Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fourth of July Cake Topper and Party Treats

I LOVE the Fourth of July.  Love the fireworks, the patriotic music and feeling in the air, the barbecues and summer foods, and especially the gratitude and chance to honor those who fight for our country and freedom.  It is one of my most favorite times of year.  So much to celebrate and be grateful for.

Though there is obviously a serious overtone and purpose to this celebratory time of year, it is also that-- a time of celebration.  And with that comes food.  Right?  We know that every reeeaally good celebration includes food.  :) For instance: cake.

I wanted to make a few festive treats in honor of the 4th, and decided to share them with you, in hopes that you'd feel inspired for your 4th of July celebrations.  

Cake and Cake Topper

I started out with this delicious red velvet cake with blueberries.  The cake itself was just from a box.  I used Rainbow Chip frosting for some added hints of color and a festive feel (it reminds me of a type of hidden confetti).  The blueberries were extras from my Fruit and Rice Krispies Treat sparklers, which I'll mention further down in this post.   The blue star at the base was made by melting some white chocolate chips and adding blue food coloring.  I then put it into a resealable plastic bag, cut a small corner from the bag, and piped some designs onto wax paper.  After they chilled, they easily removed from the wax paper.  Only put them on, however, right before serving, as they get soft again fairly soon. 
Add food coloring to your melted white chocolate to make colored filigrees! 
Because I wanted to invoke the visual feel of stars and sparklers, I thought a cake topper supported by bamboo sticks (like the sparkler sticks) would be a nice touch.  I found a simple "stars border" to cut from my Silhouette library collection (the one I used is still currently available on the Silhouette Online Store) and just used tape (how uncreative) to attach it to my sticks.  I also wrote-in the phrase you see on the finished product. 

I think it turned out pretty cute, don't you?  :) And even better that it was easy.  :)  

Rice Krispies Treat and Fruit Sparklers

I saw the idea for these on pinterest, thanks to 5minutesformom.com.  They actually took more than five minutes to make (the Rice Krispies treats take some time, especially including time to cool), and you'll want to serve them soon after making them, but they sure are adorable.  

To make the star-shaped Rice Krispies Treat, make the treats according to directions, but place them on a wide brimmed cookie sheet, so they aren't too thick. Once they have cooled, use a star-shaped cookie-cutter to make your shapes.

Hint:  Follow the recipe exactly.  I generally put in more marshmallows than the recipe calls for, and that made these "melt" a little bit easier out in the heat. I.E. they didn't want to stay on the sticks as well because they were extra soft.  It did, however, make it possible to mold in some of the "excess" cut-away portions into the mold if one section was ever too thin.  ;)

After you have your stars, thread on strawberry, blueberries, and then your star onto a bamboo stick/skewer.  Tie a colored ribbon with a knot beneath the strawberry to keep the fruit from falling down, and voila: instant treat.  

To add to the decorations,  I decided to display mine with a small "suggestion" to bring to mind what they were meant to be representative of in the form of the word "Sparkle." Using some excess trimmings of silver foil sticker paper I had on hand, as well as some scrap double-sided adhesive sheet (make the most of those scraps!!), I made a little sign to go along with my treats.  I used a Q-tip to clear off the extra glitter that caught like static to the foil. 

Use scraps of specialty media sheets to make some added pizazz and sparkle to your festivities!
My jar was a simple mason jar (actually, a cleaned out jar from some long forgotten food I once purchased) with a picture of the American Flag tapped on (so as to easily be removable) and wrapped around with some jute. I filled the bottom of it with clear stones to help hold the sticks up.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Festive Toothpicks

These are pretty simple.  Melt some chocolate (be sure to add a bit of shortening or oil to your chocolate so that it stays smooth and creamy), dip your strawberries in, then dip them in blue sprinkles.  The end.  Oh wait, I forgot: Then eat them. :)  If you want to make them even more cute, add these simple little festive flag toothpicks.  

To make the little flags, I used my Silhouette.  First, I used a label shape that was symmetrical so that it would perfectly match when folded in half.  I created my desired designs, and used Silhouette Sketch Pens to draw the inner portions.   I found that the fonts were a little harder to read at this size, so the shapes worked a bit better, unless you have specific "sketch" fonts (such as what I ended up using for "God Bless America").  

I had a few more scraps of some Silhouette Printable White Sticker Paper (again, get every use out of those scraps!) and used that for these flags.  Using regular paper and then gluing or taping them would also work.  The sticker paper was just easy because it already had an adhesive on the back.  Then I wrapped them around some colored toothpicks and stuck them in those strawberries.  A simple thing that I think added a lot, as with each of these projects.

I hope these gave you some fun ideas!  I know I had fun making them (and eating them)(the treats).  Freedom really is/was sweet, in this case.

Here's to you and a wonderful, festive, celebratory 4th of July!  Happy Independence Day, America!

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