Chevy Cruze Your Own Adventure

This summer was very cold and very busy. One of the bright spots was the Chevrolet “Cruze Your Own Adventure” that I went on with friend and blogger Sarah Auerswald. We got to drive the new Cruze for the morning, pick a Los Angeles adventure, and use a $50 gift card.

It was the day before my trip to Yellowstone and I wasn’t packed, but how could I pass up an adventure. Especially one that would be sick with sugar and campy fun. We started the day with breakfast at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and learned about the Cruze. From there we got to choose our own adventure (my favorite type of books as a kid) and cruise around town. We picked Sweet Lady Jane Bakery and Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter themed store.

We could have stayed at Sweet Lady Jane all day and we definitely ordered enough dessert to do it. I even bought a slice of flour less chocolate cake to take home to my husband.

The portions were more than generous and it was all very good.

Our next stop was Whimsic Alley. I was really excited about this part of the adventure because I was planning to host a Harry Potter birthday party for my 5-year-old and hadn’t done much to prepare for it. I almost chucked the whole at-home party and asked about having it at Whimsic Alley instead. The back of the store is made up to the look like the Hogwarts castle great hall with candles hanging from the ceiling and a sorting hat at the front of the room. Parties come with food, a magician, and staff to help out. But they won’t do a party for kids under 6, which was probably for the best. I think the little kids would have been terrified.

The Cruze adventure was fun and a great send-off for our vacation. I ended up really liking the Cruze. I drive a hybrid SUV that’s it’s pretty big and I’m used to that. I thought I wouldn’t feel safe getting on the freeway in the Cruze, but the car felt substantial.

One of the safety features I liked was that if the car were to roll over, the airbags form a sort of cocoon around you. We didn’t have a chance to test that out, but the car drove smoothly and was cute with decent pickup. I liked that it felt hip and now, but was comfortable and reasonably priced.

Harry Potter Birthday Cake

My creative skills are limited. I can knit a scarf, I can sew a hem, and I can paint designs on a wall as long as I have a stencil.

I definitely can’t draw or sculpt and that makes cake decorating a challenge.  For my younger son’s 5th birthday party I asked him what type of party he wanted. I was trying to avoid last year’s disaster and make a cake and party that he really loved. He was clear that he wanted a Harry Potter party.

Well, a castle cake sounded way too hard even with a cake mold and there was no way I could have decorated a round cake to look like Harry Potter’s face. I went with the easiest thing I could think of and that was a broomstick. At first I thought I would use one of my cake pans and cut the cake in the shape of a triangle. But I didn’t want to contaminate my baking pans (and i doubted my ability to cut a triangle. Sad, I know). I bake everything gluten-free in our house because my husband has Celiac. My kids and all of the guests can have wheat so I went out and bought a triangle cake mold and I planned to use cupcakes as the handle.

I made a double batch of vanilla butter cake that was too big to fit in my mixer. Luckily, I had a Bosch Universal Plus mixer that the company sent me a few months ago to try out. It worked perfectly for the big batch and I didn’t have to use gluten in my everyday mixer.

The cake turned out great after a little critique from the birthday boy. I frosted the triangle cake with Penuche frosting, which turned out a nice golden brown color. I made bristles by painting lines out of yellow frosting. I only applied them to the top and when my son saw it he said, “What is that?” I doctored it a little more, covering the cake with the yellow lines and adding green frosting that appears to hold the bristles together. I placed the chocolate frosted cupcakes in a line and wrote Nimbus 2000. The design was a big hit as was the Penuche frosting on the butter cake.