Friday, October 13, 2017

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

It's October, the month of all things pumpkin! Seriously, all of the things are pumpkin. I'm not just talking about pies, donuts, and lattes. They even have pumpkin flavored Oreo's, Cheerios, and gum. Well, you want to know what's not pumpkin?--this cake!

To make this pumpkin shaped (not flavored!) cake, I used this delicious vanilla bundt cake recipe. Be sure to double the recipe if you have two bundt cake pans. I only have one, so this became an all day event while I waited for one cake to bake and cool, and then make another batch of batter before I could finally reuse the pan.

Once both of your cakes are cooled, you will flip one of them upside down. This will be the bottom half of your pumpkin. Spread some frosting on the top (technically bottom) of your upside down cake--this will act as a glue for the top half of your pumpkin. Place the second bundt cake right side up directly on top of the frosting. You should start to see a pumpkin shape now. Cover with orange frosting and stick a small green log shaped piece of fondant on top for the stem. Ta-da!

Bippity Boppity BOO! -- see what I did there?
Now put a glass slipper next to it, because you think you are so clever and might possibly be a huge Disney freak.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Did you know that Boston cream pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts? I suppose that's an easy guess because "Boston" is in the name, but it's a fun fact that I didn't know about until recently. Thanks to my 6 year old for being part of a post card exchange group, I've been researching interesting (and sometimes tasty) facts about Massachusetts.

If you've never heard of a post card exchange group, it's when you mail out 50 post cards and receive one back from each state. It's a fun way to teach geography, learn unique state facts, and if you're like me... another excuse to bake.

To make Boston cream pie cupcakes, you will need your favorite yellow cupcake and pastry cream recipe. If you want to cut corners and use box mix and instant pudding, go for it! However, I do recommend taking the time to make a whipped chocolate ganache. It's not only super easy to make, it's also a lot of fun to say. Say it with me: ganache. See? What did I tell you? Fun!

Once your cupcakes are baked, your pastry cream set, and your chilled ganache is a peanut butter consistency; you are ready to assemble. First, take tip 230 and place it inside a piping bag. Fill the piping bag with your pastry cream and insert the tip approximately half an inch into the cupcake. Give a gentle squeeze, don't squeeze too hard or your cupcake will explode.

If you don't have this tip, no worries. Just cut off the top of the cupcake and hollow out the inside a little bit. Then, take a spoon and scoop some cream inside before re-assembling.

After your cupcakes are filled, you will need to frost them. Whip your ganache until it is fluffy and place it in a plastic bag with the corner snipped off or use a piping bag fitted with tip 1M. Push the frosting towards the hole in the bag, squeezing out any air pockets. Then, pipe the frosting out on top the cupcake in a continuous circle one on top of the other forming a pyramid.

Or you can do like Dexter does and just have at it.

Does your home state have an official dessert?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse Cake

I wasn't exactly planning on celebrating the recent solar eclipse. This will be our first official year homeschooling and I've been super busy planning and organizing. We don't technically begin until September, but what kind of homeschool mom would I be if I let such a momentous day go by without including a little last minute learning (and baking.) 

First, I had to admit my ignorance. I know next to nothing about space, so we watched an episode of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" to jog my memory on what exactly a solar eclipse is.

After that, I searched Pinterest for a craft that we had all the supplies for on hand. We stumbled upon this and it was a fairly simple art project involving coffee filters. 

For our "out of this world" dessert, I was inspired by this cake. First, we baked a chocolate cake and covered it with chocolate buttercream. Then, I took a small Mason jar and placed it on the center of the cake. After that, I gave the kids tiny brushes and let them apply gold and white petal dust around the jar. It got messy fast, but I resisted the urge to take over and they had a lot of fun.

How did you celebrate the eclipse?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Unicorn Cookies and Cupcakes

This year my daughter wanted unicorn-themed treats for her 4th birthday. I was more than happy to deliver because we all need a little magic in our lives, and it's such a fun, whimsical way to celebrate.

Almost too pretty to eat, these unicorn cookies were a blast to make! I made my favorite sugar cookie recipe and used this cookie cutter set. To get that luscious mane and sparkly horn, I used a small star tip and painted on this gold airbrush color.

These adorable unicorn cupcakes are easy to create by sculpting a horn and ears out of gumpaste. Add a rainbow frosting swirl, and you have a truly magical cupcake.

These treats will delight the imagination in any little dreamer. Unicorns may be real after all...well, at least in dessert form.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Superhero Party

Because last year's Peter Pan Party was such a magical success, I was *SUPER* excited to plan this year's theme for my kid's joint birthday party. Thanks to a lot of inspiration and ideas from pinterest, I came up with an amazing DIY superhero party.

When the kid's arrived, they put on capes and masks. I bought packs of men's white T shirts and dyed them blue , yellow, and red. Then, I cut out the the capes and hot glued a velcro fastener around the neck. I made the masks out of felt and elastic. The telephone booth is a washer box painted red.

Everybody created cute little superheroes out of popsicle sticks while we waited for the pizza to arrive.

After lunch, I gathered all the kid's around for web shooting practice. I taped up some pictures of Disney villains for the kid's to take turns spraying with silly string. This was a huge hit!

For decorations, I tried to stick to just 3 colors: blue, red and yellow. I have to give a shout out to my grandfather, who became my personal party planning assistant. He was box cutting out city skylines, cutting strips of tinfoil tape for the windows, blowing up balloons, and hanging streamers. He superhero!

For their birthday cake this year, I wanted to keep it simple and put all my energy into the standing gumpaste figurine toppers. I used this tutorial as a guide to make them. I daringly tried a new vanilla cake and swiss meringue frosting recipe without trying it first and, lucky for me, it was delicious!

This party was action packed and filled with fun! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fake Cake Tutorial

My favorite part about cake decorating is the actual decorating. I do enjoy baking, but sometimes I don't feel like waiting for the oven to preheat, waiting for the cake to bake and then waiting again for it to cool off. With fake cakes I can skip these steps entirely and dive right into the fun part--decorating. 

Fake cakes, also called foam cakes or dummy cakes, are actually pretty common. Not only are they used in bakery display windows and photo shoots, this cake illusion is used a lot at weddings too.

Here's how it works: The "cake" part is actually styrofoam that comes in all different shapes and sizes--and can even be carved. For the frosting, you have few different options; if you want your fake cake to look like a real fondant cake, you can still use fondant over your foam. If you want a buttercream look though, you will need to use royal icing, perma ice, or light-weight spackle. Yup, you read that right: you can use spackle from the hardware store for perfect-looking “buttercream."

As a Certified Wilton Method Instructor, I needed to make a cake display for my local Michael’s (where I teach) to encourage customers to sign up for my classes. I wanted to make a cake that represents some of the techniques you can learn in Course 1: Buttercream Basics, so I decided to make a two-tier Cinderella cake with ruffles and rosettes. To that end, I needed the following supplies: 2 round Styrofoams (one bigger than the other), light-weight spackle, and a "glass slipper."

Fake Cake Blue Print
The first step was to tint my spackle. I used the Wilton Gel Colors to do this, but I heard acrylic paint works too. Next, I attached the styrofoams together using 4 toothpicks stuck in the bottom of the top tier and pushed it into the top of the bottom tier. Then, I applied a thin layer of the tinted spackle to my fake cake. Now I was ready to pipe. I started at the bottom tier using tip 104 to make ruffles. Then I moved on to the top tier, using tip 1M to make the rosettes. When I was done, I put it someplace safe to dry.

This was so fun and easy to make! The hardest part about making this fake cake, was making sure my kids didn't try to sneak a taste of the "frosting."

 “Opinions expressed are my own and do not express the views or opinions of Wilton Brands LLC”.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Princess Cookies and Cupcakes

 My daughter recently turned 3 and my son will soon be 5. I loved putting together their combined birthday party last year, but I really enjoy making their actual birthdays special and full of fun memories. 

When it comes to a few of Addison's favorite things, "princess," "cookies," and "cupcakes" are high on that list. So I decided incorporate all three into some whimsical treats she could enjoy.

These cookies were so much fun to make. I found this
video tutorial  for the snow white cookie and used her instructions as a rough outline to make the other princess dress cookies. 

How clever are these princess cupcakes? To make this enchanted dessert, I googled my favorite Disney princess images and re-sized them before printing. I then laminated and cut them out before hot gluing each image on to a toothpick. Once dry, I stuck them into the frosting. I tried my best to make the frosting color match the color of each princess's dress.

We all had so much fun celebrating Addison's birthday, she definitely got the royal treatment. 

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