Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Amiable!!!

Yesterday, my sister and best friend Amy (whom I call Amiable) turned 24!!!

She has been in Reno for the past few days celebrating with her boyfriend. While they were away (they come home today) I took care of their cats. By "took care" I mean refilling their water bowl once a day, super difficult. ;)

I figured I'd bake her up a cake and leave it in her fridge as a surprise when she gets home.

She is in LOVE with my peanut butter frosting so I knew right away I would be incorporating that into her cake.

I decided on a Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge cake....YUMMY.
You see, she and I both inherited the Chocolate gene from my parents so naturally chocolate fudge cake won over any other flavor and it goes perfectly with the peanut butter.

The cake is 4 layers with peanut butter buttercream filling.

It is covered in milk chocolate ganache and topped with a few swirls of the peanut butter buttercream.

I'm pretty sure I will paying her a visit tonight so that I can have a slice myself - I wouldn't want her to have to eat this whole thing by herself. What kind of older sister would I be if I did that?

I slipped the cake into her fridge on the top shelf with a little message.

Happy Birthday Amiable!
I love you!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Snickerdoodle Heaven

I promised my friend Amy who lives down south that when she came up to visit this weekend that I would make her any kind of cupcake she wanted.

I gave her a few ideas and she picked SNICKERDOODLE.

When we were in high school we would go to Starbucks on a regular basis and share a venti caramel frappuccino and a snickerdoodle cookie, so her choice was no surprise to me.

I knew Martha Stewart had a snickerdoodle cupcake recipe, it has been on my "Baking To Do List" for quite some time...but I also wanted to do cookies and of course she has a recipe for that too!

Both batters were delicious enough to be served all by themselves, no baking.

Or maybe I just have a problem with dipping my finger in things.

Dear Kitchen Aid mixer, Have I told you lately that I LOVE YOU?

Well, I do...a lot.

You have changed my life.

What lesson did I learn this time?

Don't turn your back on an will cost you a dozen burnt snickerdoodles.

Don't worry, my boyfriend likes burnt cookies and claimed them...whatever floats his boat.

I wanted to make mini cookies for the cupcakes and regular ones for an extra treat.

Ta Da!

Although my cupcakes didn't look quite like Martha's, they are yummy.

I topped them off with a generous amount of vanilla buttercream, then dusted them with some cinnamon and sugar.

I boxed up some of the extra cookies and can't wait to share some with my friend tonight!
Maybe I'll pick us up a venti caramel frappuccino for old times sake :)

UPDATE: Here's a candid shot of my friend Amy eating one of her snickerdoodle cupcakes!

COMING UP: Family Tree Cupcakes, San Francisco 49er Cupcakes and a Chanel Handbag Cake!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Julie's Graduation Party.....and my biggest order to date!

My brother's girlfriend, Julie just graduated from college...Congratulations!!!

She had a big party to celebrate yesterday.
She ordered 150 cupcakes and a cake for the event.

I decided I wanted to paint my cupcake tree for the first time...with many times to come, I'm sure.

Julie's school colors are Blue and Red.

Julie has great and delicious, so get ready do drool.

The cake is Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Fillings, covered in Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream with a Dark Chocolate Ganache drip, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Swirls along with some Dark Chocolate Ganache filled Raspberries.

Did you get all that?
Oh Yeah, and the Graduation Hat is made with a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Raspberry Square :)

75 Dark Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream (aka HEAVEN) and Dark Chocolate Shavings.

75 Vanilla Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Caramel Graduation Hats with Twizzler tassels topped with a Red mini M&M.

(The chocolate cups underneath the Ghirardelli squares are solid milk chocolate, hand molded by my sister and assistant, Amiable)

Note: All the chocolate used in these recipes was Ghirardelli!

Since I live about 20 miles from Julie's place, I decided it was safest and smartest to frost all the cupcakes on site.
I would die if they were damaged en route to the party.

This is where Amiable, my assistant for the day comes in.

I frosted and she sprinkled and topped the cupcakes.

We were a little factory in Julie's living room.

THANK YOU to Julie's parents for being so accommodating and such great hosts!

THANK YOU Julie for wanting such delicious sweets and being my first large order.

THANK YOU Ken (my brother, Julie's boyfriend) for paying me! Haha!

I am already looking forward to the next time I get to paint my cupcake tree and make another huge batch of cupcakes :)

Wow Wow Wubbzy!!!

Ever heard of him?

I hadn't until a friend asked me to make a cake for her daughter's 3rd birthday party.

So, I did what I always do when I want to know something...I googled it.

I was able to find templates for this cake on the NickJr website which came in real handy.

The cake itself is french vanilla with fresh bananas and caramel for the filling, see:

I covered the cake in swiss meringue vanilla-banana buttercream frosting using Martha Stewart's
recipe then adding the banana flavor.

I made the arms, legs and ears with my favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Cutting out the limbs was a bit challenging but I managed to do so without breaking too many of them or burning them all, which is why I purposely made a few of each.

Frosting the limbs wasn't as easy as I thought.

If I could just learn how to use royal icing, I think it would have looked much cleaner.

Here it is:

I wanted to use buttercream on this cake because it compliments the banana caramel but I think that this cake would have been a great candidate for fondant.

I am thinking that I need to bite the bullet and learn how to work with fondant.

So I've just decided to start practically with the stuff.

I'm gonna make some small cakes and play around with it.

If my practice cakes don't look like total crap, I'll post some pictures.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Soccer Ball Birthday Cake

Monday evening I got a call from a friend of a friend who needed a Birthday cake for a party tonight.

She requested a soccer ball cake...preferably a dome or round one.

I knew Wilton made a dome soccer ball mold, so I told her no problem.

She wanted both chocolate and white cake with fresh strawberries in the filling.

After accepting the order, I quickly realized the dome cake could not be split, let alone filled with anything then reassembled so I proposed a base cake underneath which could be layered.

Note: These dome cakes take forever to bake and are a challenge to trim and level. I was happy though that the cake cooked all the way through and was not burnt or hard on the outside. These molds come with their own instructions for the decorating which was very helpful, but I had to do some research as far as tips for the actual baking part.

I chopped the strawberries up so that the cake would cut easier.

Then I drizzled a little bit of strawberry glaze over the top before placing the second layer.

I wanted to do more than just grass so I decided to make the sides of the base cake brown to look like dirt and then grass on top around the soccer ball.

I attempted to put chocolate sprinkles around the base to add to the dirt effect...but it's not so easy to do so.

Overall, I am pleased with the results and I hope they enjoy it!

Coming up later this week:
Wow Wow Wubbzy Cake, Graduation Cake & 150 Cupcakes!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Labels & Cookies!

Check out my super awesome labels made by AC Label in Fremont, Ca.

I gave them this fuzzy JPEG photo and they turned into something fabulous!

How awesome is that? a THANK YOU I baked up some Pillow Cookies that I saw on Bakerella.
I also made some regular chocolate chip cookies and some chocolate drizzled brownies.

I put them in pretty boxes and slapped my label on the front.
(The two people who personally worked on my labels received their own boxes and I made a large box for the other employees which include my sister and sister-in-law)

I feel like a professional...all thanks to a label.