Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Egg-Free Monsters Jumping on the Bed

Shortly after Bug turned a year old, we figured out he was allergic to eggs. Once we completely cut them out of his diet, his skin started clearing up, and in general he became a much more likeable person. (Or maybe it was the fact that he could crawl. Whatever.)

He hadn't outgrown his allergy by the time we reached his second birthday, which meant I was tasked with making an egg-free cake for him. Because he was going to eat cake! Already he had a far sweeter tooth than Bird did at that age, and he was also old enough to notice that I was not letting him eat cake at other parties. (Not to mention he was getting tired of graham crackers.)

Since he was turning 2, he really had no opinions as to the type of cake he wanted. So I decided to base it off of his favorite book, Five Ugly Monsters - a tale of lots of ugly monsters jumping on the bed & bumping their heads.

Here's how it turned out:

The Recipe
Not sure where I found this, but it was oh-so-easy! Especially for those of us who do NOT make cakes from scratch. Unfortunately, this is not for those who have wheat or milk allergies.

· 1 (5 ounce) package non-instant pudding mix
· 2 1/3 cups milk
· 1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix
· 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (optional!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
2. Combine chocolate pudding and milk in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, stirring frequently.
3. Remove pan from heat and add in dry cake mix. Mix together and pour into the lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan.
4. Evenly spread the chocolate chips over the top of the cake. (Note: Do not do this if you plan on frosting the cake later!)
5. Bake at 350 degrees F(175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool and serve.

Editorial comments - I could only find cookable chocolate or vanilla pudding at the store. I put chocolate pudding in with the chocolate cake mix, and vanilla with the yellow cake mix. Make sure you are reading the labels; they do not necessarily come in 5oz packages.

Now, eggs are apparently one of the things that will make a cake rise, so while this cake is moist & delicious, it is very flat. If you look closely at this shot from the foot of the bed, you can see the chocolate layer - that was from one cake mix, and it's maybe 2 inches wide.

Because of that, the actual bed part is 2 batches - so double all the ingredients.

In order to make the headboard & footboard, I cut the 9x13 cake across into 2/3 and 1/3 pieces Then I used a compass (drawing, not direction) to draw an arc on a sheet of paper, cut it out, and used it as a stencil.

The Frosting
I will unashamedly admit to using chocolate frosting out of a can. There is only so much one can do!

The red is my frosting. (A box or 2 of confectioners sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, a scoop of Crisco, and enough milk to make it the consistency I wanted.) It took an entire pot of Whilton dye, and an awful lot of a bottle of food coloring to get it that red. (And yes, it had to be red. The boy in the book had a red comforter!) Consequently, it took an awful lot of extra powered suger to thicken the frosting & keep the stuff from looking like stage blood. It was still a little runny, so when I used the straight-tip, the stuff kind of melted into itself, making for a smooth, stripy-looking comforter.

The Monsters
I really wanted monsters that nobody knew. After all, it wasn't like this was a Sesame Street party or anything. Thus began a really long search that ended nowhere. EVERYthing in all of the stores were licensed characters. Apparently we don't make up too many characters of our own anymore.

Finally, as I was falling asleep one night, I remembered owning some monsters. And I also remembered keeping a plastic container of all sorts of plastic creatures. All I had to do was find it in the attic. Thankfully, a couple of hours later, I was successful!

On the bed... the blue monster is Figment in a space suit. The purple & green monsters were from a MacDonalds Happy Meal sometime in the mid-80s. The red monster was from a Wendy's Happy Meal - probably around the same time. I have never been so happy to be a pack rat!

The one licensed character I couldn't avoid is Sully (from Monsters Inc). He wasn't quite tall enough, so I have him propped on some extra pieces of chocolate cake.

The little boy is Harry (not Potter), though Bug was convinced it was him. Even though Bug doesn't have red hair.
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