Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brenner's Birthday Cake

I made this cake for my cousin's son Brenner's second birthday. He is very much into trucks, so when he asked for a truck cake, this Wilton's dump truck cake was perfect.

It was my first 3-D cake, and boy was I nervous. But I think it came out pretty cute. Despite the detachment of a couple of tires during transport, everyone at the birthday BBQ seemed to love it, all 50 of the guests! But all that mattered was that Brenner liked it. Or at least I think he did. (lol) What do you think?

Birthday boy confused about his cake/ toy?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Justin's Super Mario Cake

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

Hello Kitty Pops

Hello again!! I know, I've been bad. Even I was starting to think I had truly given up on the blogging. Blame it on my new time consumer, Facebook. :P

However, recently I've been baking again and am excited about some of the creations I have made. Like these Hello Kitty Cake Pops. Aren't they just the cutest! I got my inspiration from Bakerella. She comes up with the best cake pop ideas.

My sister asked me to make the desserts for her house warming party. I made a pineapple upside-down cake, a chocolate cheesecake, key lime tarts, and chocolate truffles. She's not really into Hello Kitty, but her two little boys always fight over our baby sister's stuffed Kitty, so I thought I would make them some pops just for fun.

They were mint chocolate pops and were consumed quite greedily by my nephews and all their guests. Now if only I knew how to make Super Mario pops, then I would be the best aunt ever!! Oh, Bakerella, I have a challenge for you. :P

Friday, March 13, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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
makes 12
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
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

Iron Cupcake Challenge: Sabayon Cupcakes

This month's main ingredient was a big challenge for me.   I love the idea of a glass of wine while having a romantic dinner, cooking, socializing with friends and family, or just to kick back and relax.  I have tried on many occasions, but unfortunately I just do not have a
palate for more than half a glass.  

However, I do have numerous family and friends who are wine connoisseurs.  When this challenge was given, I asked for help, and I received many great ideas.  I hope to one day try them all.

But for Iron Cupcake Earth I  decided to make a sabayon cupcake.  Sabayon is a French dessert of fresh fruits topped with a wine custard.  I found many recipes which used different wines from reds to whites from dry to sweet and even champagne.  That's when I chose to incorporate the white wine, gewurtraminer, from Pelee Island Winery served at my wedding.  It is  excellent with fruits, cheeses, chicken, seafood, spicy foods, and Asian cuisine.  It's a bit on the sweeter side (that is probably why I love this wine) and can be considered an apertif (I did my research).  It is perfect for the sabayon I had in mind.

I made two sets of vanilla cupcakes topped with fresh berries and the custard.  One set to be toasted lightly and another just as is.  The cupcakes were wonderfully delicious and fresh.  They will be a favorite of my family for many years to come.  

Recipe for Sabayon Cupcakes:

Vanilla Cupcakes  (makes 12)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk

Sabayon Custard:
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup wine
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup of fresh fruits in small pieces (I used strawberries and blueberries)
1 tablespoon sugar
splash lemon juice

Toasted Sabayon Cupcake along side a Sabayon Cupcake


To prepare cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare cupcake pans.
2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs in at a time until well incorporated. Stir in vanilla.
3. Combine flour and baking powder.  Add slowly to the creamed mixture until well blended.  Stir in milk until the batter is smooth.
4. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
5.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare fruit in cupcake:
1. Mix fruits with lemon juice and sugar.  Set aside for a few minutes.
2. Carve a cone shape hole out of each cupcakes and spoon fruits into the cupcakes.
3. Let sit while making the sabayon.  This will allow the juices from the fruits to be absorbed by the cupcakes.

To prepare sabayon:
1. Put the egg yolks, sugar, and wine into a medium heat proof glass bowl.  Whisk to mix.
2. Place the bowl on a double boiler over simmering water.  Do not let the water touch the bowl, otherwise, the eggs will cook and scramble.
3.  Whisk the mixture until it is frothy, pale, and ribbony (about 12-15 minutes).
4.  Remove from heat, and whisk in the lemon zest.  keep whisking for a minute or two to cool the custard slightly.
5.  Spoon sabayon over the fruits and cupcakes.  If you prefer, with the oven boiler or a kitchen torch, quickly brown the sabayon.
6.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Okay, now for the technical side of the challenge (it is a competition after all).  The prizes from our sponsors include:

* An Etsy Prize-Pack from artists:
   - Dogbone Art  
   - Cakespy
* An elegant Jessie Steele Apron
* A cupcake courier from Cupcake Courier
* An added bonus for January, a treat from Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supply
* Iron Cupcake Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.

Thanks for visiting this post.  Now go out there and vote!  :D

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jessica's Killer Chocolate Birthday Cheesecake

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!