Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Tonight we should be posting the treats that Jeff would bring for Wednesday Treat Day tomorrow and while I did actually make some, that post will have to wait until tomorrow. Today is Jeff's birthday, so we have a few things to talk about instead!

You may have noticed that last Friday we didn't post anything. I took Jeff to Baltimore for an early birthday gift and we did a couple fun things around town. We went to the Inner Harbor first so we could do this...

We rode the ducks! This is like a half boat/half truck that tours you around some historic sites in the city and then goes for a swim through the harbor. Unfortunately, we didn't get any more pictures as it started to rain just as we got on!

After running around, I took him down to Arundel Mills for a surprise adventure. We spent some time walking through shops for awhile and then I finally took him to where we were going for dinner - Medieval Times.

This is a live action horse show with dinner service - they kept it very dark though, so none of the food pictures came out. You don't really come here for the food, it is more about the experience. With the menu being a hot vegetable soup, garlic bread, roasted half of chicken, spare ribs and potatoes, I started to wonder what I really got us into when they announced that you are to only eat with your hands and that there will be no utensils! It was such a memorable experience though and they served Jeff a special slice of birthday cake which was nice.

If you were with us last year for his birthday, you will remember I made a Mickey Cake. This year we went a bit different! I don't claim to be a good decorator, so bear with me on the looks! I made a Devil's Food Cake filled with a ring of homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and frosted with a peppermint spiked Swiss Meringue. Sorry that the background is dark - it is actually pretty light in color, but something funky happened and I didn't get a chance to look at the pictures before I moved on for the other ones!

Because of the cake and filling, I didn't really want to do a heavy buttercream frosting - so I went with a much lighter meringue. I didn't know if it would end up being too weird - but we both really liked the different combination. I didn't do a crumb coat as I was afraid I would run out of the meringue, so there were a couple dark spots peaking out of the stripes. It did end up making plenty though, so I could have done one.

I do think that I over-beat the meringue a little as I couldn't get the sharp points to the peaks I was hoping for on top. Since I don't have one of those nifty little torches (hint hint...) I had to set this under the broiler for just a minute, ala baked Alaska, to get some color on top.

Since the cake is pretty solid as an ice cream cake, I couldn't get a good read on how the texture would be at room temperature. As my slice defrosted though, I could tell the cake was quite moist and it had a rich chocolate taste. We both love chocolate paired with mint, so the inside filling was a perfect match for us. I used the awesome cake pans that I made that peppermint cake with to get the ring of ice cream inside. I won't tell you how many servings Jeff ate today, but suffice to say I think he really enjoyed it.

I left dinner up to whatever Jeff wanted tonight- he requested anything with shrimp. Since I know he likes things spicy, I chose a recipe for Chipotle-Spiced Shrimp. This is a super-fast recipe to throw together - after heating some garlic and butter in a skillet, some large shrimp, a hot chipotle chili powder and salt are mixed in. When they start to turn that luscious pink color, dry vermouth, fresh lime juice and a touch of sugar are added and the shrimp quickly finish cooking. Right before serving, the zesty sauce is perked up with another pat of butter and some fresh cilantro. I served the tender shrimp with the rich buttery juices over some brown jasmine rice I had started earlier. Besides the rice, the dish took no more than about 10 minutes - perfect meal to throw together if you are running behind!


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JEFF!!!!! May you have many, many more

  2. Happy Birthday Jeff!
    Hope your day was wonderful.

    Joe, that cake looks so awesome. I bet it tasted as good as it looks.

  3. Happy birthday, Jeff! You have one heck of a goods man there -- hang onto him!


  4. Happy Birthday Jeff!

    Everything looks so good!

  5. Happy Birthday Jeff!!! Yay!! It is so nice to have a birthday and someone makes you cake!
    Better yet when the cake looks that good! Sounds and look awesome! I am also a fan of mint chocolate chips!
    The shrimp dish is very pretty too,Joe! Congrats to you both!

  6. Happy B-day Jeff! Joe, you are a fantasic decorator. That cake is a piece of art. I love it. So cool.

  7. Happy bday jeff
    that is one AMAZINGLY decorated cake you have there


  8. Wow, I'd love a slice of that cake! Happy birthday, Jeff! :)

  9. Happy Birthday to Jeff!!! And, wow, that cake looks AMAAAAAZING!!! I bet it tasted as great as it looks!

  10. Happy Birthday Jeff!
    Gosh, someone really loves you, look at that cake!!

  11. That cake looks too good...you should send some up to THIS Jeff :)

  12. Happy Birthday Jeff! I hope you had a wonderful day!

    The Cake looks great - I am hungry now!

  13. Happy Birthday Jeff! I hope you had a wonderful day!

    And Joe - the Cake looks great!

    Dani (from Culinarystudent.us)

  14. Wow! That cake is stunning! Happy birthday to Jeff.

  15. Happy, happy birthday, Jeff! And Joe, that cake is gorgeous!

  16. Hey Jeff! Looks like you have a fabulous start on the celebrations!

    Joe, nice work on the cake... and dinner!

  17. Happy Birthday Jeff! And Joe - that cake is beautiful - I love the layers inside and the pointy meringue top!!

  18. Happy Birthday Jeff!

    What a gorgeous cake Joe! I wonder if a slice would Fed Ex...

  19. BON ANNIVERSAIRE JEFF !!! I hope your day was great.

    happy birthday again. :)))


  20. Thanks for all the birthday wishes! It was a great day (ok, a great 5 days!), and the food was fantastic :)

    Clearly, I'm the luckiest guy in the world.

  21. Happy birthday Jeff. I am so jealous that you have your own personal chef to design great birthday cakes for you *S*

  22. We've been sick in my house, so I'm behind on my blog reading; that out of the way,


    Sounds like a wonderful day, and Joe...the cake looks fantastic. I actually like the dark contrast in the photo, very dramaatic.