Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow, snow go away

Late tonight and into tomorrow, we are suppose to get snow. A lot of snow. I usually wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the chance that school will most likely be closed tomorrow. And that's bad because I would have one very disappointed little guy on my hands. Thursday is suppose to be his holiday party at school. He has been looking forward to this day, and even though he loves snow, he is not happy about what is coming this way. But just in case the weather forecasters are wrong (please, oh please let them be wrong) and the party (and school) are still ago, I made some cookies to take to along.

I made the Rudolph cookies last year too, and they were a big help. And I must give a shout out to my friend Cecilia for coming over today and helping with these guys. We try to get together twice a month, and I asked her to come over to my house since I had a bunch of possibly needless baking to do. The snowmen cookie is something I have wanted to do and was able to since I had some leftover sugar cookie dough. I will say if I were to make them again, I would make them a little bigger just for effect. I'm sure the kids in Riley's class won't mind. Riley was already asking which one was his and could he eat it now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cracked up (again)

Well, it's that time of the year again... Christmas Crack time!! I discovered this recipe last year, and it became a full on addiction for me. This year I thought it would be fun to try some different flavors and toppings.  So far I have made Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Cherry, Dark Chocolate Mint (oh so yummy) and crack topped with toffee and peppermint Andes Mints. If I gain 20 pounds this holiday season, it's all due to this one simple recipe.

If you need the recipe again, here it is...

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
40 saltines crackers

Preheat the oven to 350. Line your jelly roll pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers on your pan. Melt sugar and butter together until it reaches a boil. Reduce to a shimmer and cook for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and all the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the crackers and spread evenly. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the toffee becomes bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee. Let sit a few minutes and then spread melted chips over the toffee. To make the flavors I used 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the flavored chips. You can also use the chip mixes by Nestle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I've got my eye on you

Super quick post this week. It kinds of finished off the crazy October I had, having a cake to make every weekend.

 Every year our friends in Milwaukee have a Halloween party, so I made these cake pops for the occasion. Having lots of leftover cake and buttercream in the house made it pretty easy to do so.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little pumpkin treat

With the craving of our pumpkin this year, I decided to roast the seeds for a yummy snack. This is something I used to do all the time as a kid, but hadn't done for my family yet. And because I live with a bunch of picky eaters, I thought it might be fun to try some different flavors on our pumpkin seeds, in hopes they might try them.

The recipe itself is super easy. Separate the seeds from the membrane. The website I was following suggested soaking the inside of your pumpkin in cold water to help the seeds free themselves from the goop. Well, they didn't just unattach themselves magically, but it was pretty easy to separate the seeds once they had soaked. I placed my seeds on a paper towel and let them dry overnight. Now for the roasting part...preheat the oven to 350. Once the dried, toss the seeds in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lay the seeds in a single layer on a sheet pan. Here is where you get to have fun. The three flavors I chose were cinnamon sugar, traditional salt and a caramel crunch mix from Pampered Chef. You could really do anything sweet or savory. Place in oven for 15 minutes and then you are done.

I think my favorite are the caramel crunch, although I have to say all are really tasty.  Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Can you hear me now

This past weekend, was our neighbor's birthday. His wife Melissa asked if I would be able to make a cake for him, and of course I said yes. Now Mike is very into his cell phone. Loves the little device. And because of that, a cell phone cake was a must. Melissa and I were very sneaky and I was able to take pictures of Mike's phone on my phone to help me recreate it. The cake was chocolate with a chocolate fudge filling, covered in vanilla buttercream and good old marshmallow fondant.

Melissa texted me later that the cake was a big hit and that Mike loved it.

When I first saw Mike's phone I really liked the dandelion on the screen, and I'm pretty pleased at how that came out here. I hand painted it on just using some white and black food coloring.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


This past week, I made a birthday cake for a friend of ours who was turning 40. 10 years ago when she was turning 30, my husband and some of their other coworkers took her out to lunch to celebrate her birthday. The one thing is they told her they were taking her to one restaurant and ended up taking her to Hooters. So, because of this legacy, the party organizers (her husband and one of her old coworker) wanted to have a cake with a Hooters feel to it. And they were hoping for a 3D effect on the cake. I needed to make a cake that would feed 70-75 people and had boobs on it, not a challenge you get every day (at least I don't) To make the cake big enough I made 4 14" cakes, 2 vanilla and 2 chocolate. The coordinating layers went together and then the vanilla was placed next to the chocolate on a big old cake board. To create her chest, I basically made cake pops and formed them to the shape I needed. And to make her face, I simply used buttercream and a whole lot of cursing. The end result is below...

Sorry for the fuzzy picture, it was after 11:30 when I was able to finish this cake and I have to admit, I was a little fried.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I do

What happens when you take over 2000 hand rolled fondant pearls,

a bunch of hand made fondant flowers and combine it with different flavors of buttercream, and three kinds of cake...

You get Emily and Steven Seiltz's wedding gift.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure to create this wedding cake for the wonderful couple. It took about two weeks of prep time, many, many, many eggs and a couple of curse words to pull the cake together.

The cake stood just over 2 feet tall and the pearls had to be put on to the cake one at a time with a pair of tweezers. The layers were white cake with almond buttercream and raspberry filling, chocolate with chocolate fudge filling, spice cake with caramel buttercream, chocolate with coffee and caramel almond buttercreams, and the final layer, for the couple on the first anniversary, was white cake with chocolate fudge filling.  I got many compliments that night, the best one coming from the bride when she told me it was even better than she imagined. Congratulations Emily and Steven! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's a mad,mad world

Hold on to your hats folks, this is going to be a long post. I say that because I actually remembered to take pictures as I constructed the cake. Yes, thank you, I was proud of myself too. The cake I am showing you today was for my daughter Samantha's birthday party, and it was my first ever tospy turvy cake, aka a Madhatter cake. I have been wanting to make one of these for a while, but never had a reason, or found a photo tutorial online (many video ones, but I wanted pictures) that I felt comfortable with explaining it to me. Well, I finally found one, did what they said, and I'm happy to report it worked! Now I have basically recreated the tutorial for you here so you too can try to make your own tospy turvy cake. (it's easier than you might think)
First you will need at least three layers of cake for each tier. I myself used four. Slice one layer on an angle like pictured above.

Now flip the one piece upside down onto the other piece.

Layer your cake like you normally would, making your angled layer the top.
Do a crumb coating (or a thin layer of frosting) on your cake.  Refrigerate to set the buttercream.
Cut a piece of wax paper in a circle the same size as your next tier.  Place it on the cake and cut out the shape with a sharp knife.
Score the circle into four sections to make it easier to remove the cake.
Now simply remove the sections, creating a crater for the next tier to sit in.
Frost your cake again, then refrigerate it to prepare for your fondant.
Cover your tier in fondant, making sure to smooth the fondant into the crater.  Also, as for all tiered cakes, you need to place dowels or cut straws to help support the weight.  Follow these steps for all you tiers, except of course your top layer.  When placing the next tier on, put a little buttercream in the crater to help adhere the cake.  Also you will want to put the slant of the next tier the opposite direction as the layer below it.
Follow the steps above, decorate as you see fit, and you will have a final product like what you see above.  This year, my daughter had a rollerskating party and our theme was Rock and Rollerskating.
Samantha informed me that the cake needed a pair of roller skates on it because of the theme.  So here's my cake topper.
I hand cut a guitar and peace signs, and used cookie cutters for my stars, flowers and heart with wings.  All these items were on the napkins and plates we had for the party, so it was only fitting they make it on the cake.
I originally wanted to have swirls airbrushed on the fondant like a background for the other decorations. Sadly, I do not own a airbrush (yet) and the can of spray food coloring didn't give me enough control or a fine enough line to get the look I wanted.  Instead I used a stencil and some pearl disco dust to create a background of stars.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grab your Purse

The begining of this September gave me an oppurtunity to have fun, and experiment with decorating a cake. September 2nd is the birthday of our neighbor across the street. Since we have become very good friends, I sent a text to her husband to see if it would be ok for me to make something for her. He enthusiastically said yes, and a cake was born.
I have been wanting to make a purse cake, so I thought this would be the perfect chance to try.  Looked at a couple of pictures and then came up with the pink purse in the middle of this photo.

And what's a purse without a string of pearls? The pearl earrings were my daughter Samantha's idea. I like how they added to the whole appearence.

To let the birthday girl know the cake was her's, a golden key with a monogram key ring. She loved it all, and told me it took her a while before she could actually cut into it to eat the cake.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lala lala, lala lala...

Elmo's world  :) Come on sing sing along.  Lala lala, lala lala...

Yep, that's a cake pop I made for my friend's little girl's second birthday party. To get the fur effect, I dipped the pop in red candy melts, placed the eyes, nose and mouth, which I had made out of fondant. After that was dried in place, I took a toothpick and added more melted candy melt to the cake pop, and viola, Elmo has fur.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Scream, You Scream

Back in June, my oldest daughter invited all her girls friends from her kindergarten class over for a "Girls Party". Since it was pretty much the start of summer vacation and it was warm outside, I made a little treat for all the kids.
These are cake pops shaped like ice cream popsicles. The kids loved them, but that could have been more because they were cake pops, not so much for their shape, and I'm ok with that. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


August 14th and 15th are two very special days in our household. They are my daughter's and my husband's birthdays. ( Yep, our first born was almost a exact birthday gift for my hubby)  This year we are having my daughter's party in September so she can have it a a local roller skating rink that isn't open in the summer. I always make a little cake for her, along with her party cake, unless of course her party is the same day of her actual birthday. This year she handed me a sketch of what she wanted her cake to look like. Her vision included several tiers of cake covered in blue fondant, with a cheetah sitting on top.
I scaled her drawing down a little and came up with this. 
I love this little cheetah, and even though she is edible, she was spared that fate and sits on our kitchen window sill.  Her pink spots are hand painted on with pink gel food coloring.
As for my husband's cake, I went with a candy theme for him. (He gave me no drawing for his cake.) The cake is chocolate with chocolate fudge frosting. I then decorated it with peanut butter M&M's, which are his favorite. And I have to say, they added a lot of yum to the cake. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mini Mes

With summer vacation winding down and school supplies bought, I thought it would be a good idea to post some ice cream related goodies to savor the final days. I actually made these treats back in May for my daughter Samantha to take into celebrate her birthday. Being that she is a summer baby, she can either celebrate her birthday at school on her half birthday, or pick a day at the end of the school year. Well, her half birthday is Valentine's Day, so end of school it is. Samantha had asked for cake pops to share, and I ran with that, making them a little on the fun side by having them look like ice cream cones.
I found the mini wafer cones at my local food store.  I made the cake pops like I always do.  I dipped the tops of the cones in some melted chocolate and placed the cake ball on top to help secure it down.
Then after I knew the cake balls were set on the cones, I dipped them into my melted chocolate and topped that off with some sprinkles.
I made the cherries out of fondant to finish the cones off.  The kids all loved them and I had one very happy little girl. :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When Recipes Attack

So I'm back now. I really didn't mean to take the last two weeks off, but the time got away from me. This post is dedicated to all my friends who think they can never make the perfect cookies like they believe I make. Making treats may come easier for me because I have been doing it for so long. Even before I worked in the profession, I baked cookies and created cakes. It's in my Mom bakes, my Grandmothers baked, and I baked with them. And there are those times when a recipe just doesn't turn out like I hoped or planned. Even though my friends may not believe me, it has happened more then once. Take the cookies below. One day I felt like baking pretty much just to create something. So I checked out what I had in my pantry and thought Rocky Road cookies would be fun ( and tasty) to make. My recipe was to take a chocolate cookie recipe I have featured on here and then add marshmallows, chocolate chips and cocoa dusted almonds. Sounds yummy right? And they were, but some of the cookies didn't not come out looking all that great. My evidence is below.
My cookies that came out looking nice and ready for the camera.
My cookies who were not ready for their close-up.
See, proof that even trained chefs can make mistakes. I hope this post helps shows that anyone can make mistakes and that anyone can create something delicious and ready to serve. And I hope it motivates anyone reading this to go out and try, experiment and just have fun, because even though the cookies didn't look great, it sure didn't stop my family from eating them all up. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Tasting

Come this October, I will be making a wedding cake. I'm very excited for this cake, as I believe it is going to be quite beautiful, not to mention taste great. It's not that I'm tooting my own horn, it's just I really like what the bride, the groom and their family came up with for this cake. But before the cake can be made, a tasting was in order to narrow down exactly what I would be creating in October.

I wanted the bride and groom to have the royal treatment, as it is their special day, and they picked me to make their cake instead of going to a bakery.
I had four different flavors of buttercreams, one chocolate fudge filling and an incredible raspberry filling I love to use.
At the bride's request, I made a white cake and a chocolate cake, and then surprised them with spice cake.

The balls were marshmallow fondant and the squares were white modeling chocolate. Although the cake will not be covered in either, that decorations will be made from the fondant (bride's choice after much tasting done by the groom).  You will have to come back in October to see the end result of this tasting. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Old Glory

Happy Birthday America!!!!  May everyone have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

School's Out for Summer

A few weeks ago, I made some cookies for my girls to give to their teachers as end of the school year gifts. My idea for these cookies came from a new "toy" I bought myself and from another "toy" I had gotten myself a bit ago.
The flower cookies were done with a new stamp I found.  The idea is you stamp a piece of fondant, sugar paste or edible paper, and then place it on you cookie or cake.  I decided I needed more play time with these stamps as they didn't quite come out like I would have liked.  I had to hand paint a lot of the detail back on the cookie as it didn't transfer in the stamping process.
For the other two cookies designs, I broke out my stencils. I  simply laid the stencil on the cookie.

Then, using a gel food coloring, I dab the stencil with the desired colors.
And there you have it.  Also I feel I need to work more with the stencils, as I wasn't happy with every cookie.
I added detail with some edible silver dust just to finish off the look.  The teachers loved them, even if I didn't.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Sweet Surprise

About two weeks ago, I got a text from one of my close friends asking for a favor. That weekend she was going to be in Chicago to celebrate her Mom's 60th birthday, and she needed a cake. The hotel where they would be at wanted an incredibly insane amount of money for a cake that would feed 10 people. I don't blame her at all for not wanting to pay that, because it was down right crazy. She asked me knowing that my week was a little busy as I was preparing to make my son's birthday cake. She gave me an out, and I know she would never be upset if I had said no, but how could I. So we talked and settled on a white cake with a delicious raspberry filling and almond buttercream. Here is what I whipped up in a few days.
The flowers on the cake are made of sugar paste, and I did buy those pre-made. They are from Mr. Ace of Cakes himself Duff, who has a cake decorating line that you can find at Michael's. The flowers come plain and then I used my good old edible gold dust, some pink gel food coloring and a little vodka to achieve their look. Duff says to use a air brush machine to paint the flowers, but I don't have one and the vodka worked just fine. My friend told me that her Mom cried at the cake, not because it was her 60th, but because she was so touched that a close friend of her daughter's made it for her. This made the cake priceless to me. :)