Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pepermint Candy Canes!

I looove Christmas time!  You'll might have noticed my absence on here lately - probably because I was decking the halls or something else extremely festive!  Nonetheless, I have been baking and here is the proof!

 What you'll need:

1/3 c. soft butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 & 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 tea. salt
Almond bark
1/4 c. shortening
1 egg
1/4 tea. baking powder
1 tea. peppermint or mint extract

1. Beat butter, shortening, and sugar 'til fluffy. Beat in the egg.
2. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and extract until mixed.
3. Pipe cookie dough into the shape of a cane...or use a cookie press.  I used a plastic bag with a corner cut off to pipe the dough, and that was not fun!  I highly recommend a cookie press!!!

4. Bake at 375F for 5-7 minutes
5. Allow to completely cool

6. Melt bark in a sandwich bag, cut off a very small corner and pipe stripes on the canes.
* For a super festive look add red food coloring to the cookie dough! *

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quince Cake: Mission Completed

First defrost all the layers (that were sitting in a freezer for a good week and a half).
Cover the layers in frosting to prepare for fondant-ing.

Cover in fondant and trim.

Do the same to the remaining top two layers.

Smooth out the fondant as best as possible - this part was pretty hard.   I knew my decorations would cover up a lot of the imperfections, though, so I didn't stress out... too much.

Stacking the layers was pretty easy.  Each layer was on it's own round piece of cardboard.  In between each cardboard layer there were wooden dowel rods supporting the layers above.  To make sure all the layers didn't just slide off each other, I just used one long dowel rod right down the center (sharpened on one end - to get through each cardboard layer... along with a hammer).

The layers are all secured together.  Time to decorate!

Put the cake topper on - and added some brown ribbons around the edge of the circles.

Preparing leaves - hand painted... all 50 of them...

more leaves :)

Applying the leaves to the cake: they stick really well with just a little bit of water.  I ended up painting the edges of the leaves to make it look prettier.  I just put the leaves in places where there were imperfections.  If I accidentally got some of the food coloring on the white parts, I would just wipe it off with a damp paper towel/clean wet paintbrush.

The finished product!  1 hour before showtime.  Phew! *beads of sweat roll off my forehead*

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quince Prep

Here's an update!

This is what 1 hour of fondant making looks like:

It feels like a really kick-butt workout, though.  Don't try making fondant if you're already really tired.  Also, turns out that if you challenge your electric mixer to knead this super tough fondant dough for long periods of time - the bowl WILL get stuck in the holder:

But no worries, even though I wasn't able to jiggle it out, some WD-40 and my boyfriends biceps were able to shimmy the bowl from the stronghold of the kitchen aid.

I also needed to work on the cake topper for this quince cake!  It wouldn't be proper if there wasn't a big ol' "15" on top.  So, I knew that I wanted it to be brown, and initially I was going to make it out of sparkles and silly glue.  BUT.  Then I really had this desire to make it out of chocolate.  I have no idea how to work with chocolate, but it can't be that hard.... right?!  Just melt it and mold it.

I went to the cake shop to try and find a mold for the number "15".   They had really tiny ones (about 2-3" tall) and they were kind of ugly.  So, I ended up just buying some lollipop sticks.  I decided that I was going to free-hand this "15" even if it killed me.

Set up a double broiler.  You don't want to burn the chocolate and this is a good way to prevent that from happening.

Melt some milk chocolate!  I used Hershey's milk chocolate chips.

Put milk chocolate in a bag you can do some piping in.  I totally ran out of frosting bags, so I decided to use a plastic sandwich bag.  The chocolate was still pretty hot at first, so I let it cool down - made it easier to work with as well.
Cut the corner of the bag off (about 1/4 inch) and start drawing a "15" on top of two lollipop stick (one stick for each number).  Then stick it in the freezer to harden!!!

Flip numbers over when hardened and put chocolate on that side to cover up the stick and make it look preeeettay.  Then stick in the freezer!

Voila!  Two numbers ready to be stuck on top of the cake!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gingerbread Men!

I've been craving some gingerbread man cookies for about a week - so it's about time to make some.

So, I decided to make "The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies."

Check it out:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar - I used light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional) - I didn't use this.

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
2. Beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.
3. Add molasses, vanilla, and continue to mix until well blended.
4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
5. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. I let it sit for a few hours.

6. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Return to room temp before using.)
7. To bake: Preheat oven to 375°.
8. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
9. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick.
10. Use additional flour to avoid sticking.
11. Cut out cookies with desired cutter-- the ginger bread man is our favorite of course.
12. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies).

Project: QuinceaƱera Cake

You might have noticed that I haven't been baking as much lately, well I've been working - and MENTALLY PREPARING for the cake that is Margaret Mini-Me's Quince cake. This is really a challenge, but I've decided to start now... 2 weeks before the event.

It's a three layer cake *yikes* - 14 inch - 10 inch - 6 inch. Each tier has 2 layers of cake. The bottom layer of the cake is a pumpkin spice cake and the top two tiers are chocolate cake.

I've decided to make the chocolate layers today - using the chocolate cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen. After making the 10 inch layers and the 6 inch layers, I lovingly wrapped them in saran wrap and put them in the freezer. Now they're just waiting to be slapped together with frosting and fondant! Fun!

Now, since it's a Quince cake - someone is bound to turn 15! So, the cake topper is going to be "15" with leaves spread around it. My dream is to have the "15" to be made out of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate. I just have to figure out how to do that part. From what it looks like, it could be pretty easy to make the 15, depending on what kind of font I want to use.

More to come!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hello Kitty Cake

At work, we celebrate birthdays once a month - and for October I got to make the cake! There are some people that absolutely loveeee Hello Kitty, so I thought that would be really fun to make for the October babies.

For the cake part (which I made a day earlier), I used the chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen and also used a white cake from her website as well.

The White Cake:
3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Mix dry.
2. Add butter and 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, and beat until fluffy.
3. Mix in a separate bowl the rest of the ingredients.
4. Fold the wet into the dry in three parts.
5. Bake at 325 for about 26-28 minutes!

Now for the interesting part! Making the Hello Kitty!

I had two layers of each flavor from a 9" x 13" baking pan.

I had made a chocolate frosting and a vanilla frosting - a sweet recipe, because I knew the cake wasn't too sweet.

So I stacked the layers next to each other with a nice layer of frosting:

Drew a tentative template that I would cut out on top of the cake by dragging the pointy end of my paintbrush along the frosting.

Started cutting carefully to get the shape I wanted:

After getting the shape needed for a pretty Kitty, I made some fondant and covered the cat. I cut out the smaller, more distinctive pieces of Kitty and put them on:

Then the last step was to paint everything! I painted on gel dye for the black parts and painted on dust color (painted it on by mixing with vodka - it evaporates) for the yellow, pink, and red. Here's the final result!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Splenda Cake

This cake joins the ranks of one of my least favorite cakes ever. If you decide to try and make this one, please don't just use splenda... use half sugar and half splenda. I'm really not sure how this recipe could have made it out there.

The chocolate mousse frosting on the other hand was awesome! I think I could eat that alone or on top of pudding. Just really good chocolate mousse... and it was really simple. Simple is good.

Here goes:

3 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
Dash of salt

1. Whip up all ingredients until stiff peaks form. Delicious!!!

Splenda Cake:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
½ cup SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups low-fat buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot strong black coffee

1. Blend dry together.
2. Blend wet together.
3. Mix both together.
4. 350 F for about 15 minutes in two nine inch rounds.

* The finished baked product was actually really weird looking. I just didn't look like a real sugar cake. And it definitely didn't taste the same.

This cake doesn't deserve a real picture:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Best Chocolate Cake!

I feel like I haven't been on here forever! It's been a really busy busy week - ACL, work, birthday, cake! I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen - she's my role model.

3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature (I haven't made coffee in forever! It was scary to do, but apparently not really hard to mess up.)

1. Preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. Lined the baking tins with wax paper (two 9 inch rounds and one 8 inch square).

2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Whisk the eggs and coffee together (I did this when the coffee was still a little warm and there was no curdling), and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Put the batter in the tins.

4. Baked for 38 to 40 minutes - and ate cake!

I made the chocolate frosting that I used for Jessica's birthday cake! It went pretty well because the cake wasn't overly sweet. You could barely taste the coffee! I'm not a huge coffee fan, so this was a pretty big deal.

This cake is just awesome. So soft and great flavor! I'll be making it again for sure.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Everything... Even Cake!

Probably the greatest creation on earth in the world of cakes. I loved this one!

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups (270 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup (240 ml) fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature


1. I said: Butter and sugar - please fluff up together in my electric mixer.
2. Please accept the eggs... but only one at a time. And make them feel welcome, fully incorporated in your dwelling.
3. Meet the belle of the ball: Little Miss Pumpkin Puree and her friend sweet Miss Vanilla.
4. You all should spin around in the mixer and be happy as one.
5. In a separate (but equally important) half-sphere bowl, the spices of life frolicked in the flour.
6. The Spices of Life and Little Miss Buttermilk wanted to join the party in the mixer bowl...
7. So they fought their way in and became one with the mix.
8. Then they baked... in two eight in rounds until a perfect bake they made... at 350 of course.

I covered the sweet delightful layers in buttercream and fondant. mmMMmm.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I have a 5 gallon bag of frozen strawberries = Strawberry Cake.

I had made some strawberry cupcakes before using Sprinkle's recipe, but now I have this huge bag of frozen strawberries, and I really don't want to make the recipe a million times. So, I googled and found this recipe at

3/4 cup strawberry puree, room temperature
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature (I didn't use room temperature ones)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted (I didn't sift this)
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

1. Combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix well.
2. In a mixer combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix.
3. Mix at a slow speed and add butter. Mix until it resembles moist crumbs.
4. Add liquids and beat at medium speed until evenly combined.
5. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

I made one cake and some cupcakes out of this recipe.

For the cupcakes I used chocolate icing with strawberries to garnish (Do not use frozen strawberries, they will thaw out and fall off the cupcakes and then dry up and look like shriveled pieces of stuff on your cupcakes. Lesson learned. sigh.)

For the cake I used a dark chocolate icing - which I don't really prefer, but I thought I would try something different.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Julie's Birthday!

Julie wanted my yellow cake (the successful one) with simple butter-cream frosting, covered in fondant. She told me that I could make any design I wanted to on the front - so dealing with time limitations I knew that I really wanted to do something pretty, but it had to be simple.

Here's a picture of it in black and white for your viewing pleasure! (It's really hard to see the design when it's just a regular photo.)

Nutella Brownies. I licked the spatula.

Nutella is this amazing hazelnut spread that deserves to be put in every chocolate-y dessert out there. That is why I decided to try out this recipe from

Nutella Layer:
* 4 oz Philly cream cheese
* 2 tbs softened butter
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 tbs flour
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs nutella

Brownie Layer:
* 3/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1/3 cup Herseys Special Dark Cocoa
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 large eggs

Make the nutella layer first:
1. Cream together butter, sugar, flour, then add 1 large egg until mixed very well.

2. Add the nutella until mixed completely then set aside.

Brownie layer second:
1. Cream butter and sugar, then add vanilla and eggs til mixed completely. Set aside.
2. Mix flour, cocoa, powder, salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the creamed mixture to the dry mixture.

Making ta brownies!
8"x8" pan
- Put 3/4 of brownie batter in the pan (really really really thick batter).
- Put 3/4 of nutella mixture on top of that.
- Put dollops of brownie batter on top of that.
- Put remainder of nutella mixture on top of that.
- Level the top and mix around the brownie mixture some with a toothpick/knife/spatula.

Bake ME!
- Put in a preheated 350F oven for about 30 minutes... until cooked to your desire. Less time for a more goey brownie, more time for a more cakey brownie.

Eat ME!
mmmmmmmmmmm. Good dessert.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Carbonara and CAKE!

If you're familiar with making carbonara, then you know that it requires like 1 million egg yolks... or in this case - eight. Just for fun:

Chicken Sausage Carbonara:

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 links of sausage cut up thin (probably should have added more!)
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 8 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup of italian seasonings (that's what the bottle said!)
* Salt to flavor
* Enough spaghetti - pretty much as much or as little carbs as you want
* 1 breast of coarsely shredded chicken
* 1 small pkg of cut up mushrooms

1. Put oil, sausage, garlic on large saucepan on medium heat to brown.
2. Mixed cream, parmesean, yolks, and seasoning.
3. Added chicken and mushrooms to the large saucepan.
3. Added cooked spaghetti to saucepan.
4. Added cream mixture to the saucepan, stirred, then set the heat on low and simmered for about 10 minutes.

We ate it all... before I took pictures. It was really good!

So I had this problem! I had like 10 million egg whites ... or eight. I had one more egg, so I cracked it open and got the egg white and started finding a recipe for angel food cake. I googled a recipe and found this one at

1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sifted sugar
1 1/4 cups (10-12) egg whites (room temperature) - I only used 9 whites, but it turned out fine.
1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup sifted sugar

1. Sift 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar together 3 times. - which I actually did!
2. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat with wire whisk attachment of mixer on high speed until all egg whites are foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt and flavorings. - This was really easy with the mixer - I couldn't imagine doing this by hand.
3. Beat eggs until stiff enough to hold stiff peaks but not until dry. (I wasn't sure what dry meant, but I just beat until it had stiff peaks then stopped.)
4. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, while continuing to beat on high speed until sugar is just blended.
5. Sift flour-sugar mixture over egg-white mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. (I actually sifted the mixture in! It really wasn't that difficult...)
6. Using a silicone spatula, fold in gently but thoroughly after each addition. (I was worried that there would be huge globies of flour, but it turned out just fine.)
7. Pour batter into an ungreased 10x4-inch tube pan. Smooth top of batter evenly in pan with a wet spatula.
8.Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes. (Cake will not bake in this time if your oven is not preheated for 15 minutes before putting cake in oven.) - I followed their tip in parentheses, but I used 2 glass loaf pans and they were finished at different times - not taking more than 30 minutes to cook.
9. Invert pan and cool cake in pan for 1 hour upside down, or until completely cold before removing the cake. Insert a dull knife along sides to free cake if cake is still attached after cooling. (I did this as well - and the loaves came out with no problem... just a litttttle pulling.)

I just couldn't stand the idea of throwing away those egg whites!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When life hands you lemons... make cake!

This probably should have been my first cake. Either way, here goes:

I walked into HEB and they handed me some lemons:

I went home and googled and found this:

Ingredies (found this at

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin of lemon)
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (fresh from the juicer!)

1. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Added eggs, and mixed well. Then added vanilla and lemon zest!
3. Suggested sifting (but we all know how long that takes) - I just mixed together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Added flour to mixer then put in the lemon juice.
5. Baked about 40 minutes in 350F.

Let it cool off, covered in buttercream, then put the lemon glaze on top. Like so:

1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Mix together.
2. Pour on top of cake.

I ate the part of the cake that I leveled off to make it look pretty and it's a pretty pleasant lemon-ey taste. The glaze on top tastes like lemonade! It's reminds me of summer. Something that you should eat sitting by the pool with a tall glass of milk reading a great book. Can't wait til next summer! Bon appetit!

Picture coming soon!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sprinkles Cupcakes with Sprinkles Frosting

A few weeks ago I attempted Sprinkle's strawberry cupcakes - and I decided to make them again! Except this time I wanted to stay true to miss Sprinkle's cupcakes and I also used her recipe for strawberry frosting. yum.

So, I was in the kitchen just whipping away and I go to the refrigerator to grab some milk for the recipe, and sure enough I didn't have any milk. I had JUST gone to the grocery store to get some frozen strawberries. There was no way I was going back. So, instead I used some buttermilk that I had in the fridge. I always taste what I make before giving it to anybody else (just in case I keel over), so I did the same with this recipe - and it tasted just fine! It didn't taste any different to me - maybe a little softer. Oh! Also, last time I had used

So, for the frosting:

1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt (Kosher salt)
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (I didn't sift it)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I fluffed the butter and the salt together, then slowly added the sugar. The last step was to add the vanilla and put in 3 tablespoons of pureed strawberries. Except, I put in 4 tablespoons of strawberries.

It's really strawberry-ey! I'll put more frosting on them next time.