Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finally! Wilton class #3 is finally completed. I was getting tired of making all of that icing, buttercream and royal, and then not using it and having it in my fridge for weeks. I must say that covering a cake with fondant is not so scary anymore. I do still need a lot of work getting it smooth and pretty but at least I know the basics...measuring to cover, rolling, putting it on the cake and smoothing it. So many fun things to make with fondant too! Now I need to find the time.

Gift cake lesson #2.

I did try to make all of my cakes/icings something yummy so my kids would enjoy eating it. This cake was strawberry cake with a strawberry jam filling iced with vanilla buttercream covered in fondant. This was Wilton fondant and should not be eaten!! :) Not a very nice taste at all though some people in my class loved it.

I do have a recipe I use for my own fondant but since I was in the class I wanted to use theirs to see how it differed from my own. Mine is much softer and I haven't tried to cover a cake yet...only decorations. That is my next project!

This was my final cake for class #3. A stacked cake covered in fondant and decorated.

I'm glad I took this class. I learned how to properly stack a cake with correct support structure using dowels. The top layer is vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and orange buttercream frosting. I took inspiration from the Cake Slice Bakers for the bottom layer. Chai spiced cake with honey ginger cream cheese frosting. Wow! Yum!

I covered both layers with the Wilton fondant again and made the little marbleized "ribbon" with fondant as well. Buttercream dots and flowers finished it out.

A little bumpy, a little lumpy..I'll work on that

Lessons learned:

1. Square cakes are easier to cover with fondant than circles.
2. Get your icing as smooth as possible before covering with fondant!

Do I want to take class #4?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TWD: Playing around with the Chocolate Cream Tart

Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn't I? I really shouldn't...I have so much to do this week including my final stacked cake for my Wilton class #3....blondies for Karate promotions...a couple of cakes due...but Oh, I really want to. Just to try it. And it so happened, I had a frozen good for almost anything pie crust dough in the freezer...some cream to use up and a baggie of 4 frozen egg yolks. It was calling to be made.

I used the playing around method Dorie suggests in the book...because the chocolate version didn't have enough calories. :) I made a coconut cream by boiling cream with sweetened coconut until it was thick. I used the regular pie crust and baked it in my tart pan. Should have used the pie pan like Dories suggested but I really wanted the tart shape!

After the coconut cream was cool, I spread it on the bottom of the crust then topped it with the bittersweet chocolate cream. A little whipped cream on the top sprinkled with some toasted coconut and OMG!!!

I cut of piece of the tart just to photograph...well I needed to taste it to make sure it was edible....I finished the whole piece. It was that good! Bittersweet chocolate with sweet, smooth coconut cream and a crunchy shortbread-y crust. Heaven!

Check out Scrumptious Photography for the recipe and some amazing photographs. Don't forget to click here to see what the others have created.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cupcake Bites for Little Wonders

Here are the little cupcake bites I made to participate in Holly's (Phe/MOM/enon) Blogging for Babies - Little Wonders event. The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness for the March of Dimes, March for Babies.

Most of you might be familiar with them, but for those that aren't, they are the leading non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to pregnancy and baby health. Their mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality, through research, community services, education and advocacy.

My entry are these little cupcake bites I found over at Pioneer Woman's site. She made them with Bakerella when Bakerella visited The Ranch. I want to visit The Ranch so bad.

These were super easy and I brought them to a friend's birthday night out at a dance club. I know they don't have clubs out at The Ranch...they probably make their own version of a dance club there. I wouldn't miss not having clubs. :)

I used a red velvet cake mix...baked it in a 9x13 pan...and crumbled it all up when cool.

I then added a tub of cream cheese frosting. I think next time I would add just 3/4 of a tub. They were very very moist.

Mixed it all together and rolled little cake balls with my hands. I would have used a scoop but didn't have one small enough.

I put the pan of cake balls into the freezer and they actually sat in there overnight.

The next day...I melted Candy Melts in dark cocoa flavor and put a little in each candy mold. Plopped a cake ball in and set them in the fridge to harden.

After removing them from the mold, I dipped the tops in a mixture of red and white melted Candy Melts (Michaels was out of pink when I went to buy them!) topped with a mini M&M and some sprinkles and there you go!

They're only tiny.

But quite good.

Ready for the club. :)

Want to know more about Little Wonders March for Babies Team? Fantastic!! Here is the Team Page. Any amount that you can sponsor is extremely appreciated. Please, please help spread the word and sponsor Little Wonders if you can! Thank you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hospitality at the PTC Bundt Cake

Another PTC meeting...another bundt cake. I found this recipe for Blueberry-Lemon Bundt Cake on Martha's website. This is not a light cake...more like a pound cake...a really good lemon with fresh blueberries in it pound cake baked into a bundt cake shape.
It's a pretty straight forward recipe and the only changes I made were to rub the lemon zest into the sugar prior to creaming it with the butter rather than mixing it in with the blueberries. I also used fresh frozen blueberries that I had frozen last summer and wanted to use them up before buying any more fresh.

I made a simple lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the top....delish!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No TWD this week...

...I've been sick and haven't felt like baking or blogging....not to mention that for 3 days this week the temperature was 95...IN APRIL!!! The last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven. That would have meant turning on the a/c. There is no way in h-e-double toothpicks that I am turning on the a/c IN APRIL!!

I feel better now and HERE I AM!!

Here's something I made prior to our mini heatwave.

Crunchy Banana-Maple-Pecan Breakfast Muffins that I found over at Noble Pig. Only I left out the pecans and only used 1 frozen overripe banana instead of the 2 the recipe called for...because that's all I had in the fridge. If you haven't visited the Noble Pig, please do so. Cathy lives down the street from me (well, down the freeway and then some) and the whole family is getting ready to move to Oregon and have their own vineyard, and make their own wine, and live in the country....I will live vicariously through her.

These muffins are perfect to throw in the freezer and remove as needed. They are multi-purpose muffins. Great for a snack, breakfast or dinner if your husband and children have gone fishing for the day and won't be home until after dark.

These muffins are hearty and chunky and have lots of good-for-you stuff in them. Whole wheat flour, oat bran and granola make them super filling. The substitutions I addition to leaving out the pecans because my family won't eat them and only having one banana...included:

Leaving out the mini chocolate chips and only topping half the batch with them.
Adding dried cranberries to the batter.

You can also fill the muffin tins almost to the top without having spill over. Easy, filling and super yummy.

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TWD: 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte

Hmmm....I think I must have done something wrong...

I did make a double batch, could that have been my downfall?

Used Baker's Joy?

Pans too small?

Cooked too long?

Because this is what happened:

But I squished it back together and that one is in the freezer.

The other one we ate for dessert on Easter Sunday. I made the almond whipped cream which I beat too long...sigh...

And a little strawberry sauce to serve with it because I needed to use up some over-ripe strawberries.

Everyone loved it, but I thought I could have done better...isn't that always the case? :)

I think I might serve the other one as Dorie suggests...Hot Fudge Sundaes.

It sure tastes good at room temp, with a cup of coffee, at breakfast time!

Click on over here to see what the others baked up.

Thank you to Holly over at Phe/Mom/enon for choosing this weeks "whip up in no time" dessert. If you haven't visited her blog...make sure you do. She is phenomenal :). Right now she is posting about the 2nd Annual Blogging for Babies event in support of the March of Dimes. Everyone can participate....I already have my baking idea in my head!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Skipping TWD this week...

Not only are bananas my least favorite fruit on the planet (can't even stand the smell) but neither one of my kids like whipped/pastry cream and only one likes the banana. Well, I guess I could have made it and given it away but I made something else instead....have a look see:

Yep....Smitten Kitchen's Homemade Oreos!

Recipe adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman

Now...these won't stay around for long. They are going to my youngest son's Easter party at pre-school. I debated whether to do these or sugar cookies and frankly, didn't want to spend a day frosting Oreos it was. (I also had some left over Whoopie Pie filling in my fridge that I needed to use up :) )

In her post, Deb indicates that you can leave out a full 1/2 cup of sugar if you want the more authentic less sweet taste of an Oreo chocolate wafer. I did that and of course she was right. It also cuts the sweetness of the filling. Oh...and I didn't use her recipe for filling...I had made Whoopie pies for a baseball snack a week ago and needed to use that filling up. It uses marshmallow creme, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. It was super soft and runny so I added about a cup of powdered sugar and beat it for a few minutes. That did the trick. Deb's recipe calls for butter, vegetable shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla so you can see the difference.

Let me tell you...I'd rather eat these over anything banana any day! And of course, I did....someone had to eat the singleton.

Wow...who new painting my fingernails would serve a purpose, considering I paint them about twice a year! (Does anyone think that might be too much filling for an Oreo?)

Make sure you stop by TWD to check out what the others made....and thank you to Amy from Sing for Your Supper for making this week's selection. If I liked bananas...I sure would have baked along with you!

Thanks for stopping by....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Would you like some candy little boy.....

Here's a cake I made for a friend's birthday. He has a thing about a "crunch/moosh" factor when eating desserts. He has to have something crunchy to match the mooshiness of the cake and frosting..ta dah! I think this fits the bill.

Once again I used Bakerella's fantastic recipe for moist (the word I hate most in the English language :) ) yellow cake and baked it in 2-9" pans instead of 3-8" pans because, well really, I don't have any 8" pans! The remaining batter made 6 mini cupcakes. This recipe has you cool the cake layers in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then taking them out of the pans and immediately wrapping in plastic wrap. She's wasn't kidding when she said she'd found it...the resulting layers are very soft and moist. I did not add the sugar water spray this time as I felt the layers didn't need it.

After cooling completely, I sliced each of the 2 layers horizontally and filled and frosted the cake with Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting substituting half the milk for hot brewed coffee.....sweeeeeet!

I broke the KitKats into twos and dabbed some frosting onto each section, stuck them on the cake and filled the top with Hershey's Kissables. Tied a ribbon around for safety reasons :) and it was good to go. Just an FYI...the cake weighed about 7 pounds! :).

Many thanks to my new FB friend Rayelle for inspiration....if you are in the DC area...she's the one to call for all your cakery needs! Thanks Rayelle!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea.....

...Spongebob Squarepants!

Here's a birthday cake I made for a friend's daughter. She turned 4 and wanted a spongebob cake. I used Bakerella's recipe for the vanilla cake and iced it with a plain vanilla buttercream. There is a layer of chocolate filling hiding inside. I couldn't quite get my buttercream smooth...still working on that...and didn't want to cover the whole cake with fondant. I compromised and used fondant decorations, some hand formed and some rolled and cut. The feet are Swiss Rolls :)

His arms are a little skinny, but I made those before making the cake and didn't have anything to go off of...From this angle he looks a little woozy!

I think it turned out ok...we'll see what she says.....