Monday, February 25, 2013

Baby Shower Cake - "A Star Is Born"

As I have established I like to bake.  I offered to help out for a fun baby shower that was happening.  The theme was "A Star Is Born".  It was on Oscar night.  I was told the colors were: Hot pink, white, silver and black

Here was the inspiration:  

Source: via Ceri on Pinterest

It was fun!!  I took Friday off work so I wouldn't be up all night the night before.  Note to self: DO THIS ALWAYS!!   

The Plan:  I started baking thursday night so the cakes would cool and Friday I could make the fondant and cover it, what I didn't finish Friday  I would do Saturday.    

This is my go to fondant recipe: marshmallow-fondant-macsmoms-butter cream-flavored-variation. Super super easy, and it tastes good too.  

I really like!The host of the party shared the cake idea with me.   Rose linked to this cake blog post 
on cutting ribbon out of fondant:  

Source: via Ceri on Pinterest


Until now, that has been a lost technique on me.  It was super helpful, and made it WAY less scary to try. (I had back up real ribbon in the plan just in case.)

I used 2 boxes yellow cake, 1 box strawberry cake mix.  Don't judge me.  I don't care that it comes in a box.  It's EASY, Hard Mess Up, and Tastes GREAT.... Maybe one day I will try it from scratch. Who am I kidding?? I never will.    I do however "mix" it up.  I follow the box directions but I add a box of instant pudding.  FYI: It makes the mix much thicker when mixing.  I think that it makes the cake dense and so so moist, and adds another level of flavor to it. 

  • Yellow mix got the following changes:  1 box vanilla pudding, and subbed milk for the cup of water. 
  • Strawberry mix:  1/2 bag frozen strawberries.  I pulverized them in their frozen state in my Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor. (I LOVE that thing!) until they were tiny bits.  (it was about 1 half cup.)  I figure that I should remove 1/2 cup liquid, so I subbed 1 cup water with the half cup strawberry mix, and then about 1/2 cup milk.  These are estimates, I am a mix an go kind of cook.  When adding the pudding it makes it so much thicker so you have room to play with.  
After the cakes were all baked and cool, I filled them.  Confession time: I cheat with butter cream frosting.  I go to Albertsons, and buy it from the bakery.  They sell it by the pound.  With the cost of butter, it is about the same, and I do not have to make it.  WIN!!!  

I filled it with layers of  Bavarian Cream (I cheated again and bought it at united grocers, cash & carry ran out of time because of the strawberry mix do over) and strawberry filling that I found via pintrest.
Source: via Ceri on Pinterest

It tastes good and was super easy!  (we will leave out that I burnt the first batch Friday night, and had to make a new one Saturday)   (It was really easy, I just got distracted waiting for it to boil watching American Idol on the DVR)

If you have ever filled a cake before, you may or may not know a trick for keeping it oozing out.  It's called a dam.  You can use that by piping butter cream around the edge.

I wanted a layer of the filling to be strawberry cake A thin layer.  I baked one of the yellow cakes in a spring form cake pan.  The other cakes were done in an 8 inch round cake pan.  I trimmed some of the yellow from the spring form pan, to add a thin layer of yellow in the middle of it.  

This is what it looked like cut:
Anyway, I stacked them up, and dirty iced it.  I need to get better about making them all the same. exact. size, and doing a 2nd layer of icing after the dirty ice has dried.  (I always rush this part and regret it)  From what I read it will help with the lumps I have that annoy me so badly.  

So now, the 2 cakes are baked, iced, and covered in the white fondant I made Friday.  Things are going good!  But.... of course the top was too heavy so I used some of these  Hidden Pillars 4/Pkg-6  from Wilton. ..  First I just put one in.... still sinking.... then I trimmed one so that it opened up like a flower and set the top cake upon my make shift pedestal.

Next I proceeded to make black fondant.  Wow, it took forever, I like the CK Products colors they work really well, but to make black it takes a TON of it.  Luckily I added some raspberry LorAnn flavoring oil.    so it did not taste like food coloring. (I made that mistake before with Red) Using the ribbon cutting method from Rosebakes - how-to-add-ribbons-and-ribbon-borders-to-cake to make the ribbons.  
What I want: Wilton Decorate Smart Fondant Ribbon Cutter Set. What I used: OXO Good Grips Pizza Wheel it works right?? Now I was worried my fondant would stick together so I decided to use my Reynolds Freezer Paper.  This was great for my Kneading, but it STUCK TO THE PAPER SIDE.  So I rolled it back out and cut it again with the freezer paper folded in half so the plastic was on both sides.  (Normally I use parchment paper but i was out)  I was really surprised how easy it was to cut with a pizza cutter and ruler.  Also it helps if your fondant is a little thicker I think.    

Next I worked on the Stars I cut up many.... borrowed some vodka from my neighbor to paint on silver and platinum dust.  Then I made these:
Don't look at the mess! All the freezer paper cuttings, I am a very messy cook....

Edible Glitter!! 1/4 sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of food coloring, baking sheet and 10 mins in oven @ 350

Source: via Ceri on Pinterest

I made the rope stanchions from paper straws, and Twizzlers Pull 'n' Peel.  I dipped them in sugar water, and then rolled them in colored "glitter" sugar I made from this pin:

Just mix a few drops of food color, paste, or gel to regular sugar.  Then bake at 350.  There is a note that the paste colors do smoke.  And they are right, it did but I caught it before it got bad and burnt.  Turned out perfectly! 


Then I rolled out the red hot pink carpet using the same technique above.  (Still worked well)  Not before discovering the HORRORS of making Gum paste!!  My stars from the day before were not drying out well.  Because I was making a wall I wanted to make sure it was going to hold and to dry out.  At first I thought I could half the container.  I planned on making a 50/50 mix of fondant and gum paste.  Maybe that was where I went wrong?  It was bad.  

So I had to mix about half a bag of powdered sugar..... way way more than the 1/3rd cup the instructions called for.  It's amazing I got it off! Hubby had to help, and used a spatula....  well this mess turned in to this

Simi FINISHED PRODUCT! (I added the shooting stars on the wire once I got to the party:


I did not know it was going to be sitting on an island.  My messy ribbon ends and back of the wall were not perfect so I added a bunch of the extra fondant stars to cover it up.

Well there you have it.  My first baby shower cake!  The shower was pintrest perfect!  Super sweet hostess and co-hostess!  I want to go to more of their parties!  Super excited for the Parents to Be and their soon to be Baby KMG!  

Thanks for Reading... :)


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Neapolitan Cupcakes - What I do for the hubby

So last night, I forgot that I was going to bake something for Tim's team potluck at work.  Today is the last day of the old shifts, and although he is keeping his same shift (YEA!) he will have a new supervisor, and a new team of coworkers.  At his job, they do enjoy a good potluck. (they have them kind of often)  I am pretty much known for my Cake Cookies.  (I will get around to sharing them here one of these days) He told me about this a couple weeks ago while we were at Winco.  He said, "and I don't want cake cookies".  Now, I do love them because they are SO simple, and SO good.  Fine I said, what DO you want me to make.  I don't know why I ask him that, I mean really, I am just going to make what I want.  (Don't tell him that though!)  Perhaps, just to get an idea yea, that's it.  So I said, "How about strawberry whoopie pies, with Lemon Filling?"  He agreed and I picked up a box of mix.  

Enter 10:30 PM, last night.  He reminded me that the Potluck is tomorrow morning.  Why do I always wait till the last minute to do these things????? (maybe because I work full time, have a kid, and I am tired?? HA!)  I go to get started (forgot to turn off oven from dinner YES! that will speed things up!) and I find, I am out of Parchment Paper. Uggg! I pull out the  Silpat® Baking Mat and gross it need a good washing.  This is going to take too long. Well, we are no longer making Whoopie Pies...... How about cupcakes with Lemon filling? I ask him.  Do we have brownie mix? He asks back.  Why, yes we do! Along with strawberry cake mix, and yellow cake mix.  And a plan is forming....  Of course I am thinking WOW this is a MIND BLOWING IDEA! How about a Neapolitan cake? Made with Brownie, Strawberry and Yellow cake mix I ask.  He says humm look it up on Pintrest.  If it's any good you will find it there.  Well apparently I am not the only one with this idea bummer.  Can I call it my own?  Maybe.  I did think of it before looking on pintrest right?  I saw several ideas.  I clicked on this one: from SixSistersStuff.  I will say they confirmed my own inspiration.    I give you Neapolitan Cupcakes!! 

I mixed the brownie and Strawberry Cake Mix separately for that part, I followed the instructions on the box.  In the strawberry mix, I added a couple heaping spoon fulls of my home made strawberry jam and decreased the amount of water by 1/3 cup.  I used some liners from Ikea to line the pans.  They were a little tall because they were for one of ika's DRÖMMAR Muffin tin which is a bit taller than a normal pan.  I have not used them before, they were on a cheap sale. Honestly  I -really- like how they baked in them.  They make for a bit larger of a cupcake, nice and tall and don't over flow.  I will be getting some more of them!  I used my Oxo Good Grips® Medium Cookie Scoop and put one scoop of brownie mix on the bottom and 1 scoop of cake mix on the top.  I then baked them in the oven at 350F for about 25 min.  

While the cupcakes were baking I got to work on my frosting.  If you follow me on Pinterest I have a things to bake board, where I have found some pretty tasty recipes. For my sons birthday in October I made one of the "Marshmallow" Frosting recipes for his Ghost cupcakes.  I really like how well the frosting looked, and held up so I went back to the board to find the one I made before. I didn't use the same one which can be found here because it was too much.  This time I made one from Veronica Hurly's blog.  It can be found here   

It was so simple to whip up with my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  You combine 4 egg whites, 1 cup of sugar, heat that on the stove, and then whip it up with 1 tsp vanilla extract.  I then dumped it in a gallon zip lock bag with my  Jumbo icing tip, sniped off the end and iced away. 
24 cupcakes cooling and waiting to be iced!

all iced don't they look tasty!  

 I really like this icing, it allowed me to frost them while they were still a bit warm.  I topped them with some chocolate balls, and sprinkles  and a bit of red sugar crystals. 

I emailed the hubby to see how they went over, he said "One of the people that sits next to me mentioned the cookies. I told her you always make cookies so I asked if you could try something different. She said she likes the cookies :)"  .... ha ha could have gone with the cookies, but I got a 2nd email that said: Cupcakes are a hit. So far still have a bunch left but everyone enjoyed them and commented on how moist, professional looking, how you should make them all the time, yadda yadda....  well there you have it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Bake! Cakes, Cupcakes, and more! It can be for you, maybe?

I make cakes, cup cakes, and cake pops!

(this is a fun song from my childhood!)

OK, so those are not MY cakes, these are:

I have been making cakes because I am crazy for fun for a couple years now.  My husband Tim says I should start selling them.  That FREAKS me out! I do it for fun, and have made them for some friends and family.  It is a TON of work and although fun, not something I see myself doing for profit .    This month, I am making one for a baby shower on the 24th of February for a friend. On that same day, I am also going to donate one via a silent auction to a benefit for a woman have known since Kindergarten.  Her name is Chelsia Rice.  She has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer.  Her friends in Portland, OR are hosting:

 Love Bomb a benefit to help with her expenses.  There will be some pretty rocking music, and a silent auction.  I am donating a baked cake, cupcakes, or cake pops for your party or special event to bid on.  To keep up with her battle on Facebook check out:
You can read her story here: (Warning, it will tick you off to read all of what this amazing woman has had to deal with.)  or here:  
You can get more info on this amazing event by checking out the event page on Facebook here: Love Bomb Facebook Event
If you have ever wanted a cake by me, or a super awesome cake made by creative person and help a person kick cancers ass, check it out!

Have a Batty Valentines Day!

My son is 5 and totally in love with bats.  It all started with batman of course.  He is in his 3rd year of Preschool.  Which means my 3rd year of making Valentines.  He is not a fan of having to write his name 25 times, so we start early.  The first year (he was 3) I was super smart, I bought them, (transformers) and printed his name on labels that he could trace then we had him stick his name on the card. Last year? I had discovered Pintrest!
Here is last years completed cards:

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows!

This year, as the name writing became a PAIN I wanted to do something that he would be excited about.  For his birthday this year my sister sent him the CUTEST bat card she made. So I thought, oh we can use this idea for bat Valentines.
I searched Pintrest, and there was "Valentine, you drive me batty" ideas, but hey he is five, I wanted to keep it sweet and simple. I felt that phrase was a bit above their heads for this age.
here they are in progress:

12 x 12 card stock, I fit 2 to a page then cut them out

25+ bats hanging on pixie sticks!

Well we got them done, the night before of course! Isn't that a requirement for valentines??
Thank's Aunt Tiffany for the idea.  And hope you have a Happy Valentines Day!

PS, I started a blog, because you know everyone else is doing it right???
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