Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's been a while since I've last baked! Between getting a new job, and lack of holidays, I just haven't gotten to do much, but Father's day is today and I did make cookies. The inspiration was to create cookies that men would like. That doesn't seem hard since men tend to like food period, but once you decorate something, it can quickly loose its masculinity. So, I made the proverbial dress shirt with ugly tie to go along with it out of melted chocolate. It's just not father's day without and ugly tie! Also, I thought I'd label their cookies, using royal icing, with their monograms, because it seemed masculine. I could be wrong, but they can still eat the cookies, making it a success. They came out messier than I am proud of, but I unfortunately timed everything wrong, and rushed. Hopefully they'll like them though.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bake something Monday

yes..this was on my other blog first, I recycled...., for this monday, I had planned to share how I made over a microwave cabinet to look like a pie safe. But, uh, it didn't happen. It's super humid here and the stain isn't soaking into the wood at all. Maybe next week? Of course, now I don't have anything to do today, and with it freaking raining all the dang time, there's nothing to do. I hate Florida. I really do. Sunshine state my...well you know. So, I apologize, but it's another recipe this week. But it's one I kind of made up, so I'm not just sharing a good one I've stolen from elsewhere.

Citrus cake
1 box lemon cake (I like duncan heins)
*plus the stuff on the back of the box, except substitute orange juice for the water
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 egg (in addition to the three asked for on the box)
1 cup lemon yogurt
1 tsp lemon or orange flavor
lime zest

Preheat oven to 350
mix all the ingredience together like you would normally
pour into two 8" pans or what have you (note since the recipe includes a cake extender, there's a little more mix than you may be used to, just remember to allow at least an inch at the top for the cake to rise)
bake for about 40 minutes (check with toothpick to make sure its done)
Let cool in pan for about 5 min
let cool completely out of pan before icing.

Now, I also made a raspberry buttercream filling to go along with the citrus cake. It was a nice mixture of sweet and tangy, and since I like you, and I really do, I'll share that too. (I didn't make the base of this up, its from

3/4 cups egg whites(pasteurized or about 5 big eggs)
2 cups shortening
1/2 cup butter (1 stick softened a little and cut into pieces)
4 to 5 cups of confectioners sugar
2 tbsp flavor of your choice (I used lemon)
2 tbsp milk or heavy cream (i used milk, because it's what I had)
1/3 to 1/2 c jam/jelly/preserves of your choice (optional)

*Always make sure that your bowl and utensils are clean,dry and free of fat or liquids before whipping the egg whites for best results.

Whip the whites slowly at first until they get foamy. Add the extract, increase the speed of the mixer and start adding 1 cup of sugar slowly. Keep whipping until the meringue is shiny and stiff.

With the mixer in medium start adding the shortening and the butter a bit at a time. At the beggining the mix will look kind of curdled but that is normal. Change the mixer to high and mix until your buttercream looks fluffy (abt 5 to 15 min)

start adding the rest of the sugar by 1/2 cups, add the 2 tbsp of milk or heavy cream and keep whipping until the sugar is well incorporated (abt 5 more min). The buttercream must be transfered to an airtight container and can last at room temperature for a few days or be refrigerated 1-2 weeks.

Now, I split the recipe in half because I was going to use the plain to ice the outside to act as glue under fondant. You don't have to do that, if you're not using fondant. You are free to use whatever you want to ice the outside. Now, in the one half of the icing, I put about 1/2c of raspberry preserves into the icing. (preserves was all I could find, there's no reason why I used it over jelly or jam) and stirred it in with a whisk. Then, I used the raspberry mixture as the filler between the cake layers. (If you don't want to use icing, you can just fill the cake with the jelly if you want. I like this buttercream because it's light and fluffy, and softens the tartness of the citrus cake.) Once you've filled the layers, ice the outside with the plain, or the flavored if you so desire.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Our neighbors were gracious enough to watch Apollo while we were away for the graduation. As a thank you, I've made them a citrus cake (lemon cake base made with orange juice and lime zest) with a raspberry buttercream filling. It's light and summery and delicious. They have a cocker spaniel (with a mohawk) and Apollo is a boxer mix. I thought I'd honor both dogs by putting their silhouettes on the "bowl." The dogfood is just cocoa puffs :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

fondant 101

Fondant is quite the controversial cake covering. Some people love it, some hate it, most like to decorate with it, because it makes for a smooth, clean, pretty cake. I don't care for it myself. I'm a very textural person when it comes to food and moist crumbly cake doesn't mix well with chewy for my palate. Wilton fondant is probably the most disgusting from what I've experienced. It's extremely easy to use, but not good to eat. I suppose that's a fair trade off for when you're first learning. Then there are the type you can buy. Satin Ice (especially white chocolate, and I don't like white chocolate) is pretty tasty. These come at a price though. They are usually about 10 bucks for 2 lbs of fondant. Not for your casual cake decorator. There is another, cheaper route to go though. You can make your own, and it's not nearly as hard as you may fear. I just made my first batch and it came out wonderfully. There of course are different types, but marshmallow fondant (or MMF) is fairly easy to make, and tastes much better than Wilton's store kind. This recipe is from and it's called Rhonda's ultimate MMF recipe.

15 oz. mini marshmallows (regular bags have 10 oz, so be aware)
2 T water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 tsp light corn syrup (helps w/ pliability)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 lbs (approx 7 C) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 C Crisco or vegetable shortening

Grease microwave proof bowl w/ Crisco. Also grease wooden or heat proof spoon. Pour marshmallows and water into bowl. Microwave for approximately 2 minutes stopping and stirring at 40 second intervals. Mixture should be soupy.

Take out of microwave and immediately add corn syrup, lemon juice, salt and extracts. Stir well. Sift confectioner's sugar into mixture, one cup at a time. After approximately 5 cups, grease your hands well with Crisco and knead the mixture in the bowl it will be very sticky at this point. Add the sixth cup and continue to knead. Now grease your work surface well and turn mixture out of bowl onto counter. Sift remaining sugar, regrease hands, and knead well. If mixture seems soft, add one additional cup of powdered sugar.

Shape into a mound and put a coating of crisco on outside. Double wrap in cling wrap and insert into ziplock bag. Press air out of bag and seal. Allow to rest overnight, but, can be used after sitting for a few hours.

Now, whenever you're ready to cover your cake, you just take it out of the bag and knead it for a while. Once it's soft and pliable, just roll it out to the correct size for your cake and cover :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

grad cookies part II

They're finished! Of course now, I just have to transport them without breakage or meltage...There are three designs (shown below) the bear paw, the BU symbol and the face of the Baylor bear. The bear face and paws are chocolate and the BU are vanilla flavored candy melts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a little note about choco transfers

So, I found out today, that it's best if you draw your desired design backwards (ie mirror image of what you want), that way when the chocolate drys, the image will be smooth and pretty on the correct side. I have fixed this on the Baylor cookies and pictures will be posted tomorrowish. get excited.

Monday, May 11, 2009

the graduate part I

My brother-in-law (we'll call him bil for short) is graduating from Baylor University this coming weekend! We actually get to go, and I am so excited! To be honest, I'm not excited to actually go to the graduation, but getting to see family and going to Texas is what really excites me. Well, as a gift, I've decided to give him some Baylor themed cookies. (because every graduate needs cookies.) The cookies are the No Fail sugar cookies from the mother's day batch. I simply made all of the cookies, and then froze the 12 I am saving for him. Just take the cookies out a day or so before decorating them, so that they can thaw, and you're good to go! So anyhow, I am experimenting using chocolate instead of royal icing to create the designs for the cookies. So, for the chocolate, I use these chocolate waifers or candy melts. Put about 30 or so in a microwave safe bowl and nuke them for about 30 seconds. Take it out after 15s stir, and put back in for the remaining time. Then just stir until melted. (if its still not melted, or you want to use more, just heat in 30 second increments) I then place the melted chocolate in a decorating bag and away we can go!
So, now we have chocolate in a bag and we're ready to go, so all you need to do, is outline your image with the chocolate on wax paper. In this case, I'm doing the BU (I'll also have other images, but they're not done yet)

Now that you've got the outline, you need to let it dry for a few minutes, and then fill. Now, the Baylor logo is gold with green fill, so that's what I'm doing, but of course you can do whatever you want!
And there you have it. You let these dry fully (I'd let sit overnight) and then gently peel off the wax paper (dental floss helps with the delicate designs) and place. I'll use royal icing as my "glue" on the cookie, but these can sit up on frosting, you can make abstract designs with chocolate and garnish a cake with them. The possabilities are endless. If you notice, the bottom emblem looks kind of lumpy. All you need is a clean cheap paintbrush and a little water. Just gently go over the lumps or bumps with that to smooth! :)

Bake something Monday

Feeling very domestic today, I decided to make my own wheat thins according to

Wheat thins
1 3/4c wheat flour
1 1/2c white flour
1/3c oil (I used olive)
3/4 tsp salt
1c. water

preheat oven to 350
combine the flours in a medium bowl
in a separate bowl, combine the oil, salt, and water
mix the flours and oil mix well, but not too much
roll out on ungreased cookie sheet like so, so that it's no thicker than 1/8"Now, then, score the dough with a knife (not cutting all the way through)
After you've done this, just sprinkle the top with kosher salt (my choice this time) Parmesan cheese, or onion powder.
Place in oven for 30 minutes, let cool for a few minutes and voila
I'm not going to lie to you, these are not as good as wheat thins. To me, they don't really taste like them at all. That's not to say that they're not good, but they're not wheat thins. So, If you're looking for a fairly quick to make, wheat cracker, these are pretty good! However, if you're looking for wheat thins, this is not the recipe.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Mother's day is just around the corner, and this year, I wanted to do more than just an informal card attached to some flowers I've only seen online. I'm sure the quality is good once it arrives, but I'm always a little wary if they're getting what I think they're getting. I'm just a little paranoid though. Anyhow, I thought to myself "self, you could try and make cookies, and mail them! That would be a wonderful idea, because if all goes well, they'll have cookies, and if not, the base for pie crust!" (neither of my mothers really bake all that much, so lets just hope all goes well...) So, I followed this recipe for No fail sugar cookies (it says no can it possibly go wrong!?)
No Fail Sugar Cookies
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I used orange for a floridan citrus feel)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies. (mine made 4 dozen of various shapes and sizes)

So, you've got your cookies baked and cooled, now what!? Well you decorate them silly! I used this recipe for royal icing, and it turned out pretty well
Royal Icing
6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25 lbs (about 9 cups) powdered icing sugar

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened...about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency. (make sure to set aside some of the thicker so you can make your outlines. Once your outlines are dry, you can fill them in with the thinned down icing)

I find it the easiest to have a variety of gladware/tupperware/plastic bowls out so that I can mix colors and such all at one time, and then can begin the decorating process. (I'll start taking pics as I decorate to illustrate better in the future)

These are the finished productFor the teacup, I outlined in white and filled in white. Then while the fill was still wet, I drew a line across the top and bottom with the pink icing. Then, taking a clean toothpick, drew figure 8s draging the pink and white together to get that effect.

The round pink cookies, I outlined and filled in pink, let dry overnight. Then, I took a very fine color dust, used a stencil (like the type you use on a wall to paint with, but clean) and brushed the color on. Then, I followed over with the color to give further definition.

The round purple cookies, I outlined, filled and let dry overnight, just like the pink. Then, I just freehand outlined the design on there with the same shade of purple. very simple!

The heart is just purple outline, purple fill and while the fill was still wet, added swirls of pink and toothpicked it through.

Let's start at the very beginning

Well, because sister Maria said that it's a very good place to start, and she knows what she's talking about. It was a warm and rainy afternoon in the summertime (it actually was!) just after we moved into our new apartment and I was out running errands at Michael's craft store. Since it was raining, I thought I'd just hang out inside the store until it let up a little. (Never a good idea in a craft store...but the only other option was Target next door, which could be worse) As I was wandering up and down the aisles, I came to a little corner tucked away from everything else. The contents of this aisle was to forever change my life, and thus began my story. (There really should be sound, so I could imput some sappy beginning credits theme here) There, hanging on the wall of the cake/candy/cookie decorating aisle, were flyers for 50% off Wilton cake decorating courses for the month of July! Well, who can pass up a sale on a class they'd been interested in taking!? Not me! So, with flyer in hand, and a song in my heart I signed up for course one. (Actually, I took it home and talked to my husband about it first, and then went back to the store, but that doesn't sound as poetic.) The next 5 months of my life I spent devoted to learning the craft of cake decorating in accordence to the the ways of Wilton. I never expected to fall in love with the art of cake decorating the way that I did. I just hoped to meet some people and make friends while in this new place, and expected to pick up a new hobby. Instead, I discovered a new passion that I am hoping to become a profession. I can't learn enough, practice enough, design enough, or talk enough about cakes. Just ask my husband. He rolls his eyes everytime he sees that I'm watching Ace of Cakes or the Cake Challege shows, or when I read cake books like they're the next New York Times bestseller. (It's ok, I do the same when he's talking about airplanes or computer games) So, I thought I'd begin a blog of how-tos, showcase what I'm working on, bounce ideas off of whoever wants to read this, and showcase other projects and products that I think are amazing (I have a link to cake wrecks if you want to see other things)