Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Holiday Baking

Twas two days before Christmas, and all through my house, oven timers were beeping, cause I was still baking (and I know that doesn't rhyme, but since there is not a mouse in the house to stir, I went with it). yep, I'm still making goodies around here because we keep eating it up (I'll be making my 7th batch of Christmas Crack later). Today I found a recipe, tweaked it a little and made Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes. I found the original recipe at the blog Chuck and Welly. It was for Banana Gingerbread Cupcakes. I decided to add some cocoa and make them chocolate...I love chocolate, and I have been wanting to pair chocolate and gingerbread this holiday season. I have to say, they turned out really nicely. You can put frosting on them, but I'm finding that I like them with just a little powdered sugar on them.

1/2 C butter, room temperature
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp molasses
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 small ripe bananas, mashed
 zest of one orange
 3/4 C milk, room temperature
2  C flour 1 tsp baking soda
3/4 C cocoa
 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
 1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside Whip together butter and sugars. Once combined, stir in molasses, eggs, and vanilla. Add in bananas and orange zest and beat until mixed. Alternate adding milk and flour mixture and stir just until combined. Scoop batter into cupcake pan, lined with cupcake papers or greased, and bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Love is still in the air!

Five days after I finished the wedding cake for my brother inlaw and new sister inlaw, I had another family member to make a cake for. This time it was for my husband's cousin Lynn and her fiancé Jason. They were having a much larger wedding than my brother inlaw, but thankfully, only needed a show cake for their reception. They went with a very simple, yet elegant two-tier cake. I honestly thought that the last week of September and the first week of October, would be filled with stress and me cursing up a storm. I am happy to say they were not. Below is the wedding cake I put together for Lynn and Jason.

The bottom tier was lemon poppyseed with a raspberry filling. The anniversary tier was chocolate with raspberry and chocolate fudge filling. The whole cake was covered in a vanilla buttercream.

I am very proud to say that these flowers came from my garden and that I was able to dry them successfully for the occasion. Anyone who knows me knows I do not have a green thumb or much gardening knowledge, so this is truly something.

The bride and groom supplied the cake toppers, which worked perfectly with the cake and their décor. I am happy to say, that Lynn said the cake was exactly what she envisioned. Can't get a better complement than that. Congratulations Lynn and Jason!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love is in the air!

Ten years ago I meet my brother inlaw Dan at my brother inlaw Mark and sister inlaw Maureen's wedding. This past Saturday, I had the privilege to make the cake for his marriage to my new sister inlaw Melanie. I was so honored that this wonderful couple asked me to make something so important for their big day. In a previous post, I described their cake tasting. Below is the cake we came up with together.

The cake itself was a couple of flavors.  The bottom tier was chocolate with a chocolate fudge and raspberry filling.  The next tier was almond with caramel buttercream and raspberry filling, followed by a tier of lemon poppyseed cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberry filling.  And their anniversary layer was chocolate cake with coffee buttercream and raspberry filling.
The whole cake was covered in marshmallow fondant with fondant pearls.  The wedding topper was Melanie's grandmother's.
I did brushed embroidery detailing in an ivory royal icing on the sides of the cake.
This little cake has a special little story.  Dan wanted the wedding's colors to be camouflage...Melanie said no.  Dan wanted one of the tiers to be decorated in camouflage...Melanie and I said no.  So, to get Dan his camo, Melanie and I talked about a grooms cake for him. I guarantee Melanie that the cake would be decorated to match the elegance she envision for their big day.
Dan is an avid hunter, so to make a cake that truly represented him, I had to put deer on it. And once he cut into his cake, Dan finally got the camouflage he wanted at his wedding. Sadly, I do not have a picture of the inside, but my brother inlaw knew instantly why this little cake was made just for him.
Congratulations to the beautiful couple and thank you again for letting me be a part of your special day!  Love you both!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy 60th Aunt Lue

Back in June, my Mother inlaw and one of her sisters called me to see if I could make a cake for their sister's 60th birthday. It only had to be for six people and I had free reign to create what ever I wanted. Below is what I whipped up.
Chocolate cake, with coffee buttercream and raspberry filling, covered in chocolate fudge rosettes.  The roses are from my garden before the Japanese beetles could attack.  The little bird is made from fondant to finish off the look.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are you ready for some football!

With the Packers' first home game this Sunday, I thought this was an appropriate post for the occasion. Back in July, my neighbor Lisa asked me to make a cake for her son's birthday party. Even at the tender age of three, Carson is a big Packers fan. His theme for his party was the Green Bay Packers, so his cake needed to reflect that.
It's been a while since I have made a stadium cake.  I love the crowd.
Da Da Da, Da Da Da Da...
No blimp in my kitchen, but here is the overhead view of the cake.  The birthday boy was very happy with his cake and enjoyed two pieces that day.  Hopefully all us Packer fans will be as happy this Sunday, as Carson was that day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day of glamour

So my baby girl turned 8. Very hard to believe that much time has past since she graced us with her presence. For this year's party we went totally girly with a day of glamour. We did manis, hair chalk and braiding, and made a brown sugar body scrub and flavored lip gloss ( thank you Pinterest). And of course no party is complete without the special treats.
These cookies I made and placed in the favor bags for the girls. Everyone deserves to be a princess for a day, right?!
After seeing these goodies on Pinterest, I tracked down the original site describing how to make them.  Let me tell you they are very simple and taste great.  The girls got a real kick out of these bottles of polish.
And what's a day of glamour without rice (krispie) cakes and some refreshing cucumber slices.
And then there was her cake.  Samantha is my child who likes to draw up her own designs, and then lets me interrupt what she has come up to the create the final cake.
The bathtub is made out of rice krispie treat.  This is the first time I have ever attempted creating a decoration like this.  The top of the cake hosted everything from a wonderful bubble bath to a rubber ducky.  And for after the bath, some nail polish, nail file and even the divider for painting your toenails.
I had seen a version of this little girl on a cake and fell in love with her.  I thought she made the perfect addition to our day of glamour cake.
The birthday girl thoroughly enjoyed her day.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A cutie patootie cupcake

At the end of June, I had the honor of making a cutie patootie's very first birthday cake. My friend Aimee's little girl was turning one and having a cupcake themed party. After talking over the colors and general concept of the cake, I got to work with no clear decorating scheme in mind. It's very frustrating when this happens, but sometimes, these turn out to be my favorite cakes.  And this one is definitely one of my favorites.

The party invitation had cupcake people on it with the cutest faces. I recreated the face on the main cake.
Since I didn't want to disturb the look of the cupcake person, I chose to put my lettering on the cake board.
Elyse got a little cupcake smash cake of her own to enjoy.
And boy did she ever!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mini Pie Star

The other recipe I demonstrated how to make, when I was on Good Day Wisconsin, was a most delicious little pie. It was a mini S'more pie.  I feel I need to warn you that these pies are dangerous.  Dangerous because you won't be able to stop eating them.  They are pretty easy to make and are super cute because of their size.

Mini Smore Pies

6 mini graham cracker pie crusts


4 oz. cream cheese slightly softened
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup marshmallow fluff

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff and beat until well combined.
Evenly distribute the marshmallow filling into the pie crusts.
Pour heavy cream in to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until it reaches a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chopped semi-sweet chocolate until it melts and combines evenly. Let it cool almost completely.
Spread equal amounts of chocolate ganache onto each pie to cover top.
Top with mini marshmallows or sliced strawberries.

Here is the link of me making them on tv.

Hope you enjoy these, and just remember, I warned you. ;)        

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lights, Camera, Ice Cream

Back in June after I made my son's birthday cake, my daughter's classmate's birthday cake and my friend's nephew's graduation cake,  I did something that scared the living h-e-
double hockey sticks out of me.  I went on a morning show to demonstrate two recipes.  I got the call, or really the facebook message, back in May, but wasn't able to schedule a time until June.  It took me a bit to figure out what I was going to make, and then it hit me.  I needed to do something that screamed summer, was easy and didn't require an oven, cause who wants to turn an oven on in the summer heat.  My first recipe is for an ice cream pie.  I like this one because you can make it with whatever flavors you choose.  Change the cookies you use, go crazy with the ice cream flavor, add fresh fruit on top to make it slightly healthy.  This recipe came to be as I was talking with my sister inlaw about what she was going to make for her boyfriend, for his birthday cake.  I was telling her how easy ice cream cakes can be, until we realized she didn't have the proper pan for it.  When she told me she owned a pie pan, we switched the recipe.  And viola, the birth of our ice cream pie recipe. 

Ice Cream Pie

Crust 1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Crunchies 1 1/2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs 1 bottle Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
1 half gallon ice cream, softened

Combine cookie crumbs and butter together and press into a 8 inch pie pan.  Place in refrigerator to set.
Combine cookie crumbs and Magic Shell Topping. Spread half of the softened ice cream into the pie shell. Layer the crunchies, spreading evenly over the ice cream. Cover with remaining softened ice cream. Let pie set up for at least a hour before serving.

Hope you enjoy your ice cream pie, sorry no pictures...stress makes me forget. ;)  Would love to hear the combination of anyone would makes the pie. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Congrats on being Army Strong

One of my good friends' nephew just graduated high school and her sister in-law needed a cake for the party. The sister in-law had a unique cake design she was interested in, and my friend recommended me for the job. Basically the cake was two tiered, but split in half, with each side have a different decoration on it.
The one side was to represent his high school graduation. His school colors were maroon and white, and I included a mortar board with tassel, a diploma and a book.
The other side represented him joining the United States Army. The camo design is the newer version the military uses, not the old green and brown splotches of old. I achieved this effect by applying food coloring with Qtips. And of course, no Army cake would be complete with dog tags and the Army logo.
The high school side was chocolate cake and the Army side was a marble cake. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Don't fear the creeper

One of Samantha's classmates had his birthday back in early June, and his Mom asked if I could help out with the cake. She told me she normally makes the cake, but this year he wanted a design that had fondant on it, and she wasn't sure she would be able to make it. Now I should tell you, his theme was Minecraft, which I know nothing about.  Making cakes can sure has opened up my horizons. :) After looking at some cakes online and talking with his Mom as to what the birthday boy wanted, I was ready to dive in. The shape of the cake was based on another cake the birthday boy had picked out. The decorating of the cake was based on the basis of the game itself.
If you don't know Minecraft (like me) this little guy is called a Creeper.  He may look cute, (cause hey, he's made of fondant and how can that be scary, right?)  but apparently he is dangerous and hostile in the world of Minecraft

Here is the cake. I must say it is one of the most interesting shapes I have ever tackled. The cake was marble with a very yummy raspberry filing. I was told by the birthday boy's Mom, that they loved the cake and the birthday boy was thrilled.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gentlemen, start your engines

Earlier this month, my little guy turned 5. Hard to believe that he is 5, but sadly I must accept this fact. For this year's party, he requested a Hot Wheels theme. At first I had no idea what the cake was going to look like. Last year's cake was a Cars theme, and I didn't want to repeat that. After thinking about it awhile, I still had no idea what the cake was going to look like. Some cakes are just like that, I don't get a clear vision of them until I'm actually making them. Thankfully I finally got my act together and was able to make his cake.

Happy 5th Birthday to my little man!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All in the family

My lastest cake tasting was for my brother inlaw Dan and future sister inlaw Melanie. I am looking forward to this cake because of the honor they have bestowed on me to make their special cake.
We had quite the group at this tasting with my inlaws, sister inlaw and Melanie's parents joining the happy couple.
The group got to taste the cake flavors of chocolate, almond, red velvet, lemon poppyseed and vanilla along with buttercream flavors of almond, coffee, vanilla, caramel and chocolate fudge and raspberry fillings.  The bride and groom choose wisely and we came up with a cake design that I can't wait to create.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Set, shoot, score!!!!

And here is the second cake for the brothers. This one is for the youngest brother, Roberto. Mom said he liked hockey and other sports, but I decided to stick with the hockey theme.
Because I did periodic element table tiles for his brother's cake, I choose to use hockey jersey for this one.

A hockey puck border, hockey sticks and stars graced the side of the cake to complete the theme.
The team name on the top of the puck was created to represent their family.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blinded me with science

Back in May, I was asked to make cakes for two brothers. This post is about the oldest brother's cake, Silverio. His Mom told me that he is into science and his favorite color is green. Here is his cake...
I was happy to find that there were elements with the symbol of H, B and S to make the top.
Can't have a science cake without some molecules and periodic table tiles.
And of course you need a beaker containing some sparkling chemical.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Doc is in

If you don't watch Disney, you may not recognize who this cake represents. Thankfully my kids do, and they instantly told me who the cake was. If my kids know what I was going for with a cake, I assumed I did a good job, and that always makes me happy. My neighbor Melissa asked me to make a cake for her daughter's 5th birthday. Madelyn is a big fan of the Disney show Doc McStuffins. I know a little about this show, thanks to my kids, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to recreate the characters in fondant well enough to do justice. So I went a slightly different route to represent the main character of Doc McStuffins.

If you have seen the show, you knows she wears a striped purple shirt, a pink skirt and her doctor's coat. Also she has a magical stethoscope, that brings her stuff animals and toys to life.  This cake was fun to create, and came out exactly how I envisioned it, which also always makes me happy.  Happy 5th birthday Madelyn!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's a brownie, no it's a cookie, no wait...

it's a brookster! Don't worry, I haven't gone off the deep end (yet). This is a real thing created by William-Sonoma. They sell the mix and pan to create the yummy combo of brownie and chocolate chip cookie. I don't have a William-Sonoma store real close by, and didn't feel like paying shipping on something I could create with things I have at home, so I went looking for recipes online. To make a brookster you need a brownie recipe (can be from a box) and a chocolate chip cookie recipe (I used Nestlé's). You will also need a cupcake pan and a little time. First, make you cookie dough and refrigerate for at least a hour. Next, mix up you brownies and scoop them into a prepared cupcake pan. You'll want to fill the pans up only half way, leaving room for the cookie dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. While this is chilling, use a scoop to measure out the cookie dough. Roll into a ball, and then flatten into a disk. Place the disc on top of the brownie mix. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes. Let cool, and then enjoy.

Next time I make these, I might even try topping them with some ice cream and hot fudge sauce to make a sundae, and really blow the old diet!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I like big butts and I can not lie

What I meant is I like big bunny butt cupcakes. I just couldn't resist getting that song stuck in every one's head. Sorry lol. For Easter this year I was going to make a cake I have seen on Pinterest, which was the backside of the Easter bunny. While in the baking aisle of my food store, I decided I should make a cupcake version of the cake instead. So below is exactly how I did it. It was pretty simple, just took a butt load (excuse the pun) of time.
I made vanilla cupcakes and frosted them with some strawberry icing.
Then I covered the icing with shredded coconut to give the illusion of bunny fur.
I made the feet and tail out of marshmallow fondant and attached them to the cupcake with a little bit of icing.
And there you have it.  A bunch of bunny butts.  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I know we did.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shake your bonbon

For Christmas, I received a small sphere silicon  pan. And in February, I finally got to play with it. My first creation were little cheesecake bonbons. Here's how that went.
First I painted the mold with some colored candy melts. You don't want to use too much of the candy melts, as you will then have a thick shell. But on the other hand you want to make sure you paint enough of a shell to hold the filling.
This time around I used a no bake cheesecake mix. I was short on time, and it was just the easiest thing at that moment. I used a 1 ounce scoop to fill my mold.
Then I topped off the bonbon with the graham cracker crust, trying to make a nice level bottom on each one.
Topped off with a little contrasting drizzle of chocolate, and these little guys were good to go. And oh how good they were!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sweet Dreams

One of Samantha's classmates had a sleepover themed birthday party earlier this month. Her mom asked me to make a bed cake with seven little girls in it. She sent over a picture she found online to show me what she was thinking of. I based my cake from that photo and decorated it using the birthday girl's favorite colors of pink, red and teal.
Seven little happy faces all snug as a bug in a rug.
Her Mom said I didn't need to put all the little details that were on the other cake because she was worried they would be a lot of work. But the devil is in the details right. What's a party without cake and popcorn anyway.
And there has to be a teddy bear for sleeping.
The bunny slippers are my absolute favorite thing on this cake.  The bottle of nail polish and make-up I got straight off the invitation.
At least the cat is sleeping because we all know there is very little of that going on at a sleepover party.
The seven girls in the bed represent the birthday girl turning seven.  I know there were a lot more girls at the party, who I'm sure all slept well that night after the fun they had a the party (well, at least Samantha did).