So for Christmas this year, I decided to bake for everyone instead of buying gifts. With 6 kids, 4 immediate family members and L's family, gifts were too expensive. Plus there's the whole "it's the thought that counts" thing - it was my hope that people would much more appreciate me taking my time and enjoying making the gift than buying something a store promoted and told me they would like. On top of that, now that I've got a few decorating tricks under my belt, I am working on learning to make amazing "from scratch" cakes.
So anyway, here was my Christmas gift list: a Kahlua cake for Mom, Herd Thanksgiving and L's brother. For Little Brother, an easy bake oven (which really fits into the theme but is more his style than actual dessert). Tiramisu - which I've never made before - for big brother's girlfriend, brownies for big brother, root beer popsicle for Dad, a cupcake wreath for L's parents, and two designs for my not-quite sister's families (really close friends of the family - closest thing to sisters I had).
Some failures - the Tiramisu had too much liquid and was runny. On the other hand, the taste was good so that rest is an easy fix. I never got to make Dad's popsicles even though by the time I got home I had perfected them. He's gone almost every day, but I wanted to wait to make them so he wouldn't see them. Wouldn't you know that he stayed up really late Christmas Eve watching movies and spent all of Christmas day in the kitchen while I baked. Although he said my being home and spending time with him was enough of a present (I know, sappy) I am still disappointed. I will definitely make them another time. I hope big brother liked the brownies. He likes them hard, which I find weird, but I tried anyway.
All of my Kahlua cakes were HUGE hits. I am learning how to make everything from scratch and apparently this new, denser version is MUCH BETTER than the old box version. People went back for seconds, thirds even.
Then there were the decorative cakes. One family has an open house each year where they display their Christmas village, so I played off that. That and their huge yellow lab. The other family likes bright colors and fun designs, so I used my new paisley pan on the top and stuck with blue, green and pink instead of traditional red, green and white. As far as the wreath cake, I was told over and over that it was too beautiful to eat. I had to beg someone to take a cupcake so others would join in and they wouldn't go stale. Enjoy the pictures!
The leaves on top are made from using fresh mint leaves as a mold for melted white chocolate. The berries are made from M&Ms.