Violet Cake

February 9, 2013

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I was asked to make a cake for an adorable little girl having a first birthday.  Her name is Violet, my goodness she is adorable! The little bear is “My Pal Violet”, she has one and just loves it.  This was my first sculpted character cake, it came out ok, I will need more practice at that, it’s harder than it looks!  Hope she liked her cake.

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Tim Hortons Cake

January 31, 2013

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Ahh, Tim Hortons!  If you are not from Canada, then more than likely you have not heard of Tim Hortons.  If you are from the Northern United States, your Tim Hortons are just not the same (I have been, and they are just no good!).  Timmies are on just about every other street corner in Canada, here in my small town of 73,000 there are 10 Tim Hortons, and you would be hard pressed to find one without a huge line.  I am not a coffee fan but their steeped tea is the best! (why don’t the ones in the States have steeped tea??? double bagging it just does not cut it!).  Anyways…..

I was asked to make a cake for someone who is rarely seen without a Timmies in his hand.  This seemed like the perfect idea.  The cake was a huge hit, he loved it, as did everyone else. Here are a few more shots of the Timmies Cup Cake

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Baby Shower Cake #2

November 9, 2012

I was asked to make a cake for a Baby Shower.  Little Hailey has already arrived so they requested something ‘Pink and Frilly’  This is what I came up with.


Justin Bieber Birthday Cake

May 18, 2012

I was asked to make a Justin Bieber cake for a 15th Birthday.  Not knowing a thing about him, I asked for them to come up with an idea and I would go from there.  They did even better!  They showed me a picture of what they would like and I did as close as I could.

Here is the inspiration….

And here is what I created….

Not quite the same but I tried.

I have not learned how to make the topsy turvy cakes yet, so it was a basic tier.

From what I hear she really liked it!!


Icing Technique

May 4, 2012

Dad’s Birthday is May 1st and requested, as usual, a lemon cake.  He didn’t want anything fancy, “just a simple lemon cake”. So that I did.  I wanted to spruce it up a tad, not just doing the boring spread icing.

A few weeks ago while browsing Pinterest (amazing site, I highly recommend it!) I found a chocolate cake that was decorated like this.  I knew I wanted to try it but wasn’t sure when I would get the chance.  Usually when I get a cake request it is for a theme cake, not often do I get to do a plane one.  So, when Dad requested a ‘simple lemon cake’ it was my perfect opportunity.

1.  Layer your cake as you normally would, icing in the middle

2. Put a thin  ‘crumb’ coat of icing on the entire cake

3. Fill piping bag with a medium to large size round tip

4.  Create a row of vertical dots, 3-4 depending on the hight of your cake

5.  With a spatula, spread every dot to the right (or left, depending on your handedness) in one motion

6. Wipe spatula clean and move up to the next dot

7. and again

8. Start the next row by slightly overlapping the first

9. Continue until all the way around the cake

10. To Finish the top, I placed dots all the way around the outside of the cake and slid the spatula towards the centre

Voila! Very simple.  Next time your doing a round cake, give this a try.


Lots and lots of Elmo’s

May 3, 2012

It has been a while, but finally guest baker Jen is back!  Jen’s little niece was turning 2 and she loves Elmo! We took on the challenge of Elmo Cake Pops and an Elmo Cake.  I must say we were quite adventurous taking on the Elmo cake Pops.  We had only ever made pops that were decorated with sprinkles, that was as fancy as it got.  Elmo, that was a whole other league, but we were up for the challenge!  As soon as I heard Elmo Pops were the goal I headed straight to Bakerella’s fabulous site, couldn’t think of a better place to look then the founder of Cake Pops!  Sure enough she had some Elmo’s. Ours did not turn out quite like Bakerella’s, but for our first attempt I think we did pretty darn good!

Elmo Cake Pops

Please see here on how to make the Cake Pop.

1. Dip Pop into red melting chocolate, making sure to tap excess off so they do not drip

2. White pop is still wet add eyes, we used pre-made eyes.  Could also use white candy with edible marker for pupils

3. Add Jelly Belly (or similar) for nose

4. Cut a brown or black melter in half for the mouth

(Good example of why you need to tap excess off – starting to drip)

5. Texturing (didn’t get a picture of this step)

Once the face has been assembled let the pop sit and dry.  You can leave them at this point (as they are still pretty cute) or add the “furry” texture.  This part is quite time-consuming.

Use a toothpick to dip into the chocolate and drizzle and dab the chocolate over the pop creating a textured look

Not bad for our first attempt at characters Pops! Only 34 more to go!

We also made an Elmo cake.  It was a cheater cake.  Jen found a cute Elmo cake pan, just bake and follow the outline

Lots of Elmo’s I hope she likes them :)


German Chocolate Cake

April 8, 2012

Up until a few years ago I had never heard of German Chocolate Cake.  I think the first time I saw one was on the Food Network, I believe it was Bobby Fley’s Throwdown.  I knew, right then, it was something I was going to have to make.  If you will notice, it is #1 on my “Bucket List of Baking”.  Over the past few years I have done much research on this cake.  At first I thought that the Germans must have been some pretty spectacular people to come up with a dessert like this!  Chocolate, coconut, walnuts need I say more?  As I researched I found out it was not the Germans at all!  It was an American, Sam German, who created a brand of dark baking chocolate that was used for the cake.  Now a days very few recipes actually call for the German’s Chocolate (I didn’t use it).  It is more the process and final outcome that we refer to as German Chocolate Cake.  Quite frankly, I don’t care who created it, or what it is called, all I know is that it is FABULOUS!!

This Easter I decided I was going to make it for dessert. For those crazy coconut haters (I know eh, who doesn’t like coconut?) and someone with an allergy (who knew?) I made an apple crisp.  That is the last you will hear of the apple crisp, it was very dull and boring compared to this wonderful German Chocolate Cake!

While researching the cake I found literally thousands of recipes!  Which one do I choose? I mixed and matched a few to come up with my own version.

German Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

For the Chocolate cake I used the recipe I have perfected.  I used the cake recipe from The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, with a few tweaks that I choose not to share (can’t give away all my secrets;)). Please check it out it is a fabulous chocolate cake!!

Follow Chocolate Cake recipe from my previous post here or use your favourite chocolate cake recipe.  Just make sure the recipe is big enough to have 3 layers.

Frosting

This is where I had the most difficulty, there were several different recipes.  The big difference in them was the use of evaporated milk, cream, whipping cream or sweetened condensed milk.  After much debate I went with the sweetened condensed milk version, because really, it has Eagle Brand Milk in it, it has to be good!

I am a firm believer in saving where you can, but with somethings you just have to go with the Brand name, simply put, it is just better.  When ever sweetened condensed milk is called for I ONLY use Eagel Brand Milk.  Honestly I could eat it right from the can!

COCONUT PECAN FROSTING

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

1. Stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and butter in a medium saucepan.

2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. (This took approx 40 minutes of constant stirring.  Next time I would not take it as far, it stiffened up a little too much when cooled)

3. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans.

I could not resist tasting it while it was still warm. OMG! Delicious! It was one of those moments when you stop chewing and close your eyes because you think it was the best thing you have ever eaten.  This would be good on a lot of desserts, I can definitely see adding this to a few creations. Enough of that tangent on with the cake…

4. Cool to room temperature.

Assembly

1. Place your first layer of chocolate cake on your cake plate and top with approx 2/3 cup of coconut pecan frosting.  Mine was a little thick, had to pull it apart with 2 forks.

2. Repeat with the next 2 layers, spreading remaning frosting on top layer

Look at that!!!

As delicious as it looks, to me, it just doesn’t look finished, something else is needed! If you look at most German Chocolate Cake recipes they do not have a chocolate frosting on them.  It will usually just have the coconut pecan frosting between they layers and on top, occasionally you will see it around the outside as well.  I had to take it a step further and add a delicious chocolate frosting to the outside.

That looks better!

It is a thing of beauty!

A few pecans to spruce it up a little

I have had a lot of cake in my day but this, by far, was the best!  The chocolate cake was moist and fudgy.  The pecan coconut frosting was sweet and had a nice texture, you didn’t really taste the nuts just the coconut.  The chocolate frosting, probably the best I have ever had.  The 3 aspects together were spectacular!!! Normally I can pick apart most things I make saying I would do this and that different next time, not this one, it was perfect!  It was well worth the wait and lived up to every expectation I had.  Definitely will be making this again.  I think I will even make German Chocolate Cupcakes! I hope everyone at Easter dinner enjoyed it as much as I did :)

I must also mention the delicious dinner Mom made for Easter.  She outdid herself once again.  The entire dinner was cooked out on the bbq’s.  We had roast beef, ham with pineapples and sweet sauce, corn, beans, veggie casserole, coleslaw and buns. Was delicious!

Even re-heated the apple crisp on the bbq

There was 20 of us and we all sat down at the table to enjoy a wonderful Easter Dinner.  Thanks Mom!


My Top 10 of 2011!

December 31, 2011

Wow! Where did 2011 go?  Seems as I get older the years just fly by.  This year  I did a lot of baking, most were good, some were amazing and a few were total flops!  There were some  new recipes and others were tried and true favourites.  The Daring Bakers took me way out of my comfort zone as I was truly dared with some amazing recipes.  As for the “flops” I posted them too, not everything can turn out well.  I thought I would end the year with a “top 10″ list of my favourite recipes of the year.

 10. Perogi Day

Perogi Day was a day I will never forget! Mom, Etta, Jen and myself were at it for almost 12 hours.  We made 9 different flavours, used 25 pounds of potatoes, 7 tubs of sour cream, almost 2 bags of flour and a lot of bacon, cheese and onions.  We ended up with, get ready for it……471 perogies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were delicious, not sure I will be able to go back to the frozen ones from the store.  It was a great day and the results were amazing! We all agreed that we would definitely do it again, just not anytime soon…

9.  Apple Sauce Muffins

These Apple Sauce Muffins were something I stumbled across when visiting Gramma one afternoon.  They were hot and fresh and delicious!  You can’t really taste the apple sauce, they are a little bit sweet and have an amazing texture.  I think I have made them at least 6 times since then.  A wonderful recipe with simple ingredients, Thanks Gramma! :)

8.  Baklava

This one was special for me.  I was asked to be the host of the June Daring Bakers Challenge!  Being host meant that I was able to pick any recipe and have all the members make their variations. I had always said, way back when I joined, that if I ever got the chance to host I was going to pick Baklava.  It was amazing to see the different variety of baklava that were made.  I was a little daring (mean) and had everyone make their own phyllo dough.  Some people enjoyed the process, a lot did not, but all in all it was a wonderful experience.  It was a true honour to be picked to be the June 2011 host.  My baklava was delicious.  I will definitely be making it again but, like many other members, I will probably use pre-made phyllo!

7.  Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow was new for me, I had never even heard of it.  Jen had come over to do some Christmas baking and she brought all the ingredients for Puppy Chow…hmmm.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Unlike the name this is a wonderful treat!!!  Very simple, cereal, chocolate, butter, peanut butter and icing sugar.  It is very addicting!  It was a great gift to give away in little Christmas sacks.  Thanks Jen for a great recipe that I will be using for many years to come.  I may have to come up with a more appealing name….

6. Cupcakes, Cupcakes and more Cupcakes!

This was a scary one! Making 130 cupcakes for Kris and Selena’s Wedding!  I had never done anything like this before.  I mean I had made cupcakes but never 130 in one day!  I was a nervous wreck, as I think the wedding cakes is a huge deal.  Sadly it’s the food aspects that people remember more at a wedding then the actual ceremony.  I thought if they don’t turn out I’d have people thinking “god, their cake was horrible”.  Thank goodness everything went smoothly and the cupcakes were a hit!  So much so that there was not near enough :( If there is a next time, I will know people will eat more than one! Thanks Kris and Selena!

5. Bachlorette Cake

When Coralee asked me to make Chrissy’s Bachlorette Party cake I was thrilled!  I had just recently taken the Wilton Fondant course and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give my new skills a try.  For my first try at creating a formed fondant covered cake, I think it turned out pretty good.  I hope to make more in the future.  Unfortunately I fell ill that night and was unable to make the party, so I didn’t get to try it.  Hope it was good!

4. Wedding CakeS!

No, I did not make a typo in the title I meant for the ‘S’ to be big!  This was by far my biggest baking event ever, let alone in 2011.  I was asked to make the cakes for Jen and Martin’s Wedding.  At first I was terrified and think I even tried to talk her out of it, as I mentioned above, the wedding cake is a huge deal!  When I calmed down I was truly honoured and accepted the challenge.  Jen had a wonderful idea of having a cake on each table.  The cake would then be “the wedding cake”, centre piece and dessert.  It really was a good idea.  It was a ton of work but I enjoyed every minute of it and would do it again in a heart beat!  Thanks Jen!!

3. Povitica

This recipe was from the October Daring Bakers Challenge hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk.  She introduced me to something I had never heard of.  Povitica?? I could barely say it let alone make it.  As it was a bread recipe I was very hesitant in even trying it, bread and I do not get along well.  I was pleasantly surprised, it was an amazing dough and so versatile.  I was able to make both savory and sweet loaves out of the recipe.  They were delicious!! This one rang in on my top 3!  I will be making this a lot more in years to come.  Thank you Jenni!!

2. Whoopie Pies!

I was a little late jumping on the Whoopie Pie ban wagon.  Not sure what rock I had been living under but I just heard about these in July.  Apparently they were quite the craze a while ago.  There is even a “Whoopie Pie War” with two States as they both say they are the founder of the Whoopie Pie.  Well, I don’t care who came up with the idea, I’m just glad they did!!  These are little pieces of heaven!  Surprisingly they are not sweet, they have a lovely light texture and a wonderful marshmallow filling.  I have only made the “Classic Whoopie” but I have a book and plan on making many different kinds.  What a wonderful find!

Drum roooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllll…………………….

1. Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars

Without question this was my favourite recipe of the year!  I mean look at at…it’s not only the best tasting dessert bar ever, it’s also a thing of beauty!  This recipe was not even intended for me, haha.  When Jen came over to do some Christmas baking, it was for her to take to her baking exchange.  I had one bite and almost had to sit down.  It is one of those treats that after your first bite you have to stop before you start chewing and your eyes grow twice their normal size as you cant believe this piece of magic in your mouth.  It then turns into an eyes closed slow chew as you take in all the textures and tastes, and then it hits you…the salt!  Your taste buds jump into high gear.  It is like no other dessert experience I have ever had.  Don’t believe me, Try them!!!  Thank you Jen for my FAVOURITE treat of the year!  This recipe will remain at the front of my recipe book to be made time and time again!

I would like to thank my many followers for stopping by throughout the year to see whats up in my kitchen. When I first started this whole blogging thing, I really didn’t think anyone other then family would read.  I was shocked and so happy to see when I had over 20,000 hits!

Thanks again and Happy New Year!  Please come back to see what’s baking in 2012


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

August 31, 2011

Earlier this week my Aunt asked if I would make her a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, of course I answered YES! Me turn down a chance to bake? are you kidding?  I was kind of excited because I have been wanted to make something for a while, but didn’t want to have it around for me to eat.  It was also a challenge because I had never made a lemon poppy-seed cake before.  I immediately start searching for recipes as soon as I came home.  There were so many different recipes, I was quite surprised that a lot of them started with a box mix!  Well, that wasn’t going to happen!!

I decided to use one from  sprinklesofparsley.com (by the way, the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake wasn’t the only good things there. Some very nice recipes I will be trying in the future).  This recipe intrigued me because of the directions.  Most cakes there is a specific order on how to do things, when to add, how long to mix, etc etc.  Not this one, Check it out.

I just love lemons, I can eat them just as is, I love the sour pucker they give you.  It doesn’t matter if its dessert, a meal or a beverage, haven’t found a lemon dish I didn’t like.  Bare with me, I went a little crazy on the lemon photos.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice)

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

1. Combine all of your ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. (can you believe that?)

2. Mix on low, scraping the sides occasionally. Until your wet and dry ingredients are just combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Then increase your speed to high and mix for 2 minutes until your batter is thick and smooth.

4. Butter and flour your bundt cake

5. Bake at 325 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Once baked, let your cake cool for 10 minutes. Flip it over onto a cake stand and allow it to cool completely.

 

Lemon Glaze

Meanwhile, to prepare your icing combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir until smooth. Once your cake is cooled, drizzle with your icing. Serve and enjoy!

Looks pretty good, not sure though.  Delivered it and waiting to hear a verdict :)


19th Birthday Cake

August 14, 2011

My youngest cousin turns 19 today, man does that make me feel old!!  I can remember holding her just after she was born. Time sure does fly.  I was thrilled when asked to make her cake.  Andrea wanted me to make her student card, like an I.D. card with a much younger photo on it.  I thought it was a great idea! I was thinking back to my college days, my student card was white, had the name of the school, my picture and a bar code, no problem.  So you can imagine my surprise when I opened up a photo she sent me of Amy’s student card.  There was a giant building, huge field of greens, colours were fading and change into different ones.  I responded with a “holy good Lord!” I was assured that I only really had to put the photo and like colours along with “now give your sister her ID back” and a “happy Birthday”.  I could not settle for that!  If i was going to do the ID card I was going to try my best to make it look like the original.

definitely not a replica, but came out pretty good.

How cute is she!!


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