Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Cupcake Christmas!

Christmas is a time for cupcakes!
And other delicious sweets of all sorts! Try these really yummy easy variations of Christmas time cupcakes.

For decorations I used:

-Holiday sprinkles
-Christmas trees & snowflakes ( Target)

-snowflake fondant cutter
-white fondant
-yellow sugar crystals
-coconut flakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and I used red and green tree sprinkles and fondant snowflake.

Bright arctic blue cupcakes are Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and decorated with white snowflake sprinkles and a large fondant snowflake.

On the left is a Lemon cake with Cream cheese buttercream sprinkled with yellow sugar crystals. On the right is a Coconut cake with cream cheese buttercream coated with coconut flakes. Just brilliant!

Just one little bite of the Lemon cream cheese moist and delicious!
Makes the christmas season soo scrumptious...hehe :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cookies for Santa!

Santa loves his cookies!! Soo don't forget to leave some by the Christmas Tree for him.

For my birthday my good friend John & Diana got me this wonderful Williams and Sonoma Cookie Press to bake these snazzy cookies!

Vanilla Butter Cookies
(Williams and Sonoma)

16 tbsp. or 2 sticks - unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg

2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*Colored sugars or icings for decorating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F ( 190 degrees C.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg, vanilla and salt and continue beating until well mixed, about 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and beat until just blended, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Fill the cookies press with the room temperature dough according to the manufacturer's instructions and fit with the desired cookie disks. Press the dough out onto the ungreased baking sheets (not nonstick), space the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are light golden, about 14 minutes. Tranfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to the cookies to the racks and let cook completely.
Decorate the cookies with colored sugars or royal icing as desired.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!!

You can also wrap these in butter cookies in clear cellophane bags (avaliable in Michaels or Walmart) with silver twist ties for a nice holiday gift! Voilaaaa!
Santa is sure to love these cookies :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sayonara Sailor

Sayonara Brett!

Here I bid farewell to Brandon's brother Brett with a sailboat cake! There is a fondant figure of Brett is sitting on a boat wearing his white navy uniform. During Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a good 2 days devoted to making this cool boat cake for Brett's goodbye party on Saturday. Hooray!!!

I started off baking a vanilla bean sheet cake and I am using Irish cream buttercream filling and frosted with vanilla buttercream :) After I have filled each layer I have stacked the cakes and trimmed away the sides of the cake to make a boat shape.

Here is the cake covered with the crumb coat of buttercream.

Here I am rolling white fondant and coloring it with different shades of brown. I wanted to make sure that you could see different waves of brown.

After I have rolled out the brown wood fondant, I cut long lengthwise strips of it and applied it to the cake in sections. I worked in sections so then I scored the cake so later it will look like planks of wood.

Awesome! The boat is completely covered in fondant wood! Taaa dah!!! Now it is time to completed the fondant figure I made of Brandon's brother, Brett. I know.. its looks like a real person!

So after many hours of construction on his arms and legs I carefully piece him together and place him on the boat cake.

Here I go... piping waves of blue buttercream onto the side of the cakes so that we know the cake is afloat :)

Hooray! Here is my nifty little sail boat cake!!

And here it is... gone!! Yummy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carrot Cake Cookies

I love the Fall...especially the desserts that involve cinnamony - goodness! I adore all yummy holiday cookie recipes! Here is one of my faves! It partially sweetened with honey and that gives the cookie it's soft gooeyness :)

I have included 2 recipe variations of cream cheese filling. The frosting made with honey is much healthier and not so sweet, which pairs well with this cookie because it is denser. The second variation is much sweeter and can be used on a bunch of other dessert such as cakes, cupcakes and bars.

Carrot Cake Cookies

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
110g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Cream Cheese Filling Variation 1-
1 cup cream cheese
1 tbsp honey

Cream Cheese Filling Variation 2
½ cup cream cheese, softened
½ stick of butter, room temp
½ tsp of vanilla extract
2 ½ - 3 cups of confectioner sugar

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 180°C. Butter 2 baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins; then add flour mixture to this and beat until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes total.

Cool cookies on sheets for 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.
While cookies are baking, blend cream cheese and honey in a food processor until smooth.Sandwich flat sides of cookies together with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling in between. Recipe makes about 24-30 individual cookies.

For variation - you can top each cookie with Cream cheese frosting and sprinkle shredded coconut over them! Yummmmerrrs!

Here is Kaitlin, the daughter of my friends Dave & Tricia, biting into one of these yummy cookies! :D

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Little Piggy

Lonely little piggy sitting on top of an Espresso Coffee Cake!

My friend Clara requested a birthday cake for her sister Ellen. She wanted a light coffee flavored cake with raspberry buttercream, the light coffee cake flavor preferred by many Asians versus a chocolately coffee cake. To top off the cake, Clara suggested maybe a Pig because in the Chinese Zodiac, her sister is the Year of the Pig!

So here is the Espresso Cake Recipe that I developed for a light coffee flavored cake. This cake tastes like coffee, not like a chocolate cake that has hints of coffee flavor that is used to bring out the chocolate flavor. That would be my Mocha Chocolate cake recipe, which I will post soon :)

Espresso Coffee Cake
(with Espresso glaze)

Makes 2 – 8” or 9” inch pans or 12 cup Bundt Pan

Dry Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. potato starch
1 tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Liquid Ingredients:

¾. cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. Brandy
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder (dissolved in 1 Tablespoon hot water and then pour into the liquid mix)

Creaming Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp. turbinado sugar
4 large eggs

For the Glaze-
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2-3 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Make the Espresso Cake-

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Generously butter and flour the two 8- inch pans. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Change to lowest speed and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients flour mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just incorporated. Move swiftly through this set to avoid overmixing the batter. This step should take about 60 seconds.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter’s structure.

Then scoop and drop the batter into 3 sections of each 8 inch pan and use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly into the pan. Pick up the pan and drop it on the counter a couple of times to get the air bubbles out of the batter.

Bake until cake slightly comes away from the sides of the pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 -35 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

I torted my cake horizontally in half and put raspberry buttercream between the layers to make this cake.

One Little piggy on my cakeeeeeeeee~

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

The picture you see here is the final birthday cake! Soo cute! This is my first fondant cake decorated with a human girl figure.

This was a cake for a 25th Birthday! Girls do not look forward to this age.
I remember when I turned 25, I kept thinking OMG! I'm getting old...
LOL, I think the only thing that you can look forward to is the car insurance going down :)

Here, I have a
Red velvet cake layered with cream cheese buttercream covered in white fondant. The plan is to decorate the cake with different sized polka dots in purple, yellow, red and hot pink.

I was asked to make a skinny, dark skinned, filipino girl on the birthday cake. I decided to make the fondant girl in a strapless hot pink dress with a cute matching purse :)

Here is the first girlie I made to go on the cake...

When you make a human out of fondant it is always good to make the body parts ahead and let them harden a little...which I did NOT do because I was pressed for time and you will see bad results below...

What you want to do here is make the torso first, the torso should consist of the upper body and the hips.

Insert a 1/2 toothpick through its neck area leaving the stick end out of the body to connect the head. Then stick a toothpick out of the bottom area leaving the pointy end outside about 1/2 inch, because you need that to connect to the legs or stick into the cake.

Then lay the torso out its back to let it harden overnight. This will harden the body and make it stable for you. So you can avoid having the figure sink due to gravity..GRAVITY I SAY...which is what happened to me.. :)

**TIP**I say its always safer to make the torso much thinner than you want, because you will be adding a layer of fondant for the clothes the people will naturally look more plump. Unless the figure is meant to be chubby.

So my friend Sandy was over and she helped me with the first fondant girl I made.

**TIP** If you smooth shortening over the body it keeps the fondant from harden too fast so that you can work the body better. Also, when kneading the fondant if you add a little shortening at a time, it makes it more pliable when you knead it.

Then you continue by making her arms and legs. For these you make them limb by limb its easier to attach that way. I didn't let my torso harden so when I added the arms and the legs on the upper body sank into the legs ...SO gravity took a toll on her body and so now she looks squat and pear shaped..OH NO!!!

This is my first time making a human figure out of fondant and I have never sculpted with Clay or Sculpey like my friends have, so little did I know that she was going to sink...sigh... Here I attempted to put the girl on the cake...

UGH.... I am NOT happy with this girl...she seems too chubby and cartoonish...and when my brother looked at the cake, he started laughing and said " its looks like Kelly Kapur from The Office!!"

I decided I would remake the girl the next night.
Here is my second attempt...

Ok, I'm not happy with this body, it is still too chubz. I decided to remake it again. This has really become a baking!

Argh.. I am a bit frustrated right now... but must remain calm...I will work late into the night if I must... I do not settle for any must be PERFECT :P

YIPPPIEE!!~ This is the right size! I am soo thrilled!!!!

Hooray...then I fashioned her head with a ball of the same skin colored fondant. Then rolled out a piece of circle with the dark brown to cover the part of the head and trimmed the fondant to look like her hair. I pushed the head into the body with the toothpick! Waaa Laaa!

I used Food Color Writer Pens to draw the face on the girlie!

I decided to do a comparison in size, so I held up my Kelly Kapur figure and the new figure that I made to compare....

MY GOSH! Yesh...I'm soo glad I remade'm VERY HAPPY with the new piece!