Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
One of the most recent posts on this blog was for classic chocolate whoopie pies. Zach happened to look over at the computer when I was reading this post and his first words were "those look pretty darn good." I decided to be a nice and sweet wife and make them for him the following day. Plus we were going to Stillwater that weekend with my family and I only like making sweets when I know I have someone I can dump them on! Lord knows I can't keep any sweets around this house because I have no self-control and end up eating all of them!
Michele came over and we had a fun afternoon of baking and girl talk! Nothing could be better!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
One of our favorite blogs to follow, Bakerella, is famous for coming up with the idea of a cake lollipop! What a genius!
The first step is to bake a cake, whether it is a box mix or from scratch. For the first attempt I decided to use a box mix. After the cake is cooled completely, crumble the cake into a large bowl. I ended up just tearing it to shreds with a fork.
Add one can of frosting to the crumbles. I recommend starting with about three-fourths of the can and adding more if needed. I started by adding the whole can and it turned out to be a little too much.
Form mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. I used a cookie scoop so they were all fairly similar in size. Place the balls in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
While the balls are in the freezer, melt chocolate or candy melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
After the cake balls have become firm, dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy and insert into a little less than halfway into the cake balls. Dip the cake ball into the melted candy until fully covered. Gently tap off extra coating if needed and stick the end of the lollipop stick into a styrfoam block to dry. I didn't take any pictures of this part of the process because it didn't go so well. Almost every time that I went to pull the cake ball out of the melted candy, I would end up with only the lollipop stick in my hand and the ball stuck in the candy. I think several things played into this happening, I used a "super moist" box mix, added too much frosting, and used a whipped frosting. A combination of all of these made the cake balls too soft. I was able to get a dozen cake pops and then just threw away the rest of the balls.
I brought the ones I did get to work and they were gone within ten minutes! I am eager to try these again! They are just too cute that I can't give up yet!
Monday, September 20, 2010
A co-worker's daughter turned one this past weekend and she asked us to make some cupcakes for the pink and purple butterfly themed party. They turned out very cute and "girly."
She wanted common cupcake flavors being that there would be little kids at the party so we stuck with the traditional vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. For the frosting we wanted the sugary frosting that kids tend to like. We found a recipe online for the usual powdered sugar, butter, and milk frosting. And holy cow was this frosting good. Every time I walked past the bowl I couldn't help but to make a finger sweep. When Becky asked us to make the cupcakes I went on a quest to find pastry tips to create the large, fluffy swirl of frosting. I ended up ordering some online and absolutely love them! Personally I think it makes them look more professional :)
The butterflies and flowers were made out of marshmallow fondant. We are becoming pros at making this without creating a sticky disaster! For the flowers we got to use a new tool that I had just bought on e-bay! It is a set of flower plungers that come in four different sizes. These are pretty slick and easy to use! For the butterflies we used a cookie cutter that we found at Michael's. We dried the butterflies over the edge of an egg carton to create a slight fold and piped a thin line of frosting down the center to create the body.
When we saw Becky at work on Monday she said everyone loved them and they tasted delicious!! So glad they were a hit!!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
To fill the chocolate cakes, we made a whipped chocolate ganache with a raspberry filling. Take about heaven!! Yum-O! To make the ganache we heated semisweet chocolate on the double boiler till melted. In a separate saucepan , we heated heavy cream. Once this was ready, we whisked the two together and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours. Once we were ready for the ganache I put my kitchen aide to work and whipped the chocolate until it was stiff. In the meantime we prepared the raspberry filling. I started by boiling the raspberries with some lemon juice, water, sugar. I boiled this mixture for about 15 minutes and then strained the mixture with a fine sieve. I put the mixture back on the heat. I then dissolved about 5T of cornstarch into about 1/2 cup water. I mixed this in with the raspberries and boiled it for about 5 minutes more. Let me tell you... the kitchen was smelling pretty good by then.
Now that the cakes and fillings were all set. We had to work on the decor of the cake. We had a lot of fun doing this. We made the coral and seaweed out of gum paste. We simply dyed the gum paste and used our gum paste tool kit to shape it the way we wanted. We then let the pieces sit out to dry and harden.
Now all that was left to do was assembly. After making about 3 batches of buttercream, the cake was assembled and decorated. The figurines, coral and seaweed were put in their place. They stuck to the cake just perfectly with the buttercream frosting alone. I added some brown sugar around the bases to function as sand. It turned out better than I had hoped. I even think I met all of my nephew's criteria. The guests at the party loved it! I don't think my Mom could quite believe we put this all together. Job well done!
Guess what my nephew is requesting for his birthday next year...
a NEMO CAKE!!!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Michele and I started the process by baking the cakes on Wednesday. We decided on a two tier cake with the bottom tier being vanilla with oreo filling and the top tier being chocolate with reese's peanut butter cup buttercream filling.
Next came a thin layer of swiss meringue buttercream around both tiers. And then came the fun part. Our first attempt at covering a cake with marshmallow fondant. If that wasn't an experience. My advice, grease every bowl, spatula, and utensil used with crisco or else you will have one big sticky mess.
And finally the fun part... Decorating!! I found a set of cute halloween cookie cutters at Michael's that included a tombstone! Being that this was for a fiftieth birthday it was only fitting to put the names of the six people on tombstones! At least we thought this was pretty clever anyways.
Before stacking the cake, I put five wooden dowels into the bottom tier to support the top tier (at least I thought it would support it.) I put one dowel in the center and then formed a square with the remaining four dowels. I put a thin layer of frosting on the bottom tier and then stacked the top tier.
The top tier was decorated with black polka dots of various sizes. It kind of ended up looking like a mushroom, but I thought it was cute nonetheless.
And here is the finished product....
I was very happy with the finished product!! Especially for this being the "first" for many parts of this process. Then came the true test, traveling 45 minutes with the cake. And it turns out, I failed the test. Sure glad I got a picture of the cake before we left the house because it sure didn't look like this by the time I arrived at the party. Even though it no longer looked pretty, everyone said it tasted delicious! Guess it is time to take a cake class to learn the tricks of stacking a tiered cake. Sure hope we have better luck next time. Definitely frustrating to spend all of that time and then have it ruined in transit.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
These are devil's food cupcakes with reese's peanut butter cup ganache buttercream! There aren't even words to describe how delicious the frosting is! I might have ate all the leftover frosting and licked the bowl clean! :) The frosting recipe is from one of my absolutely favorite blogs oh, just put a cupcake in it.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Ganache Buttercream
24 oz chopped up mini reese's peanut butter cups1 ½ cups cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 - 2 cups powdered sugar sifted.
Night before or earlier in day, put chopped up candy in heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat cream to simmer, pour over candy. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until chocolate is incorporated. You will have peanut butter lumps...that is a desirable trait! Put in fridge and let firm up overnight.
Cream butter and 2 cups ganache in mixer until well blended. Add 1 cup of sugar and blend well. If frosting is too soft, add some more sugar...remember it's sweet though. Careful not to over beat or it will get grainy. This frosting is soft and silky!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
12 oz white chocolate chips
Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla, and pudding. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour and baking soda. Stir in white chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for eight to ten minutes.