Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Red Velvet Cake Bites, oh so good!

This idea was inspired by Bakerella. I saw a post for Red Velvet Cake Pops on her blog (www.bakerella.blogspot.com) and thought,"gee, that looks easy". Ha! First of all, I have no experience working with chocolate so, I didn't know what I was getting into. It was very messy. The chocolate did not go on the cake nice and smooth like it appeared in Bakerella's pictures and it cracked after it dried on the cake. I was dismayed, all that work and they look terrible. I was ready to scrap the idea when I tasted it. Yummmm. I knew I had to salvage them. I decided to cover them with a white chocolate ganache. Great idea!! I also decided not to serve them on a lollipop stick, instead I would put them on a mini cupcake liner. They look like bon bons. This is how they became Cake Bites. I have learned a lot from making these and I hope the next time will be easier.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Going For Gold

I recently hosted a fund raiser for an organization I volunteer for. It was a Gold Home Party, so I made chocolate cinnamon cupcakes with dark chocolate butter cream frosting. In keeping with the theme of the party, I added gold accents to the frosting and used gold foil cupcake paper. The event was a success and the cupcakes were enjoyed by all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For Richard on his 60th birthday

My mother-in-law asked me if I could make the cake for my brother-in-law's birthday party. I was so glad to have been asked because he is one the most awesome people I know! I kept thinking about what kind of cake I should make, what should I make, what should I make..... So, I asked him. Richard said " I would love chocolate on chocolate - dark on dark.... , can you have a dark chocolate fudgey type of "thing" between the layers...." Yay! I love chocolate cake! So I made a dark chocolate cake pound cake with chocolate chips mixed in and dark chocolate butter cream frosting.I then poured chocolate ganache all over the top and let it drip down the sides. I filled the cake with the same. I piped it with a dark and light chocolate butter cream. In case you are wondering about the placement of the dots on the side of the cake, I just followed the flow of the chocolate. This had to be the best chocolate cake on the face of the earth! Richard loved it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie is an all time favorite and so easy to make. I use the recipe from the Libby's canned pumpkin.(not the canned pie) The only problem I had with this was the crust. The recipe that I have always used had disappeared from my cookbook! So I looked up a Martha Stewart recipe. It was easy and looked lovely until I started to roll it out. What a mess! It was so sticky and it frustrated me so much! My Husband, being the awesome person he is, went into town to buy me a Pillsbury pie crust! So all was well in my kitchen once again. I brought this pie to church and heard it was delicious!
I'd love to make one for you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Appears to be the favorite

Apparently, I love this recipe. I always seem to be making it with slight variations. Maybe because I always seem to have ripe bananas. This one I made to bring to a friends house for an after dinner treat. Oh yeah, let me mention that this is the Banana Sour Cream Cake that you have seen here before. To boost the flavor this time, I added caramelized bananas to the butter cream filling. MMMMM!
I also added some brown sugar to the cream cheese frosting and to take it over the top, I dripped some caramel frosting on the top making this the sweetest cake I have ever had.
Since it is fall, I wanted to add fall colored butter cream leaves by trying a stripping technique I learned. The leaves were not coming out the way I had envisioned them so I just made swirls.
This is a perfect cake to share with people you love so let me know if you would like me to make one for your next occasion!

Since it is fall and a favorite time of year for me I was inspired to make a fall themed cake. Initially, for a "Project Runway" get together I made some cupcakes out of this recipe. They were so good that I decided to make a cake.
This is a chocolate cinnamon cake with caramel frosting. The frosting is what really put this cake over the top! The cinnamon flavor in the cake was subtle so I may use more cinnamon next time. The leaves featured on the top of the cake were made of fondant and hand painted with gel food coloring and clear vanilla extract.
I brought this cake to a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner that I attended with some friends. Often times, I get nervous that the taste will not live up to expectations so, I was very relieved when everyone who tried it, raved over it.
Let me know if you would like to have this cake for your next celebration!

P.S. I brought some cupcakes to my friends daughter who put it in the microwave for few seconds to warm the frosting. she reported that it was mmmmmgood!
I have been away, I have been busy, I am back!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Left Overs

My daughter Samantha asked me to make a Tie Dye cake for her birthday. She posted a link on Facebook for me to see. It looked doable so I did it. It is made from a white cake mix which you divide into small batches which are then tinted with the color of your choice. Once this is done, you ladle it into the cake pan one color on top of another. It spreads out as you add to it. Simple, but time consuming. I made this the same weekend as the lemon cake and the chocolate cake. So, the day after our trip to Pa., we went to NYC to visit Sam for her birthday. The cake was made, it just had to be frosted. I did not have time to make a new batch of butter cream so I had to use the chocolate butter cream from yesterdays cake. There wasn't enough! I just happened to have a half a can of cream cheese frosting in fridge. ( I had an emergency, but don't worry, I would NEVER use that on a cake for you!) So, I put the two frosting's in a piping bag together and finished icing the cake. Pretty as it was, if you know my daughter, it was too plain. That's why I added the orange spikes which were made of left over royal icing from the shower cake. I also added left over flowers which was a last minute thing. Donald was waiting in the car so I didn't take a picture of the flowers. I also didn't get a picture of the inside because I forgot my camera, didn't want to run back in the house again and figured that Sam had her camera. She didn't. BUT, I did however make cupcakes, which I cut open so you could get an idea of how it looked. The inside of the cake was much prettier.

You asked for CHOCOLATE!

This wonderful cake was made for a friends BBQ. Chocolate was requested so chocolate was made! It was an 8" round chocolate pound cake with chocolate chips, chocolate butter cream frosting with chocolate ganache poured over the top. The flowers are made of royal icing and have been hand painted. This cake was made the same weekend as the lemon cake, along with a cake for my daughter's birthday. You should have seen my kitchen! After we (Donald and I) delivered the bridal shower cake to Warwick, we went to Pennsylvania.( Note to self: never, ever travel on rt. 94 again!) It was such a hot day and I was so worried about the chocolate melting. We kept the A/C on pretty high(which my husband loved) and I was freezing, but the cake didn't melt! You cannot imagine how delicious this was! Really, truly, sinfully good!

Not a Lemon

I can't tell you the hours (or the amount of confectioners sugar and lemons for the frosting) that went into making this cake! Custom made for a bridal shower, it is a 12x12 lemon layer cake with lemon butter cream frosting. The flowers are made of royal icing and have been hand painted to give them some life. They have a soft texture, making them perfect for eating! The week before, I made a sample cake which I brought to a friends house for tasting. The reviews were very positive. Much to my great happiness, the recipient of this cake called to let me know how much she and everyone else loved it. Thank you Lois, you made my day!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cake for New Town

I was planning a trip to visit my daughter Jessica and thought how nice it would be to bring her a cake. Any excuse to decorate a cake! I was going to make her a banana sour cream cake with cream cheese frosting because she missed the last one I made. Usually I use a yellow cake mix for this but, I only had chocolate. I decided to" go wild" and experiment a little and let me tell you, it was incredibly delicious! Superbly fine! A very good decision to use chocolate. As you can see, there are no flowers on this cake. I am sure you are wondering why. You know what? I just loved the way it looked without them. The simplicity of it was so beautiful that the flowers were not missed. Jessica loved the cake and we had a piece with a glass of milk every night before we went to bed. (did a lot of walking so that deleted any calories consumed)

Aarons Cake

As some of you know, I have sent many cakes into work with Donald and his co-workers have enjoyed them immensely! Recently, we received an invitation from Donald's boss (who was among those who enjoyed my sweet confections) to attend a party at his house, along with a request for a chocolate cake. Aaron, the boss, is a super lover of chocolate. Therefore, I decided to make a chocolate devils food cake with chocolate butter cream frosting, covered with chocolate ganache, with white chocolate ganache piping. When we arrived at the party, the cake was quickly stashed away for later consumption.(there were about 40 people at the party, it was a small cake and it was Aaron's birthday) I heard it was delicious! The design on top of the cake was inspired by the many, many ink doodles I can't stop doing. I have always wanted to try it out on a cake and this was the perfect opportunity. It took way longer than I planned, as most of my projects do. Once again, my husband was pacing as he waited for me to finish decorating the cake; the story of our life together.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I made this cake for a friend's graduation party. It is two layers of vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. My friend asked me to make the buttercream a teal color, as that is her favorite color. Her color requests for the flowers were salmon, yellow and white. I made the flowers out of royal icing in those colors and then hand painted each one to give them some rich detail. This is the biggest cake I have made so far. It was half a sheet cake, and it took up the entire oven. It was also pretty heavy and a little awkward to turn over. "Que Sera Sera", (can't you just hear Doris Day singing? what ever will be will be....) has special meaning to the graduate and she thought it would be nice to have it written on the cake, I thought so too. I am so happy to say that everyone (including me) really liked the cake, especially the graduate and her family.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dad's Birthday Cake

I made this cake for my father's birthday party. It was a yellow cake (because he does not like chocolate cake) with strawberry jam on half of the middle. When my dad was growing up, his mother always made cakes with strawberry jam in the middle and it is his favorite. I only did it on half (the other half was chocolate butter cream) because my mother does not like jam on her cake and I aim to please. The icing is chocolate butter cream, and I cannot remember where I got the recipe, but it was very, very good. I piped it with a darker chocolate and did some smaller piping in even darker chocolate. I swore I wouldn't make another square cake, but I guess I needed to practice icing around corners. The flowers are hand made by me, some are fondant, others are made of royal icing. It was so pretty, it was hard to cut!

This is the final cake for my Wilton 3 class. The roses on this cake took me ten hours to make and the quality of them improved along the way. Ah, the fondant, a little easier to work this time. Doing it at home made the difference. I rolled it a little thinner than the last fondant cake so the taste wasn't so overpowering. There is butter cream under the fondant and in between the layers. The piping is also butter cream. It was fun assembling the 2nd tier, a little bit of architecture with the Doric columns. The bottom layer went to work with my husband, we kept the top to eat at will. It was quite good!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time to Mow

Today was the Birthday of a very dear friend. Naturally, I wanted to bake him a cake. There is a joke among us about Tom always mowing the lawn. "He's always out there on his tractor!" his wife says. So, I thought it would be fun to make him a cake with a tractor on it. I made an 8" round yellow layer cake from a mix. The frosting was Martha Stewart's basic buttercream. (recipe below). The top surface of the cake was green, like the lawn he is always mowing, and I piped blades of grass. Halfway through, I said to myself "what! are you crazy?" and kept piping. I piped grass around the sides and placed a few yellow flowers there as well. The "icing on the cake" was the tractor I put on the top.

Buttercream Recipe:

12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened ( used salted butter, wonder how much difference it made?)
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
beat Butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (after every 2 additions, increase speed to high and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce to medium- high) ( I did not do that part, not on purpose). Add vanilla and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to three days.

Banana Sour Cream Birthday Cake

Recently I gave out my business cards and was so pleased to receive an order for a birthday cake. After seeing my blog, the client decided she would like to have the Banana Sour Cream Cake with cream cheese frosting. (recipe listed below) Good choice , I thought to myself. She asked that I put walnuts on the side of the cake like the recipe calls for. Daisies were also requested. This was a late request so I didn't have much prep time. I made the flowers the night before out of royal icing. They were not quite dry the next day, so when it was time to put them on the cake I had to be really careful not to break them. There were a few casualties. Not being sure how the walnuts would look with the daisies, I was in a dilemma about whether to put them on or not. My daughter Samantha, wise woman that she is, pointed out that it was my job to give the client what she wanted. So, on went the walnuts (which is another long story), and I sprinkled some among the flowers so it would look cohesive. The Birthday Girl was very pleased, much to my relief.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun (not) with Fondant

Last week in my Wilton class we learned how to use fondant. It is a lot of work to roll this stuff out, then to get it on the cake smoothly was a challenge. I did manage to get it on there relatively smooth with just a few minor defects. Applying the decorations was also easy, but I tend to not know when to stop. The cake was a 2 layer, 8" square (this time I used square pans as opposed to a rectangle that I cut in half) using a classic white mix, however, I did use whole eggs instead of just the whites. I covered it with a crumb coat of butter cream. I took the finished product to my parents house and received many oohs and ahhs over its appearance. I must admit, it was pretty! But, then we cut into it and tasted. Fondant tastes pretty awful and it was difficult to cut without the fondant coming loose. You can do fabulously creative things with fondant, you've all seen Ace of Cakes, (right?), but I'll take butter cream any day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

This cake was a labor of love and a big sticky mess! I made it for my mother- in-law who had just come home from the hospital that week. I wanted to cheer her up with something pretty and sweet. Sweet it was!! I made an angel cake with seven minute frosting. (trying to avoid artery clogging ingredients, not that all that sugar is so much better for you.)
My candy thermometer was MIA so I tried the soft ball method of testing the sugar. The first batch of frosting was just right but didn't quite cover the cake as well as I would have liked. Since I don't like to skimp on the frosting, I had to make another batch. Now mind you, I should be walking out the door to go to her house at this time. So I rushed a little and the frosting was a little too soft. I did not fully understand this until I put it on the cake, my understanding of this mistake grew even more when I started piping. The flowers were a redeeming quality for sure!! And yes, those are little bluebirds of happiness nesting in the flowers. By the time I got it to her house, the second layer of icing had fallen off and was running over the edge of the plate and the piping had disappeared. It was however, very delicious and she was pleased that I thought of her. And, big surprise, I was pretty late and my husband was pacing the floor when I arrived.

This cake(pictured below) was the final cake for Wilton II. The frosting is homemade butter cream, the cake is a chocolate devils food mix.The basket weave was not too hard to do, just very time consuming. The flowers, ahhh the flowers; they are made from royal icing, pure sugar and a little water. They were a challenge to make and also very time consuming. Once I got the hang of making them, I had so much fun. I could not stop placing them on the cake, maybe I went a little overboard. It looks like a garden in bloom. I took this cake to church and got rave reviews. No one wanted to cut it, neither did I, but it had to be done. This last image (above)is a photo all that remained.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Obviously, I don't know how to work this blog thing. I will have to study so I can make the layout more comprehensive. My future posts should look better.

I was asked if i would like to make cupcakes for the May Birthday Celebration at a local nursing home. I seized the opportunity to get creative! My objective was to was to make the cupcakes look fun and pretty, a pleasure to look at. I used a chocolate devils food cake mix. I frosted half of them with homemade butter cream. Since I was pressed for time, I used a store bought can of chocolate fudge frosting for the other half. The important part was decorating them, which as you can see, I did. It was so much fun! Sadly though, I never got to see the residents enjoy them because I was not feeling well and had to have someone deliver them for me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This was a banana sour cream cake with cream cheese frosting. So, so, so delicious! The recipe is from a Kraftfoods publication. The directions said to bake it in a 13" x 9" pan , then cut it in half to make a square layer cake. I did this and even though I trimmed the cake it was still a little wonky, I also had a tough time frosting the corners smooth. Next time I will use round pans. Also, the recipe call for chopped walnuts to coat the sides and a few pieces to sprinkle on top. I did not choose that option because I just love to decorate with frosting.
So there you have it, try this recipe, it is awesome.

The Recipe:
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup Breakstone or Knudsen sour cream (don't remember what brand I used)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 -8 oz. pkg Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pound powdered suger (about 4 cups)
1 cup Planters walnut pieces (did not use)

-heat oven to 350. beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream and oil with mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
-pour into greased and floured (i used baking spray) 13x9 inch pan.
-bake 35 min or until toothpick inserted in center come out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack.
-beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium speed until blended(well).
gradually add sugar,( I like to sift the sugar) beating well after each addition.
-remove cake from pan and cut in half crosswise.
-place 1 cake half top side down onto a plate: spread with frosting. Top with 2nd cake half, top side up. Frost top and sides. press nuts into sides, sprinkle a few on top.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This cake was the final cake for WiltonI . It is chocolate devils food with buttercream icing. I had a real hard time making roses, so I left them off the cake. Donald, dear husband, took it in to work and it was immediately consumed. They were all so glad I was taking this class because they were the weekly recipiants of my efforts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I always had so much fun decorating my kid's birthday cakes, but then they got older and wanted to do their own decorating. Not wanting to squash their creativity, I stepped back and let them do it. That was hard because, I have my ways and they had theirs.
Recently, I took a Wilton cake decorating class and rediscovered my love for decorating. Who knows? Perhaps this is my new career path, I shall see where it leads.