Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heavenly Cradle Cake

I'm telling you...I see all your FABULOUS how to's and the pictures of your ideas and, and, and....there is just not enough time.  So I bookmark them.  Every once in a while I have the opportunity to pull up one of those favorites and try it.  But not before I'm seeing it in my on paper...and while I'm driving (not literally).   Before I show you my twist on something already done by others (and done perfectly, I might add), you need to check out some inspirations like this cute, cute baby with blanket cupcake  from  My Cake School  and then maybe you want to look HERE for a crib pattern.  My little cake only needed a wee little cradle...that rocks....with a baby and blanket inside....and sitting on a cloud.  It was in my head!

This is my interpretation: 

Our daughter is a L & D (labor and delivery nurse...not that you needed to know, except then you would wonder what the L D initials on the cradle  meant...maybe you would think she has a baby named Leslie Denise. or something like that) and I just thought that being in L& D was occasion enough to try out the patterns...the ones I had seen and the one they became in my head...

Cradles hold little gifts from God...
God lives in heaven...
I can't make God or Heaven....
But I can make a cloud for the cradle to rest on!

So what did my labor and delivery nurse-daughter do? 
Take a picture on her phone and posted on FB!

This was not my first.
My first cradle is baby-less.
I couldn't keep my hands off of it.
It was just too cute.
It was all open lattice work.
I must say...It was constructed and repaired several times.


Now, here it sits...all alone...waiting for "THE BOX".
Talk about a professional pattern.........I copied in class on a scrap piece of parchment paper.  I found the pattern on line....once ( I have really looked).  Sorry I can't give original credit.  BUT the pattern below was given at a Wilton Class. 

The cradle on the cake was made with a solid royal icing head, foot board and bottom with the "lattice" sides. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed seeing the cradle. I hadn't seen any lately. Maybe you've made some. PLEEZE share. I'd love to see them!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Petit Four Journey....Attempt #1

As the title reflects...I have ventured off into the unknown and certainly into a very unfamiliar abyss.  I have made my first petit fours.  I will continue my quest for them.  They are just such cute confections.  Well, some people make such cute confections.  Mine are...well...made with love.  See?

And I'm a glutton for punishment, so here's a close up....
And just because I could, here's some more that are done in white...

After looking at SEVERAL U-Tubes on the topic, I found that temperature is a big deal.   Heating glaze over a hot water bath and coming to 100 degrees and no more that 130 is essential to keep the shine.  Guess I went over on the blue and just right on the white, huh?  Without even knowing.  Hate it when I find out something AFTER the fact.  My flowers are from my Wilton classes.  I still have plenty :)

Also learned that many use pound cake, cut 1 - 2 inch squares, placed on their sides and then cut with a round or square cutter to make pretty cutouts with no brown crusts...unlike mine, which have a wee bit of brown character.  Some freeze their cakes and then cut.    Maybe next time.  These were made in a Wilton's petit four pan.  I  saw some baked in silicon on videos.  Great idea (they don't brown very much) SOoOoO Maybe...but I just bought these.  So guess I can try again and watch for color?  Or just buy the pound cake.  We'll see.  I think they are so dainty looking; but I have some more practicing to do.

I will end with the taste....they were delish!  Some say too sweet on the blog posts, but...they are glazed with sugar....go figure!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The One-Bite Mini's

Hi!    I am just a regular everyday baker, who sometimes hits the mark and other times misses terribly. and psst......some days I don't even bake.   I am willing to share even my disasters because maybe that will save you from making the same errors.... or  add some laughter to your life (not because I am funny, but because some of the errors might be "unbelieveable")  Interpreted:  YOU would NOT do it that way....  But everything is not a disaster and while I am not a mega blogger (those people are SO inspiring) I think I can share that "in-between" stage....not a beginner and certainly not a professional....yet.  Guess I am a LEARNER (willing to share).

I made some mini cupcakes to take to work today.  All are butter cakes with a variety of buttercream icings:  chocolate (with sugar rose buds), wedding mint, orange, lemon, coconut and blueberry.

I transported in muffin  pans, but I really did serve them in a baker's box-they didn't need to be left out for two days, but the "window" on the big box let everyone see the little cakes.  I find that my cake tote does not have deep enough cups to keep them from falling back into muffin/cupcake pans-- mini and regular to travel any distance.  It's like a safety belt for cupcakes :) 

It was our first day back.  This is my 28th "first"day back. seems EVERYONE is on Weight Watchers.  And it is a really good thing to do...many are successful. I WAS one of them...for a while.... But almost no one wants cakes and pies (sniff, sniff) anymore.  And just when I'm getting better at it, too (sad face).  But a small bite is sometimes a very good thing.  You get a taste of sugar, but not too much.  The trick is......eating just one.  So take them to a crowd.  And when the dust clears you'll be lucky to have one left.  So that's why you sample before.  SMART IDEA! 

HEY!  Guess what?  Someone is giving away some really sweet cupcake tins and coordinating plates and cups!!! Isn't that great?  I want, want, want it to be me.  Pleeze, (hands raised and jumping up and down--you know...the annoying student in the class)  pick me....(eyelashes now fluttering and sweet with  a winning smile).  See, I settled down. The contest is <sigh> all over and no prize for me...but you can still check out her blog  HERE at Cake Journal.....but don't forget me....ok?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Orange Cake Update

Special Louisiana guests have come and gone. Grill is cool and deck fans are now off (helped, but was still HOT), and dishes are put up. A rare nap DID take place...and now here I am...with you...and I am happy to report

What is that saying? 
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
Well, I sure am glad because that would be a lot of typing! I promised

Orange Cake

One box Pillsbury Classic White Cake Mix
3 whole eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small package sugar-free orange jello

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients until moistened and beat about 2 more minutes at medium speed until smooth. Prepare pans, pour in and bake.  I used an 8x3 inch round pan and baked about 37 minutes.  Make SURE cake is completely done, but not overdone (ovens vary).  Cool cake in pan at least 12 - 15 minutes then turn out on cake rack to completely cool before torting into two layers.  I filled with a pineapple filling (I gave another link that has a custard base on the last post).  Then cover with a pinapple orange cream cheese frosting.  I added a tablespoon of orange concentrate and 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice to my favorite cream cheese frosting.  You can find a classic cream cheese recipe at Martha Stewart's site.  Decorate as you wish or not and just ENJOY!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My SUMMER IS coming to a close (sniff, sniff)

Not long ago, I visited with my Mom at the nursing center and she asked if I would bake her a yellow cake...with banana filling....and a rose....sooooo,  I looked in the fridge at all my little containers of buttercream  and here it is...Mom's yellow cake with one of the last of my large roses and...can you tell, I had a lot of yellow BC? feels good to empty that container of BC. My husband is already looking through the classifieds for used refrigerators! yeah! 

Know your color wheel and you can mix left over BC's to make some really cool colors----like the pink and yellow makes peach here.  Yes, for many people this is just understood, but I'm always seeing something for the first time, so like I said yellow and pink make peach :)

I loaded the yellow buttercream I had on hand in on one side of the piping bag  and put the peach  on the other side.

Reverse swirls were made with tip 21 CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO LINK  for lots of #21's.  You can even purchase tips on EBay.  Click HERE to go to EBAY...but come back :)   Check them might even find a whole set.  Wow, maybe I should go there now.

Anyway for these swirls I just made question marks forwards and backwards----and as you can see, I was talking and not concentrating on their directions, but my Momma loves me.  You just have to do it and not think too hard...but concentrating on direction, well, that's kind of important! As a disclaimer----I am STILL practicing myself.  See?  You don't have to ALWAYS make everything perfect, but you DO have to enjoy what you're doing.  And remember....some mistakes taste mighty good!

Cooked fillings  keep for a little while, but are best fresh and are really pretty tasty like this banana cream filling recipe HERE at Cake Central. 

I have also made variegated color shells and flowers by striping my piping bag with a different color-directly from the jar (be careful not to get any icing  or anything else for that matter on your brush-don't ask questions...just don't do it, or your color will not be happy with you) and loading with a complimentary colored buttercream that I already had on hand. This makes pretty flowers as well!

....peach BC with a strip of Wilton Yellow down the inside of the bag on one side and a strip of N0-Taste Red on the opposite side...and when you reposition the bag you get a different variation.

Speaking of flowers, like I said, I'm running a bit low on my rose stash and time. Besides that, this cake
is an ORANGE  cake with cooked pineapple custard filling.  An altered white cake with orange jello added to the batter---just one small box---sugar free, even.  So that makes this a diet cake?  emmmm, right..... sure.... works for me.  And I substituted 1/3 buttermilk for part of the water (head down,  yes,  I confess...shhh... it's a box mix) But I did re-birth it with my own touches.  And That DOES count!  Anyway this is another "trial" cake.  First timer.  Let you know how it turns out later...unless, of course...everyone hates it....then, I will cry.  But, hey, experiments do sometimes work and sometimes not. 

The icing is on trial as well.  Will let you know the verdict later.

Boy, I'm really experimenting on these folks coming to visit.  What are friends for, except to tell you that you are absolutely brilliant or ask you what you were thinking?    Instead of roses this time, I thought I'd put some orange slices on top.  They say, "Psst....hey I'm sitting on an orange cake" or something like that.  Didn't have any dried pineapples or cute ideas to add the pineapples to the top.  Thought about the filling on top, but just didn't do it.  The flower idea just stuck with me and I kept it pretty simple.  Maybe I'll add a leaf before they arrive....and maybe this is just as the saying goes, "Stick a fork in me and call me done."

 Well, I enjoyed visiting with you.  And I look forward to meeting you some the blog, of course.

(and I plan need to make left over BC  roses...later....)

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Cake for....a Man?

Do you have a great that encourages you and thinks you are pretty alright?  I think I have that!  When my grandson requested a white chocolate cake with strawberry filling and icing, I thought "He wants that for his sweetheart"  and I made a very tastey and very pink cake.  They LOVED it.  But his Dad (one of our son in laws) asked for a cake, Italian Cream.  So as of yesterday, it's been baked and iced.  What's the difference between "frosted" and "iced" anyway?   Oh, well, back to S.I.L.  He has his own business, has been swamped and did NOT come to pick it up yesterday...bummer!
So into the freezer it went.  Now, it WAS a regular, plain this

Until I started procrastinating a few important jobs that I need to do clean the floors, fold clothes and a little something like pay bills....okay, I hear ya.  (head down and exhaling LOUDLY)  I'll get to it next thing.  Really, I will.  I promise.  I don't owe you do I? 

It  all started because I was cleaning the counter tops and saw my class daffadils.  Those sure would look great on a cake.  Well, ok,  not "great" but maybe "nice"?  Gee, I only had two.  So why not stop what I'm doing and make.....say.... five more? (I still have two) The cake came out of the freezer and the piping tips just flew into my hands and...just let me show you

Maybe he will still like it....if he, today.  How long can you keep a decorated cake in the freezer?  I may find out :)  Right now it's just chillin' but not back in the freezer...yet,  and waiting patiently to be gobbled up...

You still love me....don't you?  It has grass, that's manly, don't ya think?

Cake has gone to its new home, taste testers loved it...very moist and coconut-y.  You have to really love the coconut for this one.
But more especially my son-in-law gave me a big hug.  And the flowers on a guy cake?  Well, he seemed impressed that I made them....for him....on his otherwise regular Italian Cream Cake.  Wonder how many more times I can do this?  Okay, bye for now and happy baking :)

oops!  One more question...How do you decorate your man-cakes?