Saturday, August 29, 2009

A mini dogwood cake

Happy Birthday to my sweet friend Sara!!! - tomorrow! :)
I couldn't wait to share the cake I made for her because I already took it to her tonight!! :) I just love Sara...again, another amazing woman in my life! She has such strength, such sweetness, such a heart for her family, so much love for the Lord, and is always so generous and thoughtful to her friends!! - and very deserving of a yummmmy treat for her b-day!! We love you Sara!

I made her this sweet dogwood flower cake. Wow, it's hard to make small cakes! I don't know why, but maybe it's that there isn't much to them so trying to frost the sides of a little 2" - 3 tiered cake makes it interesting! :) HA! But fun...as always! This little cake had a bottom tier of about 3.5" and a top tier of about 2". I served it on a tea cup plate! :) It was either make a cake or stain my fence...so, the cake won out! - wheww - thank you Sara for having a birthday! :) It was brownie cake with marshmallow buttercream filling inside. The flower, leaves and want-to-be limbs :) are made of modeling chocolate. I have hot hands, so I wouldn't make a flower of that stuff again, but it just taste sooo much better than gumpaste that I've been trying to use it in place of that stuff - when possible.
Anyhoo...I like my first attempt at a dogwood flower. I look forward to doing it again with gumpaste!! Thanks for looking!!


Friday, August 21, 2009

A knitting bag cake



A sweet sweet friend of mine just made some big changes in her life! She quit her job and is pursuing her passion...sewing, knitting and all things fabric!! She is SO amazing and her craftsmanship is phenomenal!! I wish her Soooo much success in this new chapter of her life. So, to celebrate, I made her this mini knitting bag cake. A few firsts for me, and a few lessons learned, but overall a very fun fun cake! I love how it turned out!!



If you're still reading...here are a few lessons learned! :) This was the first time ever using an extruder gun. I bought the little cheap one at Michael's and it definitely gave my hands a work out, but I love how it produced these tiny strings for the balls of yarn. I used cakejournal's tutorial, but instead of cutting the end pieces on the yarn balls, I just made it go all the way across. So, I had three sections of extruded string for each cake ball. The balls were actually cake left over from carving the 6" tiers...I mashed them up and added some swiss-meringue buttercream and whallah! - although, next time I would have kicked it up a notch by dipping them/covering them in the chocolate melties like Bakerella does! :) Back to the extruder...you need to have the fondant the consistency of gum! It needs to be extremely soft/rubbery. I added the coloring and then added some crisco to it so it was almost stretchy...just like the consistency of ABC gum!! It took me a while to figure that out...but after I did, I got the look I wanted.
The second thing is that I used Swiss-Meringue Buttercream! - and had NO bulging issues at all!! YEAH! Why you might ask? - I refrigerate the cake!!! Yes, I had a bit of sweating, but all I did was stick it directly under a fan for 30 min or so, and whalllah! - all dried to a beautiful finish! Worked amazingly well!! So, I'm going to be using my SMBC and refrigerating cakes!!

I think that's it! Basically it was a super fun cake I've been wanting to try. I didn't want to use the basket because it's too grandma looking! :) The bag is much more modern and more like what she would use anyway.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can I have S'more!?

I found this amazing link from a woman (macsmom) on cake central who has all these variations of a WASC Cake. WASC stands for White Almond Sour Cream cake. There is everything from Fuzzy Navel to Peaches N Cream to Root Beer Cake to, you guessed it, S'mores! :) I can't wait to try all her recipe variations, but tonight, I put the S'More to the test. Well, actually, it's a Honey Graham Cracker Cake...with my twist on it to make it a S'more cupcake!! :) I followed her recipe for the Graham Cracker Cake (see recipe below) and then once they were cooled, I cut out a dome of cake from the center, added a dollop of chocolate ganache, replaced the dome center and then topped it with a marshmallow buttercream I invented! :) I added a 7oz jar of marshmallow fluff to a batch of buttercream. I just made the basic butter/powdered sugar buttercream since I was in a hurry today. I also added a few teaspoons of the Torani Toasted Marshmallow syrup to the buttercream to kick it up a notch. I also had to add another cup or two of powdered sugar because of the marshmallow fluff! :) This sucker was SO sweet!!! - like eating a S'More! We just got back from camping a few days ago and I had my fair share of S'Mores and I honestly couldn't eat more than one or two S'mores per sitting...just like this cupcake...sugar overload!! :) But, Yuuummmmmy!

I also used a new cupcake cup...it's a paper souffle' cup I found at Cash N Carry. What I LOVE about them is that you just put them out on a half sheet pan and bake them in the cup...no using muffin tins! So, I could squeeze like 28-30 of these on a half sheet pan and cook 2+dozen cupcakes all together. There are a few lessons learned/tricks with these cups though..let me warn you!

To open these and access the yummy goodness inside, you either need a spoon to scoop the yummy goodness out, or you gently pull the pleats apart (see pic above) and the cup folds down into a little plate....
Perfect for eating...and holding all the crumbs! :) Also, the other thing is that when you pull it down, you have a pretty smooth side to your cupcake incase you need to use it for show (without the paper cups on them). With these cups, you don't get all the crinkle edges regular cupcake holders leave in the cupcakes.

One last picture...Yes, I think it's smiling at you! Go ahead...take a bite! :) You can see in this pic how I cut the dome of cake away, put the ganache in the center and replaced the cap. Although, I did cut the tip of the cap off so there was room for the ganache and the cap fit back on there.
Oh, and one more thing about these little paper cups...they're tempermental when you bake them! :) Here is my first batch I ever made with them...Messssssy! :)
I learned that when you cook the cupcakes in these cups, you HAVE to set your oven to 375 degrees. Then, once it's pre-heated, put the cupcakes in, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Cook them for about 20-25 minutes. Also, DON'T overfill...only fill these little cups 1/2 way full of batter. What happened in the pic above was that I filled them 2/3 of the way full, and I cooked them at 325...I don't know why...but I just thought it would be better for them to cook slower...WRONG! :) They almost need a higher heat to cook them faster because what happened was they rose sooo much they overflowed and then all the air came out and when I took them out of the oven and they cooled, they all collapsed. So, don't do that! :) Otherwise, these might be my new cups...they're simple, unique and makes my baking life a bit easier! - which is always good!!
Graham Cracker Cake (for S'mores) - MacsMom
2 boxes white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground graham crackers
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 c honey (*suggested by fievel)
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 egg whites
2 2/3 cups water
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups (16oz carton) sour cream
4 teaspoon clear vanilla flavor or 3 tsp. vanilla bean paste & 1 tsp. vanilla flavor

She doesn't tell you how to mix them, so I just mixed all the wet ingredients, then mixed all the dry ingredients, then blended them together! :) Also, the cake was pretty crumbly...so, if I make it again, I think I will use 4 eggs in place of her 8 egg whites. That might help make it more dense...but I don't know for sure! :) Also, I halved the recipe to make 28 cupcakes and one 6" round cake 2" high...so, it probably would have made 36 cupcakes just cutting the recipe in half.

Enjoy...happy baking!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Zebra Shoe/Shoe box Cake

I had put a request out on the blog a week or two ago mentioning I wanted to make a stiletto type shoe and shoe box for someone! Well, I got someone who wanted JUST the shoe I wanted to make!! Thank you thank you thank you Jen! This was SO fun to make and had so many firsts for me...it was both a great learning experience and a fun cake to make!


All the zebra stripes were hand painted with edible gel colors. It took me a while to realize that you can water the gel down to a acrylic type consistancy, so after I did that, the painting was a lot smoother. The paint was still a bit wet when I took these pics, so I don't think it would be a shiny when it was dried. But Jen had to pick it up last night, wet and all! :)

The shoe and bow were made of modeling chocolate. I really don't like to use gumpaste (the tissue is made of gumpaste though because I wanted it thin!) because it tastes weird...it's all crunchy! Whereas, I love eating modeling chocolate because it's still soft, but tastes SO good! :) And, if it's thick enough, it holds it shape.

The cake is dark chocolate mudcake with a vanilla ganache filling. This was my first time making a box like this, so getting those corners right was tough! By the end I figured out a good technique, but I ran out of ganache again!! UGH! But, next time, I realized I need to load up the corners with frosting so that when you pull a bench scraper/smoother on them, you can get a nice sharp corner.One more thing...I used Satin Ice fondant for the first time (that was the black shoe box base). And I made/used MMF for the lid. I have to say, I thought they both had the exact same consistancy!!!! Although, the MMF was definetly more forgiving! It didn't give me elephant skin/tearing stretch marks at all...whereas the Satin Ice did! So, I was really excited to be able to have compared them because now I'm definetly sticking with the MMF!!!! Oh, and this last batch I made was a DREAM! I think cooking it slower was the key...it had the perfect consistancy!! I really paid attention to the microwave, and it worked!!!

All in all, I loved this cake and had such a blast making it!! Thank Jen for calling me up and having me do this cake for Ellen Nona!! :)