Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello Kitty and Shopping!

A couple days ago my friend, Celine asked if I could make some birthday cupcakes for her sister. She had two themes in mind, Hello Kitty and Shopping. Hello Kitty was pretty easy, I did a cake last year for my friend's birthday. But I was a little stumped on the shopping... finally I decided to do items that reminded me of shopping... shopping bags, a purse, heels, and a big ring (Celine's idea). Scan down to the bottom of the blog for a "how to" on fondant decorations. Here are the cupcakes in a cute pink cupcake box!

Here is a view without the box... I am sorry for the really bad photos. My iphone does a better job at taking photos...

And a close up of the shopping cupcakes

Close up of the Hello Kitty inspired cupcakes... the pink bow is my favorite!

The "How To" in fondant decorating... at least how I do it

I first like to sketch out my ideas. Next, I decide on the size of the fondant decorations. I use my round cookie cutters to help me decide on sizes. Then, I sketch the item within the boarders created by the cookie cutter. Next, I take parchment paper and trace the item again with a permanent maker. I will use these as my templates.

Next, I roll out some fondant to about a thickness of 1/8" and then I place my template on top of the fondant. I then use an exacto knife (you could use a sewing needle as well) to poke little holes along the lines of the sketch.

When you lift the parchment paper you will see little dots and you can then cut along these dots with your exacto knife. You can create a lot of different things with this technique. It may take a good amount of time, but this trick does come in handy when you don't have an edible ink printer. I have used it with lettering, logos and even the Optimus Prime cake I did in August.

Good luck with your own decorations!

Thank you for stopping by! Until next time!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Engagement Party Treats

Tyler and I celebrated our engagement with a few of our friends down here in Southern California and I of course had to create a mini dessert spread :)

Thank you to Byron for taking photos of my desserts!!!

First up... Mini Chocolate cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and Salted Caramel
(all my favorite things in one little bite)

Next... a local Hawaiian treat, Mini Haupia Pie (normally, graham cracker crust, haupia and chocolate pudding... but in my version I replaced the chocolate pudding with chocolate ganache)

Pecan Bars... I love pecan pie and I love these Pecan Bars!!! I piped a monkey tail fern design on the bars with chocolate ganache.

Mini Vanilla Buttermilk cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

And Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Vanilla Glaze

I am so sorry for the bad picture quality, my camera just doesn't take good photos of food. If anyone out there has any recommendations of a good camera, please let me know. And if you have any advice to give on taking pictures of food, I'd like to hear them! Thank you!

Until next time, happy baking!


P.S. I wanted to add a few extra pictures...
meet two of my closest friends, Bryon and Aaron... they decided to take my mini cupcakes aka cuppies and dip them in the chocolate fountain :)

adding to the chocolate cupcake, peanut butter frosting and salted caramel...

You gotta love it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

MSCC | Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

This month, the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club decided to bake the Pumpkin Patch cupcake recipe. My favorite thing about this recipe... it calls for Autumn spices!!! I of course sampled the batter before adding the pumpkin and I loved the flavor! The cupcakes were extremely moist and fluffy. The recipe makes 32... so I had Tyler take the majority of the cupcakes to school with him. Let's just say that the teachers at his school may be a little spoiled this year :)

I was torn on the decoration of these cupcakes... my girlfriend and I wanted to have a dark vintage themed Halloween dinner party, so I didn't want to decorate these cupcakes with anything Halloween related. Finally I decided to frost my cupcakes with my usual swirl of my cream cheese frosting and then I added royal icing decorations. I've seen this royal icing technique used multiple times on cooking shows, so I thought I would try it out myself. First, I had to decide what I wanted to trace. I could have gone online and found a pumpkin or two, but it was midnight when I did these so I went with what I had. I took my mini pumpkin cookie cutter and traced it with a ultra fine point sharpie on a piece of regular white printer paper.

Then I mixed up some royal icing and added orange food coloring gel. I put the royal icing in a small piping bag with a #2 tip. Next, I placed a piece of parchment paper over the piece of white printer paper. Then with the piping bag, I traced the lines of the pumpkin and added some definition lines in the middle.

I let the royal icing dry overnight because I don't decorate the cupcakes until the next morning right before Tyler left for work. I like when the frosting is freshly whipped and piped on the cupcake! Once the royal icing was dry, the pumpkins slid easily off of the parchment paper and I stuck a pumpkin in each cupcake.

You can try this technique with pretty much any pattern... you'll be seeing it again in a posting coming up. Until next time, happy baking!


Autumn Spice

I love this time of year! It started to get chilly last week, but I have no idea how long that will last... knowing Southern California we could be back in the 90's next week (please no!). I love the first chill in the Autumn air because that means I get to wear fleece! This time of year also means delicious sweets with flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I once had a friend that would describe these sweets as tasting like Christmas, but I disagree, I think it tastes like Autumn, Autumn spices to be exact!

As a tribute to fall, I wanted to make some Oatmeal and pie spice cookies (pie spice = Autumn spice).

As I was discussing these cookies with my friend, Nicole aka W, she reminded me of one of our favorite ice cream flavors, Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. If you haven't tried this flavor, drive yourself to your local grocery store and treat yourself to a pint! With ice cream on the brain, I decided to revise my original plan and make ice cream sandwiches. So here are the ice cream sandwiches, two oatmeal and pie spice cookies with vanilla ice cream in the middle. Yum! Yum!

Until next time, enjoy your fleece!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

In September, the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (MSCC) baked Zucchini Spice Cupcakes (or muffins), unfortunately I was unable to participate at the time (our kitchen was non-existent). So, even though our October recipe is due next week, I still wanted to try this recipe. I'm normally not one for vegetable and fruit cakes, but I love zucchini. I was very interested to see if I would like this recipe.
I made half the recipe and topped it with my cream cheese frosting recipe (once you find your recipe, you don't deviate) and little flowers I punched out from the leftover zucchini.

All I gotta say is.. you can't even taste the zucchini. It just tastes like a spice cupcake (or muffin). I love spice cupcakes (or muffins), so I definitely like this recipe!

I have noticed on other MSCC member's blogs that there is a small debate as to whether or not we can call this recipe a cupcake recipe and I have to agree. To me, it reminded me of a muffin, right down to the flavor, the density and the texture. Tyler on the other hand says if you close your eyes it tastes like a cupcake. We brought this discussion to dinner with our friends and each person had their different opinions of what defines a cupcake and a muffin. After talking, we decided to make a hybrid name. From now on I am going to call muffin and cupcakes that blur the lines "muffcakes" or "cupkins."

Stayed tuned, a lot of baking is going down in the next week... MSCC October recipe and engagement party desserts. Plus, I'm trying to find the best chocolate cake recipe and may have just found it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cake Dummy

Almost a month ago, Tyler and I had our engagement photo session with Soul Mates Photo, Melissa the photographer does amazing work! I've used her work as my profile pic and header image.

Tyler and I love to cook together, so we thought it was only fitting for us to have some pictures of us working away in the kitchen (see our engagement session here). Because I love to bake and decorate, I wanted to make sure we had cakes in the background... enter my first cake dummy! I loved decorating the cake dummy, why you may ask... because I don't have to worry about puncturing a hole in the cake, I don't have to worry about the cake being lopsided... I just get to decorate! So here it is, my first dummy cake!

I love Japanese patterns. In college, most of my paintings for my advanced painting class were inspired by Japanese patterns. Japanese patterns are geometric and simplistic and I just love it! The pattern you see above is the classic wave pattern. After covering the cake with fondant, I cut out a scalloped shaped fondant piece and wrapped it around the cake. Then I went in and hand-painted the wave pattern in. It didn't come out the way I wanted it, but it kind of has that Japanese wood-block print feel. So I like it now. I want to do this cake again and I may try my hand at pipping royal icing instead of hand-painting.

The remodel of our kitchen has been completed, so look out for yummy treats!!! Until then, happy baking!