Skellig Michael Birthday Cake

Are you sick of hearing about Skellig Michael on my blog yet?  Yes?  Well, too bad!

My mom made another of her amazing cakes for my birthday.  It was a “traditional” Funfetti cake that she decorated to look like Skellig Michael, where the ending scene of The Force Awakens was filmed and which I visited last summer in a very memorable experience.  

She used some small Bundt molds to make the mounds for Skellig Michael (on the right with the puffins and steps) and Little Skellig (on the left with the seals).

Can’t you just see Rey walking up those steps?


She knew I was going to blog about this, so she made sure to put only ecologically accurate animals on (though the proportions are still a bit off…)

We have:

The puffins were hand-made out of marzipan, so they were tasty as well as adorable.  The cake itself was delicious, though the icing made our mouths turn blue.  

I ate some of Skellig Michael with a puffin.


The lettering says “Breithlá Sona” which is apparently an Irish translation of “Happy Birthday” (at least according to Google 😉 ).  



My mom made another awesome cake, this time for my sister’s birthday.

A chocolate cake with Minions on top!  The Minions are made from iced Twinkies, with licorice, Smarties and Mentos as decoration.  Also banana Runts.


The cake was delicious and the blue icing turned my mouth blue.  Good times all around.

Star Wars Day treats

A bad joke courtesy of my dad:

Q: When did Anakin’s Jedi masters know he was leaning towards the Dark Side?

A: In the Sith Grade.

My husband and I went grocery shopping last night and this somehow ended up in our cart:

WP_20150503_20_54_29_ProSo, yeah, we totally had Star Wars Jell-O today.  They actually came out really well by just following the directions on the box.  You can make 12 shapes at a time, and the box has enough Jell-O to make 24 total.

I did one blue box and one red box (blue is my favorite Jell-O flavor).  Here are some of the results:

R2-D2, Vader, Chewie, C-3PO, stormtrooper, Yoda
R2-D2, Vader, Chewie, C-3PO, stormtrooper, Yoda

Valentine’s Day recap

I am generally not a fan of commercialized holidays; my husband knows better than to buy me anything for Sweetest Day, for example.

But I actually love Valentine’s Day.  I celebrate it in a rather Japanese fashion: in Japan, women give chocolates not only to their boyfriends/husbands/boys they like, but also to their girlfriends and coworkers (the ones given to coworkers are hilariously called “obligation chocolates“–it’s very Japanese).

I love to do things like bring in cookies to work, or hand out silly kids’ Valentines, and make my husband something tasty.  And for his part, B never gets me candy on Valentine’s Day, because it tastes exactly the same several days later, when it is 3x cheaper.

This year I made him a frozen peanut butter pie.  This is one of the famous desserts at Ray’s Place in Kent.  My husband went to Kent State, and still meets some of his college buddies at Ray’s frequently.

I used this recipe, but substituted a pre-made Oreo crust with a layer of chocolate sauce between the crust and filling.  This is a pretty quick and easy pie; it’s no-bake!  Unfortunately, I put in in the freezer on Valentine’s Day when we started to make dinner, and then we forgot about it until Monday.  Too much champagne, I guess.

The last time I made this for B, I presented him with a slice, and he informed me that at Ray’s Place, they put chocolate sauce and peanuts on top.  Well, then.

Did I get it right this time, dear?
Did I get it right this time, dear?

To continue our unique Valentine’s Day, we also went to see Kingsman: The Secret Service over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  If you’ve ever wanted to see graphic violence be described as “beautiful,” this movie is for you. I did give a bit of an eyeroll at the end, where I think they took a joke a bit too far.  But otherwise it was quite good, and I’d highly recommend it.

Birthday Jungle

WP_20150118_18_56_47_ProMy mom loves making fun cakes for my birthday (last year she did Jane Austen novels).  This year, she went with an animal theme—always a hit with me, the zoologist.  These cupcakes are from the cute book What’s New Cupcake? and this bunch of flamingos, hippos, and crocodiles look straight out of the African jungle.

Or do they?

Because I love to over-analyze things, let’s take a look at how the cupcakes are made and also what species they might represent.


The flamingos are made from mini-cupcakes.  The wings are candy melts shaped free-hand on wax paper.  The neck is a pretzel stick dipped in candy melts, which helps attach the head, made of a jelly bean, and the beak, made of half a banana Runt.  Black decorator gel makes the eyes and beak tip.

There are six species of flamingos, with habitats ranging all over the world, including Africa.  However, only 2 species have yellow beaks, the closely-related Andean Flamingo and James’s Flamingo, both only found high in the Andes of South America.

Personally, I think these guys look like James’s Flamingos, which have a brighter yellow beak with less black on the tip; if they had legs we could more clearly determine their species based on the color.

These guys are both made on regular cupcakes with Nutter Butters and Froot Loops, plus frosting for decoration.  The hippopotamus (H. amphibius) is a semi-aquatic animal found only in Africa.  This guy looks about as accurate as a cupcake can be, although perhaps a little too brown/orange.  The crocodile on the other hand…

…might not be a crocodile at all.

Take a look at its snout; that’s one of best ways to distinguish crocodilian species.  Crocodile snouts tend to be longer and thinner, and teeth from both upper and lower jaws are visible when the mouth is closed.  Here’s a lovely comparison from Encyclopædia Britannica:

Looking at these images, I think our tasty green friend is actually an alligator, a genus with only two species, neither of which are native to Africa (one U.S., one China).

So in fact, none of these cupcakes live on the same continent.  They did live on my dining room table, but not for long.  They were as delicious as they were pretty.