Friday, August 24, 2012

Themed Birthday Cakes of 2011

Surprisingly enough I actually started baking before this blog, shocking I know. I had some baking projects I was pleased with but took the worst pictures known to man. Regardless, I decided to share a couple of cakes I did for a friend. The first is a Luigi Cake based on Super Mario Bros. it was my first fondant cake so it had plenty of imperfections., but more importantly I'm told it tastes delicious.  The second was for an 80th birthday with an eclectic theme of the person's life.  While I love constantly challenging myself with new cake decorating projects I firmly believe that a cake should taste great. That's why I prefer to make my cakes and frosting from scratch and why I prefer to make my own marshmallow fondant which tastes about a billion times better than traditional fondant.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

White Raspberry Wedding Cake

That's right. This summer I attempted my very first wedding cake! You know how a wedding cake sounds like a lot of hard work? IT IS! But I was so honored to be given the chance by my fabulous best friend and I couldn't wait to get started. It was truly amazing to see what goes into a wedding cake made from scratch to give you an idea I bought 10 lbs of granulated sugar, 10 lbs flour, 15 lbs of butter and 25 lbs powdered sugar. And you know what else I used it all!

But I was happy (despite being only able to see the imperfections) with the results what do you think?..........











Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lemon Marionberry Cupcakes

Despite the title of this post this summer was all about finding the perfect white cake recipe that I could use for my best friends wedding.  These cupcakes were a test batch done with a WASC cake recipe (White Almond Sour Cream Cake-minus the almond). This recipe is very popular in the caking community but it was not my choice for the final wedding project, but was still mighty tasty.

The cake was simple white cake, but inside was a delicious marionberry filling that I bought at my local Home Cake Shop (its in Maple Leaf and is AMAZING!) topped with a traditional American Buttercream flavored with Lemon Oil.






Monday, August 20, 2012

80th Birthday Cake for Grandma Frog

My most recent baking adventure unfortunately occurred during Seattle's unusaul heat wave a deadly high of 97! I know if you're not from here you laugh at that but I'm a baby and I live on the third floor of an un-airconditioned apartment in which I do all my baking so I'm just happy to be alive!  For my grandma in laws birthday I wanted to make an ecclectic cake featuring things from her life that make her smile so the top of the cake is a tribute to XXX Drive-in in Issaquah where she used to work and met here husband.

The cake is Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake. Though its a rather moist cake for a project like this I couldn't help myself since its delicious and this blog is all about deliciosity.  It's filled with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and covered with a Chocolate SMBC and then decorated with homemade Marshallow fondant for those who are interested. Next time I will probably use modeling chocolate for the figurines.





Basic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I am not yet an expert so for the recipe I used and great step-by-step tutorial check out Sweetapolita's blog by clicking here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Red Velvet Coconut Cupcakes

So I'm not entirely sure why after a 5 month hiatus I have decided to post some of what I've been doing over the summer, but frankly I've been doing a lot so here it is.


Here is what should have been my birthday post. For June 3rd, 2012 (my 21st Birthday) I made these delicious moist red velvet cupcakes topped with a cooked vanilla buttercream covered in sweetened coconut flakes, needless to say these were to die for.



Red Velvet Cupcakes
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 bottle (15ml) Mc Cormick Red food color
1 - 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes for topping
Preheat the oven to 350. 
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Directions:
1.) Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl to get rid of the lumps. Set aside.
2.) In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined. Add the dry ingredients. Using a hand whisk, stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

3.) Divide the batter between the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
4.) Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost the cupcakes.
Cover the frosting completely with sweetened coconut flakes.


Vanilla Whipped Buttercream
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk, divided
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla

1.) Cream butter  with a stand mixer or handheld for about 30 seconds.
2.) Add sugar and beat on high speed until ight and fluffy (~5-7 minutes), scraping the sides as you go. 
3.) In a smal saucepan, combine 2 Tbsp of milk with the flour. WHisk together until there are no lumps. Slowly add remaining milk.
4.) Cook until mixture comes to a low boil. Reduce to low heat and keep whisking until mixture thickens.
5.) When the mix thickens (and it will), immediately emove from heat and cool to room temp. This can be done by sticking it in the freezer for a couple minutes, but check frequently.
6.) Add cooked mix to butter/sugar mix and beat on medium speed until frosting is light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add vanilla.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!

Now I'm well aware that it's been far too long since I've posted but between injuring myself, and school and work there really haven't been enough hours in the day.  But it was Easter last weekend and I had to celebrate with some homemade cinnamon rolls, the secret ingredient mashed potato!


Now I love a good cinnamon roll but these are kind of out of the park delicious, the dough is just the right amount of soft and sweetness and they seem to melt in your mouth. But they take a bit of time so set aside a couple of hours.
-From the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

Directions:

Step 1: In a medium saucepan heat milk, mashed potato, and 1/3 cup butter,granulated sugar, and salt. Stir until combined but not boiling. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and yeast.

Step 2: Pour milk mixture into flour mixture.  Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds, while scraping sides of bowls.  Beat on high for 3 minutes. Add in as much of the flour as you can with a wooden spoon, I added about 2 cups.

Step 3: Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise 45-60 minutes. In the meantime, grease a 9x13 baking dish.



Step 4: Roll out dough into 18x12 inch rectangle, spread 1/4 cup of very softened butter over the dough. In a separate bowl combine cinnamon and brown sugar.  Sprinkle mixture over buttered dough, leaving about 1 inch border.




Step 5: Roll up rectangle starting on the long side.  Using fishing wire (in my case floss) slice the dough into 12 cinnamon rolls.


Step 6:  Arrange into a prepared pan and let rise for 30 more minutes.

-When you're done with all this your hands should look something like this, lovely.

Step 7: Preheat oven to 375, bake 25-30 minutes until golden.  Cool and spread with icing.




Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups of flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup mashed potato
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Directions:

Step 1: In a medium saucepan heat milk, mashed potato, and 1/3 cup butter,granulated sugar, and salt. Stir until combined but not boiling. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and yeast.
Step 2: Pour milk mixture into flour mixture.  Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds, while scraping sides of bowls.  Beat on high for 3 minutes. Add in as much of the flour as you can with a wooden spoon, I added about 2 cups.
Step 3: Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise 45-60 minutes. In the meantime, grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Step 4: Roll out dough into 18x12 inch rectangle, spread 1/4 cup of very softened butter over the dough. In a separate bowl combine cinnamon and brown sugar.  Sprinkle mixture over buttered dough, leaving about 1 inch border.
Step 5: Roll up rectangle starting on the long side.  Using fishing wire (in my case floss) slice the dough into 12 cinnamon rolls.
Step 6:  Arrange into a prepared pan and let rise for 30 more minutes.
Step 7: Preheat oven to 375, bake 25-30 minutes until golden.  Cool and spread with icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

Recipe: In a bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 4-6 Tbsp milk until drizzling consistency is reached.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate Fix- Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

A new post is long overdue and the truth is over spring break I had planned to do all sorts of baking and posting.  I figured with all my free time I would be able to try out all these new recipes and even a cake or two since my brother's birthday was coming up, but then I got my butt kicked by one of the worst colds ever. The three day fever was not my idea of spring break, I didn't even get to make my brother's birthday cake because I was spending some quality time in the hospital. Anyways, now that I'm almost fully recovered I decided to ease my way back into baking with one of my favorite Cocoa Crinkle Cookies.



This lovely recipes was taken from one of my all time favorite cookbooks. You can always tell my favorite recipes because those are the pages with batter splatter all over the pages.






Cocoa Crinkle Cookies
Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oik
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling
Directions
  1. Combine sugar and oil either with a mixer or by hand.  Add in cocoa.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 350. Then shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll into powdered sugar.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.





Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Finals are finally over and I decided to celebrate with one of my favorites cupcake combinations, chocolate and raspberry. There is something so simple and delicious about chocolate raspberry cupcakes, a dense, moist chocolate cupcake under a pillow of raspberry buttercream frosting is just what the doctor ordered.








    
    Ingredients:
   
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 35o, and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium high speed for about 2 minutes until well combined.
  4.  Add in boiling or hot water.  Bater will be very thin.
  5. Pour into paper liners. About 2/3 full, makes approximately 24-30 cupcakes.
Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 6-7 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
 Directions:
  1. Place butter, milk, preserves,vanilla, and 3 cups sugar in large bowl slowly beat together until sugar is combined.
  2. Beat on high and gradually add in the rest of the sugar until consistency is stiff but spreadable.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade Eclairs

So its the middle of finals week but that didn't change my need for dessert and after flipping through the cookbook I saw them. Beautiful, fluffy, chocolate eclairs. When I was little eclairs were one of the things that I simply couldn't fathom how they were made.  They were a pastry with this cream inside and the just blew mind mind.  But now I think I've go the secret unlocked.


Very satisfying, eclairs are a three step process dough, cream, and ganache. But satisfaction can be yours in just an hour!

Part1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Start with the dough known by its fancy name of Pâte a choux, also known as cream puff dough.  In a large saucepan, combine water, butter and salt, bring to a boil. Then all at once, add in flour and stir until a ball forms.


Let cool for 10 minutes. Then ad in eggs one at a time.

Now take either a piping bag or just a Ziploc freezer bag with about a 1 inch opening cut in the corner, and pipe eclairs onto a greased baking sheet.

Put them in the oven. If your going to fill the eclairs with a pastry bag take them out after 15 minutes and poke a hole in the small side of each of the eclairs; this will give you an opening to fill with cream. Then put them back in for 15 minutes.  If you plan to slice them and add in the cream, bake for a straight 30 minutes.

Part 2: Now for the cream, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes until thick and pale yellow. Then in a saucepan bring milk to a boil add gradually add into egg mixture.  Put everything back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. 


Remove from heat and add in vanilla.  Suddenly you have this delicious warm vanilla cream.


Cover with wax paper so a skin doesn't form and either put in the fridge for a while or use immediately. It's pretty hot so I put it in the fridge to cool while the Pâte a choux finished cooking.

Part 3: The chocolate ganache.  This has to be a million times easier than it sounds. Once again using a saucepan bring the cream to a boil.  And add in chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.



Now it's time to assemble. If you're going to fill your eclairs with a pastry bag insert tip into the previously poked hole. If you're husband lost your pastry tips like mine did, use a bread knife and slice the eclairs in half.  Then you can either fill a pastry of Ziploc bag with the pastry cream and pipe it on the bottom half like I did or you can spoon it on. Put it all together and spread chocolate ganache over the top. Now you have you're very own eclair.



Pâte a choux 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease baking sheet.
  2. In a saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, add in flour all at once stirring vigorously.
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes then add in eggs one at a time. 
  4. Pipe onto greased cookie sheet.
Pastry Cream
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Combine sugar, flour cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes until mixture because somewhat thick and light yellow. 
  2. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
  3. Gradually add milk to egg mixture.
  4. Pour it all back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking continually. 
  5. Remove from heat and add in vanilla.
Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces.
Directions:
  1. Heat cream in a small saucepan.
  2. Add in chocolate pieces, and stir until smooth.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dr. Seuss Inspired Cupcakes

There can never be too many excuses to bring cupcakes to class.  Recently we celebrated Dr.Seuss' 108th Birthday at the preschool I work at and I couldn't refuse my cupcake crave.  Unfortunately, cupcakes craves never seem to come at a convenient time.  So far, inspiration seems to hit between 10 and 11 at night but as a baking junkie I can't deny a good baking high.




A bottle of food coloring later I had these lovely Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes. I love baking for 4 year olds because it really takes the pressure off, bright colors and sugar, pretty much seal the deal.  Because I have a handful of food allergies in class these are basic vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Also, since inspiration hit when I was almost out of flour I adapted a vanilla cake mix to make it actually worth eating.




Vanilla Cupcakes
Ingredients:


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • *red food coloring
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line one regular sized 12 cupcake pan with cupcake holders.
  2. In a large bowl combine cake mix, sour cream, and vegetable oil.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
  4. Fill each liner about 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  5. Bake for approx 14 minutes. When done, insert toothpick if it comes out clean they're done!
  6. Makes approx 18 cupcakes.
*If making red cupcakes add in almost one bottle of food coloring after step #3

Buttercream Frosting:
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. Confectioner's Sugar (This is usually 1 bag)
  • 3 sticks unsalted, softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • *blue food coloring
Directions:
  1. Put about 1/4 of the sugar in a large bowl with the butter.  Begin beating until combined. (Careful not to inhale all the powdered sugar in the air!)
  2. Incrementally, add in the rest of the sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Frosting should be stiff but still spreadable.
*If making blue frosting add in after step #2