Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Easter Basket Cake

This summer is turning out to be really nice for swimming, but not so much for baking.  I'm glad I live in Western NY, because if it gets above 75 F, I'm not going to be baking.  So I still get to bake for most of the year, since our summer's are short.  Which is why I've been writing about all my past cake adventures.  I haven't turned my oven on in over a wk.  Which is making me desperate to bake something soon.  Being the practical engineer that I am, it just doesn't make sense to have the AC and oven running at the same time.  And since my kitchen and family room have LOTS of windows with a southern exposure, these rooms can get pretty hot without an oven at 350 F.

Anyway, back to the topic of Easter in July.  This past Easter I was getting back into cake decorating after being laid off from Xerox (downsizing strikes again).  I wanted to do something that would give me a chance to practice some of the techniques I had learned in the Wilton classes I had taken a few years back.  And I wanted to make Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.  It's my FAVORITE kind of cake.  It's Easter so the idea came to me...An Easter Basket (how original, I know).

I used the oval pan set from the Wilton Course 3 (back in 2006).  For the handle I decided to try a sugar cookie in a rainbow shape with popsicle sticks hanging out the ends.  I think I found the idea in one of the Wilton Yearbooks.  I had extra cookie dough so I had my girls cut out Easter cookie shapes and thought to include those in the basket as well.

I used the carrot cake recipe from the joy of baking website, which I LOVE btw.  And a cream cheese frosting recipe from Wilton (but I add 1 tsp of vanilla).  My cake came out tasty but tough, so I think I must have over mixed it...I really need to work on my scratch cake techniques.  I did a basket weave to cover the cake.  And for the handle I did a rope border technique.  I actually sandwiched two cookie handles together with frosting.  In hindsight, I think one cookie with frosting on both sides would have been plenty.  I dyed some shredded coconut green for the grass, added some bunny, lamb and egg cookie shapes and a few peanut M&M's to "fill" the basket.

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