Monday, September 27, 2010

Birth Day

One of my best friends had her first baby this week!  She had a little girl named Ruby and she turned out PERFECT!  There is nothing sweeter than holding a tiny new born on your chest and seeing her tiny little toes and tiny little ears and her tiny little scapulas.  (I'm in physical therapy school and scapulas are pretty cool.)
So, naturally, this miracle of life inspired my only creative outlet, cake making.
I took my inspiration for this cake mostly from one I saw from the Night Kitchen in Philadelphia.   This is the type of cake that makes me want to learn stuff about fondant.

This cake also reminds me of a Vera Bradley pattern called "sitting in a tree."

This is one of my friend's favorites and that is how I came up with this cake...

I used the yellow cake recipe found under the happy birthday 1 post from september 3rd and my normal wilton butter cream.  The really different part about this cake is that I made it in a sheet pan and cut that into 4 squares so that I could stack them and make them into a cube.

I also made chocolate ganache for the first time.  DEFIANTLY WORTH IT!!!

I used 8 oz. Ghirardelli bittersweet baking chocolate that was 60% coco and 2 cups cream.  You heat the cream in the microwave until boiling, pour over the chocolate and let the chocolate melt.  Use a wisk to stir.  Then put it in the freezer until it is chilled and whip in the kitchen aid until it is sort of like dense chocolate whipped cream.  UM, that is good!  Next time I want to try it with milk chocolate instead.

I loved this cake and I think it is beautiful.  I had a hard time frosting a square, but I am going to work on that because it is too pretty to not want to.

21st birthday

This past Monday was my new roommates 21st birthday.  Since 21 is a pretty big deal, and since she has already told me that her favorite cake is red velvet, I decided to give it a try.  I have never made a red velvet cake before and I have to admit, it is one of the funnest cakes to make.  Probably because it is red, which is just weird and so cool!
I used a recipe from my better homes and gardens cookbook.


  • 3    eggs
  • 3/4  cup  butter
  • 3  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tsp.  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/4  cups  sugar
  • 1-1/2  tsp.  vanilla
  • 1  1-oz.  bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
  • 1-1/2  cups  buttermilk
  • 1-1/2  tsp.  baking soda
  • 1-1/2  tsp.  vinegar
  • 1  recipe  Buttercream Frosting


1. Let eggs and butter stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside.
2. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until combined. One at a time, add eggs; beat on medium after each. Beat in food coloring on low.
3. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture; beat on low-medium after each just until combined. Stir together baking soda and vinegar. Add to batter; beat just until combined.
4. Spread in prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until pick inserted near centers comes out clean (cakes may appear marbled). Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool.
5. Prepare Buttercream Frosting. Place layer flat side up on plate. Spread top with 3/4 cup frosting. Stack layer, flat side up; spread top with 3/4 cup frosting. Stack final layer, flat side down; spread remaining frosting on top and sides. Makes 16 servings.
And a modified wilton cream cheese frosting recipe:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Well, this cake turned out okay.  Next time I will try to find a recipe for the batter that is a little more moist, but with the cream cheese frosting it tasted great.  It is really smooth and easy to frost with, although quite a bit richer than butter cream.

One thing that I did not do, was that I didn't mix the coco powder with the dye first.  I just mixed them both into the batter at the same time.  I think this is why the redness of the cake is not totally uniform.  Maybe I will just follow directions next time...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baby Shower Cookies

This weekend was EPIC in that I had my first paid cookie order EVER!  A friend's mom saw the pink and blue cookies that are posted in "Classy Cookies" earlier this month and she liked them.  My friend was having a baby shower that was thrown by her aunt and mom and they decided to order two dozen of my flower cookies for the event.  I did purple backgrounds, cream flowers, and green leaves.  All you need to know about how I made them is in that last post.  I didn't make any alterations because i thought they turned out so good last time.  I absolutely loved these cookies...

I have to put a plug out for myself...
If you want cookies like this at your baby shower, birthday, bridal shower, wedding, etc please let me know. You can contact me through friends for by email:
I would be happy to discuss your event with you and come up with a customized cookie (or cake) to fit your needs.

Here are some picts of the cookies that my friend sent me from the shower.  The other cookies shown are from Parson's Bakery in Bountiful, Utah.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patria Amada, Brasil

This weekend was the 24th birthday of a good friend of mine.  We both spent some time in Sao Paulo, Brasil serving as church missionaries so I decided that for her cake I would do a Brasilian flag.  The Brasilian flag is EVERY WHERE in that city.  The people LOVE it and so do we...

I looked online and saw mostly fondant cakes and I am still sort of anti fondant.  I'm not sure exactly why, but it is what it is.  I set out making a yellow cake.  The recipe I used for this one seemed to take a LONG time to bake.  The top and bottom got done before the inside, thus the outside burned a little, which made me quite mad, but I salvaged it and everything turned out okay.  On the flip side, the cake stayed together really well and was not super crumbly, which is nice for cutting the layers.  I think this recipe would work nicely for a 1'' sheet cake.  Someday I will find the perfect cake recipe, but for now, experimentation is key.  This was my recipe this time, from the better homes and gardens cookbook:

Yellow Cake
3/4 cup butter or margarine
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

1. Allow butter and eggs to stand a room temp for 30 min.  Grease and flour either 2 9'' pans or 1 9x13 pan.  Mix together all dry ingredients and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375.  Beat butter at high speed for 30 seconds.  Gradually add sugar.  Beat 2 minutes more.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.
3.  Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beating at low speed until combined each time.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes for the rounds or 30 to 35 minutes for the 9x13 or until tooth pick comes out dry.

I used the same wilton butter cream recipe which I am loving more and more.  I also used the same raspberry pie filling that I used for the jersey cake.  This cake was clearly torted, but just with one layer, and then I dirty iced it and stuck it in the freezer for about 30 minutes so I could ice it right away.

The colors for this cake were SO FUN!  Really bright!  (Thanks Brasil!)  I enjoyed using the wilton gel colors and I think they did a great job.

For this cake I frosted the whole thing in green, then did the yellow diamond shape, then the blue circle.  In the middle, the frosting got really thick, but most people just scraped some of it off any way.  I used a wide square paint brush to make the yellow and blue smoother.  It is still not flawless, but it is pretty good and tastes great.  To place the stars, I just looked at a picture on-line of the flag and I made the bigs ones with a small star tip and the smaller ones with a tiny round tip.
The words "Ordem e Progresso", which means Order and Progress, were written with a #1 round tip.  I tried it first with a #3 and it was too thick and I ran out of room.  After I scraped that off and put on the white again I tried it with the #1.  It all fit, but it is harder to make it look smooth with a smaller tip.  Next time maybe I'll try a #2.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Classy Cookies

I had a little more free time than usual this week and I decided to use that time to try to make some amazing cookies that I saw in a YouTube video.  In the process of researching brush embroidery I ran into the SweetAmbs blog and I just loved her work.  I soon found another blog that had a great tutorial:

This helped so much.  Maybe someday I will make some tutorials.  Maybe when I stop needing them myself.

On this blog there is a great video too:

Another website that really helped me was this:

So I made the cookies using this recipe from my friend's mom, they are SO GOOD!

Mrs. B’s Holiday Cookies

3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 c. margarine or butter, softened
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir the 1st 4 ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cream margarine with sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla (add food coloring here).  Beat in dry ingredients till well combined.  Cover dough.  Chill 3 hours.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out 1/8’’ thick on well floured surface.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Place 2’’ apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 oven 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

The next day I made up this royal icing to decorate.  I did buy the meringue powder and I liked it but I think next time I'll try making it with cream of tartar and egg whites.

Royal Icing

2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat in an electric mixed, 7 to 10 minutes or until frosting can form peaks and starts to lose it's sheen.  You can add water or sugar based on how thin you need it.

I don't feel like I need to explain anymore with all the videos and other blogs about these vary cookies so here are mine:

I LOVED THESE COOKIES!!!!  The pictures dull down the colors, but the pink and blue were so beautiful with the crisp white flowers on top.  I spent a long time just looking at these before I had the guts to eat one.  I can imagine them in all sorts of colors.  My next ones will probably be a purple back ground with some cream colored flowers.  They will be beautiful and will be posted here!  Don't worry, I am currently taking orders for your next event...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

happy birthday 2

After the last birthday cake was such a success, I decided to make another birthday cake for a surprise cookout we were having for a friend.  Making a cake for a 28 year old man turned out to be quite different from making a cake for a 21 year old girl, so I had to do some serious research.  You can't put roses or brush embroidery on a man's cake.  I looked at lots of grooms cakes and men's birthday cakes and settled on a jersey.  Luckily football season is kicking off as we speak!!!  

I ended up with this...

I felt like this cake was maybe my best yet.  I made two 1'' high sheet cakes because it was the only think big enough to make the shirt and I finally realized that if you do a 1'' sheet you do not have to cut to make different layers.  I used a pretty cool recipe for doing a swirly cake...

I really like, maybe I should add them to my "inspiration" tab:

Marble Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan.
  2. Place flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter or margarine, eggs, vanilla, and milk into mixing bowl. Beat slowly to moisten, then beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes until smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup batter; pour the remainder into pan.
  3. Stir cocoa into the 3/4 cup reserved batter. Drop by spoonfuls over top of white batter. Using a knife, swirl the cocoa batter into the white batter to incorporate it in a marble effect.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until an inserted wooden pick comes out clean.

This cake recipe turned out a little too spongy.  It was hard to get it from the pan to the cake board without lot of crumbling and such, but that might also just be me.  I would suggest using this recipe more for cake that you are not going to be cutting up until you serve them.  It did taste pretty good though, and it was easier than a lot of recipes I looked up.  

To cut the cake and make it this shape I followed this little pattern:

I used a can  of raspberry pie filling to fill this cake.  It was SO GOOD!!!!  There is something about tangy fruit filling between layers of spongy cake and creamy frosting that just makes me come back for more.  Don't forget to pipe a frosting dam to keep it from spilling out and looking like blood.
On this cake I also had to "dirty ice" it.  This just means thinning out some butter cream and frosting the cake quickly after you get the layers all together.  You stick this in the fridge and then when you really frost it, none of the crumbs get into the nice frosting.  This is TOTALLY necessary if you are making a cake that is cut up and shaped.  I did this about 2 days before I nicely iced it to be served.  I am very crunched on time and I was a little worried about it drying out, but with the dirty ice, it did not dry out the cake at all.

I used just #5 round tips to do the piping.  It was mostly straight lines so I just looked at pictures to do it.  I did cut out a star shape and traced it into the white frosting before I made those.  

I love the way this cake turned out and it was a big hit at the party.  These jersey cakes are also fun because you can personalize them with the name and number of the person you are making it for.


Friday, September 3, 2010

happy birthday 1

After making these great cupcakes which got decorated well, I was on a quest to make another cool layered circular cake. I had been watching lot of videos and my mom sent me her old turn table. Luckily a friend’s birthday was coming up. It was her 21st birthday and it is on the 21st of August so it was a pretty big deal! It was her gold birthday and I had some cool metallic gel from Wilton that I wanted to use. After talking to her sister and getting lots of ideas from blogs and such, we decided to make a two tiered, torted (which means layered with filling) cake.

The cake was a yellow cake from the following recipe.  I was a little worried at first.  The wedding cake recipe from Wilton looked so perfect while it was baking.  This one looked a little contorted, but when you leveled it, it was good and SO TASTY!!!!!

Here is the recipe from :

David's Yellow Cake

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.

In the middle of the layers we just put raspberry jam with a frosting piped dam to hold it all in.  The frosting was highly whipped, which made it amazing because it was so much lighter and just nicer.  The bottom layer was decorated with plain stripes.  I tried to use a paintbrush to smooth out the lines that the piping created, but it still was not so smooth.  Still need to figure that out.

The top layer of the cake, we tried a technique called brush embroidery.  There is a great link here to show where I learned to do it.  This video also talking about whipping butter cream for a long time.

I think it turned out great and it tasted great too.  Like really really great!

I have decided to start taking picts of the cakes when they are cut into so you can see all the cute layers and fillings.  This cake was also make almost a week in advance and frozen.  It worked great and tasted still so fresh on the day of the party.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

roses for baby

In the last few weeks I have started some hard core research on the secrets of cake making.  My last cake was good, but it wasn’t that good.  Defiantly amateur.

     I found this one lady on YouTube who calls herself SeriouseCakes.  She puts sped up versions of her making cakes from start to finish.  It is cool because you can actually watch her do the stuff and she always had tips flashing up on the screen as you go along.  I want to try more of her techniques sometime soon.  She had one up that talked about beating butter cream for at least 10 to 15 minutes. ( this video is in the next post)
     I HAD NO IDEA!!!  I thought you just beat it up until it’s mixed but NO!!!!  If you beat longer the whiter it gets and the more fluffy it gets.  Not so much so that it is like whipping cream or anything, but a good amount so it is not so rich.  Not as much like just eating butter.  This also makes flowers much better, as can be observed on the cupcakes that I made for Becca’s baby shower!!!

    For these cupcakes I did the really whipped butter cream, but still used the Wilton recipe.  I only put in vanilla, but I did invest in the clear kind, which makes a world of difference.  I made a chocolate cake recipe from Wilton, which turned out pretty good.  I just don’t love chocolate cake, but Becca does and it was tasty.

     For the roses I added a few more tablespoons of powdered sugar to the medium consistency recipe.  I need to try the stiff recipe for butter cream.  It has meringue powder in it and is supposed to be great for making flowers.  I will try it one day…

One other note is that for these cupcakes, I made them about 2 days ahead of time and then just kept them in the fridge.  Something weird happened to the frosting color on the lighter purple roses.  It almost looked like it was bleeding, but overall they kept very well.  I have some of those cake caddy things which help a lot.  Especially the 9x13 one that has a cupcake insert into it.  BEST way to carry around cupcakes EVER!!!

Wilton American Celebration Cake
1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips divided
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 8 x 2-inch baking pans with vegetable pan spray.  Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and butter together either in microwave oven or on top of range over low heat. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into large bowl.  Add sugar; beat with electric mixer on low until well blended. Beat in eggs, one at time. Add vanilla. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add remaining flour and water; mix until smooth. Stir in remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Cute cupcakes in a cute stand also makes a good way to decorate...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

roses are sweet, frosting is too

I have started to practice things more.  I got myself a flower nail and started watching YouTube videos about butter cream rose making.  I watched Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss and Ultimate Food Challenge about all this stuff.  One day I decided to make a real nice layered cake to practice my newly developing skills.  Then came this cake…

 I also bought a great book by Wilton about basic cake decorating.  I got some recipes out of it and things were good, but still a lot of problems.

This time I did make the cake dough from scratch.  It was the Wilton wedding cake recipe.  Pretty dry, but really tasty.  It is a dense cake and I imagine it would be great for making tall layered cakes.  But once again, just a bit too dry for me to really love.  I would love to mess with it and try to make it moister because the flavor was to die for!!!

Wilton Basic Yellow Cake

3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 butter
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with waxed paper or parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Fill and frost as desired. Cake serves 12.

For this cake I cut it into 3 or 4 tiers and just put more frosting in the middle between layers.  This was also not that great.  It added to the dryness and it made it just too rich.  Butter cream on the outside and butter cream in the middle of a dense cake was just not the best thing in the world.  I did get to practice my roses though.  I used a butter cream recipe from Wilton that had some Crisco in it instead of all butter.  I put in almond extract and it was very tasty.  The frosting ended up being a little too dry to do the flowers very well.  They ended up more like crinkle petal roses, which ended up being pretty cool in the end, but not exactly what I was going for. 

Wilton Butter Cream
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk

For Medium Consistency: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. 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, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using. Makes: About 3 cups of icing.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.