Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shower Flower Cakes

One of my best friend's sister is getting married this June.  She asked if I could create a couple cakes for the bridal shower she was throwing.  Per request, one was chocolate and one vanilla.  The cake design was inspired by the invitation.  All decorations were created by me- flowers were hand-crafted out of fondant.

Stacking the cake...
Vanilla cake with strawberry preserves and strawberry mousse.

Swirlies to compliment the invitation and shower decor.

Devil's Food cake with chocolate ganache and raspberry preserve filling
Crumb coatin'
Looks like Mint Chip!  Idea for next cake?  Maybe so...

- 8 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Over a double boiler, melt chopped chocolate.  Heat cream in a saucepan and gradually whisk into melted chocolate.  Refrigerate until slightly firm.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cheesecake Pops!!

It's official, I am a Daring Baker.  I just completed my first month's challenge: Cheesecake Pops.  Although I had minor difficulties keeping the cheesecake balls on the sticks, they were still enjoyable, with limitless ideas for decorations.  

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

candies, sprinkles, crushed cookies, etc for decorations

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Engagement Extravaganza!!

Congratulations Naomi and Shawn!  
This week's cake, engagement cake!  My good friend asked me to create a cake for her sister's engagement dinner.  Vanilla cake, raspberry buttercream filling, with vanilla buttercream icing.  All of the decorations are made of fondant and were hand-crafted by me =)  Hope they enjoyed it! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD: Carrot Cake

Tuesdays with Dorie: Bill's Big Carrot Cake

This week, I killed 2 birds with one stone- blog group (check!), birthday order (check!).  Although I made a few alterations to Dorie's recipe, this cake is amazing.  Now, I missed the taste test, the best part- boo, but the smell and moistness was incredible!  In my version, I ditched the nuts, raisins, and coconut.  However, I added an 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, mmm delicious.  This cake was incredibly easy to set up and the cream cheese icing adds the perfect touch.

Cinnamon, pineapple, carrot???
yea that's right- delicious!  Well, in the cake at least =)


On its way to gorgeous =)


Time to decorate... my favorite part.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chocolate Cuppies.

Chocolate Cuppies- 3 ways:  Fudge, Cherry, and Peanut Butter

For an order this past Thursday, I created a couple dozen chocolate cupcakes.  I wanted to make different varieties and decided on the trio of chocolate fudge, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate cherry.  The simplicity of their decorations and flavors was a great success!  Even the guests thought they were fake cupcakes on display!  

I baked off one dozen of chocolate cupcakes and one dozen of chocolate-cherry cupcakes, both with mini chocolate chips inside.  The chocolate-cherry cakes contained about 1/4 cup diced Maraschino cherries per half-batch cake mix.  

Chocolate Cherry with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup peanut butter, creamy
Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

The flowers were hand-made out of vanilla fondant.

The results:
I am still excited about peanut butter buttercream.  It was the creamiest and most delicious treat I have created in awhile.  I also loved the sparkle of the sanding sugar on my cherry cuppies.  Who knew such simplicity was so cute?!  I still can't believe the guests thought they were fake!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TWD: Marshmallows!!!

Vanilla & Cinnamon Sugar

What a fun, and surprisingly easy, experiment!!  So delicious.  I am thrilled at the results.  I will definitely create these again and hope to experiment with even more flavors.

1 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4 oz. packets unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract  

Melt-in-your-mouth Cinnamon Sugar and Fresh 'n Fluffy Vanilla.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Birthday Cake Pics!

Some pics from this morning's creation- more info to come!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD: French Lemon-Cream Tart

Possibly the most delicious lemony dessert I have ever made!!  The combination of the buttery crust, creamy filling, and tartness of the fresh lemons is pure excellence.  The pictures do not give it justice in the slightest (excuse the poor photos- bad lighting).  Looks like it's time to invest in a fluted tart pan, but my spring-form pan worked out just as well.  I also sugared some lemon slices for an extra sparkle!  

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from my mom's tree

Whisking Away!  
3/4 cup lemon juice
lemon zest
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs

Is it done yet?  
only 4 more hours to refrigerate...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Celebration Carrot Cake

Sunday was my good friend Jesse's birthday.  At her request, I baked her a delicious carrot cake.  To be honest, this was my first carrot cake from scratch.  I was a little nervous, but the mini cake I baked off with the extra batter tasted fabulous.  I decided to leave out the nuts but throw in a can of crushed pineapple to keep it fresh and moist.  The cake is iced in vanilla bean cream cheese frosting and decorated with hand-made flowers and leaves of fondant.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring Fondant Flowers

What's a girl to do at 11pm after a full shift at the bakery?  Well, decorate more cake of course!
Posted are some vibrant photos of a fondant covered cake I decorated a couple weeks ago.  There are a few cracks where the fondant dried out and a couple ripples where the buttercream layers softened (should have popped it in the freezer for a bit,) but I am still extremely satisfied with the results.  I do not cover cakes with fondant often, but I definitely had fun with this experiment.  Practice makes perfect, right?