Monday, July 16, 2012

Meet Fawn Fairy

I think everyone has heard of Tinker belle Fairy...Well, as it turns out she has fairy friends and one of them is named Fawn Fairy.

I honestly don't know much about Fawn but she's Lily's favorite.  As Lily celebrates her 5th birthday, she requested a Fawn Fairy cake.

And how could I say no?  I'd like to thank Disney for making Fawn Fairy have similar bone structure as Cinderella.  It makes my life that much easier, when I can reuse a shaped cake pan...Which is exactly what I did.

Chocolate Almond cake baked in the Cinderella Wilton pan, covered and filled with buttercream and decorated to look like Fawn Fairy.  I made the wings from Waxed paper.  Because what is a fairy without wings?

Happy Birthday Lily!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I have twin three year old girls.  We don't play with Transformers in my house.  But it's Sam's birthday and he plays with Transformers...So it's off to search Google Images I go!

Immediately the logo comes up and a lot of fire.  I don't understand the association but I can roll with it.

This cake is Vanilla covered and filled with vanilla buttercream.  I used the frozen buttercream transfer technique from Wilton.  I liked that technique and would definitely try it again.  I found a tutorial on YouTube, of course.  For the flames I used a curved rose petal tip and put red and yellow in the same bag.  I was fairly pleased with the results.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Butterfly and Flower Wedding Cake

I had the honor of making a wedding cake for our friends Ralph and Karen recently.

It was my first wedding cake.  Karen showed me some flowers and butterflies she had drawn and asked if I could use those as inspiration.  Their backyard garden is filled with flowers and butterflies in the summer and since that was the location of the event they wanted to use those as the theme of the cake.  She opted to keep the flowers and butterflies very whimsical and with bright colors.

The Wedding was held on a Saturday evening and since I was making the flowers from a mixed of fondant and gum-paste, I knew I need a few days for them to dry.  I started making flowers a week in advance.  But left all the baking and about half of the flowers for the Thursday and Friday prior to the wedding.

And as is usually the case, life had other plans...Like my dog knocking me down and dragging me 10 feet along the ground while she tried to chase a rabbit out of the yard, which ended in a minor concussion for me.  Turns out it's literally painful to concentrate with a concussion.  Needless to say, making the wedding cake and the rest of the flowers with said concussion was not easy.

But I got it done on time and napped here and there when I felt dizzy.  Good Times!

THe butterflies are suspended on wires to look like they're hovering just above the flowers.  Hard to see here.

Both tiers of cake were Red Velvet covered and filled with cream cheese frosting.  And the best part was that I was invited to the wedding so I got to eat it too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My birthday cake

I LOVE Almond Joy candies.  I love the combination of the sweet coconut filling covered in chocolate and the crunch of the almond.

Not sure where that big air bubble came from.

So as my birthday approached, I knew I wanted to make my own cake.  See I have control issues and this is the only way I knew I'd get the cake I wanted.  And I wanted the cake to taste like an Almond Joy.  I scoured my cookbooks in search of the magic combination.   The chocolate almond cake from Confetti Cakes was an easy choice.  I searched and finally found a cream cheese coconut filling.  Then figured I'd add chopped almonds, a chocolate buttercream and top the entire thing off with chocolate ganache.  It sounded perfect as I was planning.  But...

The filling wasn't the taste I was looking for...See the filling was essentially a cream cheese frosting with a cup of coconut tossed in for texture.  And that's exactly what it tasted like.  It picked up some of the coconut flavor but not what I was looking for.  The cake was good.  All the parts worked together but it wasn't the Almond Joy I was hoping for.

Oh well, I guess that just means I'll have to try again.  And I realized it wasn't going to taste like how I wanted it too as I was putting it together so I was a little disappointed while I was finishing it off...And maybe I was little down cause I was aging...But either way I didn't even bother to decorated it.  After I put the ganache on I stuck it straight in the fridge and that's when the big ugly air bubble formed.

But it did taste good...Even if it wasn't my Almond Joy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Martha's Going Away Cake

Martha recently landed her dream job in California...But she lives in New York.  So that means she had to say goodbye to all her friends and family, to make a new life across the country.  And what better way to say goodbye and good luck, then cake?

So cake is what I made.  She'll be moving to Wine country, so we went with a wine and grapes theme. The cake is chocolate almond with chocolate buttercream.  i piped the vines and grapes in Royal icing and made the Martha figurine of fondant and gumpaste.

There's a drop of blue berry jelly in her glass.  Good Luck Martha in your new life!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Happy Birthday Paul.

I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday cake and it was an immediate "cheesecake" response....But then it took him several more requests to get a more specific flavor.

Finally he decided on pumpkin.  Possibly in no small part because he is SOO practical and noticed the 15 frozen containers of pumpkin puree while digging around in our freezer.  You may remember that our garden produced a healthy supply last summer.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Origin: Unknown

9 oz Oreos, finely crushed
6 T. butter, melted*
10oz pumpkin puree
1/2 c brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
5 oz Half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
dash of salt
3 (8oz) cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix cookie crumbs and butter.  Press mixture firmly onto the bottom and of 9-inch spring-form pan.  Bake until crust is set, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars, cornstarch and spices until smooth.  Add eggs and beat on low until combined.  Add pumpkin, milk and vanilla and stir to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Wrap spring-form pan with foil and place on rimmed baking sheet to catch dips.  Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 deg F for 50-60 minutes or until the center is just set.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or over night.  Remove sides of spring-form pan to serve.

I poured a layer of ganache over the top of this one for an added hit of chocolate, cause that's how I roll.  It's still very tasty without it.

*Note:  I would decrease the amount of butter slightly as it was quite difficult to get the crust off the bottom of the pan...Maybe the butter had something to do with that.

Sorry I don't have any photos...We ate it THAT fast.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ricotta Cookies

Now I've said this a number of times.  I like eating cookies but I really don't  like baking cookies.  I can't tell when I should take them out of the oven.  But, thess are some of my favorite cookies and I always feel as though they are a spring cookie.  As if cookies have a season.

So here it is Spring, and I've had a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge for a while, but not past the expiration date.  So it's about time I made the silly things already.

They are SOOO moist and soft.  They're normally puffier, if that's even a word.  So obviously I did something wrong.  I guess it's because I didn't follow the directions.  Yeah, maybe that had something to do with it.

You take a bite into these and even though they're flat as pancakes, they're moist and cakey.  Which makes me want to try to turn them into cake.  Which is something I've never done.  I don't develop recipes.  That will be interesting.  But the flavor and texture of these cookies is really something special.  So of course, it seems only natural that I would want to muck it up.

Anyway...  Here's the recipe.

Ricotta Cookies
From:  Unknown

15oz container Ricotta Cheese
2 sticks butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

Mix together cheese, butter, eggs and sugar.  Add baking soda, salt and vanilla.  Add flour one cup at a time, stirring with spoon.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets covered in parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.  Ice with favorite thin buttercream.  Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!  Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gratitude Cake

I know...I've been absent lately.  I'm telling you, when my mixer attempted suicide, it really shook me up.  I was afraid to bake.  And then of course there's the Twilight factor.

Twilight Factor?  Yeah, I got sucked into the Twilight saga.  Many times I'm late to the party.  Figuratively and literally.  So I'm just now getting into Twilight.  I'm in the library and I see Breaking Dawn Part One DVD in the new release section the other day and pick it up thinking it's the first movie... Yeah, that's how out of the loop I was about the whole thing.  Luckily I figured it out before watching it.  But I was curious when I saw that movie on the shelf.  I'm thinking what's the big deal with these books and movies any ways?

The first movie, Twilight, was OK.  It was good enough to get me interested in the story and want to find out what happens next.  I made it through the teenage drama.

The second movie was better.  I am in the Jacob groupie club!  I personally feel that he did not take his clothes off enough!!  Love the muscles, thank you for that.  The teenage drama was still there but didn't seem as annoying.

Third movie was the best thus far.  I'm still very much in the Jacob club.  LOVED the "this should have been our first kiss" scene.  I will admit to watching it over and over again(along with all the other Jacob scenes).  And I think one reason I like these movies is that it takes me back to when I was young and in love-lust.  Not that I was ever part of a werewolf-vampire-human triangle...But I remember feeling so passionately about my current crush that I'd get so breathless and nervous in his presence that I would literally tremble.

I've been married for 8 years now...And as most people who have been married a while will admit, that young love fire lessens a bit over time.  The fire doesn't go out it's just not so wild.  It becomes a smolder, which is still very hot but not as showy.  And every now and then something comes along to fan the flames a bit.  And so I will indulge in the teenage drama and trip down memory lane and let it fan the flames of my love for Paul.

And what, you may be asking, does all this have to do with cake or baking?  NOTHING.  It's merely a peak into my latest obsession that has kept me out of the kitchen.

So then let's talk about this cake...I'm calling this a gratitude cake because I have a great friend, who's been SO generous and supportive of me this past year.  After getting laid-off last year, he has been my most constant friend.  Out of the 100s of people I used to work with, he's really been a true friend to me.  I can never repay him for all his kindnesses...But I can bake.  So he gets cake.  Red Velvet cake covered and filled with cream cheese frosting and decorated simply with fondant.

I'm trying my hand at decorations inspired by clothing.  In my mind this cake was to have a fabric ruffle and some "fabric" flowers.  But the fondant I had wanted to use was really loose.  It was sticky and wouldn't hold its shape.  So I changed the design a bit and the color scheme and came up with what you see here.  And after it was done I took a step back and realized that it gave the distinct impression of a garter belt.  

Thanks Rich.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Red Velvet Ice-cream cake

OK, I know it's been a while...But the whole mixer walking off the counter incident really threw me off my game.

That and I discovered Pinterest and can't seem to do anything but search for outdoor decorating and gardening ideas.  Is someone ready for summer already or what?!

So here's how it all played out.  My mixer took a walk off my counter and beat the hell out of some bread dough.  Well, surprisingly the only thing that got messed up was that the mixer became out of adjustment.  And by that I mean that when it was latched, the beater would rub on the bottom of the bowl.  Not good, the coating on the beater seemed to be rubbing off).  I figured it out as I was mixing up this cake for a friend of mine.  Needless to say, I held up the nose of the mixer to finish the cake and told me friend his cake would have to wait.  (He's still waiting and maybe I'll get to it this wkend.  Sorry Rich.)

Luckily for me, my husband is handy and I'm terribly clever (not really), but between the two of us we were able to readjust it so there's no more rubbing.  Things aren't 100% back to normal but it runs and what more could you ask for when something like this happens?

So here I am with this cake unfit to feed to a friend, but I'll risk my own family's lives on it (beater coating may or may not be mixed into the batter).  While I was waiting for Paul to adjust it I made ice-cream...And that's when the idea for ice-cream cake came to me.  See I told you I was clever!

Once the mixer was adjusted I tried it out by making a stabilized whipped cream icing to coat this cake.  I thought we were expecting company (my parents) so I quickly frosted it and said forget it to the decorations.  I know!  And then my parents cancelled their visit.  No big deal, they literally live around the corner from me.

And as you can see I am still battling with the perfect finish to my frosted cakes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 6, 2012

No Bake Bird's Nest cookies

It's Good Friday and these are great if you're in a pinch for an Easter treat that's quick.

I don't know where my mom found this recipe originally but she would make them for her Kindergarten class as well as for us.  They've always been a family favorite.  I suppose teachers couldn't do that now with all the nut allergies.

Just make sure you have extra of all the ingredients...Especially if you have hungry helpers.

Bird Nest
From: Origin Unknown

3 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 c + 2T. light corn syrup
1/2 c + 1-2T. brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Prior to boiling

Combine cereal and coconut in a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan combine corn syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla.
Bring to a boil of med-low heat, stirring frequently.
Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal and mix to coat.
Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Scoop cereal "dough" into paper lined muffin tins and indent with back of a spoon or melon baller to form into nests.
Then fill with your favorite egg shaped candies.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't make bread

I'm starting to think that the someone is trying to send me a message that I should NOT try to make bread.

Because it never turns out right.  Or at least this particular recipe for bread should not be attempted.

See I'm trying to make Oatmeal Sandwich bread.  My first two attempts failed.  But this time the bread gods got violent in their attempts to stop my bread making efforts.

They THREW my KitchenAid mixer on the floor.

OK, well that's a bit dramatic and not exactly what happened.  Here's the story.  I'm making this Oatmeal Sandwich bread recipe in my third attempt.  It's going pretty well and my little KitchenAid is working hard to knead it for me.  I put a piece of non-skid pad under it, make sure it's safely away for the edge of the counter-top and go call my mom in the other room while it works for 10 minutes.

I'm not more than a minute into my conversation and when I check on it...It seems to have moved.  I'm about 10 feet away when I see it slip off the edge in slow motion as I scream S*&% and run over to find it still plugged in and now whipping my bread dough all over the floor.

Go ahead and laugh, it's funny now.  But it was scary and sad at the time.  I had to throw out the dough.

Here's the amazing part.  There was no damage.  My laminate floor is not dented or even scratched.  My mixer still runs (though may not be quite right - we're still investigating this), the dough hook is not bent or broken.  Really it's all quite amazing.

Today I'm using my mixer for the first time since the accident...And it runs but there seems to be a misalignment going on.  I'll have my husband look into and report back with details to come.

What's the worst thing to happen to your mixer?

Thursday, March 29, 2012


With my two little helpers or destroyers...

As I typed the words "little helpers" I can hear the sound of toys banging together.

But today we made snickerdoodles.  You know the sugar cookies covered in a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  I'm a big fan of cinnamon.  And the reason I wanted to make these cookies was to toss in some chocolate chips to see how I liked the combo.  But I was so distracted about not letting the bowl of cinnamon and sugar fall on the floor as the girls rolled the cookie balls that I near forgot to include the chips!

So out of 2-3 dozen cookies, less than ten of them have chocolate chips.  Is there any cure for this brainlessness I have?

I didn't think so.

Oh well, I'll just have to make more and try to remember the chips.

From:  Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)  *I used straight shortening.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T. sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (But if you accidentally read that as Tablespoons add a couple more T. of sugar and dump some into a shaker for your toast.  Not that I know from experience or anything.)
Chocolate Chips (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F.
MIX shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly.
COMBINE flour, cream of tarter, soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Then add to egg mixture.
SHAPE dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until they have flattened out a bit.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies depending on the size of your the dough balls.

These cookies came out quite crispy.  I think the next time I might try something different to make them a bit more soft and chewy.  I'm just not exactly sure what that something is, right now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 23, 2012

French Toast

It's what's for dinner!  Especially on a Friday during lent.

Start with a baguette that's a few days old.

Flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Oh did I mention a few eggs and half-and-half?  Mix it all up and let them soak.  Then fry them up in a hot pan.

YUM!  I made a strawberry sauce with the strawberries I froze last summer.  Or it's really good with warm apple sauce.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar for an added bit of sweetness.  Please excuse me while I lick my screen.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pretty Little Carrot Cake

I saw this beautiful wedding cake by Jess Hill Cakes in a magazine called Wedding Cakes a Design Source (a publication out of the UK).  The cake is pure white and the tops of each tier are covered in small hydrangea flowers in shades of blue.  It's simple, yet elegant and oh soo pretty.

I don't often do pretty cakes, as maybe you've noticed.  Which means I need to practice whenever I get the chance!  Which is exactly what this cake is.  Practice.

The best part of all?  I get to eat it and share it with my immediate family.  And for no particular reason at all.  Which makes it more special.

Birthday cake is expected, but cake for no reason is special.  Like unexpected flowers.  Those are the best!

And come to think of it.  This is cake for no reason with flowers!!  How great!  And yummy too.  Carrot cake strong with cinnamon and nuts, covered and filled with cream cheese frosting.  Carrot is my favorite closely rivaled by pumpkin spice cake or double chocolate zucchini cake.  All of which are covered in cream cheese frosting.  Maybe it's not the cake but the frosting.  Maybe my favorite cake is any cake covered in cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jupiter Cake

For a boy turning five who really loves Jupiter...A Jupiter cake complete with four moons.

This cake was red velvet with cream cheese frosting, covered in marshmallow fondant.  What a great choice.  Slice into a planet and it's got to be red inside!  I painted the stripes and eye with diluted food coloring.  The moons are fondant.

 Evan, I hope your birthday was Out of THIS WORLD!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Or as Nestle's calls them Choc-oat-late chip cookies.  These are really good.

Think oatmeal raisin cookies but replace the raisins (eww) with Chocolate chips (Yum!).  Raisins are OK. I'm just not a huge fan.  I like them paired with salty foods best, like peanuts.  Not cookies.  Actually, most of the time if I find a recipe that includes raisins but otherwise looks good, I'll substitute chocolate chips for the raisins and I'm happy.

But here I didn't have to substitute.  No Raisins, just chips.  Great!  But they forgot to add cinnamon so I diverged from the original recipe by 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  And I think it's perfect!  Try the recipe and tell me if you agree.

Choc-oat-late Chip Cookies
From: Nestle's Best-ever Cookies

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 T milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c quick or old-fashioned oats
2 c chocolate chips (I used 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 dark chocolate chips - cause that's how I roll)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I added this)

COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
BEAT brown sugar, butter and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy.
BEAT in eggs, milk and vanilla.
GRADUALLY beat in flour mixture.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
DROP by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE in preheated 375 degree oven for 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 12-13 minutes for crisp cookies.  Let stand for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen..

YUM.  Don't you just want to take a bite of your screen?  Well, don't.  That would hurt your teeth I think.  Make the cookies instead.  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go Cake!

Dr. Seuss is synonymous with childhood and imagination.  And what great inspiration for a baby shower cake.

My friend Dawn and her husband Kevin are adventurous people who have travelled the world.  And so now that they are expecting their first child...Dr. Seuss's book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" seems to fit right in with their life style.  And it really is a great book.

I must admit that I had heard of it but before she had mentioned it as a possible baby shower cake theme, I had never read the book for myself.  After a quick read while at the bookstore, I was immediately flooded with ideas for a cake.  I finally settled on something that I felt captured the colors and theme in a simple way.  There is SO much detail in the Seuss books that it would be quite easy to create a cake with too much.

The cake is a vanilla butter cake filled with chocolate pudding and covered with vanilla buttercream.  The stripes, clouds and baby are fondant.  The balloon is a styrofoam egg covered in fondant.

I greatly enjoyed making this cake, though it took me WAY too long.  Thanks for stopping by!