Tag Archives: baking adventure

I Made A Fancy Cake!

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know I like to bake. It started as a way to channel stress and has turned into something that I 85% enjoy and 15% use to punish myself. This past week a friend of mine was turning the big 2-6 (insert eye roll) and I wanted to make her a cake to soften the inevitable downhill slide into 30. She isn’t a huge fan of things that are overpoweringly sweet so I had think about a little bit.

I came up with a few ideas, but what I finally decided on was a Buttermilk Vanilla Cake, filled with Lemon Curd & Raspberry Jam, with the whole thing frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. That’s a lot, right? It sounds super complicated, and it might have been initially, but broken down step by step, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t do decorated layer cakes often, but I am staring to see improvement in my frosting and assembling. I’ve gotten a lot faster and picked up some tricks along the way, like chilling my cake in the fridge for half an hour after doing a crumb coat. It’s definitely one of those situations where you’re going to get a little better every time you do it. 
Decoration-wise I knew two things when I started: the cake needed to be that millennial pink and it needed to work around the fantastic pink “happy birthday” topper I found. I started with a sprinkling of crushed freeze-dried raspberries , put the topper in place, and then I just started piling things on. I used fresh roses, fresh raspberries, white chocolate shards, and edible gold stars… and of course, shimmer dust. Gotta have the shimmer dust. Before I knew it, the cake was chilling in the fridge, and I was trying to figure out how to safely get it across town. I think it turned out okay and the birthday girl was floored so I think this definitely goes into the win column. She also loved the flavor combination and really enjoyed that it was something specifically tailored to her. Lots of fun, but I don’t think I’ll be doing another one of these for a while, a few weeks at lease.


Super Simple Cream Biscuits

Don’t worry, guys: I haven’t died; it’s just the end of tax season. Well to be more specific, it was the end of tax season. Now I am sitting here, in what remains of my life after pulling 10-12 hour work days, and trying to find the motivation to start working reconnecting with the rest of the world. Step one, put on glitter shoes; step two, use the internet for something other than Facebook. Before things went completely to hell, I did manage to work in another recipe from my new challenge book. I figured since my first recipe was from the “muffin” section, it only made sense for me to try something from the “biscuit” sections this time around. It’s all about balance, people. Okay, also what I have in the fridge, but you get what I am saying.

I went for the very first recipe in the section, and I was very, very pleased with the results. So was Andy. And Stanley who got up on the stove and ate the top off of a biscuit or two before we caught him. 

Notes:

  • I only have one teeny issue with this recipe: I had to add a splash more of the cream than it called for, since I just couldn’t get the mixture so come together the way it was supposed to. This led to just a bit over-mixing, which the recipe warns you about. I think with a couple more tries, I will have this down perfectly, and I will be able throw together a batch in next to no time. Andy is already counting the days until he can say goodbye to the canned biscuits forever 🙂

Baking Adventures: Rosemary Cupcakes

After a very intense week, I was looking forward to this past weekend quite a bit. I was ready to disconnect for a bit and indulge in something creative. I decided to work on an idea I had a while back, which is coming up with interesting ways to spruce up gluten free cake mixes (there are some really good ones out there these days), sort of like the Cake Mix Doctor recipes, but a bit more pretentious sounding.  I also wanted to include fresh rosemary because I’ve tried in a few sweet applications, and I think it brings something unexpected to the flavor party.

 Just for funsies, I came up with two variations: a Rosemary Olive Oil Cupcake with Blackberry Frosting and a Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cupcake with Whipped Ganache Frosting. I used the King Arthurs Yellow and Chocolate Cake Mixes as my bases, respectively. The Results:

Rosemary Olive Oil Cupcake with Blackberry Frosting – Pretty good. I was a little worried when I tried the cake without the frosting that it was going to be to herbaceous, but the sweet and fruity from the blackberry frosting went a long way to even things out. I think it needed a tart element to really give things some depth. I’d made a blackberry filling for these, but I forgot to fill the cupcakes before I frosted them (Oops). I think it would have done the trick, though.

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cupcake with Whipped Ganache Frosting – A bit disappointing. The cake alone was almost perfect, but when paired with the whipped ganache, the subtle flavors of orange and rosemary were very much overshadowed by CHOCOLATE. I am still rolling this one around in my head; keep the cake and change the frosting? Or Keep the frosting and change up the cake? The frosting was a new 2 ingredient recipe I found online: equal parts chocolate and butter, melt together, allow to set up in the fridge and whip until light and airy. Rich, light and a little prone to melting, but as long as the weather is cool, I will be using it again.

Progress made, but no finished recipes quite yet. I’ll have to get back into the kitchen and give things another go. Although, considering how long it took to clean up the kitchen when I was done, it might be later rather than sooner 🙂

 


I Made A Cake!!!!

Monday I got an email from my husband asking if I would be willing to make this birthday cake for one of his coworkers. My knee jerk reaction was “mmmmm, I don’t think so”, but then he told me it was a surprise birthday cake for the lady who had sweetly sent me my beloved “Baking the World a Better Place” kitchen sign. There was no way I could say “no” to something for the nice lady who gave me presents, right? So I told him I’d try. The rest of the conversation went like this: When did they need it? Wednesday. Next Wednesday? Nope, this Wednesday. Okay then, emergency run to the grocery store it is.

Here’s how things went down.

l1Tuesday night I baked three layers of triple chocolate cake, sandwiched chocolate chocolate chip buttercream between the inner layers, and dirty iced the outside with vanilla buttercream. After all that was done, I placed it carefully in the fridge so it could “set up” over night. l2Tuesday, I made another batch of vanilla buttercream and gave the set cake its final coat of frosting using a icing smoother and the Viva towel method to smooth things out a bit but still maintain the charm of classic buttercream. Then I made my very first drip glaze for the top and side of the cake.  l5There was a minor set back; the Dunkin Donuts near my house was out of pink frosted donuts, plus they had no alternative colors with the required sprinkles. So I bought plain white frosted, took them home, brushed them with a little heavy whipping cream, and dipped them in my own damn sprinkles. That’s right people, I Tim Gunn’ed the thing 😉 l4The rest was really easy. Stack donuts, cookies, and roses, and finish with a handful of sprinkles to tie everything in. Andy was even kind enough to drive me back to his office so I could guarantee that my precious cake baby arrived safely. l3So, will I be taking up cake decorating as a new profession? Probably not, but I did better than I though I would, and Andy said his coworkers were very pleased with the results. I’m gonna chalk it up as a win, and now I have a couple more tools in my baking arsenal.