Vegan Birthday Cake

So our 7yo’s birthday party is tomorrow, and I decided to actually bake the cake at home. Most likely because I’m still unemployed from my layoff last November, so money’s tight but time is not. And I wanted to make it something spectacular. I’m not what I would call an accomplished baker, but I can definitely follow directions. I’ve baked cakes before, but I don’t think I’ve ever iced one, and I’ve certainly never made a frozen buttercream transfer.

I went with this recipe for a vegan cake. My housemate baked one a couple months ago, and it was pretty darn great. I made two of these, one with soy milk, apple cider vinegar, plain vegetable oil, and no almond extract. The other I used almond milk, rice vinegar, peanut oil, and half/half almond/vanilla extract. One I put a bunch of blue color in, the other a bunch of red. Then I cut the cakes in half laterally. The soy cake did not do so well. It was sticky, and a little collapsy. The almond cake was beautiful.

cake in progress

For the filling between each layer, I made a double batch of this strawberry filling. Well, except instead of five cups I just emptied two one-pound cartons. I alternated flavor/color layers, on a home-made cake board that I threw together from boxes and parchment paper.

I iced the cake with this buttercream frosting recipe. I made one and a half times the recipe, and added green color. That website has recipes for vegan butters, but I saw Earth Balance had sticks so I just grabbed those. I set the cake on our lazy Susan, which made the whole process much simpler.

final cake

And then the really neat part? I basically just watched a bunch of YouTube videos before even attempting my frozen buttercream transfer. I traced over the Mario picture just by draping parchment paper over my laptop screen and lightly penciling over the image. It ended up looking… better than I’d feared, but not as good as I’d hoped. I didn’t really mix enough of his skin tone, so he ended up… really swarthy?

I’ll update this tomorrow with a picture of how the cake looks cut.

Legend of Zelda: the RPG

Seriously, why haven’t I heard more about Nintendo licencing their properties for RPGs? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Anyway. This is sort of a continuation of my previous post, 13th Cortex Accelerated Kids—my son’s almost five, and his social and improv skills are in pretty good shape. (we’re currently at a playground, and his ability to make up stories with other kids is phenomenal) We’ve played a few one-shot sessions of FFG’s Star Wars RPG, with and without other players, and I think he’s ready. Ready for a campaign.

Continue reading

Question: Just read your "review" of GameStorm. I was only able to be there to app


Question: Just read your "review" of GameStorm. I was only able to be there to appear on a single panel this year as I have a looming deadline with a book and I couldn't spare the time. Last year, however, I did run one RPG (a Savage Worlds game) and it was completely filled. It may simple be that if you want to get players at GameStorm, you need to run stuff with more mass appeal (or at least recognition). Lasty, it will be my 10th Kubla this year. Wouldn't miss it for the world!
Answer:Hehe, I guess I underestimated the mass appeal and recognition of StarCraft? Like I said though, I think GS would have been far more awesome for me if I’d known what I was getting into.

Hello Tumblr.

Note that this was my first post to Tumblr, not WordPress.

So. Are you simply another social media… thing? Is there a reason to use you if I have a (pretty much completely abandoned) LJ, heavily read FB, heavily read Twitter, and barely acknowledged G+ already in the barn?

It would seem that this fulfills the same function as FB or G+, but with anonymity. Follow as many people as you want (like Twitter) but blog half a dozen different media at any time (like the others).

I suppose the next step is finding an aggregator. Post on X, and have it propagate to Y, Z, A, B, and C. I already have Twitter funneled to FB.

Ah, thoughts in more than 140 chars…