Monthly Archives: June 2012

Blue and Ruffled – Second cake order!

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Oh gosh, it’s been over a week since I lasted posted ! Guess that’s it for my last standing new years resolution which was to blog at least once per week. I’ve just been so busy this month that I haven’t have the time nor energy to write. Just so you get an idea of how tired I’ve been, when my mom offered me cake yesterday, I refused and went to bed instead. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open for the 5.6 seconds that it would take me to eat cake. Don’t worry though, I went straight to the fridge to eat 2 peoples worth of cake this morning.

So what have I been doing? I worked on a menu analysis for a resident at the care centre that I volunteer at. The dietician that I work with wanted me to change the current menu and basically create another one that is low in potassium. It was a lot harder to do than I had expected, I might need to re-evaluate my dream of being a dietician. 

I also spent a lot of time planning for my second cake order!! :D After I posted photos of the last cake on my FB page, a friend asked me to make her birthday cake! I was SO excited! And I may have jumped the gun a bit because I already started to think about hiring a designer for my own bakery business website and I started thinking bout bakery names! 

Yenno what sucks though? All the names that I have come up with are already taken! I wish that I was born 10 years earlier so I can have a larger pool of names to pick from. Here are some that I REALLY like : The Sweet Escape, Sweet Retreat, Whisk, and The Cakery.

Back to the cake! So originally my friend wanted something covered in fondant and decorated with sugar lace or a buttercream lace design. I have never tried anything that advanced before!! BUT, I said I’d give it a try anyway. I spent days and days creating a design and trying to find the easiest way to pipe lace. In the end though, we decided to play it safe and go with something simple: buttercream ruffles! 

Her request for lace really sparked my interest in different cake decorating designs. I used to limit myself to buttercream, swiss meringue and chocolate decorations. Now I have a whole new area to explore: sugar lace, royal icing piping, cake stencils and gumpaste/fondant. 

The final product was a marble cake with mocha buttercream, just like the one I did for my second blog anniversary. Then I covered the cake in fading blue ruffles. I was going for the messy ruffled look, but it ended up way too messy. Whoops. I wasn’t too happy with the final look because I felt like I could’ve done more and made a much better cake. Oh well, at least the colours turned out alright. And most importantly, the birthday girl enjoyed her cake!

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First cake order ever!!!!!

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The other day my friend/coworker said to me: Hey can I hire you to make a cake for my step dad?

And my reply was: HECK YA YOU CAN HIRE ME TO MAKE A CAKE FOR YOUR STEP DAD! 

I couldn’t believe it, someone wanted ME to make their cake! Someone trusted ME to make a birthday cake and wanted to pay me for it?! Whoa!

I was nervous, of course, because the birthday cake is such a crucial part of birthday events. It needs to be jaw droppingly delicious and most importantly it needs make an unforgettable impression on the birthday person. 

But without hesitation, I accepted this awesome opportunity. My friend had very simple requests, all she wanted to be incorporated into the flavour were chocolate and candy. 

Oddly, I had the most difficult time designing this cake. I wanted to do something complicated at first, like make a candyland themed cake. But that would require shaping things out of fondant and molding chocolate. My skills are definitely lacking in that department so I didn’t even dare try it, in case I mess up the cake :(

Throughout the designing process, my friend and I facebook messaged each other to work out the details. Eventually we settled on something more simple, I guess mostly because I wasn’t too comfortable with my cake decorating abilities :P

I made a three layered vanilla cake, filled and covered in caramel buttercream, drizzled in caramel then topped with lots and lots of candy! Her step dad really liked the cake and even wanted to eat it for breakfast the day after his birthday. Yenno what? I think that her step-dad and I would be the bestest of friends because I am pro cake-for-breakfast :)

Vanilla Cake

notes: at first I made this cake incorrectly because I added too little flour, but that mistake yielded the softest, lightest, vanillay-est cake ever! The second time I made the cake with the correct amount of flour and it still got excellent results, the only difference was that the cake was a bit firmer for easier handling. This recipe is from Magnolia, the famous bakery in New York. Best vanilla cake ever, I think my search is finally over. Oh I find that having all your cold ingredients come to room temp before baking makes a better cake. Try it if you have the time!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated/castor sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

How To

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add the dry ingredients in parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract, end with adding flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, taking care not to overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the mixing bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

5. Carefully pour the batter into greased 10in cake pan. Slap the bottom of the pan against a counter/floor to get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan completely before handling.

Caramel Buttercream

note: I did not measure how much icing sugar and milk I used. I just kept adding things until the buttercream tasted right.

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup caramel sauce
icing sugar

milk

1. Cream butter until light and fluffy 

2. Add caramel and mix until blended.

3. Mix in icing sugar until you reach the desired sweetness level and texture.

4. Add milk to make the icing creamy and spreadable.

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Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownies

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Even though it’s already June, our weather has been consistently crappy for the past week :( It’s been rain, rain, hail, then some more rain. I hate rain, so why am I living in Vancouver?! No idea. I’m totally living in the wrong city. 

Worst part is that my mood is very weather dependent. Whenever it rains, the dark clouds just suck the life out me. Good thing for caramel brownies. Life is gouda when there are caramel brownies :D

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I baked a double batch of these because 1) more is better, 2) I knew that I would just drink half the batter and 3) because I knew that I would have to share, so I wanted to make sure I could AT LEAST get half a pan for myself :P

I came home from work the day after I made these and before I even took off my shoes, I went straight for the kitchen. But to my surprise, three quarters of the brownies were GONE! My jaw dropped and I had to lift it back up to my face. 

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Turns out my brother’s friends ate them.

Teenage boys are monsters.

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Caramel Brownies

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

9 oz (a little over 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used unsweetened chocolate and ghirardelli dark chocolate chips)

1 1/2 cups sugar (I used a scant 1.5 cups)

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp instant espresso powder, optional (I omitted)

1/2 tsp sea salt (I used regular salt)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 batch caramel sauce 

How To

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet. 

2. Combine butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Microwave at 30sec intervals just until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir after each interval. 

3. With a whisk, stir in the sugar.  The mixture might get grainy, but it will even out.  Whisk in the eggs one by one, then add the vanilla and whisk enthusiastically to smooth the batter.  Finally, gently whisk in the salt and flour, stirring only until incorporated. 

4. Scrape HALF the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Then gently pour some caramel sauce over the brownie batter. Finish off with the rest of the brownie batter, being careful not to push the caramel out to the sides. Drag a knife through the batter to marble the caramel and brownie batter.

5. Bake the brownies until the top is dull and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, usually about 40 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temperature. Only cut when they are FULLY cooled. Brownies are high maintenance like that :P

Brownie recipe from Dorie Greenspan 

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