah-like to decorate the cake, but no luck. So, GR and I made the animals from play dough.  GR made the giraffe, crocodile and snake, and I made the tiger, elephant and lion.

 For the cake I used my recipe for my White Cake with White Buttercream Frosting .  I baked it in a 9x12 pan.  I made the frosting as usual - I took about 1/4 of it out and stirred in 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. of turmeric into it.  I divided the rest in half; to one half I blended in 2 Tbs. of cocoa.  I spread the white sky on first, then added the hilly brown, then used a fork to spread on the Savannah grass.  I thought this came out pretty cute.  JK got to keep his little animals.

SR remembered GR's 10th Birthday Cake  and wanted that again but wanted it to be deliberately made to look like a watermelon cake.  So, I made the cake the same way, but I put in 2 cups of chocolate chips in the batter and skipped the sprinkles on top.  This is such a moist cake. To avoid artificial coloring, you could use sweetened and reduced asparagus water for the frosting and pureed strawberries for the batter.

We actually left for camping on JK's birthday, and we had a blast celebrating it in the woods.  For his dinner, he picked tofu fried his favorite way: plain.  He likes to dip fried tofu in ketchup and raw tofu in soy sauce.  :-)  He wanted a banana and strawberry salad and Kids Love It! Potato Salad

He wanted a Hulk cake, so Mommy did her best with a butter knife and fork.  I made the White Cake with White Buttercream Frosting again in two cake rounds but added 1/2 cup of cocoa to the batter.  I saved a a small portion of the frosting and kept it white and added various amounts of green coloring to get his hair and skin.  I tried to make him grimace - what do you think?  I brushed his hair very nicely, though.  :-)  Normally I would have used asparagus or artichoke water to make the coloring, but with my energy levels lately, I copped out... But he only got colors on his birthday!

I had the clever idea of putting the candles in Hulk's eyes and teeth.  Creepy!  Hulk on fire!

Here's what a slice of Hulk looks like.

We had a great time camping and celebrating little ones' birthdays!  Thanks for sharing the memories with us.


  1. We have the same thing happen with birthdays in the family at the end of May/beginning of June. I know what a whirlwind it can be!

    The cakes are so cute- I love what you did with the Hulk cake. It turned out great!

    Such fun, all of it, especially the camping. I would enjoy that a lot!

  2. I'm stuffed just looking at all of these delicious creations! Cookies 'n Cream cupcakes?! Oh dear! It's a very good thing I don't own that cookbook. Smart idea to add cocoa to the cake batter, I'll have to remember that.

    Nice work on the play dough animals!

    I hope you are feeling great today!

  3. Two birthday parties, back-to-back, sounds exciting. I laughed aloud at the Hulk cake, nice. I've never had Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup, although it does look outstanding so I'd be open to trying some. Veggie rolls. veggie fried rice and of course cookies and cream look delicious.

    Good stuff.

  4. Molly, it is a whirlwind! I have a lot of fun on their birthdays and have fun making them whatever they want, even if Hulk is so-so. :-)

    Ingrid, that cookbook is dangerous! Thanks on the kudos for the animals - they were fun to make. I'm feeling a bit better, thanks.

    Don, did you laugh out loud at the sight of the cake or at my words - that makes a difference, you know! :-) You should definitely give veg food a try. It tastes good and is good for ya!

  5. that crispy noodle tofu bowl looks outrageously good! and what awesome cakes! love the watermelon!

  6. wow, that is a lot of birthdays! my husband and son both have their birthdays this month...i'm going to attempt a firetruck cake for my son. your cakes are all so cute! i love the hulk with glowing eyes :) the asian food looks awesome, too.

  7. gfht, it is so good! :-) Thanks about the cakes; I loved the watermelon, too.

    Sara, it's a lot of work to have them bunched together, but then I get a long break until January and February. Good luck with the firetruck! Hulk made us chuckle. :-)

  8. Your birthday season is really intense, but you manage it well, I must say. One could get used to eating cake all day long. :)

  9. Andrea, actually you wouldn't believe that the kids actually get tired of licking beaters! There is frosting and batter in abundance, and even they can reach overload. :-)

  10. What a post - every cake I got to was just more appealing than the last. Those cookies and cream cupcakes look supreme!

  11. Love your blog. Everything looks deliciious!

  12. aahh the animals on the cake! 2 thumbs up :)

  13. I am so happy to have found your blog. I am new to this veggie life and have been looking for like minded peeps. I have looked around your blog, your recipes are amazing, cant wait to try some.

    Your new follower, Monkey

  14. You are an artist and the cake is your canvas! Not sure how appetizing the green frosting is, but people should get what they want on their day of days. Like the time my sister wanted blue(!) frosting on her birthday cake, and my mom obliged.

  15. Joey, thank you!

    Trina, thank you so much!

    Whitney, they were fun to make! :-)

    Monkey, welcome, and thanks for becoming a follower!

    Miss Rachel, you betcha. Birthdays are all about the birthday-kid, whether young or old. :-)

  16. I don't know how vegan are you but the oreo cookies not suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
    Oreo cookies contain whey powder which came from animal rennet.

  17. Cotton Candy, that's a Newman O cookie. I believe, however, that you are incorrect about the Oreo - you should double check. They are on PETA's site as an accidentally vegan snack.