Friday, March 30, 2012

Italian Cream Cake, Fondant and Sugar Paste...

Italian Cream Cake
Freshly whipped egg whites, sifted flour, buttermilk, vanilla, real butter, walnuts and coconut goes into this delectably moist and scrumptous cake

Three layers baked to a golden brown. This is a made from scratch recipe that comes out of the oven perfect everytime!

This is the perfect wedding cake as well as special occasions such as a BIRTHDAY!

I held back just a small amount of batter and threw together some mini's for snacking! The Peanut M&M's tasted heavenly on these little one bite wonders...combined with the coconut buttercream frosting...MMMMM Good!

I've been baking Vanilla Sugar Cookies for Easter too.

Working on creating realistic looking sugar daisies. These take practice. I pick up new techniques all the time. The idea of using waffle foam was one of the best I've found for giving these sugar flowers their more life-like appearance. Wish I could find a good tutorial for peonies :o)

Some minature daisies to fill in around the larger ones~

Pink Marshmallow Fondant, Sugar Paste butterflies and flowers and Royal Icing...I have mastered straight lines, but the curves and scrolls are a whole other ball game!

I so enjoyed making this birthday cake for our girl, Rachel!

The cake is an Italian Cream with a coconut buttercream frosting then covered with Marshmallow Fondant.

The best recipe I've found for the great tasting fondant is at

The flowers were from (our son) Blair...he had to be out of town working on Rach's birthday so he sent her a Happy Birthday Bouquet...I think the cake was the perfect color to accompany the flowers. One day I hope to be creating sugar bouquets that look just like this!! :o)

This is Rachel! Happy 24th Birthday sweetheart!

We love you!!

Easter Cookies and Extra Cake makes for yummie snacks....

Easter Sunday is April 8th this year! The flowers in Texas are blooming everywhere! This is such a joyful season...Celebrating the Risen Christ and rebirth of color to the landscape, Easter is family and friends, fun and festivities!

Happy Easter to all~

I love decorating cookies! Practice makes perfect 'they' next week I should be outstanding LOL!!!

Practicing straight lines with Royal Icing...not bad huh!

Butterflies and Bunnies...Pastel blue, yellow, pink, lavender and green! I so love Springtime~

Butterflies!! It just wouldn't be Easter or Springtime without them~

These cookies are part of an order for an Easter celebration at an elementary school. From fresh baked to iced and packaged, these were so much fun to work on!

Just because:  I found a incredibly talented cookie artist online named Nadia @ My Little Bakery on facebook. This is my version (need lots more practice) of her Easter bunny house. I aspire to be as great as she one day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter's on it's Way~

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Spiritually it's the most humbling of all days. A time for reflection...Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ died so we could have eternal life and Easter Sunday, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead!

Spending these days with family and friends is so very special to us. After being thankful for all we have, what better way is there to celebrate such a glorious day then with BEAUTIFUL CUPCAKES!

This is the pink fondant for a cake (photos to come) and white sugar paste I'll be using to create butterflies, flowers, ladybugs and bumble bees! 

You'll see the 'yellow' sugar paste I used to create some butterflies below, but I did switch to white sugar paste. I had to add White-White Icing Color (I used Wilton) because the gum-tex does tend to make the sugar paste a bit grey. I don't know if tylose powder has the same effect, but the White-White Color did what I needed it to do~

 Pink Fondant~

I decided to use yellow butterflies on the first go round; these are made from sugar paste. I wanted to use tylose powder to make the sugar paste, but had absolutely no luck finding it in any of my local stores. I found several sites online, many were out of stock and Amazon seemed to be the most reasonably priced. The 'one' seller who's price was within reason, charged a small fortune for shipping which of course explained the low intial cost. After researching the difference between tylose and gum-tex, I found that most of the experienced sugar paste artist much preferred the tylose. But because it's just so much more expensive (cheapest I found with shipping was $11 for 2 oz) then the gum-tex and gum-tex in my case was much easier to acquire, I paid $6 with a coupon for 6 oz of gum-tex at Hobby Lobby, that is what I chose to use. And as you can see, much to my pleasant surprise, the gum-tex worked brilliantly. For the price, this is what I'll stick with (lol no pun intended) for the time being.

These are Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with a Cocunut Buttercream Frosting.

I'll be adding a few more photos later this week, I want to try some color combinations with the buttercream. I thought these turned out very pretty, but... you can see here...using multiple colors in the frosting gives the flowers more dimension and they're just prettier I think, especially with the irridescent butterflies~

Pink and Yellow~

A lighter shade of pale

Butterflies, Easter egg candy, coconut and pastel shades of pink, blue, yellow and lavender...
this is what Springtime is all about~
More to come....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What could be better than Chocolate?

          Malted Chocolate!
There's something about 'malts' that I've loved since I was a child. When I was young, soda fountains were still very much a part of everyday culture. It was so much fun sitting in front of the long counter at our neighborhood drug store. Especially when it was on one of the red vinyl stools that spun around!

Ordering a malt meant watching the soda shop attendant fill a BIG silver 32 ounce container with scoops of vanilla ice cream, real whole milk, your favorite flavor syrup (chocolate, vanilla or strawberry) and MALT!  
EXTRA MALT to be exact!!
They would hang the silver container on the mixer and let it whirl.


was that not only did you get a huge soda shop glass filled with your favorite flavored malt, you got whatever was left in the big silver cup too! It took everything we had as kids to get down that giant glass of malt JUST so we could have what was in that ice cold silver container!  And who could forget those red and white soda straws made of paper! We had no idea what a plastic straw was back then. And because the malts were so gloriously thick, it would take no less than 3 straws to drink that whole malt. That's because, since the straws were made of paper, they constantly collapsed! If they didn't, then your malt just simply wasn't thick enough!
Malted shakes are still my favorites today. It's one of those great tastes that brings back wonderful memories of being a kid in a soda shop. For my taste buds, if it doesn't have malt in it, it's just not complete.

Those truly were the 'good ole days'~

So in honor of those wonderful memories I had to try these inspirations from yesteryear: Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Chocolate Malted Buttercream Frosting!

And I'm so happy I did~

Malted Milk powder and real Dutch Cocoa are the kickers here!

Rich chocolate cake and creamy malted frosting are the perfect combination.
I can't wait to try these in vanilla and strawberry!

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes
Makes approx. 24 standard cupcakes or 18 King Size
1 box Devil's Food cake mix
2 cups of white cake mix
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil (liquified)
1 3/4 cup milk at room temperature
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar (white vinegar will work too)
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 cup malted milk powder
Chocolate Malted Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
3 cups well sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup sifted malted milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1 - 2 TBSP Water
Malted Milk Balls for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan(s) with cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl combine milk and Apple Cider Vinegar and allow to stand for a few minutes. This mixture will thicken some.
- With a wire whisk, mix together cake mixes and malted milk powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, sour cream and vanilla extract. Gently whisk until smooth then add milk and vinegar mixture. Whisk just until blended. 
- Add one-third of the dry ingredients at a time to the egg mixture and blend just until dry mixture is moist each time. When the batter is completely moist, blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- I use an ice cream scooper to fill cupcake liners 2/3rds full.

**Bake STANDARD size cupcakes for 14 minutes then check for doneness.
**Bake KING size cupcakes 16 minutes then check for doneness.
Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Continue cooking for 1 - 2 minutes if toothpick has a little batter on it.
Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool for a couple of minutes before removing them from the tin and placing on a rack to cool completely. Allow cupcakes to cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting!
- Beat butter and cream cheese for 4 - 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl a couple of times.
- Add sifted cocoa powder, powdered sugar, malted milk powder and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
- Gradually add water until desired consistency is reached.
- Pipe or frost cooled cupcakes and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days without refrigeration (refrigerating your cupcakes will dry the cake out).

If you need to keep them longer than a couple of days, freeze ONLY the cupcake without frosting in freezer baggies. To defrost, remove cupcake from freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then frost. Freezing will maintain the moisture in the cupcakes, unlike refrigeration.


The only thing that could possibly make these more perfect?

Perhaps some whipped cream and a cherry on top
Maybe next time :o)


Friday, March 9, 2012

This is an interesting leg of the journey! I'll get it right...Eventually!

This is my first attempt at lace and embroidery work with Royal Icing.

These are Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies minus the icing. I had to laugh at myself when I realized I photographed the only 3 cookies in the bunch that had wrinkles. The other 12 cut-outs baked just right. I had set these aside for us to nibble on and use the others to practice Royal Icing techniques. I must say, the way they look has no bearing on the taste whatsoever!

Not bad. It did take a bit of playing around with the icing to get it to the right consistency for damming the border for the flow icing.

As you can tell by the photo, my flow icing took a bit of trial and error before getting it to a satisfactory consistency. The photo at the top was the 1st go at it. The butterfly on the right was the 2nd and the one on the left made my morning~ 
 This was the fun part!! HaHa! Straight lines are easier to pipe when your Royal Icing is the right consistency. Have you noticed how much I've used the word 'consistency'? I have a feeling I'll be dreaming about it :o)...This by the way, was not the right consistency~

 The (partial) butterfly at the top of the photo was a disaster to say the least. The piping icing was much too thin and ran together. But aside from that, I vow to practice, practice, practice!

The second attempt left me much calmer and enthusiastic about continuing my persuit of lace work on cookies!
 The cookie on the bottom left is a technique called 'Embroidery'. It's really a very pretty way to use Royal Icing, but I think a darker background will show it off more. As you can see, I still have cookies that I flooded but haven't decorated yet.

 I attempted to use a #1 tip for the piping, but until I find a really great Royal Icing recipe that doesn't clog the tip of this tiny hole, I'll be forced to use disposable piping bags that I can just snip the end off. I much prefer the tip to cutting the bag, but just couldn't get my icing the right CONSISTENCY! lol  I sifted my sugar three times and still had issues. I thinned the icing with corn syrup and even tried a few drops of water instead of syrup in a batch. I'll just keep working at this till I get it right! I'm open to ANY suggestions!

Practicing Dots.

Practicing Dots and Loops.

Practicing Embroidery.

More dots and lace point practice.
More to come.....