Awww, Firsts...

I likened my next journey with sugar to all those first's in my life. Do you remember your first day of school? Or how about your first kiss? The anticipatory feelings of not knowing what the outcome will be but excited to get there. Sometimes your disappointed and the kiss just isn't that great or that first day of school felt more like prison than the fun place you expected. However on the other hand you may just be pleasantly surprised and your first kiss 20 years later still brings butterfly's to your stomach and perhaps your best friend today is the girl you sat next to on the first day of school...So what does all of this have to do with baking? Two words: CUPCAKE POPS!

I saw them on Bakerella's website and thought they were the cutest little things. I, like many before me, had some hesitation at first. I didn't know what to expect. Where they going to be perfect and taste as good as they looked? I didn't know but was about to find out...the result ladies and gentlemen was 'asi asi' or okay okay in english. They tasted great according to a trusty taste tester and as for how they look, I have a few techniques that I am looking forward to trying the next go around.

The lovely neighbor whom Teddy and I both have become friendly over the last year is moving :-( We sent her off right...with a sweet treat in hand!

Happy Birthday Daddy & Gramdma

Today is both my dad and grandma's birthday so I decided to bake them a cake. My dad's a little old fashion in that he loves a moist yellow cake with real chocolaty frosting, usually the kind in the box. I have been in search of a moist yellow cake for a long time and found a recipe on bakerella's blog that look absolutely delicious. I made two 8 in round cakes even though the recipe calls for three- I didn't have three 8 in cake pans so two it was. Once the cakes were out of the oven and cooled I decided to make two mini individual cakes. My dad is a MAC addict so using white satin ice rolled fondant I cut out the Apple Logo to grace the top of his cake. For my grandma I decided to keep it pretty-in-pink and gave her mini cake a pink bottom border and a banner wishing her a very happy 86th birthday. I love you both!

Moist Yellow Cake with chocolaty chocolate frosting 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (room temperature) 2 cups of sugar 4 eggs (room temperature) 3 cups of sifted self-rising flour (White Lily) 1 cup of whole milk (room temperature) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (McCormicks) 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour (3) 8 inch cake pans.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy.
  • Add sugar and continue to cream for about 7 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
  • Add flour and milk (alternating to creamed mixture), beginning and ending with flour.
  • Add vanilla and butter flavoring to mix; until just mixed.
  • Divide batter equally into three cake pans.
  • Hold each layer about 3 inches above your counter and carefully drop the pans flat onto counter several times to ensure release of any air bubbles. This will help you have a more level cake.
  • Bake for 25 - 30 minutes (depending on your oven) until done.
  • Cool in pans for 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Remove and immediately wrap each layer in plastic wrap to seal in moisture. Cool completely on wire racks.
  • Once cooled, you are ready to assemble your cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Almost Gluten Free Vegan Cupcake

Most people know that I love to bake but few know that I have an allergy to flour, wheat, etc. That's right, I bake and never actually get to taste my sweet treats. I am blessed to have a wonderful BF and plenty of friends who serve as my taste-testers (none of them seem to mind the daunting task).

I received the Babycakes NYC cookbook for my birthday and couldn't have been more excited to get started with my gluten free(GF) baking. I started with the red velvet cupcakes which believe it or not turned out pretty good. Some of my taste testers weren't very keen on the idea at first but after one bite I had them sold. I do have to say that this cupcake isn't exactly gluten free because the recipe calls for whole spelt flour. Some people with wheat allergies can handle spelt but I know for most, the spelt flour just wouldn't make the cut as being GF. Never the less I tasted the cupcake and much to my delight I enjoyed my first two cupcakes since learning of my allergy.

Babycakes Red Velvet Cupcake

Popcorn-Smile for the Camera

Posted by Picasa

What's Star Trek the movie without some popcorn...

Birthday celebration number two...Star Trek with the parental's (my parent's and Teddy's parents) and dinner with my oldest and dear friend, Lisa, and her family and the parental's. I had a great time and to my surprise, I LOVED Star Trek. At 31, Star Trek didn't bring back the same nostalgic feelings that it did for my parents but it was great to share in their joy and it was a great movie!

But what is a movie without popcorn?

In keeping with the movie themed birthday I decided to make cupcakes that resemble little popcorn bags. I found little Wilton nut cups at Micheal's. I think for 24 it was $1.49 and I used a 40% off coupon which you can't beat. I used a red marker to color the sides of the nut cups and printed the popcorn labels. I baked Vanilla bean cupcakes in regular muffin cups which I transferred into the nut cups and covered them with a thin layer of vanilla butter cream (I used the leftovers from my cake). Several days in advance I cut the top of each mini-marshmallow in a criss cross pattern to get the effect of a kernel. After the cupcakes were frosted, I placed each kernel on top one by one...and finished off the top with lightly brushing lemon yellow-food coloring gel over the tops to give the effect of butter.

They were a hit!

Happy Birthday

So today is my 31st birthday!! I can't believe it has already been 365 since my 30th. Last year I did a big to-do so this year I am keeping it mellow. Tonight I am taking a cooking class at Sur La table with 8 of my friends. In honor of the cooking themed party I made a fork & spoon cookie cutter for both my fondant decorations and cookies that I planned to give each guest. This was my first time using royal icing in an attempt to make the icing flow. I didn't realize that I needed two different consistency's so the icing is a little messy on the cookies. For the cake I made 5 fondant forks and 5 fondant spoons a couple of days ago that I was planning on putting on the sides of the cake. (I will come back to this)

No everyone I know likes the taste of fondant which is a very common thing here in America so I thought I would try icing the cake with butter cream and then using fondant decorations. You tuber, Edna, from design me a cake has an excellent tutorial online for making and using butter cream. So crusting butter cream is what I used to ice the cake. I finished last night at 12:38AM and told myself that I would adhere the decorations in the morning. 5:30AM and I was in the kitchen but to my dismay the fondant decorations that I made were too large and ended up cracking when I tried to pick them up-URGGGG!!! So I pulled out my extra pink fondant and started cutting away to make little tiny forks and spoons. I just drew and pattern on a piece of paper and traced around the pattern with a small blade.

So the final product: Magnolia's birthday cake recipe from their cookbook, Edna crusting butter cream icing, and fondant forks, spoons, bow, and "born to bake" label.

Baby Converse

Last night I was paroosing around the internet and came across You-Tuber, "fairytalecakes" who inspired to me to make these absolutely precious baby converse using gumpaste and fondant. This is the first figure I've made using a pattern. is an excellent resource for patterns of all shapes and sizes. If you are doing a small number of sugar decorations, like a pair of shoes, then I would definitely use a pattern again. I can't wait for either another baby shower or 1st birthday so I can make these again!

"Born to Bake" Cake

My birthday is this coming Friday and I must say that I can't believe that I am actually turning another year older. Last year was a big one for me-I did a big shah-bang so this year I decided to keep it low key. I am taking a cooking class at Sur La table with my boyfriend and three other couples. Since its a cooking theme I have decided to make a cake consistent with the theme. I am going to make a vanilla cake with vanilla butter cream filling covered in fondant with a 3D whisk on the top of the cake and fondant cut-outs of forks and a knifes around the cake with a little banner that says "Born to Bake" and my birth date. I have already started working on the the right is the actual whisk that I am using as my inspiration and in the center is a salt shaker with gum paste strips draped across the top. Each gum paste strip is speerated with a piece of parchment paper.

First 3D Figures (Fondant)

Posted by Picasa

I made the dress to match the dress of the mother-to-be and her little pug "Snickers". This is my first stab at figures and while I feel pretty good about it, I realized that I either have to use tylose or rice crispy treats (RKT)in order for her to keep her shape. She began to slouch and look much heavier than I wanted. I used food coloring gel to paint her dress and topped it off with a pair of Tory Burch flats.

Baby Shower ups and downs

After months of prep, the baby shower was a success. I have to give it an A++ with two exceptions; first, the cake recipe I used was not good and two, I ended up losing all of my pictures from the shower. I had a blast doing it and I was proud of how the cake turned out visually. I really want to work on getting the cake even and having a extra smooth layer of butter cream under the fondant. The chick on the cloud matched the invitation. I couldn't find a cloud or chick cookie cutter so I made them myself, not bad if I do say so myself.

Cupcake Galore

Posted by Picasa

Baby Shower Baking Prep

Today I went to class from 8AM-9:20AM (I am taking an abnormal psych class at SMC, local community college). I love my class but I couldn't wait to come home and get baking. I am hosting a baby shower with 5 other gals this coming Saturday and I have agreed to make the dessert. I decided on a cupcake tower with a topper cake, an idea I saw on Pink Cake Box's website. So today I was testing recipes. I made 30 vanilla cupcakes, 30 chocolate cupcakes, 1 white 8in three layer cake, a swiss meringue buttercream and a more traditional buttercream recipe that I found in a William's Sonoma cookbook. The cupcakes, both cholcoate and vanilla turned out great. My BF, Teddy tired both with the SMBC and loved it with the chocolate cupcakes but not the Vanilla but he loved the William's Sonoma buttercream with the vanilla cupcakes so that's the plan. I started baking at 10Am and didn't stop until 10:30PM when I realized I hadn't eaten since my bowl of cottage cheese at 9:30 this morning. I am topping the topper cake with a Fondant/Gumpaste figurine that looks like the mom-to-be so this evening I finished my baking day with a few final touches on her. Photos coming soon!

Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 30 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar (I use baker's superfine sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cupcakes (With Valrhona Cocoa)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (Actual recipe calls for 3/4 but I substituted 1/8 C. Valrhona unsweetened Cocoa Powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3.CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


Related Posts with Thumbnails