Monday, November 9, 2009

Wizard of Oz Cake

My mother's birthday is tomorrow, and I promised her a cake. She LOVES The Wizard of Oz, so I decided to go with that. Back to working with fondant and modeling chocolate, I felt much more at home than when I was working with buttercream.

Wizard of Oz Cake

I did not use any new recipes for this cake. I did make a few changes to some of the recipes, but those will be listed below. It is a banana cake with vanilla cream filling, white chocolate fondant, and white modeling chocolate details (shoes and poppies). I put sliced bananas and strawberries between the layers.

I also used luster dust from Wilton to make the shoes and Emerald City sparkle. I think it added a nice touch.


Banana Cake
Vanilla Cream Filling - I added 1/2 cup of butter, softened, to thicken the filling.
White Chocolate Fondant - I used imitation banana extract instead of vanilla extract to give it a slight banana taste.
White Modeling Chocolate

Apple Cake: Last Course 1 Wilton Cake

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I did not particularly enjoy my first cake class because my teacher was a bit of a pill. She didn't really follow the rules the way I wanted her to, and I just didn't get along with her overall. Disappointing, but whatever.

I learned that I'm not a huge fan of working with buttercream and that I hate working with someone looking over my shoulder. I also realized that I do not work well when I only have two hours to do something. My final cake looks okay, I suppose...I wouldn't sell it, and I am sure I could do better. It doesn't really matter, though, right? It just got turned into cake bites for Walter's office.

This is the cake in all its amateur goodness. I was the only one who didn't bring pink/red for the roses. I got scolded for this.

Here are some of my better roses. They're still not great, but apparently the teacher was telling me to hold my piping bag incorrectly. Thanks, Teach.

Here is a rosebud. They were easy to make. I guess I made mine wrong, though. I got scolded because apparently you HAVE to have an odd number of buds on the cake. YOU HAVE TO. I don't know. I just added another bud and shut my mouth.

Here is the fluting done on the borders. My border was a little more white than my cake because I iced my cake with cream cheese frosting. I got scolded for that, too.

On another note, did you know that if you bake a cake, you can still eat it if you're diabetic because all of the sugar bakes out of it?! Yeah, neither did I. My teacher is full of knowledge.


Apple Cake

I made an this Apple Cake recipe from Foodie Two Shoes (I love that blog name, btw). I used the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting from her blog as well, and it was all to die for. The cake tasted like apple crisp, and the frosting was heavenly. It was fantastic.

-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
(For these two ingredients, I used 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice)
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-2 cups packed light-brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, two coarsely grated and two diced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 by 13 inch sheet cake pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs until well combined. Fold in grated and diced apples. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a pick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for twenty minutes in pans, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

As I said before, this frosting was heavenly. It was the perfect compliment for this cake.

-2 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
-1 stick unsalted butter, softened
-1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar until mixture is desired thickness. Stir in vanilla extract.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bananas Foster Cake Bites

Some friends of ours (the ones who ordered the Half-Life Cake back in June) had a fake Halloween wedding. They wanted lots and lots of cake bites. In fact, they ordered 200: 100 chocolate with chocolate buttercream, 50 red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and 50 bananas foster with almond buttercream. And so, last week I went to work. I was sick the beginning of the week and missed the third Wilton cake class, but I only really missed making the ugly little clowns, so not a big loss. Besides, I am not impressed with the teacher.

Anyway, Katie wanted the cake bites to be pretty, not Halloweeny, so I made them normal looking. Then, I sent the extras to work with Walter, and THOSE were full of Halloween goodness. Pumpkins and eyeballs galore.

By the way, I was a cupcake for Halloween. Walter was Charlie Brown in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" In addition to the ghost costume with extra eye-holes, he had a Charlie Brown shirt on underneath:

Bananas Foster Cake

This cake was sooo good. I found the recipe here at Erin's Food Files. I loved her video on the flambeeing, but I hoped my experience would be more fun.

It wasn't. It was disappointing. Very few flames and no fun. Tasty, though, which I suppose is really what matters...

This was also my first time buying alcohol. I turned 21 last month. I am such a grown up. :P

For the Bananas Foster
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-2 ripe, but still firm bananas quartered (halved crosswise, then lengthwise)
-2 tablespoons dark rum
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did use some whole wheat flour)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-3 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon dark rum
-Prepared bananas foster
-3/4 cup sour cream

For the Bananas Foster:
1. In a saute pan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until butter melts and sugar is dissolved (4 to 5 minutes). Add the banana slices and cook until tender, turning once for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
2. Stir together rum and vanilla. Turn off the burner and add the rum mixture to the pan.
3. Using a long match, light the alcohol by placing the flame just in the outer edge of the pan. Stand as far back as possible. The flame should extingish in a few seconds. There will not be nearly as many flames as you expect. Gently shake the pan from side to side to coat the bananas with the sauce. Spoon the bananas into a bowl and set aside.

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add eggs, vanilla, rum and banana to butter mixture. Mix well.
5. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Blend thoroughly but do not overmix.
6. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Almond Buttercream

This was a very smooth buttercream, and the almond went so well with the bananas foster. I found it here at Bake Space.

-1/2 cup butter, softened
-4 1/2 cups confectioners' Sugar
-3/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon Almond extract
-6-7 Tablespoons Milk

1. Cream butter until fluffy. Add other ingredients gradually, mixing until desired consistency.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spicy Bacon Chili

I am starting to really love chili. It's a lot of fun to experiment with different things, and since my cake class is at 6:30 on Tuesdays, it is much easier to make a slow-cooker chili in the morning than to worry about dinner in the evening.

Spicy Bacon Chili

This recipe is spicy, but not overly so, and I LOVE the subtle bacon flavor. It's definitely VERY subtle, but I think it adds depth to the chili that is fantastic.

-1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 Tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon (Hormel makes crumbled bacon pieces that work great)
-2 Tablespoons minced garlic
-1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
-1 15.5-ounce can chili beans in sauce
-1 7.76-ounce can medium homestyle Mexican salsa
-1 4-ounce can chopped green chilis
-3 Tablespoons Cumin
-1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-6 Tablespoons chili powder
-1 Tablespoon bacon salt
-1 Tablespoon Dean Jacobs Garlic and Tex-Mex Spices (garlic, paprika, cumin, white pepper, onion, oregano, and thyme)
-1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash Southwestern Chipotle Seasoning

1. Brown ground beef with chopped onions.
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.

Pink Lemonade Cake (Wilton Course 1 Cake 1)

So, I started the Wilton Course 1 classes last week, on my birthday. So far, I am not sure I enjoy it.

My teacher is 73 years old and claims she has been decorating cakes for 50 years. That is great, but she is very sure that everything SHE thinks about cakes is correct. She also thinks she taught us things that she never mentioned. Nobody in the class (there are seven of us) is incredibly pleased with her.

She also believes in changing the rules some. We learned how to make the roses completely on the first night. I came to the first cake class expecting to make a cake with a star tip image on it, like I've seen from others who have taken the classes. Instead, we made a random practice cake using different designs that didn't look cohesive at all. I got scolded for bringing colored icing even though she told us it could be colored the week before. She scolds people if they add flavoring to the icing (I did it anyway. She didn't taste it, so she didn't know). We had a discussion about fondant, and she told me that the only fondant that is worth using is Wilton fondant, and that it tastes best (maybe just because she is doing a Wilton class, she has to promote Wilton products).

Overall, I think I am going to get what I want out of the class. She's a good teacher, albeit a bit too opinionated. But I think that when my cousin and I take Course 2, we are going to see about getting a different teacher.

Here are a couple shots of the cake:

I did pink icing because I was going to make a breast cancer awareness ribbon on my cake, since I assumed she'd follow what most people do in the classes. Note my kind of squiggly shell border.

A close up of my best rose. I am quite pleased with this one. Most of them turn out kind of funny, but this one is kind of pretty. It also has a few leaves from practicing with the leaf tip (which is really easy).

A close up of the circle of practicing the star tip. I really enjoy using the star tip, but she doesn't seem to think it's very important, so we didn't focus on it much.

I made a pink lemonade cake, inspired by the Deen Brother's recipe, but instead of white cake mix, I used this white cake recipe. I added some pink food coloring to get a nice, bright pink color. I didn't use the Deen icing recipe; instead, I used the Wilton Class Recipe with lemon flavoring.

After the class, I tore the cake up and made breast cancer awareness cake bites to send to work with Walter:

Pink Lemonade Cake

-1 recipe Classic White Cake
-3 tabl
espoons pink lemonade drink powder
-1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. Add pink lemonade powder and lemon zest to dry ingredients in white cake recipe. Make white cake according to recipe.
3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack until completely cooled.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zebra Cake

My fourteen year old cousin and I have always been very close. He came to stay with us this past weekend, and he asked me to make him a "zebra cake." I wasn't sure what that meant, but I did my best, and he did enjoy the results.

I used this recipe from Food Network for the cake, and I added one box of vanilla pudding to half of the batter and one box of chocolate pudding to the other half, then I swirled them together in the pans. I used these recipes for the buttercream-- with 1/4 cup cocoa powder added to 1/2 of the recipe--and the modeling chocolate (for the zebra). I used marshmallow fondant to cover the cake and for the cake's details.

Classic White Cake

This cake was just the right texture. It wasn't too crumbly for decorating like some recipes are.

-12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-6 large egg whites
-3/4 cup milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract.
5. Alternately add flour mixture and egg white mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
6. Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
7. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

The pumpkin shortage is finally over here in Missouri. I picked up four cans of pumpkin, just in case. That should hold me over until fall baking is through. ;)

Also, I was going to get a new camera this week, but the one I want is not actually out yet. When I do get it, I am hoping that my photos will be much better. :)

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I saw these cookies here at Erin's Food Files, I knew I had to make them. I LOVE butterscotch chips, and while I don't like the taste of pumpkin in some things, it was not overwhelming in these cookies. They also had a fantastic, chewy texture that I adored. Another thing I loved about this recipe was that it made five dozen cookies, meaning I only had to double it to make enough for Walter's office (I usually have to triple or even quadruple recipes).

-1 cup butter, softened
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup light brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1 cup chocolate chips
-1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, to butter mixture, beating well after each. Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix well.
5. Add flour mixture to batter in thirds and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate and butterscotch chips. Chill batter if desired (I chilled mine for about twenty minutes, and it made it much easier to work with).
6. Drop batter by large Tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.