Olympic Birthday Celebration

Have you been watching the Olympics? I’ve been glued to the TV watching sports I usually don’t get to see often (or at all), such as rugby and equestrian events. And who knew trampolining was an Olympic event? The synchronized diving, swimming and gymnastics have also been so fun to watch. It’s so exciting to watch these athletes achieve triumph over sometimes difficult personal situations or injury to compete at this level.

As Providence would allow, the Opening Weekend was the same weekend as my birthday, AND it was a Houston weekend! I asked my friends to bring Olympic-themed dishes to a celebration. What is an Olympic-themed dish? I’ll show you how my very creative friends interpreted it:

Brazilcaprese 2

Jody brought personal caprese in the colors of the Brazilian flag. These were all gone by the end of the evening, so he shared the award of Tastiest with:

Lasagna 2

Regina and David, who made this lovely eggplant and sausage lasagna. It was almost all gone by the end of the evening.

Next is the winner for the Most Patriotic:


Angela brought this berry salad with Cool Whip – it was very refreshing!

The award for Most Creative Use of Theme was also a tie:


Carolyn brought this lovely snack assortment in the colors of the Olympic rings. Plantain chips with guacamole is going on my healthy snack list SOON!


Ami made this pizza with each ring representing a different country:

The red ring of pepperoni for the U.S.;

The black ring of olives (and sausage, I think?) for Mediterranean/Greek;

The blue ring of blue corn chips (and more sausage?) for South America;

The yellow ring of corn and curry for Asia; and

The green ring of green bell peppers for vegetarians everywhere.

AND she made an Olympic torch of Cheetos in the corner. BRILLIANT!

My friends Ai Leen and Aaron hosted this event (HUGE THANK YOU)! Ai Leen made a sangria with fruit in the colors of the Olympic rings, but I forgot to photograph it. I didn’t sample any of it, but I heard good things about it all evening. I remembered to take a photograph of the charcuterie board she designed:

Charcuterie 2

Isn’t it beautiful?! She had three types of cheese to the side (another missed photo opportunity). This photo is a little blurry because I was in a hurry to sample all the delicious options. If you’d like to know exactly how she plans her charcuterie boards, she details it here, including the recipe for her kumquat compote (the lovely orange creation in the top middle).

Other dishes included KFC fried chicken (inspired!) from Carolyn and Doug, a green salad topped with berries (yummy) from Jill Ann, chicken skewers (also yummy) from a local Greek restaurant from Brooke, and grape leaves from Costco brought by Mark (Ai Leen declared they were really good quality). My goddaughter TLT (for “The Little Tigress” and daughter of Ai Leen and Aaron) displayed her budding hostess abilities by placing a bowl of her play fruit and play pizza slices on the table.

My Olympic tradition is baking an Olympic Cake:


Although this is not a baking blog (Cousin Gwen is the expert in that area), following is how you can bake this cake: pick your favorite white cake recipe. One option is the  funfetti boxed cake mix from Pillsbury. I wanted to make everything from scratch, so I used Mrs. Billett’s White Cake Recipe that I found on the Southern Living website. (Southern Living is Bible Truth for baking and cooking – it’s hard to find a bad recipe on that website.) After mixing the batter, I stirred in about 3/4 to 1 cup mini-M&Ms. TLT took on the painstaking work of removing all the orange M&Ms so only the Olympic-ring-colored M&Ms were included in the cake. She also helped mix the batter. She did an fantastic job with both!

Unfrosted cake 2

This recipe is made for a layer cake, and as you can see, I baked the cake in a 13×9 pan. It took a little longer to bake than the recipe instructed and the cake seemed a bit dense, but it was still good.


For the frosting, I again turned to Southern Living and made the White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Y’all, it was really, really tasty! Almost as tasty as the cream cheese frosting on Gibson’s Donuts’ Red Velvet Doughnut. The ever-gracious Ai Leen let me use a biscuit cutter to make a slight indentation in the frosting to use as a guide for the Olympic rings. TLT helped me add the M&Ms around the edges – didn’t she do a great job? She cooks and bakes with her mom, who is beyond excellent, so she is a very reliable sous chef.

Ai Leen and Aaron were so very gracious in opening their home to my friends. They were also very patient with my baking MO: I got powdered sugar and frosting in some unfortunate places. I tried to clean it all up, but Ai Leen somehow managed to get it all cleaned up and put away before I could turn around from different parts of the cake preparation – even though she was also feeding their 8 month old, keeping careful watch on TLT, and arranging party preparations. She is a dear, dear friend!

Doughnut news: My Cousin Gwen gave me this book:

doughnut book

So I hope to have all sorts of Doughnut Knowledge to share!

Next week, my trek through Gibson’s Donuts’ menu will continue. Stay tuned!



One comment

  1. That Olympic Pizza looks AWESOME! And the Cheeto Olympic Torch takes it to a whole new level. Cousin, you have some amazingly creative friends! And your Olympic cake is simply inspired.


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