Thursday, July 30, 2009

Basket Case...I mean Cake

On Tuesday, I finished Wilton Course II. The finale cake features a basket weave design and is overflowing with a lush bouquet of royal icing flowers.

The cake is 1-2-3-4 cake (with lemon extract instead of almond) featured on the back of the Swan's Down Cake Flour box, with Wilton's lemon filling, and lemon cream cheese frosting. I was getting tired of the sticky sweet Class Buttercream, so decided to try this recipe for Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting. Perfect!

The course II student kit comes with two oval pans for baking the final cake. The pans are quite small, which meant.....cupcakes!

The Artist couldn't wait to be my guinea pig and cupcake hand model. He definitely enjoyed the cake...I think he's been eating it for breakfast.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I love to tinker in the kitchen, but not with lots of tiny, individual cupcakes, or even cookies. However, I was meeting up with an old friend for lunch, and thought it would be nice to bring her some cupcakes. And the day before we went out, my husband, The Artist, wanted a cupcake from Whole Foods. He said I made him want one with all my recent cake/cupcake blog reading. (Imagine, he blames his loving wife for his uncontrollable sweet tooth!) So, it was the perfect situation to kill two birds with one stone.

And, what made it even better was that I found a chocolate cake recipe (Midnight Chocolate Cake ala that only made one layer -- perfect for a dozen or so cupcakes. The recipe actually made a dozen plus a ramekins worth.

For The Artist, the ultimate chocoholic, I made half a dozen chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. As you can see, it didn't take long for him to jump into the cupcakes.

For my friend, she got a half dozen variety pack. She was a guinea pig of sorts because I had a couple of frosting ideas I wanted to try out. She got 2 Blooming Bouquet cupcakes, 2 Cabbage Patch Kid cupcakes (because she's preggo), and 2 chocolate/chocolate cupcakes. The Cabbage Patch Kids need some work, but I have an idea to fix their faces for the next go round!!!

Cupcakes.....I think I like making them, after all. And I have to make more because I only got one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect...If You Have a Plan

Practice makes perfect. Or so I've been told. At any rate, I was itching to make a pretty cake with my new frosting skills. But, we really didn't need the cake around the house. I toyed with buying a cake dummy, but thought that would be a waste of frosting. I toyed with making cupcakes, but that would leave 18 indidual little cakes to be devoured.

.....So, I compromised by baking the cake in a loaf pan, and cutting it in half to make two separate mini cakes. Two canvases for the effort of one! Beyond that, I didn't have a decorating plan...and, it showed in my finished pieces.

The first cake, with the polka dot ribbon was supposed to be decorated with pink dots. However, I will definitely need some sort of stencil or marking guide to do this in the future. Since the dots weren't working, I switched to a pink ribbon type swirl, accented with dots.

Then, I wanted to practice my roses, but the rest of my tiny cake was a blank canvas. It would have made a cute individual birthday cake. But, alas, no birthdays, though "LOVE" is always in the air.

Lessons learned from this experiment:

1) Have a plan. Wandering all willy-nilly with the frosting is not going to work.

2) Frosting square cakes neatly is hard. (Will be looking for a YouTube video on the topic)

3) Make sure you have an abundance of frosting (see lesson 1).

4) Certain frosting consistencies are recommended for certain applications for a reason.

5) Using milk instead of water in a cake mix improves the cake mix taste and texture. Not as good as homemade, but better than straight box mix.

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