Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet Baby Girl...

Okay, here's the baby girl. Isn't she just precious! I think I know 4 or 5 pregnant people right now and every one of them is having a boy. Don't know when I'll ever get to use her, but I do love how she turned out.

Both of these little ones, are made using a silicone mold from First Impressions Molds. They have incredible products and the investment was worth every penny. All the extra details are hand painted or added. The mold only does the naked little baby. But the possibilities are endless.

Don't you just love her little diaper!?!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Precious little one...

Okay... this speaks for itself. I'm ready to do a baby shower cake. Just itching to do a baby shower cake. Is this not the most precious cake topper you ever saw???

This baby is all made of gum paste with a fondant blanket and gum paste bow. I have another little guy drying that I'll show you later. Can't wait to see how that one turns out. Maybe I'll make that one a girl... Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Forget-Me-Knots.... Take 2

You gotta love this...

I'm a member of a cake forum. I'm also a member of the Critique Subgroup on the forum. This is a good thing. Other cake happy people can look at my cakes, critique them, and give me some constructive criticism.

So... Here's the result after taking some advice.


The past three Saturday's I've left my home at 8:30am to drive into South Philly's, Italian Market. There's a fantastic kitchen supply/cooking store called Fante's. In the back of the store, there's a little room where a very talented Debbie Lang, teaches Cake Decorating. I decided to sign up for the Advanced Cake Decorating course to brush up on some of my skills and learn some new ones.

Our final class was today and therefore, our final cake was due. All the prep work had to be done ahead. I piped all my flowers ahead, made the monogram, and the arbor, and also baked, torted, and iced the cake.

This cake has alternating vanilla and chocolate layers with Strawberry filling and it is covered in a dark chocolate buttercream. The flowers are made out of royal icing and the butterflies are made from unbreakable gel.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Steps to a finished cake... Part 3

I spent a little more time on Jessie's 2nd Birthday cake today. The little Mickey heads for the side of the cake are done, the #2 for the side of the top tier is done, and Mickey got a tail. Didn't realize till we put a mirror behind him that this mouse was missing an essential element. Ahhhh, the details....

Anyway, Matt was kind enough to take a photo with a mirror behind Minnie to show off the back of her dress with the nice little bow. At this point, I'm pretty much done with this cake until I bake, ice, and assemble.

And you have to love kids... I asked my 6 year old son what he thought of Mickey.

"It doesn't look like him."

"What!?! Why doesn't it look like Mickey?"

"Because Mickey wears red shorts and he's wearing pink shorts!"


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Steps to a finished cake... Part 2

Okay guys... Here's a completed Minnie. I will probably put a flower in her hands but for now, she's complete. She's got some drying to do. Believe it or not, this little body gave me some trouble. I think it took me 3 tries to get it to where I was happy with it. But hallelujah she is complete!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chocolate Cake and Fresh Strawberries!!!

The first and third Sunday's of the month we have home fellowship with a group from our church. We meet at the home of one of our Asst. Pastors. We get started by eating an enormous amount of food and visiting with each other, then the kids go to the family room and play while the adults spend some time in worship, study, and prayer. After that, we get back to the kitchen for DESSERT!!! It's a really good time and we've had the opportunity to get to know people from our church that we wouldn't ordinarily have had the chance to build any type of relationship.

All that to say that the food comes from everyone in the group. We all volunteer to bring something or other. For tonight, I decided to make a chocolate cake, with a creamy cheesecake filling, and a whipped vanilla topping. Then to make the whole thing pretty and extra tasty, it is covered in sliced fresh strawberries and drizzled with dark chocolate.

Can we have dessert first??? PLEASE!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Steps to a finished cake...

Have you ever considered how much work goes into a custom cake? Not the kind of cake you get at a grocery store, but an honest to goodness custom cake where the recipient is considered in every step. Their likes, personality, and style?

So my niece is turning 2. Her party is scheduled for April 4th, and she LOVES LOVES LOVES Mickey Mouse. She's a girl and girls need a little pink, so I'm doing Mickey and Minnie to make the cake more feminine.

Tonight I started prepping for this cake. It took me 2 hours for these two heads. Crazy huh! But detail is important and I've never sculpted Mickey or Minnie before. I had a print out of about 9 different photos of the two of them at different angles so I could try and get it right.

The step by step on this one should be fun. It will take a little time though so keep checking back on the progress.

Here's what I have so far.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Banana Cream Cake Popcorn Cups

Aren't they cute!!! These are Banana Cupcakes, topped with sliced bananas, banana filling, and topped with a whipped banana topping. Then to make them look like they are my Dad's favorite food, they are placed in molded red chocolate cups with white stripes and topped with shaped and painted marshmallows to look like Pop Corn.

Think of the inside as more like a trifle. It's my creative way of decorating a "cake" and still offering my Dad Banana Cream Pie for his Birthday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I can make this at home???? French Onion Soup and Philly Soft Pretzels.

I was surfing the net this morning and found a couple of recipes I really wanted to try. They aren't necessarily sweets but MAN OH MAN are they good! I just had to share.

First of all. Both of the things I made today are things that I normally buy. One of my favorite things to eat out is French Onion Soup. The simple fact is that I'd never made it and with the whole crock, melted cheese, crusty bread thing... I honesty thought it was too much work. I've been converted. I'll post a photo tonight after dinner. For now... the broth is EXACTLY what I love about eating French Onion Soup at a restaurant.

Okay... I ate 3 bowls of it at dinner. Can we say "portion control"? It was sooo good though. The one thing I hate about eating French Onion Soup at a restaurant is when I get it and it is super salty. This was PERFECT! Even Matt who has NEVER ordered it said "I might be a convert". SCORE!!!

French Onion Soup

* 1/4 cup unsalted butter (I used Land O Lakes Light)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 cups sliced onions
* 1 (10.5 ounce) can chicken broth
* 2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
* 2 tablespoons good red wine (optional but I think it needs it)
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* salt and pepper to taste
* 4 slices French bread
* 4 slices provolone cheese
* Grated Parmesan cheese


1. Melt butter with olive oil in an stock pot on medium heat. Add onions, stir, cover and cook on medium low heat stirring occasionally. You want a translucent yellowing looking onion. Do not brown!
2. Add broth, wine, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oven broiler.
4. Ladle soup into oven safe serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top of each (bread may be broken into pieces if you prefer). Layer each slice of bread with a slice of provolone sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Broil until slightly browned and melted.

NEXT is the Philadelphia soft pretzel. I tried once before to make these from scratch but I had a "flawed" recipe. You know... it wasn't my fault they didn't turn out! (wink wink)

Well, thank you Martha Stewart! I used her recipe (tweaked a little) and I have some YUMMY in my tummy fresh from the oven soft pretzels. Now before I go any further, my favorite part of a soft pretzel is the knot. So... my soft pretzels are miniature versions. In essence, the whole thing is a knot. Gotta love that!

Soft Pretzels

- 2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- Coarse or pretzel salt
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1. Pour warm water into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook*. In a small bowl, combine water and 1 tablespoon sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.

3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (parchment paper, ungreased, also works). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each) or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.

5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into a 9-10 inch strip. [I find the pretzels much easier to roll on an unfloured board, oddly enough, but see what works for you.] Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.

7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Want to know how to bake a moist delicious cake without baking from scratch???

I'll bet you do!!! And I'll be happy to share how easy it really is!

To doctor a cake mix so that you can create your own moist, melt in your mouth, delicious confection, all you need is...

1 cake mix (flavor of your choice)
1 package of pudding (If using chocolate cake, use chocolate. If using yellow cake, use vanilla)
1 cup of sour cream
3/4 - 1 cup of water (See how much your original recipe calls for and then drop it by 1/3 - 1/4 of a cup)
1/2 cup of oil
4 eggs

Mix according to the directions on the box and bake according to the box. Remember... if you have a little (just a little) cake sticking to your toothpick when you test to see if it is done, that is OKAY!!! Your cake will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven.

Is it worth the extra's? ABSOLUTLEY!!! I promise, you'll get compliments on that cake!

Banana Cream Cupcakes

My Dad's Birthday is March 9th. He loves banana cream pie but that's not really something I can decorate so I'm creating a banana cream cake for him. I wanted to come up with a really moist, melt in your mouth, banana cake recipe that I can use for his Birthday. So today is my day to test this recipe.
I tweaked my usual vanilla cake to come up with this moist and banalicious cupcake! It's topped with a very light whipped icing.

As usual, my husband is my taste tester. Thanks Matt!!! We've got a winner!