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Saturday, June 30, 2007

3 Down...1 To Go!


Since February of this year, I have been taking the Wilton Method classes for Cake Decorating at a couple of my local craft stores.

I recently just finished Course 3 Fondant.

Can I just say how much I love working with Fondant?

It's like playdough. And as a mom, playdough is something I excel at!

So at any rate, on Wednesday I had my last class of this course.

We were supposed to do a lot of the prep work at home for our final cake and then acutally do the final decorating in class. The day before I followed my instructions to a tee. I made all my fondant flowers and colored my lollipop sticks. (I had to color them because the store only had white...and I needed green.) Total prep time: 1 hour

On Wednesday I got up, got the boys up and began making my cakes. Since I was doing a 10" and an 8" I figured it would be a breeze. Until I reread the directions. I needed 2 layers of each. The problem....only one pan of each. So it literally took me 3 hours to make the cakes. I just wasn't comfortable putting two different size pans in the oven at once, I wanted them to bake correctly.

After they were baked and cooled I made my filling (raspberry whipped cream). I must say the VERY first time I have ever made any kind of whipped cream and I can't believe just how simple it really is. I leveled my cakes, and filled them and was ready for the fondant.

In the second class I made a square cake, and these ones were round. So I was a little nervous in putting my fondant on, but realized I had no reason to be. Putting fondant on a round cake is so simple! I put my fondant and let me tell you it was gorgeous! It was absoulutely perfect. Not one rip or tear or bubble, just simply perfect.

Now, for the stacking, also the very first time I was going to do a stacked construction. After reading the instructions for what seems like 12 times I sailed through it without a hitch. Now after a total of 6 1/2 hours of work and labor my cake was finally ready for class.

I live a total of 6 minutes away from the store. That 6 minutes felt like 26. The very last corner that I needed to turn, I think I took it a little too fast and the cake slid across the seat and hit the FLOOR!

I just couldn't believe it. Only minor damage that I was able to repair somewhat but my gorgeous, perfect fondant was no more. Oh well, live and let learn right?

I did manage to get it to class and do my final decorations and I was happy with how it came out. All in all, I had a total of 8 1/2 hours of my time into this cake. Now I understand why cakes in a bakery are such high prices. You don't pay for the materials, you pay for their time!

So now I am on to the next course, and the very last course in the Wilton series. Fondant & Gum Paste. At least I have a week off before it starts!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Summer Birthday!

Today is my brother Matt's 26th Birthday!

To celebrate he told me he would like to come over our house for Thai food and cake! Thai Food is being delivered via take-out from The King & I and the cake...well of course I volunteered to make the cake!

After looking for ideas and debating over what to do for his cake, I went with his tried and true favorite.
Box cake and fresh strawberries.

Of course, I had to do my take on it.

I made a French Vanilla Flavored Cake with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Fresh Homegrown Strawberries chopped in for the filling. For the icing I went with plain old Vanilla Buttercream.

I planned on putting Fresh Homegrown Strawberries on top but did not plan on a very humid day.

At first I put all the washed strawberries on top with the leaves and stems attached. Wouldn't you know it I didn't like the way it looked so I took them all off, cut the leaves and stems off and reattached all the strawberries cut side down. It looked much better but now I had an even bigger problem.
Because it is so hot and humid today the strawberries keep juicing and dripping. So I have strawberry juice just dripping down the side of the cake. I put it in the fridge to hopefully combat that...

Oh yeah, and I also placed a band of sliced strawberries around the base instead of piping a border. Regardless, I am sure he will like it!

And at any rate....

Happy Birthday Matt! You always were and will be my favorite brother!

(Okay, okay...I know you are the only one but still my thoughts and sentiments have to count for something!)

***** Update: We just ate the cake and OH MY GOD!!! It tasted like Strawberry Shortcake but with Buttercream. I think next time I would make homemade whipped cream instead of the buttercream but it was to die for!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's The First Day of Summer!


And what better way to mark the occasion then by baking some Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.

Okay so that is two fold...my real purpose was to try out the new recipe as a sample at the Rochester Public Market this weekend.
I found the recipe over at http://www.cupcakefun.com/ and have been meaning to try it for quite some time. At any rate I finally had all the ingredients so I thought let's celebrate Summer! (And coincidentally my 4th Wedding Anniversary).

At any rate, I really love these cupcakes. So incredibly moist and so "lemony" without being overpowering and mouth-puckering. I have tweaked the recipe somewhat to make it easier and more accurate. My biggest complaint is I was expecting a more "pink" cupcake! But when you pour the pink colored sugar into the wrappers and then the batter over that, it bakes looking like a layer. You get a thin pink layer (of sugar crystals) then the yellow batter. Next time, I won't bother tinting the icing pink and just do all yellow (I like the way the yellow ones look better than the pink.)

I thought the frosting upon initially tasting it was a little too sweet so even though my icing was not dry I added about 2 teaspoons more of lemon juice and it came out MUCH better!

In the grocery store last night the only really cute candy center I could find were these Pink Grapefruit Sour Jelly Candies and they were PERFECT on top!

The only other bad thing I could say about these cupcakes is the icing was WAY too soft to pipe a Tip 1M Rosette. So I just scraped it off and frosted them normally. Then when I was cleaning out my tip I noticed a little lemon rind clogging, so that might have been another reason why my rosettes were not looking well. But typically a medium consistency should be used for rosettes and this was definetly thin!

The recipe calls to put 1 teaspoon of the pink sugar in the bottom of the pan sprayed with cooking spray...I had no idea what they were talking about. When I looked at the pictures these were defintely made in a wrapper, with nothing heart about the pan..so I just spritzed a little, and I do mean a little of the wrappers with PAM and then just lightly coated the wrapper with the sugar. I think 1 teaspoon in each wrapper would be way too much!



It also says it makes 18 cupcakes...I got 24 and probably could have gotten another 2 or 3 additional.

Other than that, look for these at the Rochester Public Market soon! Because they are definetly a HIT!

Enjoy!


Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes:

Ingredients
12 teaspoons pink colored sugar
1 package white cake mix
Water (amount based on cake mix instructions)
3/4 cup thawed frozen pink lemonade mix (undiluted)
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon peel

Yield: Makes about 18 standard cupcakes.
Directions
Preheat oven 350°F.
Spray pan with vegetable pan spray; sprinkle 1 teaspoon colored sugar into each heart shape in the pan.
Add water to pink lemonade mix to total amount of water called for on cake mix package directions.
Follow cake mix package directions to prepare cake, adding chopped lemon peel.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

Lemon Buttercream Icing

Ingredients
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
Additional lemon juice or milk
Yield: Makes about 3 cups icing.
Directions
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add Lemon juice and zest; beat well.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
When all sugar has been mixed in, if icing is dry, add additional juice or milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Re-whip before using.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Becoming Part Of A Community...

The world famous Leftover Queen has created a wonderful way for all us foodies to develop a "blogging community".

It's called the Blogroll and it is a connection to a ton of Foodie Blogs.

It's an awesome idea, and I am honored to be a part of all the listings.

Check out the sidebar for the link...if you have a Foodie Blog, contact The Leftover Queen to join and become a part of it!

And don't forget to check out some of the other wonderful food and baking blogs on the blogroll!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Dessert....oh my!


The Answer:


Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Pie!


The Question:


What are my husband's two favorite desserts?


So what better way to honor him with a special dessert on Father's Day than to find a recipe that includes both of those in one?


This Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie did just that!


I don't even know where to begin...should I start at the top and make my way down?


The crispy cold chocolate?


The delicious dense filling of peanut butter that wasn't saturated with peanut flavor.


Or the chewy chocolate chip cookie crust?


Or the fact that I made my husband take the remainder of the pie with him to work, because I don't need to eat another 9 points in just one slice and ruin my diet?


What a wonderful dessert and a wonderful combination (and this is saying a lot from me because during my pregnancy peanut butter was one food I couldn't even smell without being nauseous and since that time I haven't wanted any).


Apparently, it was featured at the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1998! The only gripe I had with it, is once the chocolate sets it makes it hard to cut without snapping the chocolate and squishing the slice.


But it was truly divine!


Maybe you will even see this as a "special" dessert at Cake Crazed (at the Rochester Public Market, of course!)


Enjoy!


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie


Prep Time: 15 min ; Start to Finish: 1 hr 50 min

Makes: 16 servings


Ingredients:

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create 'n Bake® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies with walnuts

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup water

1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

16 pecan halves, if desired


1 . Heat oven to 350°F. In bottom of ungreased 10- or 9-inch springform pan, break up cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.

2 . In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and water until well blended. (If necessary, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is smooth.) Drop spoonfuls of mixture over baked cookie crust; press evenly to cover crust.

3 . Spread melted chocolate chips over peanut butter mixture. If desired, carefully swirl chocolate with fork. Garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set.

Let's Start At The Very Beginning...


Welcome to Cake Crazed!


First off a little about me...


Cake Crazed is a venture that was started in June of this year. It began basically as a hobby and a whim. My husband and I currently own and operate a stand in the Indoor Shed at the Rochester Public Market. Every Saturday for 52 weeks a year we sell bagels, coffee and assorted items at Johnny Mig's Bagels.


Well in February I began taking the Wilton Cake Decorating Method Courses. And so my love affair with cake decorating began. I am currently in Course III of the series and don't plan on stopping until I finish all four courses.


And that brings us to our latest venture. Cake Crazed. Cake Crazed will exist at the Rochester Public Market as a weekly cupcake display and special order cake service. I was inspired by people like http://www.52cupcakes.blogspot.com/ and I thought what better way to not only get our product and ideas out there than by establishing ourselves also at the Rochester Public Market.


Which that said, please visit our website (currently under development) at http://www.cakecrazed.com/ and stop by the Rochester Public Market every Saturday to pick up the weekly cupcake!