Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ears, Horns, Snowman and Twirls - sometimes the crazy works

“Don’t do it – you’ll regret it!” my dear friend told me about making fondant. I listened the first time. This time? I decided to give it a try. I needed to make a unicorn horn and ears for Bronwyn’s 5th birthday cake. I hunted for recipes but decided to go with the one that had all the ingredients and offered the least amount of work. I let my microwave and stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook) do all the heavy lifting on this one. What came out of my well-worked mixer was like fluffy amazing smelling playdough.
I was able to form several twisty horns and ears from the fondant and let them dry a few days. I used a variety of gold options but the Wilton Spray color by far was the winner. Now I know the secret to fondant!
And really… the snowman. What is the first thing you usually make out of playdough? For me? A snowman – so that was my go to with my extra fondant – a snowman. It had nothing to do with the unicorn cake – just for fun.

Easy Homemade Marshmallow Fondant – Microwave Version

4 cups marshmallows
4 cups powdered sugar (you will need extra for your hands and dusting the surface)
2 tbsp water
Food coloring and flavoring extracts (if desired)

Place the measured powdered sugar in a bowl and the marshmallows/water in a separate microwave safe bowl.
Microwave the marshmallows and water for 60 seconds.
Stir the melted marshmallows down and return to the microwave for 30 seconds
Slowly add the powdered sugar until it resembles fondant. Use a silicone spatula at first, then after it has cooled enough go for it with your hands.
Go to town! Shape it up! Roll it out and do what you do!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Unicorn Requested: Unicorn Delivered

A unicorn is what the birthday girl wanted. Oh dear. Really? Like an actual unicorn? Fear crept up in me. She wanted a unicorn cake for her birthday. I had visions of a giant cake mess, a sad girl, and really sad mom. Thankfully we talked it through and we looked at cakes online – Oh…. A circle cake with the face of a unicorn – I can do that!!
My sweet Bronwyn Grace is 5 years old! I made her this unicorn cake, featuring rainbow frosting mane and a fondant gold horn and ears. The cake really was so much fun to make. I got to learn so many new things too, how to make fondant, how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream, what food colorings NOT to use for things types of things. I’ll be honest – the colors? Seem a bit dusty to me. They aren’t as bright and vibrant as I had hoped – but the birthday girl was in love with the cake. You can see she has a pretty big smile.
Now – on to Kindergarten in the fall! How did I get a school-ager? It was just yesterday she was so cute and little and whispered “puppy puppy puppy.”

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bake this Beautiful Brown Bundt - with Brown Eggs (booo need more B's)

Recently we had some dear friends over for dinner that we’d not visited with for far too long. The day was gorgeous – we were able to get so much done, we even were able to have dinner out on the deck. What a treat! I’d planned the menu to be simple so we could spend more time outside and enjoy the day rather than worry about cooking. The night before I baked this beautiful bundt cake with these amazing eggs. Andy’s brother Aaron gave me a dozen of his chicken’s eggs the week before and wow are they pretty. They cracked perfectly and made a beautiful batter. The bundt baked beautifully and cooled overnight. On Saturday I whipped up half a recipe of cream cheese frosting. This recipe uses two packages of cream cheese. That’s crazy – it’s a bundt cake, not a 12 layer wedding cake. Eek! I piped the frosting on like the Nothing Bundt Cake Shop does in our area. What should I do with the rest of the frosting? Hrm… that hole in the middle looks like a great vessel for storage. The cake was amazing – and the extra frosting we perfect- just scoop out what you want and have extra. How can you go wrong with a moist chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and awesome friends? You can’t.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
1 pkg. devils food cake, German chocolate cake, or chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 c. sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
2 (8 ounce) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3-4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix first six ingredients together with a beater. Add chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bunt cake pan (cooking spray works best). Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. Remove from oven. Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan.
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar (start with 2 cups then keep adding more until it is nice and thick).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

6 year old girl loves penguins!

Miss Anika Joy turned 6 this year and her request was for penguin cupcakes. She informed me that penguins were her favorite animal! They are pretty cool birds. Pinterest had so many different penguin ideas for cupcakes. Sometimes you find nothing, sometimes it’s an onslaught of information that you aren’t sure where to even start. I pinned a bunch of options, but then one day Wilton posted a video on Instagram – a penguin holding a heart. Perfect! Their suggestion was piping the beak with orange frosting. Hrm…. That seemed like the potential for messed up penguin faces. Instead, I heated up Starbursts in the microwave – 7 seconds - no more – and cut and formed each beak. They turned out great. Jackson was not so the fan of that Starburst – but Anika liked them. Nicholas thought they were owls. Nicholas also wears his dinner plate on his head so I’m not entirely sure his opinion matters this time. Anika liked that and that’s who mattered, the birthday girl. Thankful for this 6-year-old girlie who loves penguins!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Flash: Boy turns 8, loses tooth, gets old way too fast.

One of my favorite things to do each year is to make birthday cakes or cupcakes for the little people in my life. Their creativity in requests always stretches my thinking and I love the hunt and planning to try to make something they like.

This year for Xander’s 8th birthday (8? How can he be 8 already?) he asked for Dale Earnhardt Jr. cupcakes. He wanted them in the shape of the car number 88. That was going to be quite a few cupcakes and since we’d be transporting them? Eek. That seemed iffy. We ended up deciding to do the car logo on a toothpick, like a sign. There was some confusion on my part as to what color those cupcakes should be, what logo to use, where the logo should go. Thankfully I was able to chat with Xander about a week before and lay out my plan, show him the logo, and get him excited about them. You see… it’s all in the presentation. I used plain old silver liners since the colors were blue and silver, piped on blue frosting and used some silver star sprinkles I had. They turned out way better than I had hoped. Xander wanted to keep all the 88 signs. He would hand out cupcakes, but make sure to take the sign first. I’m glad I was able to make something he really liked. Sometimes the designs I make require some imagination to figure out what they are – this time he knew right away. Thankful for this boy who is 8 and already lost a tooth! He’s growing up so fast.
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