Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Well this post is a little overdue as Brenda has already given birth to beautiful Brittany! However, here is a little bit about the adventure my mom and I had while putting together her baby shower cake.
Since I had just had a baby, we still wanted to do a shower cake for my very dear childhood friend Brenda, but I enlisted my mom for help since I wasn't sure about how such a large cake would go while having a baby. My mom was in charge of doing the baking and prepping the icing, then I just get to waltz in and do all the decorating.. talk about an ideal situation! haha
I have already made a bassinet shower cake for Cindy so I wanted to put a new twist on it. I had seen a few examples of this on cakecentral.com - a white chocolate hood instead of using cake for the hood. I did a practice run with some chocolate melts and a bowl and it seemed to work out OK. You simply spread the melted candy melts onto half of a stainless steel bowl and pop it in the freezer until it hardens and pops out of the bowl easily. I also used some masking tape to create straight edges.
We made marshmallow buttercream tinted pink (she didn't want anything fruity otherwise I would've used raspberry!) and chocolate cake, since Brenda was having chocolate cravings. Yum! I carved the ends of the cake to be more rounded so we could get rid of that square cake look and have more of an oval shape.
I made up some pink icing, green icing, and a little yellow and orange for the 4-color basketweave I wanted to do on the side. The ruffles on the bottom and top of the lower portion of the cake were going to be white, pink, and some details of green.
The sheets of the bassinet were green and I made a criss cross pattern plus used some papertowel pressing to give it a swirly dotted texture if you looked really close.
My favorite thing about the cake was the fondant blanket which I made by rolling out fondant, using a scalloped ribbon cutter for the edges, a circle decorator's tip to cut out the circles and then a star decorator's tip to create a textured "star" effect in diagonals, which you could see through. I loved how it turned out.
That's as far as I got on the Friday before the shower - I was busy on Saturday but came back on Sunday and finished up the cake. I added a little more detail around the bottom green ribbon of buttercream on top of the ruffles. I made the bassinet hood with white chocolate and once we placed that on the cake, I covered it with pink and white buttercream ruffles.
It was a bumpy ride to the shower location so we had a little bit of a mishap with some of the buttercream in the back. I would still do this design again but I would definitely create some kind of a hidden platform on which to place the white chocolate hood so that it had more support instead of the edges of the cake.
We had a great time making the cake and a nice time at the shower seeing Brenda! Congrats Brenda and Kris!
Posted by Kitchen Bliss! at Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
A perfect opportunity to try out the "frozen buttercream transfer" method of decorating a cake was my nephew's 3rd birthday. He loves Mickey Mouse and I saw a lot of great Mickey birthday cakes on cakecentral.com, so I decided to finally try out this new frozen buttercream transfer thing.
You can do this for any kind of intricate or character design that you can print out a template for - and it's pretty handy because you can do it in advance. I found a free coloring book image of mickey mouse with some balloons (as seen here... took me a while to find this so I hope this helps!) I reversed it and then printed it out in the size that worked for me. It fit nicely on a 10x10 square cake.
The idea is to put your reversed printed out template underneath some parchment paper so you can see through it. Start with the black outline color (I bought all my vivid colors because we can't have Mickey with gray ears and pink trousers!) and with a small decorating tip (size #2 or so), outline everything on the parchment paper. Then start filling in the colors - start with the colors that would be on TOP of the cake (you have to think of this backwards...). For instance, after the black outline, you have to do the white buttons before doing the red trousers because you'll eventually flip this image over and what gets frosted first will be on the top.
I filled in the eyes, gloves and buttons in white, yellow balloon, shoes and hat portions, then I did the blue balloon and hat, red tongue and trousers and then the skin tone last. And because I didn't want an edge around the mickey image, I decided to just transfer the entire top of the cake so I did a big layer of white which was my cake's background color. I'm not sure I'd do this again - you could definitely see the piping lines. I think it was hard to smooth the icing also, so I may have had my icing too thick. I also had problems with the black outline moving around as I filled in different colors, and as you can see some of the blue bled over the lines and there were some other imperfections like that. Overall, I think my nephew recognized it was Mickey and was happy so that was the main thing.
After you get all of your buttercream drawn out, you slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and freeze it. I froze mine overnight but you can do so for longer. I baked and filled and crumb coated my cake and I also had the sides done already. I then took the frozen transfer out of the freezer and flipped it upside down onto the cake, centered it, and peeled off the parchment. Actually it was solid and it came off in a block and the parchment slipped right off, so that part was easy.
The buttercream starts to come to room temperature where I tried to smooth out the edges and round them down to match up with the sides. I should've leveled my cake better so I had to prop up some of the transfer with more frosting and tried to smooth it out. It worked out OK and I would definitely try the frozen buttercream transfer method again.
I used the following blog tutorial with how to do it and I highly recommend going there instead of using my silly instructions above. It was very helpful!
Helpful Frozen Buttercream Transfer Tutorial on Soggy Cheerios
Speaking of brunch (the last few posts have been french toast and sugar buns!), I just noticed some pictures of the drinks we had at our brunch we hosted for some near and dear friends.
One of our friends brought some fabulous bloody mary mix from Detroit's own McClures
(known for their amazing pickles!) - he also brought some hot pickles to garnish and we had some stuffed olives and it was great. The mix and pickles were spicy and delicious. If you find yourself typically buying bloody mary mix and having to add a bunch of ingredients to make it tasty, try McClures, it's got different spices in it and the pickling brine in it and a lot of great flavor right from the get-go. Plus it's always great to support a Michigan company. I've seen McClures featured on FoodNetwork and the first time I saw their pickles available was at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Now you can find them in stores around!
We also had two kinds of pomegranate mimosas - one with a splash of orange juice and one without. This was a tasty and pretty drink, fruit and champagne in the morning is always a good thing. Some one has already thought of this, I'm sure, but I think I'll call it the Pom-osa! I guess I already posted a blog about this here, but oh well!
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Well I've made The Husband's mom's fabulous quiche recipe several times but for a recent brunch, I decided to try a new recipe to go along with that - Martha Stewart's sugar buns. We were having a brunch at our house on Easter weekend with some of the nearest and dearest friends of The Husband and I ... the newly engaged and the new parents... all sorts of wonderful things to celebrate. So this called for a tasty breakfast!
I had seen this on Martha Bakes! at my mom's house and it was a recipe for her yeast dough which can be then used for sugar buns or sticky buns or monkey bread, I think. I hadn't done much with yeast before so that was fun. I probably didn't do it quite right or maybe over mixed but I think these turned out tasty nonetheless. I think baking and doughs take a lot of practice and there is a "feel" to the perfect dough that I just don't know yet. I look forward to making some cinnamon buns sometime soon also. This was fun and they were pretty good - what's not to like about cinnamon sugary doughy goodness? They were especially wonderful while still warm out of the oven.
Another thing I liked about this recipe is that you can make the dough and let it rise the first time the day before, roll it and fill with cinnamon and sugar goodness, slice and put into the cupcake tin, and then place in the fridge overnight to rise the second time. This way, in the morning before your guests arrive, you can take the muffin tins out to come to room temperature and the rising will be all finished and they're ready to go for baking. Very easy and convenient and no need to get your hands dirty the day of your brunch!
Martha's Sugar Buns
The recipe can be found here on MarthaStewart.com
So this post is a million years late, but I just came across the picture and it looks like a tasty little breakfast. It's a good make-ahead breakfast - you can keep this warm in the oven. To celebrate Valentine's day, I made some special french toast for The Husband and I. Here is how I do "special occasion" french toast (instead of just using regular sandwich bread and a few eggs and milk)....
1 loaf of challah or other egg bread.. this was braided challah with raisins from Nino's.. yum
eggs (I don't know, 4 or 5?)
cream (milk would still work...)
fresh grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the challah into big thick slices. In a big casserole dish, beat the eggs and cream with a fork. Grate in the fresh nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Place all of the slices of bread in the dish and make sure there's enough egg/cream mixture to get around halfway up the slices. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and then flip the slices so that the other sides can soak up the rest of the egg mixture. We're making a little "egg custard" soaked french toast here.
Once your bread has soaked up all the liquid and it is generally juicy (if there are dry spots, you need a little more egg/cream). Get a big skillet or frying pan going with some butter (this is not a diet recipe, folks). An electric griddle that you use for pancakes would be great for this also. Once the butter is bubbly, brown the bread slices on one side - maybe 5 minutes, then flip for another 5 minutes. Depending how hot your griddle is - keep an eye so that you keep things "golden" and not overdone. If you have cut some nice thick slices, that's great and don't worry - the egg inside might still be raw so just take your browned slices and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and finish cooking the french toast in the oven for 10 minutes or so.
I'm sorry the directions are fuzzy but we're talking about french toast here.. probably you all know how to make it already! This was a nice treat - with a 2month old at home, I hadn't been spending much time in the kitchen and special meals are few and far in between.