Sunday, October 4, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Back in June was my baby nephew Justin's first birthday. Now, he's a kid who's spent his entire life getting hand me downs and being neglected for his diva of a brother Jayden. Poor kid even eats left overs that his big bro can't finish! (Lol) I had made Jayden a three tier Elmo cake for his first birthday. Yes, I know... a three tier cake for a one year old is a bit much, but that's what my sister wanted.
Justin needing attention on his birthday.
The boys LOVE Super Mario Kart. I think Jayden's first words were Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, Bowser, mom, then dad and in that order. Justin mimics all the cars and cheering noises. It's hilarious to see my parents playing the game with so much concentration you'd think they were defusing a bomb while the two grandkids are squished between them screaming out their Mario lingo. I don't think we could have choosen a better theme.
My sister started giving me pictures of extreme cakes which were way beyond my skill level. There was one with Mario punching out of the cake (I think it's from Su-Yin) and my favorite, one that was four tiers with a castle and all the Mario Kart characters.
I searched high and low and couldn't find one I liked or could make, so instead I designed one from scratch. I used Cake Journal's tutorial to make a fondant plague that goes on top of the cake. I googled the internet and picked a Super Mario's coloring page. My original picture was a Super Mario Kart one, but it was too detailed to make the plague. Instead I opted for the Mario and Luigi a.k.a. Justin and Jayden. (Lol) My royal icing and the weather did give me some difficulty, but I think the outcome was not bad for a first try.
I made the rest of the decorations with marshmallow fondant. The stars were made with star cookie cutters, the clouds from five petal blossom cutter, the trees from circle cutters then I elongated then with a rolling pin, the mushrooms were cut from tiny circle cutters then smooshed into shape, and the turtles were just rolled into little ovals wrapped with white fondant strips and imprinted with crossing lines using the back of a knife.
Oh, and the cake was a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting layered with mini chocolate chips and toasted pecans. It was good. In the end, Justin was king for the day and that was all that mattered. :D
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to be back. It has been a crazy few months, but I'm so happy to be able to write again. This is a little late, but I made red velvet cupcakes for Valentine's Day. Even though I grew up in the south, I'd never had red velvet cake before. It's an all time favorite among Southerners and is perceived as a decadent treat for special occassions. It was the flavor of Jessica Simpson/ Nick Lachey's wedding cake, and remember on Steel Megnolias, it was also the groom's armidillo cake. (lol)
I searched my cook books and the internet. Most recipes were fairly similar for the cake, so chose the one from Martha's 2002 Holiday Baking Magazine. However, it was very interesting to see the variety of frosting. According to several sites, the original red velvet frosting is cooked with butter, sugar, milk, and flour. It seemed a bit weird, so I opted for a popular topping of cream cheese frosting. And YUM-MO!! I'm in love!! Hope ya'll like it. :)
Red Velvet Cupcake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
2 large eggs
* large squirt red food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* The recipe actually asks for 4 tablespoons red food coloring, but I couldn't bring myself to add that much. Since the only purpose was for coloring, I just eyeballed the liquid red food coloring (which I purchased at the grocery store) to my liking. The vinegar and baking soda combo is also suppose to change the brown cocoa red which is where the name comes from.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat sugar and oil on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined.
4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
5. In a small bowl whisk together baking soda and vinegar. Add to the batter, and beat 10 seconds.
6. Evenly divide batter among cupcake liners. Bake in oven for 20-23 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cupcakes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting (from allrecipe.com)
2 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy.
2. Mix in vanilla, gradually add sugar until all combined and smooth.
3. Store in refrigerator after use.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
I know it's a little late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!
I'm going to make 2009's first post a really yummy one. My baby sister is officially an adult in Canada. She can smoke, drink, gamble, and vote legally now. I hope she doesn't do all that at once.
I usually make her birthday cakes, and this year was no different. However, she didn't want the usual cake with Happy Birthday plastered all over it. She wanted something extremely decadent and grown up to share with her friends. After going through several options with her, we decided on a chocolate cheesecake. It was up to me to make it WOW.
I hadn't made a cheesecake in over 10 years since my hubby's specialty is cheesecake (he uses the Philly Cream Cheese recipe, and calls it his own after he smothers it with fruit topping - lol). Even though D's recipe is pretty good, I knew Jess wanted something more. So I searched through all my recipes and found three that I liked. I ended up mixing these recipes and got one heck of a killer cheesecake. I thought I'd share with all of you, and hopefully you'll have the same response. Enjoy!
Jessica's Killer Chocolate Birthday Cheesecake
5 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound dark chocolate, chopped finely
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound dark chocolate, chopped finely
Fresh Clean Strawberries
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted nuts (I used pecans)
Melted white chocolate
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt butter. In medium bowl, combine graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter. Mix well, and pour into a 9" springform pan. Press weill into pan. Bake until set about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
3. To make the ganache, place 1/2 pound of dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream in sauce pan. Remove from heat as soon as it starts to bubble and boil. Pour into dark chocolate and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes. Stir until ganache is smooth.
4. Reduce oven to 275 degrees F.
5. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add remaining sugar and beat until well combined (about 3 minutes).
6. Add ganache to the cheese and mix on slow speed until well blended. Scrape down the sides as needed.
7. Drizzle in eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Beat in sour cream and salt. Scrape down sides and mix until well blended.
8. Pour batter into crust and bake until the sides have set but the center appears soft (about 1 hour and 45 minutes).
9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Using a knife, run around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. When completely cooled, cover cake tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Let the cake set for at least 4 hours, preferably over night. This allows the flavors to come out.
10. Deck out the cake. I made another batch of ganache which I first dipped the strawberries in before pouring the rest on top of the cake. I mixed the chopped nuts with the mini chocolate chips and pressed the mixture onto the sides of the cake. Topped the cake with the strawberries and drizzled melted white chocolate with a fork all around.
11. Slice cake and serve. YUM YUM YUM! It gives 12 very generous portions.
* Note: this cheesecake is beautiful and delicious as is and can be served without all the "fussy" decor. It can also be made as a plain cheesecake, by leaving out the ganache in the batter and substituting it with a teaspoon of vanilla. Or made as any other cheesecake by substituting the flavoring. It's a versitile recipe!