Friday, April 27, 2007

Sweet Cream with Brandy, huzzah!

This is some DELICIOUS whipped cream I whipped (ha) up the other night! I made it to go along with some dark chocolate fondue that I convienently forgot to take pictures of. I think I might have been sippin' on the brandy whilst making this...

Anyway, it was made with my normal whipped cream recipe combined with a 1/2 teaspoon of almond flavoring and a about two or three tablespoons of brandy. It was delicious! I couldn't get enough of it! I also made an angel food cake, chopped up some strawberries, bananas and green apples and we were happy, happy kids that night (and the next).

This was all made to compliment the big dinner I made that night. That's right, I cook too. My first, original love, was cooking. We had jumbo shrimp cocktail, smoked fondutta with whole grain ciabatta bread, and shrimp gumbo in bread bowls. To drink, a little thing I like to call, "champagne pome." Think pomegranate, champagne and gran marnier. It would be silly for me to post pictures of the food I make here (I do take pictures of everything I make) so I'm thinking of starting a seperate blog specifically for cooking. Is this crazy? Am I crazy? What do you guys think?

Anyway, here's the cream.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mini Mini's!

These were made in addition to the cookies for the luncheon. I colored the icing to match the colors of the invitation (though my colors came out slightly brighter) and added some luster dust (while mixing the colors in) for some added sparkle and shine! These cupcakes are strawberry with vanilla buttercream and silver dragees on top.

*I've discovered that I have to bake my cupcakes and cookies at a slightly lower temp, my oven tends to get too hot for some reason. I learned this pretty early on when I was over cooking things or under cooking them (when taking them out earlier than instructed) however, lately I've been having to turn the oven back up. What's the deal oven? Just when I get used to your picky and needy style, you turn on me?? Not cool, not cool at all.

On another note, I LOVE making cupcakes. That's right, bring it on Sprinkles!

Cookie Wookie's

These were made for a graduation luncheon and are no fail sugar cookies with rolled buttercream. The batch of dough I made for the cookies came out especially well but not-so-much luck with the buttercream. I've made this stuff a million times before but for some reason this particular batch gave me a lot of problems. First it was too sticky, then to dry, it seemed to never end! They managed to come out nicely depsite the hardships, I was pleased with the end result.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Miles' 1st Birthday Cake

This cake was made for my nephew's first birthday! My sister-in law asked for a white cake with strawberries and vanilla buttercream. (this was what we had at Rylee's first birthday as well) I also made a smash cake for him, which will be seen in another post.

The theme of his party was kite flying, so I wanted to incorporate that in some way. I first attempted to make a gum paste/fondant model of him but it didn't come out quite as well as I'd hoped. Instead, I decided to make his name in whimsical letters and have them on the top of his cake.

Decorations: The kites, the bees, the ladybugs and the name were all made of a gum paste/fondant mixture, 4 days ahead of time. The name was painted with a gel color/vodka mixture (gels or luster dusts mixed with vodka allows the piece to dry MUCH faster. the vodka evaporates, don't worry)

The tree: Orginally I'd bought a tube to use as the base of my tree but after getting the modeling chocolate wrapped around it, I realized it was WAY too big. I started looking for something to use around the house that was smaller and came up with an empty prescription bottle. So, I wrapped it in modeling chocolate and then used my gum paste tools to give it a "wood" or "tree" looking effect. Then, I formed a rice krispy treat into a ball and covered it in modeling chocolate as well. I cut it in half and placed it on top of the tree. This served as a surface area for the icing leaves. To make the leaves - I basically just used a simple round tip ( a #4 I think) and pulled up on my icing. I used mostly dark green and then did a fill-in with a lighter green.

For the smaller trees on the sides of the cake: All I did was take a few pretzel twists and wrap them in modeling chocolate. I made the leaves the same way as I did on the bigger tree.

As I mentioned before, the cake is a white cake with strawberries in the middle of each layer. I'd orginally only made it two layers but at the last minute I decided it wasn't tall enough and added a third. I'm glad I did, I definitely needed the space!

I really had a great time doing this cake. I've said it before, kids cakes as the most fun to make. The colors are brighter and the themes are fun, it's kind of like being a kid yourself. And it was for my nephew, so that it made it pretty special and fun anyway. I'm very happy with this one, my husband says it's the best cake I have done so far!

Detailed Pictures

Here are a few detailed pictures of Miles' cake!!

My 26th Birthday Cake!

These are the pictures of my 26th birthday cake. It came out pretty well despite the troubles it gave me... And there were quite a few troubles.

The flowers are made of gumpaste and dusted with rose petal dust. I made them a week in advance and kept them in a plastic container so they would remain soft and workable. The cherry blossom branch is made out of modeling chocolate. I'm pretty excited about the modeling chocolate thing. It's very easy to use, very easy to make and it tastes pretty good too! Love it!

The bottom layer are 2 eight inch rounds. They are white cakes sandwiched between black raspberry filling (YUM) and vanilla buttercream. The top are 2 six inch rounds. I "invented" my own recipe for this portion of the cake, key lime. I'd never had a key lime cake before but I sure do love key lime pie. So I figured, why not? To make this cake, I juiced 8 key limes (thanks central market!) zested them (thanks for the suggestion jess!) and added it all to a white cake. To compliment this cake, I decided that I would fill and ice it with vanilla buttercream. I didn't want to go overboard with the flavors, I wanted the lime to be the focal point of this cake and I thought a different type of filling might take away from that. It ended up being not quite as lime-y as I would have liked but it was still pretty good. In fact, it was the favorite of the two!!

*my troubles came with the icing. for some reason, there are good days and there are bad days when it comes to icing. this was a bad day. the consistency was just wrong for some reason and I couldn't get a smooth coat to save my life. icing is so fickle.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Italian Creme Dream!

This cake was made for a birthday last week. The customer didn't give much instruction as per decoration, just that she wanted my Italian Creme cake, she wanted chocolate on it and she was turning 34.

I decided to do some chocolate transfers on her cake and needed to choose a color, so I picked pink. Most girls like pink, right? Besides, you can't really go wrong with the pink and brown combination these days. Classic.

It's a two layer Italian Cream with both the cake and the cream cheese icing coming from my very own recipes. I'm pretty pleased with the taste of this cake, the icing is easy and delicious!

Everything on the cake is edible and all of the decorations are made from chocolate!

Modeling Chocolate Practice

This was my first attempt at making/using modeling chocolate. I wanted to make sure I could do it because I'm going to be using it on my birthday cake this week. That's right, I'm making my birthday cake. No one wants to buy or make me one! In fact, my mother in law said, "I'm not gonna bake you a cake. That's just crazy." It's cool though, I'm pretty excited about making it. I haven't decided on flavors yet but I do know what it will look like. The modeling chocolate (as seen in this picture) will make up a cherry blossom branch. The cake will either be white or light green with pink blossoms. I'm making this cake bigger than I probably need it but who cares, it's my birthday!

Modeling chocolate recipe (tastes a bit like tootsie rolls):

1 bag of chocolate candy melts (I used Wilton's brand found at Michaels)
1/4 cup of light corn syrup

Melt chocolate in medium size bowl, stir until smooth
Add corn syrup and mix until it all comes together

Spread over a sheet of wax paper (get it as thin as you can, doesn't have to be super thin - just can't be thick)

Let dry over night.

Kneed it together to make it workable, store wrapped in an airtight container!