My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.




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Entries in Tailgating (12)


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Beat Ohio

Saturday was the last Michigan football game of the regular season playing against arch rivals, OSU. For the tailgate cake I baked a chocolate cake and iced it with buttercream icing that I tinted maize. I kept things simple and decided to decorate the top with the phase "Beat Ohio".

To make the words I rolled out some blue marshmallow fondant and traced around a bowl to make a circle just smaller than the cake. I then cut away a line across the middle to make the top and bottom lines for the words. I then trimmed away three vertical lines leaving me with eight blocks for my letters. I then cut each block into a letter to spell out "Beat Ohio". I finished up the cake by transferring the fondant letters onto the cake and piping a border of blue stars along the base of the cake.

Kickoff for the game was a noon so we had a short but fun tailgate. As is tradition for the last home tailgate of the year we ate filet mignon provided by Gus and grilled by Frank. Frank also made an awesome crab bearnaise to accompany the steaks.

For the week prior to the game everyone had Michigan pegged as a huge underdog. Ohio was undefeated and ranked #3 in the country while Michigan's season had been lackluster. The game, however, ended up being very exciting as opposed to the blowout that had been predicted. Michigan scored first and at the half it was tied 21-21. Things looked a bit bleak in the second half when Michigan was down by 14 but they rallied and with less than a minute left they scored a touchdown to bring the score to 41-42. Michigan went for a two point conversion but it was intercepted basically ending the game. It was a great game, but I wish that things had worked out a little better for Michigan.

My Duke Blue Devils had an exciting day on Saturday, beating rivals UNC. The Duke-UNC game was at the same time as Michigan-OSU so the whole game I was continuously checking my phone for Duke updates. With the win Duke ended the regular season with their best record, 10-2, and will head to the ACC Championship game this Saturday against Florida State. Go Blue Devils!


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Winged Helmet Cake

On Saturday Michigan played Nebraska and Frank's tailgate theme for the week was Soups and Stews since the weather here has gotten a little chilly. I couldn't figure out a way to easily translate that into a cake so I decided to make a cake inspired by Michigan's iconic winged helmet for the tailgate.

I used a two layer chocolate cake recipe with the Wilton Helmet Pan to make the cake. I used some thinned white buttercream icing for a crumb layer and then used white icing to create a background behind the facemask and ear hole. I sketched out the lines for the wings with some icing and once I was happy with the shape I filled it in with maize and blue icing with a #16 star tip. I finished the helmet off by piping the facemask with some extra whipped chocolate ganache from the chocolate chili cupcakes I had made the day before. The facemask of the Wolverines' helmet is actually blue but I didn't think it would show up very well on the cake if I made it blue plus I think it is a crime to waste leftover chocolate ganache.

The tailgate was a lot of fun. It was a bit chilly but the sun was out most of the day and there was no miserable rain like two weeks prior at the Indiana game. Frank made his cheddar sausage soup which was perfect to keep everyone warm.

The game, however, was not so much fun to watch. Michigan played pretty poorly and for the second week in a row had negative rushing yards. They pulled ahead in the fourth quarter but Nebraska had a touchdown late in the game to seal their 17-13 win over Michigan. Hopefully the Wolverines fare better next week at Northwestern. Go Blue!

On a positive side note, my beloved Duke Blue Devils had a pretty good weekend with the football team beating NC State and the basketball team trouncing Davidson. The football team is now 7-2 which guarantees them a winning record which will be a first since 1994. I watched the basketball game on TV and all I can say is that Jabari Parker is awesome and I am looking forward to a great season. Go Duke! 


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Under the Lights II

This past Saturday Michigan played Notre Dame in Under the Lights II. Two years ago, Michigan Football had their first ever night game where they played Notre Dame in a game called Under the Lights. For that game I recreated the logo for the tailgate so I thought that I would do the same thing with the new logo for this game's tailgate cake.

I made a two layer chocolate buttermilk cake and iced it with buttercream icing. To recreate the logo I printed a copy of it scaled to fit the top of the cake. I then cut out the elements and traced around them on rolled out marshmallow fondant.

The letters were too small and difficult to do like that so I cut a rectangle shape that was the size of each of the letters and then free hand cut each letter from the rectangle. This made sure that they were all the correct height and width. I am not going to lie, this was pretty time consuming but in the end I think it turned out really cool and was worth the effort.

Frank made food poking fun at Notre Dame including chicken hash (since Michigan's head coach Brady Hoke said that Notre Dame was chicken for backing out of the annual match up after next year) and fried catfish sandwiches (in reference to former Notre Dame star Manti Te'o getting catfished last year).

Frank started tailgating by 8 am which meant that he was out there for twelve hours before the game. I felt that showing up in the afternoon for five hours of tailgating was more than sufficient. As always we had a lot of fun, hanging out and of course eating.

The game had an 8 pm kickoff but before the game Michigan Football legend, Tom Harmon, was honored. After a video highlight film his son, Mark Harmon (of NCIS fame), spoke as they added a legends patch to the 98 jersey that Tom Harmon wore.

The sun had just set when the team entered the field. During the first half Michigan was pretty dominant not allowing Notre Dame to get a first down on their first two possessions and ending the half up by two touchdowns.

Throughout the game during timeouts different Michigan sporting figures were recognized including the 2012-13 basketball team that made it to the National Championship game in April and 1960s basketball star, Cazzie Russell.

At halftime the Michigan Marching band performed a medley of Beyonce's songs with a video message from her prior to them taking the field. Before the game blue LED wrist bands had been passed out to fans so when they dimmed the lights for the halftime show it was cool to see the pinpoints of blue light throughout the stadium.

The second half was a little tough to watch as Michigan made some errors that looked like they were trying to give the game back to Notre Dame. In the end, however, the team pulled out a 41-30 win over Notre Dame.

It was a very long but fun day. Luckily next week the kickoff against Akron is at noon!


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Luau Theme

Saturday was the Michigan Football season opener so of course we were tailgating bright and early. Frank has not missed a Michigan Football game (home or away) since 1999 so if I want to see him it the fall I am out tailgating and cheering with him.

Frank's tailgates are pretty involved with a large number of people and ridiculous amounts of food and a theme, of course. This week was a luau theme so I made a pineapple cake with coconut cream cheese icing. To decorate the cake I used marshmallow fondant to make a Block M and then made a little hibiscus flower to go with the luau theme.

Frank featured foods with lots of pork for the luau tailgate starting with a pork hash with bacon in the morning and a suckling pig and ribs in the afternoon.

With a 3:30 kickoff against Central Michigan, we had a nice long tailgate. Several people wore blue and yellow Hawaiian shirts for the theme and there were a lot of leis as well. It was really great to see a bunch of the other tailgaters that we don't get to often see in the off season.

The game itself was pretty relaxing because Michigan pretty handily dealt with Central winning the game 59-9. Although watching exciting, nail biting games is fun, sometimes it is great to just sit back and watch your team dominate. It was a nice way to kick off the 2013 football season.

Next week Notre Dame!


Michigan Tailgate: Block M Drink Table

Sadly, this past Saturday was the last Michigan home football game of the year. I didn't make a cake this week (I was just way too busy with work) so I thought I would share another tailgate project that I made for the tailgate a few weeks ago: a Block M drink table.

Instead of setting up drinks on the tops of coolers I thought this would be a fun addition to the tailgate. I decided to use the Michigan logo and colors (Maize and Blue) to come up with something that could easily travel to our tailgate site.

To make the table I did a little math and scaled up a version of the Michigan Block M logo so that the dimensions would work with using 1x6 lumber. Because the M is a mirror image and I was making it two boards deep I cut four of each of the following lengths from the 1x6: 13" (for the sides of the M), 10-1/2" (for the bottom serifs of the M), 2-1/2" (for the top serifs of the M) and 10" at a 50 degree angle (for the middle of the M). I did a dry fit (please excuse my dirty garage floor) to make sure everything lined up well before I continued on putting it together.

Next I drilled pocket holes in the back of the top pieces using my Kreg Jig (I will forever love Ana White's site for introducing me to the tool!), clamped the pieces together and attached them with 1-1/4" screws.

I then proceeded to make holes in the top of the M for drinks to sit in. I measured and marked the center of each board (yes, that is my quilting ruler - it is handy!) and then traced where I wanted the holes to be, making them as evenly spaced as I could. I then used a 2-1/2" hole saw to drill the holes out where I had marked.

With the holes drilled I attached the back pieces to the rear of the M using glue and brad nails. I clamped everything together and let it sit until the glue was fully dried.

After that I patched the nail holes and seems, sanded it smooth, wiped it down with a tack cloth and spray painted it. I used a coat of white primer followed by two coats of yellow paint.

For the legs I wanted something easy to disassemble for moving around. I decided to use black pipe like I did for my console table. I used an end cap on the bottom and a flange on the top and the legs can easily unscrew from the flange. I assembled the legs before spray painting them (a coat of primer plus two coats of blue) so that I wouldn't get paint in the threads of the pipe which might have made it hard to screw together. Also, to keep spray paint from getting all over my garage I painted them in a large box.

Once everything was dry I screwed the flanges onto the back of the M and my table was complete. I have to say that it has a been pretty popular addition to the tailgate.



Michigan Tailgate Cake: Simple Football Cake

On Saturday Michigan played Northwestern and the tailgate theme was Chicago, since Northwestern is in Chicago. I wasn't really sure how to translate that into a cake and I had some extenuating circumstances so I just made a generic football cake instead of something fancier.

This week's cake was a bit of a cop-out for me. I had some late nights at work so I was planning on whipping something up on Friday night. Unfortunately, there was a huge traffic jam in town as I was trying to get home that night due to some road closures so it ended up taking me nearly an hour and a half to go the last two miles to my house. It was annoying but the real problem is that due to my frugal ways, I drive a little hatchback that happens to be a stick shift. Holding in the clutch for that long was just miserable and since we were creeping almost the whole time I didn't have much chance to put the car in neutral with the parking brake. By the time I got home my left leg was so sore I was having some trouble standing and there was no way I was baking. That was the first time I wished I didn't have a manual car.

So instead I woke up early on Saturday (6:30 am!) and whipped up this simple football cake. I have a Wilton pan that is shaped like a football so I baked a chocolate cake in it, popped it in the freezer to cool it down quickly and iced it with chocolate buttercream frosting. I used a star tip to pipe the laces and then wrote "Hail to the Victors" on the cake. It was super simple, but sometimes you just need to get things done quickly. Plus it still tasted delicious so I don't think anyone really cared. 

For tailgate food Frank made Portillo's style sausage and Italian beef sandwiches which were awesome. He also made waffle fries and a wonderful sausage chowder which I especially loved.

The weather was unseasonably warm (mid-60s in November? I'll take it!) so it was a great day for tailgating and watching the game.

The game was up and down and towards the end it looked like Michigan had really squandered their chance to win. With barely any time left and an unbelievable catch to move the ball down the field, Michigan made a field goal to tie up the game at 31-31 and send it into overtime. In OT Michigan managed to score a touchdown and stop Northwestern making the final score 38-31 for a Michigan win. Looking back I really don't see how Michigan pulled out that game, but we'll take it!

How was your weekend? Did you get up to anything fun?


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Bacon Theme

Yesterday Michigan played Michigan State at home and our tailgate theme was bacon. I decided in keeping with the theme that I would make a Maple-Apple-Bacon Cake that I have made a few times before using a wonderful recipe I found on the NPR website. I know that the bacon in the cake sounds a little strange but it really is quite delicious.

I did a few things slightly differently, however. Instead of baking it in an 8" square pan I split the batter between two 8" round pans. Also, instead of the maple glaze I made a maple cream cheese frosting.

To assemble the cake I leveled the top of one of the cakes and placed it onto my cake stand. I used a pastry bag to top the cake with the maple icing, smoothing it out with a knife. I then placed the second layer on top and added my decorations.

To make the Michigan bunting I made a design of yellow letters on a blue background in PowerPoint and then printed it out.  I cut out the flags, folded them over and attached them to a string with a little tape, just like I did with my birthday bunting card. I tied the ends of the string to two 1/4" round dowels and stuck them in the cake.

The "Go Blue!" and "Beat Sparty!" flags were made in the same way (i.e. designed in PowerPoint, printed and then cut out) and then I wrapped them around long skewers and added them to the cake.

The cake got a lot of rave reviews from people, many of whom did not even realize there was bacon in it until I told them. It was polished off and selfishly I was a little disappointed that there was none left over for me to take home.

Continuing on with the bacon theme, Frank made several bacon explosions and a porchetta while other contributions included pea meal Canadian bacon from the Canadian contingent of the tailgate as well as sausage wrapped in bacon and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. Needless to say it wasn't the healthiest tailgate but everything was delicious.  

The weather also held up. Last week was cold, windy, rainy and miserable but this week it was overcast, but not too chilly and the sun even popped out a few times. The game had a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and Frank likes to be at the tailgate at 7:30 a.m. so decent weather is key to having a good time.

The skies stayed cloudy for most of the game, but luckily there was no wind or rain and I was comfortable bundled up for the game.

The game itself was a nail biter with five lead changes. In the last few minutes it looked like Michigan had blown their chances to win but with five seconds left, Brendan Gibbons kicked a field goal to win the game 12-10. Free yellow pom-poms had been passed out at the game and everyone in the stadium went nuts waving them. Michigan State had won the four previous games between the two schools so it was great to beat them.

The win marked another big milestone for Michigan, namely the program's 900th win making it the first NCAA college football team to do so. Having the win occur at home and over Michigan State made it especially sweet. After the game the scoreboard played a show highlighting the 100th, 200th, and so on victories culminating with the 900th that had happened that day.

On another football front, my alma mater, Duke, beat North Carolina yesterday bringing their record this year to 6-2. Not only is it nice to beat our arch rivals, but this makes the team bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. In recent decades Duke notoriously does not have a strong football program so this is pretty huge.  Frank asked me who I would root for if Michigan and Duke played in a bowl game. I told him that my Michigan fandom comes with a Duke exemption and that I will always cheer for Duke over all others. A girl has to do what a girl has to do. Go Duke Blue Devils! and Go Michigan Wolverines! (when they are not playing Duke!)


Michigan Tailgate Cake: Hail To The Victors

This week Michigan played Illinois for homecoming and the tailgate theme was Brazilian Steakhouse. I wasn't really sure how to translate that theme into a tailgate cake so I decided to make a cake with the first line of the chorus of the Michigan fight song across the front.

I started by baking a chocolate cake in two oval pans and then whipped up a double batch of buttercream icing, tinting it blue. Once the cake had completely cooled I leveled the layers by cutting off the crowns. I stacked the layers with some icing in between and then added a thin crumb coat of the blue icing over the whole cake.

After the crumb coat had dried I iced the cake with the blue icing and smoothed it over the cake. With the base of blue icing on the cake it was time for the fun part, decorating. I used marzipan that I tinted yellow to make the word "HAIL" and put that across the front of the cake. I also made a large block M and used skewers to make it stand on top of the cake. I added a little cocoa powder and copper tint to some more marzipan and made a little football to prop up in front of the block M.  

As a final step I made another single batch of buttercream icing, tinting half of it yellow and leaving the rest white. I put both colors in piping bags and piped a star border around the base of the cake in yellow. I used the white to add "to the victors" and add some laces on the football. 

Although the tailgate was a lot of fun, it was cold and toward game time it started raining. At the tailgate we were under tents, but we were completely exposed to the elements in the stadium. Being soaking wet and cold made watching the game a bit miserable but drinking a bunch of hot chocolate definitely helped.

Luckily the Wolverines dominated Illinois and when the score was 31-0 in favor of Michigan we decided that victory was ensured and it was okay to leave, watching the rest of the game back at the tailgate with the satellite TV under the tents. In the end Michigan won 45-0 for a decisive win. Bring on Sparty!

Do you root for any college teams? How did you spend your weekend?


Michigan Tailgate Cake: All American Theme

Yesterday was the home opener for the 2012 Michigan Football season. We played Air Force so the tailgate theme was "All-American".

After a long and stressful work week I decided to make a simple design for the cake, taking an American flag and modifying the white star field on blue to be a maize and blue Michigan logo.

I made a chocolate cake using Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe from Ina Garten. I baked it in a sheet cake pan and then cut it in half to make a two layer, rectangular shaped cake.

Next, I made up a double batch of buttercream icing. I used a Wilton #789 decorating tip to ice the cake, smoothing it with a large offset spatula.

With my cake iced, I turned to making my flag design on the cake. Although fondant looks prettier and is easier to work with I decided to use rolled buttercream because it tastes yummier. I made up a batch and tinted some of it red and some of it blue. I rolled out the blue first, cut out a rectangle and placed it in the top left of the cake. I then rolled out the red, cut it into strips and layered it onto the cake to make the stripes of the flag.

My final step was to tint some of my leftover buttercream from icing my cake a maize color. I used a flat basketweave tip to make a block M shape on the blue rectangle and then used a small spatula to smooth together the seams.

Although I always notice the imperfections on my cakes, I think it turned out pretty cute and most importantly it tasted delicious. The icing on the cake (if you excuse my terrible pun) was that Michigan beat Air Force. It wasn't a pretty win, but after the loss to Alabama last week we'll take what we can get. Go Blue!


2010 Season Michigan Wolverines Tailgate Cakes

Today is the whole reason Frank and I went on this roadtrip to New Orleans; today is the Sugar Bowl! In honor of the Wolverines I thought I would share some of last season's tailgate cakes since I already shared the OSU game cake and the rest of this season's cakes.

Starting from the left is the cake from the 2010 Iowa game which had a carnival theme. To make the carnival tent I used a 6" round pan and a small wondermold pan for baking the cake. I iced the cake with buttercream and used fondant to decorate the carnival tent. I molded the footballs from dark chocolate and topped the cake with a tiny flag with a block 'M' of fondant on a lollipop stick.

Grafitti was the theme for the 2010 Michigan State game so I iced my cake with white buttercream and then iced on rust colored rectangles to make the cake look like a brick wall. To make the grafitti block 'M' I painted the design with diluted food coloring gels on fondant and then cut it out after it dried. I really enjoyed this theme and even made a grafitti T-shirt to wear by painting a design on a white shirt.

The 2010 Illinois game tailgate had a Thanksgiving theme so I made a pumpkin cake and used marshmallow fondant to make a cornucopia with block 'M's pouring out. As an added touch I covered the sides of the cake with walnuts.

Go Blue! Beat the Hokies!