Halloween Cupcakes

November 5, 2008 at 10:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I guess it’s been a while since I last posted!  It’s been a rather busy summer and fall.  I’ve done a bit of baking, but just haven’t had much time to post about it.  But I have a little more incentive this time.  I’ve been lurking at http://iheartcuppycakes.wordpress.com/ for a few months, and right now she’s hosting a Halloween cupcake contest.  I was making cupcakes anyway, so I just have to stop being lazy and post something finally!

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I of course left it to the last minute to make the cupcakes (I was a little caught up in the Michigan State/Wisconsin football game, and only tore myself away at half time to get ingredients!)  I finally decide to make a variation on Dirt Cake so I could have creepy-crawlies on my cupcakes.  The cupcakes themselves were chocolate from a boxed mix (I know some are not fans of the box, but I honestly don’t understand–they taste better to me than most scratch recipes I’ve tried, and I know they’ll always come out consistently).  For the topping, I adapted the following recipe from allrecipes.com for Dirt Cake (sorry for the odd formatting, I’m still not good with WordPress):

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 32 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies with creme filling
  1. Chop cookies very fine in food processor. The white cream will disappear.
  2. Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl.
  3. In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.
  4. Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.
  5. Layer in flower pot, starting with cookies then cream mixture. Repeat layers.
  6. Chill until ready to serve.
  7. Add artificial flower and trowel. Enjoy!

I made a half batch, and followed the directions up to step four.  Then instead of layering it, I used the cream cheese, etc. mixture as icing, then rolled that in the cookie crumbs to look like dirt.  Then half got gummy worms, and half got tombstones (which were chocolate-covered graham crackers with “RIP” piped on).  I would have put more time into decorating them more elaborately, but my husband was all but pushing me out to door to go to the party.

The response to the cupcakes was quite good.  I took them to a friend’s party, where people were astounded I had made cupcakes myself instead of buying them (really??? It’s not like they’re that hard to make!  And these were obviously people I didn’t know well–all my friends know that I’ll bake when given even the tiniest excuse!).  The guys at work (who always benefit from my leftover baked goods) liked them as well.  I was pleased with how they came out. I wasn’t sure how well the creamed mixture would work as frosting, but it was very easy to use, and helped make the cake really moist.  Definitely an idea I would use again in the future!

Go Green!

August 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here’s short little video to get you in the mood for the upcoming football game…

I do have some cakes to post about, I just haven’t had much time lately.  Hopefully I’ll get a little more caught up this weekend.  Until then, Go State!

Going away and anniversary cakes

July 8, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Two cakes to post about, and I still don’t manage to do it for weeks!

Right after the wedding cake, I did a going-away cake for a friend of mine.   She’s moving to New Jersey to do a six-month internship with the Campbell’s Soup Company.  So naturally, I made her a soup can cake.

I started with a 9 x 13 sheet cake, then cut it to the right shape.  I covered everything in fondant of various colors, then piped the decorations on. I ended up doing it in just a couple of hours (I would normally spend several hours on a cake, but I left it to the last minute).  So I would have liked to perfect it a little more, but I didn’t have time too.  I was fairly happy with how it turned out though.  And the recipient loved it!  🙂

Then a few days later, I made an anniversary cake for my husband’s step-mom for her parents.

This one was strawberry cake, using a strawberry flavoring I get from my local cake shop (it’s like a thick jam or something), mixed into white cake.  It makes the cake super moist and yummy.  This one is covered in buttercream.  The writing was piped in white, then I painted on gold luster dust (which is conveniently pre-mixed now).  I added the flowers at the last minute–the cake was really boring without anything.  I wasn’t crazy about how it looked, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.  They’re just a basic fondant flower, cut out with a cookie cutter and rounded a bit, with the center piped on.  It definitely wasn’t my prettiest cake ever, but they seemed pleased, and everyone said it tasted really good!

Blue hearts wedding cake

June 26, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I finally have something to post about, but no time to post!

As mentioned in the previous post, I did a wedding cake this past weekend for a friend of my hubby.

I was very pleased with how it came out.  It was three different flavors.  The bottom tier was chocolate cake with strawberry filling between the layers.  The middle tier was marble cake with raspberry filling.  The top tier (which they did not keep for their anniversary–smart people!) was cherry chip cake with chocolate bavarian cream filling.  All three layers were covered in fondant (marshmallow fondant, of course, since it tastes so much better, and is so much cheaper!).  I piped on little double hearts all over, and finished it with a ribbon around the bottom of each tier.  The couple loved it, and I got several compliments on it.  So all in all, it was a success!

I haven’t had much time to write since then, though, because I’ve done two more cakes this week.  One is actually still in progress, so I better go get back to it!

Slacking…

June 21, 2008 at 11:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ve been terrible about posting lately.  Mostly because I haven’t had much to post about.  It’s been a busy couple of months, but not with baking.

This weekend is the exception.  I did/am doing a wedding cake for a friend (all that’s left is assembly at the hall in a little while).  I’ll have pictures of that once it’s set up there.  I’m also doing a cake for a friend, but I won’t say anything more about that until she sees it, just in case she stumbled upon this post.  🙂

So to sum it up, I will post something more interesting shortly.  But I’m off to assemble a wedding cake now!

Fruit Squares

May 7, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I finally did a little baking today, at the request of my co-workers. They decided it had been too long since I brought something in, and I was happy to oblige. I didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients on hand, so I went with one of my mom’s old stand-bys, Fruit Squares, which is a recipe that came from her aunt.

½ lb. (2 sticks) butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour OR 2 cups sifted cake flour

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 can pie filling (I usually use cherry, cause that’s what Mom always used)

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour. Add nuts, and mix well. Spread ¾ of thick batter in ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Cover with pie filling. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls on filling; spread with spatula.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool and cut out for finger pastries.

Sprinkle with confectioners sugar (it’s in the recipe, but I’ve never done it—they’re just as good without it).

On a side note–can anyone tell me hoe to format text on here? I can’t do things like eliminate the spaces between each line of the ingredients above. I tried cutting and pasting from Word, but WordPress did it’s own formatting anyway. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Not much to say…

April 28, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I haven’t done much baking lately, so I don’t have much to post about. My sister made an awesome birthday cake for me a couple weeks ago. I did a cake tasting for the second wedding cake I’m doing this summer. It wasn’t nearly as involved as the last one – only 3 flavors of cake (no marble), and a few fillings. They wanted strawberry cake. The last time I made that, I added strawberry oil to a normal white cake, but it tasted quite artificial. This time I tried a new product from my local cake lady. It’s about the consistency of jam, and you just add it to the batter. You can add as much as you like. It’s got really fruit in it, so you end up with chunks of strawberry. The flavor is so much better than with the oil. My hubby raved about it–I think it’s his new favorite cake flavor. The best part is that they have all sorts of fruit flavors available, so I could make a pineapple or banana or raspberry cake (or I’m sure others, but that’s all I remember). I made cupcakes from the left over batter, but didn’t think to get a picture of those either. I hope to do some more baking soon–I like decorating cakes, but the baking part is pretty boring. Both of us are trying to eat healthier though, so it’s hard to do much baking!

A post just isn’t as much fun without a picture, so just for the heck of it, here are my cute kitties, Rooster

and Jack

Wildtype Cake

April 10, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

I finally made a cake I’ve been contemplating for a while…for years really. The nursery I work for has a fun logo that we use on T-shirts and such:

I’ve always thought this picture could pass as a caricature of sorts of my boss.  Anyway, I’ve always thought it would be fun to drawn/pipe this on a cake.  Well Wednesday was my boss’s 50th birthday, so I thought it was finally high time to do the cake.  Though I decided to go a little beyond piping it on:

It wasn’t exactly what I imagined (I wasn’t going to do a sheet cake underneath, but one I carved the tree, there wasn’t much cake left to feed the nursery crew!).  Overall I was really happy with how it turned out.  I even put the little bird on, holding on for dear life.

My boss was really pleased with it–he loved that I made oak leaves and everything (I just used a cookie cutter, and I forgot to put on acorns, but he liked it anyway).  It was definitely one of the most fun cakes I’ve done recently.

Birthday apron

April 6, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Look what I got in the mail yesterday….

I had been eyeing this on Etsy for a while.  I mentioned it to my awesome sisters, and they got it for me for my birthday.  🙂  Thanks girls!

I wanted to start baking as soon as I got it, but didn’t manage much.  I did bake a cake today (wearing the new apron of course!) for my boss’s birthday on Wednesday.  I’m hoping to do a version of the company logo (which is way cooler than it sounds).  I will definitely post pictures if it turns out how I hope.

It’s finally feeling like spring here, which means syrup season is about done.  I should be back to one job soon, so I’ll have a little more time for everything else.  I’m so glad it’s finally warming up!

G.G. Rolls

March 28, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to update for ages, but haven’t had the time. Work has been a little crazy lately, but it looks like it might finally slow down next week.

I’ve done some baking over the past few weeks, so hopefully I’ll get the recipes and pictures up soon. To begin with, here are the rolls I made for Easter (and that I make for most holidays). The basic recipe is from my 7th grade Home-Ec class (thanks Mrs. Buda!), with some adaptations from the way Steve’s great grandma made rolls.

G.G. (Great Grandma) Rolls

2 3/4 – 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup softened butter or margarine, plus additional for step 8.
3/4 cups hot tap water
1 egg (room temperature)
Cooking oil

1. Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in large bowl. Stir well to blend. Add butter.

2. Add hot tap water to ingredients in bowl.

3. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally.

4. Add egg and 1/2 cup more flour. Beat with electric mixer at high speed for 1 minute or until thick and elastic. Scrape bowl occasionally.

5. Stir in remaining flour gradually with wooden spoon. Use just enough flour to make soft dough which leaves sides of bowl. Turn out onto floured board. Round up into a ball.

6. Knead dough 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

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7. Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel. Let rest for 20 minutes on board. Punch down.

8. Divide dough into sixteen pieces. Flatten each piece into an oblong disk on hand. Spread a small amount of butter on dough, and wrap dough around finger (butter side in). Place in pan with the seam down (I often make a double batch–when I do, I bake it in two 8″ or 9″ square pans rather than all in one 9″ x 13″ pan, so that the middle bakes more evenly).

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9. Brush dough lightly with oil. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap.

0. Refrigerate 2 to 48 hours. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator. Uncover. *I actually skipped this step this time, but the rolls still came out great!*

11. Let stand for 10 minutes while preheating oven. Puncture any surface bubbles carefully with toothpick just before baking.

12. Bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes or until done. Bake on a lower oven rack for best results.

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13. Remove from pan immediately. Leave bottom-side up and cover with a towel (this allows steam to escape so the rolls don’t get soggy).
14. Brush tops with butter if desired.

* The key to these rolls is step eight. You can actually use any roll recipe you like (this is the one I use). The butter helps create a lighter, fluffier roll.

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