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M&M and Kit-Kat [Birthday] Cake

A few days before Ayaz’s birthday, I came across an image of a cake that was decorated with smarties [the English version of M&Ms?] and chocolate covered biscuits. It immediately made me think of replicating the idea using M&Ms and kit-kats! With Ayaz’s birthday around the corner, I had a perfect excuse to try it out with my twist to it.

Here’s how it turned out:

After frosting the cake, and adding kit-kats all around the sides of the cake, I started adding the M&Ms. This is when my dad suggested I spell my brother’s name out on it.
I did so:

But, it would have worked better, I suppose, if I was working with only two colors of M&Ms. Very quickly, it was apparent that it wasn’t going to work out too well in the end. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts (and the above photo).

Here’s a look at the inside of the cake:

On the inside: layers of milk chocolate cake and french vanilla cake (separated by vanilla frosting which is making the white part of the cake look thicker).

I took help from the grocery store for the cake, and used cake mixes, since the process in itself to put the cake together was going to take several hours… and I had to wait until Ayaz left for work to start. It turned out to be a good thing I decided to do that, because I wasn’t planning on making Biryani that day either. That took quite some time in itself. Next time, however, I’d probably use my own cake recipe.

Anyhow, I contemplated having an ice-cream layer to the cake, but decided against it because of the messiness factor and wasn’t sure how well it would work with the M&Ms and kit-kats. I wanted to include both chocolate and vanilla cake portions in it, so I used Milk Chocolate and French Vanilla [he got both vanilla and chocolate out of it… and I got my favorite of the each].

Now on to how I put together the cake:
From each box mix, I used half of the cake batter to bake off a round 9-inch pan worth of a cake. For the other half of the batter that was left over, I just used it up to make 12 cupcakes. So in the end, I had two 9-inch cakes and 24 cupcakes: half being french vanilla and half milk chocolate.

The vanilla and chocolate each have their own baking time. I wasn’t counting on that and was hoping to bake both of the cakes together to quicken the cooling time. Instead, I baked the milk chocolate cake and the milk chocolate cupcakes in the first round, followed by the french vanilla version.

After they were done cooling completely, I took my cake dome out (only used the bottom plate part). I lined the edges of it with four small parchment paper pieces and flipped out my milk chocolate cake onto it.

Side note: I lined the plate with the parchment paper so that when I frosted the cake, the mess would be on the parchment paper, not the edges of my platter. You can see the parchment paper in one of the pictures above (where the M&Ms spell out Ayaz’s name). When I was completely done with the cake, I just slid the pieces of parchment paper out from each end. Note that it is much easier to have smaller pieces of parchment paper, instead of one large one, when you are ready to remove the parchment paper at the end.

With my first layer of cake on the platter [the milk chocolate one in my case], I frosted the top portion of the milk chocolate cake as an adhesive [and creamy center] before adding the second layer of cake [the french vanilla] on top.

Then, simply frost the top and sides of the cake, covering every visible part of the cake with frosting.

I used vanilla frosting throughout the cake because I thought it would be a nice balance and offset the chocolate in the rest of the cake [the chocolate cake, chocolate M&Ms and, of course, the kit-kat bars). While it was the perfect balance, and I don’t think I’d change that, if you look at the picture that shows the inside of the cake: it seems as if the vanilla portion of the cake is twice the size of the chocolate cake; you can’t really tell that the middle of it is actually frosting. Oh well.

Once you have completely frosted the cake, add the kit-kats all around the cake. Keep them as close as you can, leaving no space in between them. The frosting on the cake makes the kit-kats adhere without any problems.

I used 2 packs of the 4.5 ounce package of kit-kats [it has 3 regular sized 4-piece bars], which equaled 24 individual kit-kat pieces… and it was the perfect amount to go around my frosted 9-inch cake.

Tip for you: the fun-size kit-kats would work perfectly for a two-layered cake. I had originally bought them, and was convinced that they would be too short, height wise, for the size of my cake once I had layered the cakes. I returned the fun-sized kit-kats and, instead, bought the regular sized kit-kats. Guess who had to cut all the kit-kats in half?

Once the kit-kats were added on, I added M&Ms on top. One 12.60 ounce bag of M&Ms was perfect. 

A top-down view:

Now, any ideas for how I beat this for when Faraz’s birthday rolls around?
Check out another one of my recent recipes:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

Ayaz’s Birthday

Tonight, we had an early birthday celebration for my brother Ayaz.

I made Biryani:

and Cupcakes:

French Vanilla and Milk Chocolate cupcakes, with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.
Recipes to follow soon!

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

Joke

I love jokes… and am pretty easily amused most times. So I thought I’d share a joke today:

How do you make gold soup?

Give up?


Put 14 carrots in it.

Get it? Carrots, karats. Oh, forget it! 🙂

P.S. Happy Birthday Faraz!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Customized Chocolate Wrappers

So remember how in this post I mentioned that we ordered sponge-bob themed chocolate wrappers to use as favors for my cousin’s birthday party?

So the whole time (from the time my mom suggested it to the time the chocolates arrived) I was picturing in my head that we would take the paper wrapper off of the chocolate and leave the foil wrapper on – and use our custom wrapper to wrap the chocolate (on top of the foil) like its always done.

Of course things were running too smoothly because would you believe Hershey chocolates (and Nestle) now wrap their chocolates in plastic wrappers instead of the paper on top of the foil like they have ALWAYS done?

Apparently it is to keep the chocolates fresh, but I would think it would be kept more fresh with the foil since you could just wrap it back if you don’t eat the whole thing.

I ordered the wrappers online and when I contacted them about the issue – they suggested I open each individual chocolate from  their plastic wrapper and use foil to wrap it and then use my customized wrapper on top of it. Who in the world would eat open chocolate like that that has been handled? That’s just plain weird. and not normal.

Because we really didn’t have much time (or any other ideas), we ended up just using our customized wrappers on top of the plastic wrapper. It looked okay, just not what I had imagined.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Daniyal’s Birthday Party

My cousin, Daniyal, turns six in about two weeks. Last night, we had a family party for him.

Here is a picture of the favors:

it’s a spongebob themed chocolate wrapper. How cute is that?

here’s what the back looks like:

Here’s the banner my dad and I made using one of those ‘create your own banner’ kits:

Here’s a photo of the cake:

The best part? I LOVE family get-togethers.

The worst part? The cake drama. But that will take a whole another post in itself.

Happy early 6th birthday Daniyal!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Movies

Late this afternoon, i went to see the ‘Princess and the Frog‘ with a bunch of my cousins (it’s my cousin Samia’s 18th birthday on tuesday, so we went out for a lunch and a movie for an early celebration).The movie was pretty good and funny (it was a children’s movie, but we still had a great time). It was also the first time Disney has featured a ‘black’ women as a princess in one of their movies ever, so that was a big deal. When i started writing this blog post, my main point was going to be on discussing this, but it quickly changed when i realized how few movies i watch (partly because i really should be studying and paper writing and this would be quicker for now).

It’s pretty funny because usually i see one or two movies (if that) per year in theaters (and only a couple of them outside of theaters), and now this is the second movie I have seen in a few weeks (i saw Blind Side around thanksgiving time), and i plan on seeing Invictus soon as well. I don’t know if there’s been a string of good movies out (that actually interest me) or what, but in all honesty – i can’t think of what other movie i’ve seen in theaters all year.

So just for the sake of it, i searched up a list of all movies that came out this year to see which ones i’ve seen and here’s what i came up with:
(name of movie, release date, where i saw it)
Bride Wars – January 9, cousin’s house a few weeks ago (saw it Nov. 21).
State of Play – April 17th, theaters (saw it Apr. 27)
Angels and Demons – May 15, theaters (saw it May 22)
Blindside – November 20, theaters (saw it Nov. 25)
Princess and the Frog – November 25, theaters (saw it Dec. 13)
Avatar – December 18, theaters** UPDATED DEC. 26, 2009 (saw it Dec. 25)
I can’t believe i’ve only seen five movies all year long – in theaters and out combined! i know i don’t watch tv much, but i didn’t realize how little! I don’t know if i should be annoyed about that or happy that i don’t waste my time watching tv too much.
in my winter break in a few weeks, i want to see (don’t know if it will end up happening):
Up – released May 29
The Proposal – June 19
and two movies that are either in theaters or coming out soon:
Invictus – December 11
ha, according to my history – i’m more likely to watch the movies in the theaters.
have you guys seen any of these movies? what did you think of them? or do you have any other recommendations? most of all, i think it’ll cool to see what (and how many) movies you guys have seen this year. and perhaps, even harder to recall – movies you have seen this year that were released in the past.
Now back to the reality of studying for exams and paper writing…

Three-Fourths DONE!

I’m DONE! I had my last final this morning and now I’m unofficially a senior at Rutgers! I am three-fourths done undergrad… wow, that’s pretty weird.

Even weirder is the fact that i started receiving information about my graduation a couple of days ago… even though that is still a year away (but i’m sure it’ll fly by)!

anyways, summer vacation is FINALLY here!

I don’t really have many extensive plans so far for the summer, but I’m looking forward to going to Disney with some of my family from my mom’s side in june… and of course going to Canada as we always do… I am also definitely looking forward to enjoying some down time!

P.S. Happy Birthday Shakil Bhai and Popi Baji!

Last Day of Classes for Junior Year!

Today was my last day of classes of my junior year of undergraduate!! Am I ecstatic? YES! Sad? Definitely! Where has the time gone? I can still remember freshly my first day of school ever (and crying hysterically as my mom walked me to school), my first day of high school, orientation for college, my first day of college, and now I have just finished my sixth semester here at Rutgers.

Tonight was also my first of four final exams, and now I am 3/6ths done with my classes (have already turned in a paper for one class, and am done the paper due this coming Friday for another class)… I know I have said this many times, but May 13th couldn’t come fast enough! I am so ready for a few months off (aside from studying for the LSATS of course – which I REALLY need to do this summer).
With just one year remaining here at Rutgers as I pursue my undergraduate degree, I hope I can make the most out of it. While each semester has been full of challenges and a lot of stress (and feels like forever sometimes), overall it has just flown by so far. In one (very) short year, I will inshallah have my bachelor’s degree… UNBELIEVABLE!

This means, I really need to start figuring out stuff for law school and stuff soon… until now, it all seemed so far away!

As if I wasn’t feeling old enough already and thinking how fast time is going by, my twenty-first birthday is about two and a half months away! Oh, to be a kid again!

Game Nights

A few months ago, my New Jersey cousins and us started holding “game nights” monthly, where a different person hosts it each month and they get to pick the games. This past Saturday night, my brothers and I hosted the third one… and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We’ve played “cranium” and “partini” in the past, and this time we played “who wants to be a millionaire” in pairs. My cousins from New York came too – so more people to play turned out to be cool.

Thanks everyone for coming – hope you guys had fun! Looking forward to the next one in a couple of weeks.

Earlier on Saturday we also celebrated the fifth birthday of youngest cousin from my mom’s side. I can’t believe Daniyal is five already!!

Rant

What a week! Actually, January in general has been a-not-so-great month for us.

But first of all, I want to wish my brother, Ayaz, a very happy 24th birthday!

January 1st – on the way back from my cousin’s house after his anniversary party, we barely avoided what could have been a very horrendous accident, which I still can’t believe we were able to escape – thank goodness!

On the 2nd, my grandfather fell and hurt his leg… and then just now, we found out that our grandfather’s foot is actually fractured! When he fell about two weeks ago, he had an x-ray at the hospital (which came out clear), but then had an MRI this week – which just revealed the fracture.

My mom was in the hospital earlier this week from Monday morning to Tuesday night, which was an ordeal in itself. My mom didn’t finally get a room until about over 12 hours later and then would you believe the hospital personnel decided at 2 AM that I couldn’t stay in the hospital with my mom overnight? I have ALWAYS stayed with my mom every time she is admitted, so I found it a little ridiculous… especially after the long day we just had! But I have to give credit to the nurses – they are absolutely amazing, and I can’t even imagine how they do this day in and day out.. and especially the amount of patience they have!

It was quite a shock to me that, considering my mom went to the E.R. for chest pain and shortness of breath, she still had to wait in the waiting room for like 3 or more hours before she was actually taken to the emergency room to be seen by the doctors and what not. You would think a patient going in for chest pains would be immediately checked out because of the dangers of heart-related problems. Undoubtedly, the population is rapidly growing and therefore there are a lot more patients, but it’s still interesting to note – and a bit worrisome. Fortunately, after MANY tests it didn’t look like it was anything serious (though I think not being able to figure out what’s wrong is even worse in some situations) in my mom’s situation – but what about the other patients?

I wish the rest of the year runs a lot smoother than the month of January has so far!

Tuesday is the first day of classes for the spring semester (which I’ll be missing because it’s also inauguration day and when Barack Obama will officially be the President of the United States). I can’t believe how fast my break flew by (and of course, I got like absolutely no studying done for the LSATs! :/ )

I didn’t get much time to just relax this break, which is definitely a bummer.. and I’m not looking forward to most of my classes for the coming semester either because they seem pretty boring, but I guess I’ll see how they turn out.