Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cake Decorating Class #1 Final Cake

So last night was the last class of the first of three I plan on taking.  This class was Wilton's Basic Cake Decorating Class.  Again, it was just a refresher for me as I've taken the class before many moons ago.  Last week the instructor said we had to frost our cake, put our greeting on the cake and put our bottom border on prior to class.  Since we don't really have any parties coming up and I knew the cake was going to come to my work or my husband's work I decided to just go with the upcoming Labor Day holiday as my theme.  As you can see below I went red, white and blue.  Let me tell you - it was super challenging to get two different colors iced on the cake without bleeding in to one another. 

I must say, I'm really starting to get the hang of writing on cakes.  Practice, practice, practice!  It gets much easier the more you do it.

The focus on last night's class were the roses.  I was a rebel - I opted to go again with the rose I was taught with.  I guess Wilton changed the technique to make it easier for the first class but then they teach the other rose in the next class. 

As you can see, I added some "stars" on the side of my cake too.  I did a simple "pearl" border on both the bottom and top.

And here is a view looking straight down at my cake.  Not too shabby if I must say so myself!  I'm completely looking forward to the next class.  I don't remember how to do many of the flowers so this will be a great learning opportunity for me. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I saw this most amazing recipe and I just had to test it out.  Technically bread isn't a "dessert" per say, but in my book - this bread could be a close "dessert".  It totally reminds me of a cinnamon roll.  I decided to make this bread for our mini-vacation this past weekend. 

Here is the dough rising.  I was so proud it was actually rising.  I've made stuff with yeast before and it's never really turned out all that well.

After your dough rises you have to roll it out flat.  Then you sprinkle on your cinnamon sugar.  I like raisins so I opted to add some raisins to the bread.  As you can see there are 6 strips.  The pull apart bread is made by creating squares of bread that can be pulled off.  (Hence the name of the recipe.)  Then you layer the 6 strips and then cut 6 more sections.

After you have your 36 squares then you line them up in your pan as shown above.  I only did 1/2 raisins and 1/2 without raisins because I didn't know if the rest of my family would eat raisins.  But low and behold, they all do.  So next time I'll make it with all raisins.

Here's a picture of it fresh out of the oven.  Mmmmm!!!!!

I also embellished the recipe again by adding a simple drizzle of powdered sugar and milk.  The perfect amount of sweetness!!!  I'll definitely be making this again.  It was so delicious!  My family enjoyed it too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Soft Ginger Cookies

So yesterday was my Dad's Birthday!!  We've been celebrating all weekend on a mini vacation.  So as part of my Dad's gift I made him Soft Ginger Cookies.  They are DELISH!  I think they have the best flavor and their soft goodness makes you want to eat even more than you really should.  But here they are!

It's taken me a few batches to finally remember when to take these puppies out of the oven.  They need to have minor cracks in the dough from baking.

If there are too many cracks in the dough, then they won't be as soft as they should.  Mmmmm... these photos make me wish I had more.

A close up.  Here you can't really see the cracks because of the flash on my camera but you can see all the sugary goodness coating the outside!  Yum!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cupcakes - Results from Cake Decorating Class 2

Tomorrow night is my last "Basic Cake Decorating" class.  Last week's class we took cupcakes and decorated them.  Here's how they turned out:

This one is just a simple swirl as I call it.  Using a big fancy tip to put your frosting on.  I was glad to learn how to do that because I see so many darling cupcakes on the Food Network shows and I always wanted to learn.
I was a rebel with this one.  For some reason the Basic class teaches you a very simple rose.  Honestly - I think it's ugly and doesn't represent a rose at all.  I was taught 20 some odd years ago how to really make a rose and so I just went with that.  I was pleased to say the least!
I decided to use a technique that is typically used on borders - the rosette!  I just made a bunch of them and I really like how it turned out.
This is the same rosette technique just in a different color.
Here are some simple flower with the big flower tip.  It was the same tip we used to make the "swirl" look.

This is the "Pom Pom" flower.  Honestly - it reminds me of crystal rock formations as well as the kryptonite from the Superman movies - though my "kryptonite" is pink!
I call these drop and twist flowers because you're using the same tip for the drop flowers but you turn your hand ever so slightly to the right or left to create the swirled flower.
And finally - another "Swirl" cupcake.  Though this one I learned how to make a filled cupcake.  FINALLY!  I've been wanting to know how you fill a cupcake.  The next picture shows the inside.  I think it would look more appealing to use white frosting on the inside instead of the colored pink frosting but I didn't really feel like changing my tip over to a white bag of frosting. 
Mmmmm Yummy Goodness!!!  Why not have a little extra bit of frosting?!?!  :-)  Tomorrow's class we do our "final" cake and get our diploma!  I think I'm just going to put Happy Labor Day on the cake and use red, white and blue colors to decorate with.  Next week will be a busy week for me.  I have an airplane cake to make and Bakugan cookies and a cake as well.  I'm hoping to test out a new cake pop too that I've devised a plan for.  All depends on how much free time I have as I'm also working on getting my food safety and sanitation certification so I have to do the "homework" for that class in my free time too. 

Life's more fun when you're busy doing something you enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Duck Cake Pop - 1st attempt

So I had a friend ask me if I could make a duck cake pop.  So I figured I'd give it a whirl.  I must say, it's not the greatest.  It was getting late if I could use that as part of my excuse!  ha ha!  Late in my book is 10:15 at night knowing I have to get up in just 6 short hours to get ready for my real job! 

But here are the results.  The first side view.

Then a head on look.  I realized it just didn't look right.  I wasn't pleased.  The beak was definitely off.  So I decided to add a black line with edible marker.

Here is a look of that small addition.

It helps - but not enough help.  The shape is all wrong.  But it was an attempt.  I'm not about to give up.  So I pondered it for a day and then decided - DUH!  Why not google "duck cake pop".  Low and behold - I wasn't the first one to make this.  I should have figured I wasn't the first.  I saw the most perfect duck cake pops.  Then it dawned on me - I bet there's a mold.  Sure enough - a 3D duck mold exists - for less than 2 bucks.  So I've got that on order and am eagerly awaiting to do my 2nd attempt at a duck cake pop.  Until then, I have plenty to keep me busy.  I need to decorate my not so great cupcakes for cake decorating class with flowers, make Super Soft Ginger Cookies for my Dad for his birthday, start prepping for cookies and 2 birthday cakes for 2 upcoming parties: an airplane cake and a Bakugan cake & cookies.  Plenty to do so I must begin!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops

My sister needed a fun dessert for a Sweet 16 birthday party this past weekend.  So I made some very fun cake pops using an ice cream cone and cake balls.

She requested red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

 Here is a picture of the cake balls before being all dolled up!

And here are the results.  I made my own temporary stand to hold all the "ice cream cones".  I used a shirt box, took a pair of scissors and stabbed holes through to create my "stand".  It worked like a charm!

Here is an up close shot of the yummy wonderful goodness!

The "cherry" on top is a peanut M&M.  The ice cream cone was cut down by about an inch to fit the cake ball.  Then some sprinkles were added to the pink candy melts, followed by some "hot fudge" some chocolate candy melts and then topped with the "cherry".  They went over very well at the party!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1st Cake Decorating Class Cake Results

So 20 odd some years ago I stepped in to Leewards (yes - that's how long ago as this store doesn't exist anymore) to take my very first cake decorating class.  And here I am some 20 odd years later taking the class again.  I needed a good refresher.  The very first night of class, which was 2 weeks ago, we just took notes on what to expect, etc.  I left the class already learning new things.  Most importantly, how to ice a cake smoothly without bits of cake showing through the icing.  Which is my biggest pet peeve when doing cakes.  So I learned about dirty icing the cake first and then re-icing the cake with the nice coat the next day.

 So here is my "before" shot of my cake.  Already dirty iced and then iced again.  I still have to practice the dirty icing technique but for doing it for the first time I was very happy with how it turned out.
 And here is what I did in class.  We were told to bring cookie cutters to class and 3 different shades of frosting.  We learned the scalloped edge, making pearls, making stars and we started the base of the rose.
 I went a step further and decorated on the side of my cake.
 I did two of these little hearts along with the big triple heart on the sides of the cake.
Just a close up which shows the star tip detail inside of the pearl outline.  Not bad for a refresher!  We'll be working on flowers for class this week with cupcakes.  I made my cupcakes lastnight using a simple 1-2-3-4 box recipe from the Cake Flour box I had, and the cupcakes don't look the greatest this morning.  Oh well, they're just practice cupcakes!  I'll post those in a couple days!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pirate Ship Cake

This is a cake I made for my nephew's 4th birthday.  So this was done 6 years ago. 

I never had any formal training for these layer upon layer cakes and I know I was pushing it with this cake.  I'm actually surprised knowing what I know now that it actually stayed standing!

I used malted milk balls to act as cannon balls and Rolos on the sides of the ship to act as cannons.  It's hard to see in this picture but the bottom cake was started to push the filling out from the weight of the ship cake.  Oh how I've learned along the years!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lady Bug 3 tier Cake

Last year was a busy spring/early summer for me with cakes.  Here is a cake for my girlfriend's daughter's 1st birthday.

Clearly it was a lady bug theme birthday party.  The bottom cake is 12" square, the middle cake is a 10" square and the top lady bug was made in a round pyrex bowl.  The lady bug are actually chocolate candies that I made using a ladybug candy mold.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Army Tank Cake

I made this cake 2 years ago for my nephew's 8th birthday.  It was an army - G.I. Joe themed birthday party.

Everything besides the flag and the sign which you can't see, saying Happy Birthday is all edible.  I used Hershey's Chocolate bars and Oreo Cookies to make the tracks.  The cannon is a dipped chocolate pretzel.

This is just the other view of it.  Making black frosting is very challenging but it sure made the camouflage look correct.  Again - I stick with my typical buttercream frosting for decorating.  I think I thinned it out a bit to make it easier to spread across the cake.  If I remember correctly, I think I made a 9 x 13 cake and used a bread pan to make more cake.  Then I cut the cake to the right shape.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Giraffe, Lion & Zebra Cake

I made this cake last year for my brother's triplets 2nd birthday.  I mimicked the party plates, napkins and decorations we were using for their party.

Below is a photo of the side of the cake with the greeting and their names.

This is the typical 8" round cake - white cake with vanilla pudding and raspberry preserves.  Yum!  I just used a buttercream frosting.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Baby Cake Pops

I made 4 dozen baby cake pops.  It was a yellow cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and a mix of vanilla candy melts and almond bark coating for the outside.

A simple use of some edible markers created the faces, mini cupcake liners for the hat and a bow on the stick - well - just because.  Not only were they cute, but they were good too!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Decorated Sugar Cookies

I made 4 dozen decorated sugar cookies using royal icing.  The theme for the shower was blue so I did 2 shades of blue on the cookies.

 I used the following cookie cutters: rattle, buggy, bottle, umbrella, pacifier and letters to spell out "Baby".

The cookies were a big hit and my sister-in-law said there were all gone by the end of the party!!  So glad they were such a big hit!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

This is what 4 dozen pretzels look like!!!

I used a baby mold for 2 dozen of them and dipped, drizzled or sprinkled the other 2 dozen.

 Here are close up shots.
 These are the dipped ones.  Some of them have blue colored sugar sprinkled on them.
Another close up showing the different ways I decorated with the molds.  The molds are definitely more time consuming that just plain dipping, but they look really nice all done!