**This post is a couple weeks late… OK, a few weeks late. We had some house-related catastrophes to deal with and much needed relaxing time to catch up on. Now that Labor Day has passed, I’ll be a little less lazy with the baking and the posts =)
Where has this summer gone??? I feel like I haven’t done that much baking (it’s just too humid and gross) and I have no idea where the time went. It’s August and we hadn’t gone to the beach yet…
…Until my family came to visit this past weekend. Originally, just my parents and little bro were coming over and my sister and her boyfriend were joining and we were all going to the beach and to get seafood and maybe go to the outlets and just hang out. But my mom’s family didn’t have our usual summer get-together this year, so a last minute family BBQ was planned @ our house and my grandma, a couple of my aunts, and 2 of my little cousins joined in. Vin and I went on a shopping spree @ the supermarket for meats to grill and bought packs of hot dogs and buns, salad, corn, ice, soda, beer, water… and we sweeped and vacuumed and cleaned and did yardwork… and then, on Saturday morning, I decided to bake. I rarely get to give baked goods to my own family, let alone see them, so I wanted to make something special. I bought these baking cups that looked like large disposable mouthwash cups, which would have been perfect for sno cone cupcakes. Long story short, I wasn’t used to these baking cups @ all since they took twice as long to bake cupcakes (20 minutes for cupcakes? With THIS oven? Unheard of in this house!) and I was really rushing it with the frosting. I used leftover frosting from C+H’s wedding and it wasn’t thick enough to hold the scooped ball shape, and it just looked sloppy. I’m determined to try this again and put in more effort next time. Read More
Summer time means prime wedding season, and when my wonderful friend M asked if I could help out with her brother’s wedding, I was more than happy to oblige and honored to be part of such a special day. M’s brother and his lovely new husband were originally going to just get cupcakes from the supermarket (quel horreur!) and luckily M intervened and suggested that I bake since she’s tried my goods before and thought they were up to par =) Through email correspondence, the couple and I discussed their theme/colors and what flavors they wanted. They decided on chocolate mini cupcakes (2 per guest) with yellow and white vanilla frosting swirls on top and estimated about 175 guests so this would be a whopping 350 cupcakes! I have never baked this many cupcakes all @ once (and of course, I’d have to make extras), but the request was basic enough that it wouldn’t be too insane. Of course, only a crazy person thinks baking close to 400 cupcakes will be easy… hahaha
I ordered and bought all my supplies and containers a few weeks before the wedding and got the eggs and milk the day before. Luckily, I am
too lazy to put away the extra mixer prepared and still had the twins out to do double duty. I mean, a 6 quart mixer can only hold so much cake batter, and it will definitely not hold enough for 6 batches of mini cupcakes. I had the oven going for a couple hours and had 3 trays going in perfect rotation: one would be baking in the oven, one would be cooling from just being in the oven and replenished with cupcake wrappers, and the other one would be getting refilled with cake batter. I was just churning them out like a mini cupcake factory; once I got through with the 6 quarts of batter from one mixer, I moved on to the next machine. I didn’t have enough cooling racks and just crammed all the baked cupcakes on the dining table. I lost count after making 274, but I definitely made @ least 400 minis. Maybe 450. Or more. I don’t know but it was getting a little claustrophobic in the dining room and I’m really surprised I didn’t have dreams about a menacing towers of cupcakes falling on me and crushing me. haha Read More
This past weekend I baked for and attended this fantastic charity event sponsored by Party4aCause. A close friend’s fiance is a member and asked me to donate some baked goods for one of their events, and this seemed like a good contender for my one good deed for the year =P The idea was for this Prohibition era/Bank robber’s ball… complete with a sexy speakeasy, classy gin cocktails, a live band, and of course, tough guys and dames.
I thought about what to make for the event and researched some 1920s desserts. Upon discovering that Hostess cupcakes were invented in 1919, I figured that they’d be time period appropriate. P4aC gave me a great write up to promote me as a sponsor, which was awesome! Vin suggested that I make boozy cupcakes instead, and I realized that would have been easier on me and just as fitting, but I had already promised mini Hostesses, so mini Hostesses I would deliver. I was told that about 100 were going to attend the event; the day before the party, I get an email saying 160 guests were expected. Yikes? All of a sudden I felt like I was on “Top Chef” and alien-faced Padma was saying in her airy drawl, “Your challenge is to make a modern version of a retro dessert… and it’ll be for one… hundred… guests,” and then a few hours later Tom and his glistening head would interrupt with “Hey guys, there’s just one more thing… you have to make almost double the amount. Have fun!” You know that’s EXACTLY how it would go down, too. haha
I wanted them to be less sugary (and less processed!) than actual Hostess cakes so I used less egg yolk and more egg white, less sugar and butter (I know, sounds like an atrocity and it was gut-wrenching, but I did it and it worked), and more dark chocolate. It was slightly more… heart healthy, if you will. haha The baked mini cakes came out EXTREMELY fluffy and light and baked in only 6 minutes. I kept churning them out and I lost count of how many minis I baked after 200+. There was STILL extra batter so I made a couple dozen regular sized cupcakes, too. I only needed like… a gross* to bring to the event, but I knew I had to bring some for my friend A’s birthday party after the P4aC event, my mother-in-law’s birthday party with the T clan the next day, it would be a nice Monday treat for my new coworkers, and I wanted to bring some minis in to the ritzy 5th Ave salon that keeps calling me back for free amazing cuts and color (when ppl do nice things for you and hook you up, you best say “thank you!”).
I left the pile of little chocolate cakes on the dining table and attended to making the homemade marshmallow fluff filling. For a full 15 minutes I had an internal debate whether or not I should go to the supermarket to just save time and buy processed Fluff, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t make it myself. Plus, I got to use my new candy thermometer for this new dessert component, too. I heated light corn syrup with sugar and whipped egg whites. I had a mad scientist moment when the melted sugar was blended with the egg whites and all of a sudden… it was alive! And it looked like Fluff. It was SUPER sticky, but really delicious. I was pretty pleased with myself for spending time to do it and not taking the easy way and copping out. I added a tiny bit of butter to the airy mixture and mechanically injected the filling into the minis. I still have a lot of leftover unfilled cupcakes, so I might just freeze those for a rainy day.
Part 3 was the ganache. Actual Hostess cupcakes have this texture for the “glaze” I’m not particularly fond of. After browsing several adaptations of Hostess cupcakes, I just decided to mix dark chocolate chips and cream and squirted a dollop on each cupcake. At this point, I was getting tired so I didn’t bother spreading the ganache out. Whatever. It looked fine and tasted even better.
The last step was the white icing. I was pretty exhausted from the previous 3 steps and didn’t get around to this part until the morning of the event. And it’s not even legit icing b/c no eggs or butter were involved (but it IS less fattening). I hand-mixed some powdered sugar and milk and made abstract loops on 17 dozen or so cupcakes, let them set, and then packaged them up in clam shell containers. Listen, I don’t want to hear it about how the signature squiggles aren’t on these. If I were bringing 2 or 3 dozen cupcakes, I’d consider taking the time to spend decorating these, but since 1) I don’t have a clone or robot army to squeeze out perfect little loops for over 200 cupcakes, and 2) this is a free donation/gift, you shut your facehole about it or I’ll shut it for you <3
I stacked the 12 containers of minis in one bag (I have these “green” tote bag things with flat bottoms that are the perfect size for carrying around cupcakes and minis… I just wish they literally weren’t green!) and Vin and I got our outfits ready for the event. For those that don’t know us too well, we win @ costume parties. I mean, my husband shaved his beard off just to get a great “Boardwalk Empire” mustache for this, and I haven’t seen him sans beard in YEARS… THAT’S how into these things we are. Vin’s get up consisted of a pinstripe jacket, a vest, pocket watch, and a fedora. As for me, I didn’t want to wear the whole get up into the city since I had to carry all these delicate treats and me + heels + fancy outfit + cupcakes = faceplant/twisted ankle/sugar disaster. I brought this sequined flapper dress I bought on super sale from a boutique that I had been DYING to wear and this was the perfect occasion. I also had long black gloves, silver retro shoes, a long strand of pearls, and a peacock feather-flower hair clip. The finishing touch was this short curly wig I stuffed my hair into. Gangster costume in a bag? Ppssshhh! Sorry, that doesn’t exist in this house =) We dropped off the cupcakes @ the venue then Vin and I met up with our friend and his moll for dinner (they had awesome bank robber outfits, complete with a sack full of fake $… brilliant!) and I changed into my costume to run back to the lounge to set up.
It was a pretty nice event. Some of my friends came to show support and it was great meeting other volunteers who were into the cause, too. Organizing this is no small feat, so kudos to you guys for all the hard work and I’m sure Broome St Academy will be forever grateful. Thanks for letting me be a part of this, and I hope your guests were happy with the treats! By 930, the cupcakes were gone and I changed back into my street clothes to go to A’s party, toting my costume and a dozen minis for her birthday.
The next day, I bought a couple dozen minis and some regular cupcakes to Mom T’s birthday party with the fam, and Vin’s parents said they tasted just like actual Hostess cupcakes. On Monday, I brought some into work to share with my coworkers, and some ppl even took two. I’ll just say what everyone is thinking: my cupcakes are simply the bee’s knees. =)
*in bulk speak that’s 144 minis!
buttercream , cake pops , custom design , holiday , kids/babies , wedding
Guess who had a full day of work and was still behind on writing cards and wrapping presents and still had not made Christmas Eve dessert by Friday afternoon on December 23? MEEEEE!!! That break I had the week before was more like a short gasp of air; there was so much to do @ the office before everyone else was trying to escape for the holidays. Fun. When I got home I couldn’t even think about making dessert @ the time and just rushed to wrap all the gifts for Vin’s family and tried to @ least sort out gifts for my family. I took a break to give Vin the rest of his presents (super awesome knife cufflinks, shoes, tickets to see pro bull riders @ MSG, Japanese thermal long johns). Our romantic pre-Christmas dinner @ Maloney and Porcelli was my gift to him the day before (I don’t care if you’re vegetarian; you MUST get the crackling pork shank!). Vin gave me mine super early: I got a second 6-quart KitchenAid stand mixer (I have now christened them Thing 1 and Thing 2) and some neat baking pans a week before Christmas =P
I woke up early on Christmas Eve to get started on the cake balls. I had a clear vision in mind for this Christmas dessert, and it was basically making really fancy, hand-decorated cake balls that were to resemble ornaments on this wooden tree stand I bought from Godiva last year. The tree came with wrapped chocolate truffles, but those are long gone and all that remains is this simple wooden display. Although these aren’t my favorite things to do, I admit I’m getting quite adept @ making cake balls now. Plus, I had some leftover cupcakes from last weekend, and what better way to salvage dry cupcakes but to process them into cake ball dust?
I took out a Godiva truffle to gauge what size to roll out the balls (1 Tbsp scoop) so that the wooden tree display would cup the balls ever so snugly. I had a bit of candy coating leftover from last month’s wedding favor order to cover a few balls, and broke open a package of white candy coating to make different colored “ornaments”. I made the white balls first one @ a time: dipping, setting them to dry, artfully arranging Christmas tree sprinkles, and wash, rinse, repeat with the remainder of the yellow and green coating. The candy coating dries rather quickly (man, I thought the white coating was fickle… no way, the green coating dries super fast!), so I couldn’t just dip a few balls @ once or the decorations would never stick. And I couldn’t just throw all the sprinkles on or it would look like crap. These were delicate, handcrafted, ornate cake balls with a coating that dried pretty damn quick. I’d liken this to decorating a Fabergé egg, but on speed. haha
The three final designs were: white balls with red and green Christmas trees, yellow balls with clear/red/green sugar sprinkles, and green balls with white snowflake sprinkles. I WANTED to make a fourth design: red balls with crushed peppermint sprinkles, but my downfall was not having actual red candy chips. I thought I was being sooooo innovative and smart by adding red food coloring to the white coating after making several white balls… but I overheated the candy by just a tad and didn’t have enough time to fix that mess. It was 1055 am and Vin was already hovering over me to pack this up and get ready to go, so I just brought a not-so-Christmassy variety pack of balls. I mean, yellow? Come on now… =/
We set it up @ the T house and it did look nice. Someone said it was a really great cake ball dispenser and Vin’s
crazy cute nephew Patrick was very adamant on having a “gween ball wif white snowfwakes!!!” I made extra balls to refill the empty spots on the tree and hoarded some to bring to my parents’ house for Christmas Day. My mom, dad, and grandma had never had one before and said they were good, my sister and her boyfriend were quite familiar with my baked good experiments, and my brother just popped the whole thing in his mouth, grinned, and ate it. =P
And with that, I give you the end of Christmas 2011 baking. (Phew!)
Things @ the office are JUST starting to slow down as we’re approaching that holiday lull where nothing gets done b/c frankly… everyone I need to harass work w/is out on vacation. Normally, I like being super active and multi-tasking, but it was getting a bit out of control. The breathing time is quite welcome b/c I needed to get my crap together for the holidays, too!
I’ve been staying up late and using ANY free time I have @ home to organize gifts to ship out to faraway friends and family and addressing our awesome, one-of-a-kind Christmas postcards using Vin’s photography. I figured we should have two sets made: one for “adults” and one completely nonsensical, weird set for people who are OK with our unique sense of humor =) I spent a LOT on stamps and shipping gifts this past week, but thanks to baking orders and selling stuff on eBay, it wasn’t a big deal. After bypassing the ridiculous line @ the post office on Saturday to send out 10 boxes of gifts to friends and family (thank youuuu, Click ‘n Ship!), Vin and I went to the supermarket to pick up ingredients for baking time.
This weekend’s order was very important. A very nice woman found my site online and asked if I could make cupcakes as Christmas presents to deliver to her loved ones in LI since she wasn’t able to visit them for the holidays. I definitely couldn’t say no. We decided on making a mix of chocolate cupcakes with red peppermint frosting and vanilla cupcakes with green vanilla frosting. I made a dozen minis to deliver to each house and added Christmas sprinkles to make it more festive.
Then I also made a bunch of chocolate cupcake minis with chocolate frosting and eggnog frosting. And then meticulously placed more Christmas sprinkles on these, too. (I seriously love being able to use all these cute sprinkles!)
I made some extra chocolate minis and brought in leftover eggnog frosting to bring to co-workers. I didn’t have time to decorate before bringing them in to the office, so I rushed to squeeze every last drop of frosting on the cupcakes and put one Christmas tree sprinkle on each during my lunch break. There were a lot of gift baskets and store-bought baked goods out in the office, but I’m glad everyone still had room for my cupcakes. =)
PS. After I take the baked cupcakes out and let them cool, I dump them out on cooling racks and then line then up to make room for more batches. As I was straightening up the chocolate minis, I saw that one of the cupcakes kind of looked like it had my initials. I swear I didn’t try to make it look like that! I thought I was seeing things so I showed Vin and he said, “Yeah… it DOES look like there’s ‘KT’ on it!” oooooooohhh… it’s a sign I was meant to do this, huh.
birthday , buttercream , cake pops , cupcakes , custom design , holiday , kids/babies
On off weekends, Vin and I catch up on all the shows we missed during the week and one day, we got reeled into watching “Along Came Polly” with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. It’s not a must-see, but there’s a memorable scene where the man-of-a-million-voices Hank Azaria shows up as this jacked up scuba instructor in a Speedo with a super thick French accent who tries to assure Ben Stiller nothing will happen to his new wife. He’s like, “Louban [Ben Stiller's character's name is "Reuben"], look to me in my eyeballlluuuuhhh, I promEESE you I take care of LEEsa…” When Vin imitates Hank Azaria and says that line, it makes me laugh and I was reminded of it when I made these cake balls.
I wanted to make these last weekend for Halloween but just didn’t have time. There was too much going on @ work for both of us and we just weren’t that into it this year. No parties, no dressing up… total lameness, I know. We didn’t get that many trick-or-treaters last year, so I only bought one regular bag of candy in anticipation for the holiday. Vin and I didn’t get home till close to 8 on Monday night and all the kids were done trolling for sugar by then, and since no one showed up we’re stuck with a bowl full of Whoppers, Reese’s PB cups, Take 5s, KitKats, and Jolly Rancher lollipops.
We had some time yesterday before heading to the T house so I decided I’d try out these eyeballs. Just b/c Halloween is over doesn’t mean I can’t still make weird cake balls, dammit! I wanted to test out some sizes and designs for cake balls anyway b/c I have a wedding favor order to fulfill and wanted to triple check they’d fit in the favor box with a fondant design on them, too. I took out some homemade fondant and colored and rolled tiny chunks of it, then cut out circles for the iris and pupil pieces. I made an assortment of brown, green, blue and yellow eye parts, and as soon as I put the brown eye pieces on the cake balls, I started giggling to myself. I laid out the pieces to make a crazy yellow eyeball and hand painted some gel for the bloodshot eye vessels. That made me chuckle, too. I made a bunch of different colored eye sets looking in all different directions, and I kept cracking myself in the kitchen.
Vin hears the giggling and thinks I’m chatting with my sister online and we’re making silly jokes. It’s almost time to leave (he likes getting to his parents’ super early so he can play with the dog) and he comes into the kitchen while I’m still laughing to myself and he’s all exasperated and goes, “Baby, you’re TOTALLY not ready–oh cool!!!” when he sees what I’ve been working on. Then he heads straight back into the office to get his camera to take pics. I grab his 80s computer guy/pedophile glasses and put the yellow googley eyes behind them and I’m laughing hysterically @ my creation while Vin’s snapping away. It just looks too funny AND freaky @ the same time. I go and get my glasses and put the other eyes behind them. They look creepy, but I think it’s so hilarious and I’m so proud of myself b/c they DO look realistic. I brought them over to the T house and Vin’s fam thought the balls were fun, too. His mom looked @ me like I was nuts for making creepy edible eyeballs, but she smiled and it was a loving look that said “no wonder my son loves you.” <3
I also did a few quick prototypes for the wedding favors, and they came out just the way I wanted so I was extra psyched about this cake ball experiment. =)
Oh, and I decided to make a variation of banoffee pie, but this time I made coconut whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream. That sh*t was GOOD. I brought 2 little pies to the T house and Vin’s brother and his wife loved it. They ate one and took the other home. Vin’s OK w/that just b/c he knows I have the rest of the homemade coconut cream and toffee @ home in the fridge and can make him his own deconstructed coconut banoffee pie parfait later. haha
AND, last but not least, a few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I could help out with baked goods for a play she was involved in, and I was more than happy to oblige. The play is “The Laramie Project” and proceeds from the sale of the cupcakes are going to support a great cause. I made a whole bunch of mini cupcakes with colorful frosting and delivered them to the director herself on Friday. My friend told me the cupcakes were awesome. I’m just glad I could help out and benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation and Interweave. The last performances of the production are next weekend (November 12-13) so check it out if you have the chance.
Next weekend and week after will be cake ball mania @ my house. And then it’s Thanksgiving and it’ll be cream puff mania. And then it’s Christmas. And sometime in-between now and New Year’s I hope to get some sleep. Even better if I was sleeping AND catching some rays on a nice, warm beach, but thanks to Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley, the odds of that happening before year end are mathematically impossible. And now, it’s the end of Sunday funday…
birthday , buttercream , cakes , cupcakes , custom design , fondant , holiday , kids/babies , wedding
After this weekend’s baking project, I wish I were on a nice beach instead of creating mini edible vacation scenes. A friend of a friend is getting married and the theme of her bridal shower: her honeymoon in the Caribbean. As soon as I heard that, I had the perfect idea in mind. I suggested doing a beach theme: half sand and half ocean with a couple seashells scattered on the cupcake.
This was one of my more organized baking endeavors. The execution went just as planned (save for one minor design kink, but that’s what test cupcakes are for) and I finished an hour ahead of schedule. The baking went smoothly, the frosting wasn’t a complicated fiasco, and cutting and shaping the fondant was a breeze. Why? B/c I used my homemade fondant for this. I really don’t know why I keep thinking that MAYBE using ready made store bought fondant would be better; it’s like I keep going back to it thinking it’ll be easier and faster than making my own, thinking that hey, maybe this overpriced factory processed fondant will work this time, maybe it’s changed for the better and won’t try to piss me off so quickly or be so difficult… but no. Purchased fondant is just like that bad relationship you can’t get rid of until you meet this NEW wonderful home made fondant and learn to open up to it. How’s THAT for an analogy, eh? Life lessons AND pretty baked goods all in one website. hahaha
Back to the cupcakes. I rolled out homemade yellow fondant and punched out stars and then hand shaped them into little starfish. I felt like the tiny starfish wasn’t enough, so I cut out forms to hand shape into those skinny, long, swirly-looking shells (kind of like conch shells… but not…). I took a couple of the “reject cupcakes” (smaller or misshapen cupcakes) and used them as test subjects. I frosted half of the cupcake and then patted brown sugar on it to resemble the “sand”. (BTW, graham cracker crumbs will also work, but the texture of brown sugar is much closer to sand.) Then I piped wavy rows of blue frosting for the water, and then pressed one of each shell onto the cupcake. It looked pretty much as I imagined in my head =)
I was also requested to make a small cake for the event in the same design as the cupcakes, so I cut out larger stars to shape into bigger starfish. I pressed the brown sugar on the cake first, then piped the ocean waves. And I used extra icing to “glue” the fondant shells onto the top and side of the cake. Pretty cute, right? I was happy about how these came out. The bride texted and said they were amazing and perfect and my friend (one of the maids of honor) said they looked awesome and tasted delicious. I think I can say from the sound of things, this was a job well done. haha
I punched out extra stars and made some extra cupcakes to donate for this West Islip Family day event. They’re going to give my cupcakes out as one of the prizes and my cards will be passed out. I’m not really looking for more business or press around here since I’d like to be out of this house soon, but I have a ton of cards so I might as well distribute them. Couldn’t hurt, right? And I don’t feel too shabby about helping a good cause, either.
Taking a hiatus from baking for a couple weeks. This has been too exhausting with work. I need to recharge…
birthday , buttercream , cakes , custom design , kids/babies , other treats , wedding
Things have been quite hectic these past few weeks so I’m just posting a quick blurb. I’ve actually been doing a lot of baking, but a massive workload has been dumped upon my desk so I haven’t been able to take pics or write anything witty or creative about the goods. Here’s a rundown of the past 3 weeks:
1) My lovely friend C asked for angel food cupcakes again for her 29th birthday (she looks 24, people ;o) and of course, I couldn’t refuse. She requested almost double the amount from last year, and this time requested half with vanilla frosting and half with chocolate frosting. Done deal, woman! C was kind enough to meet up with me @ my office for the pick up, and I felt like a d*ck for not being able to celebrate with her b/c of my workload. =( But I think this time around the angel food cakes came out better than last year’s batch. I can tell b/c Vin ate all my extras… even the test “rejects”. He said they were like eating fluffy marshmellows. haha I was in such a rush that day that I didn’t even remember to snap a cell phone shot of the goodies. *sigh* So stupid of me.
2) Our friends J and D just got engaged a few months ago and I baked red velvet cupcakes for their engagement party. I made cream cheese frosting for this event and tried to make half of it appear to be fall colors, but homemade cream cheese frosting is fickle; I wanted a nice bold, orange color and ended up getting a peachy orange. Meh. The lovebirds and their guests liked them and said they were great so I could care about the color. It was a last minute request so as long as they tasted fine and looked half decent… it’s all good.
3) My little brother and sister’s birthdays were the end of September, but since my bro was coming to town this past weekend for Geekfest 2011, we had decided to wait to celebrate their birthdays later. (And by “little” I’m making a reference to the age order. I’m the oldest but I’m also the runt of the group and I have a mild Napoleon complex so I pull rank and still call them “little” =) I don’t quite remember the exact details that led up to this situation, but a few months back, I asked my sister what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and somehow we were talking about being old and if she was cake decorating, then her cake would look like a My Little Pony taking a poo. Really. Don’t ask. We discuss really random things and I think the two of us take the cake (pun!) when I say we can really talk about anything. haha So… since I didn’t have the time to sculpt a My Little Pony out of fondant or molding chocolate, I just bought this little cake topper thing from Amazon. I had left over cake batter from the previous week’s red velvet engagement cupcakes, so I made a little 4″ filled cake with cream cheese frosting. The top of the cake box caved in and smushed the top of the cake so I did a quick fix and covered the edge with shaved chocolate. It didn’t look half bad for a speedy on-the-spot repair. In went the plastic figurine, and I brought a little sandwich bag of chocolate frosting for the poo and made a little blob by the tail. It looked weird as hell and you wouldn’t get it had I not mentioned the odd backstory, but eh, it was funny and everyone liked it. haha
My little bro (he’s almost 6 feet tall and if he didn’t have such a baby face, he’d make a good linebacker) has a thing for pies. I don’t know why he’s obsessed with pies, but since I’m a caring and thoughtful big sis, I made little banoffee pies for him instead of cake. Last month, a girl friend and I checked out this place in the Village that was apparently known for this British dessert made of banana + toffee. I got a slice to go and it was really tasty! And I realized it was super easy to make for those times you’re in a time crunch (I was working on my sister’s cake the same time I was prepping the pie)! I was in a bind so I bought ready made graham cracker crusts, but I still made the toffee, sliced the bananas, whipped the cream and hand shaved the chocolate. You pretty much dump those ingredients into the pie crust, refrigerate, and eat. As long as my brother and sister liked their speedy birthday baked goods, I was happy. It was a nice way to end our family dinner =)
4) We had our open house the day after my sibs’ birthday dinner. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to sweeten the pot (another pun! I’m on a freaking roll!) for potential buyers checking out the house, so I made about 4 dozen mini red velvet cupcakes when I made my sister’s mini cake. I used the last of my cream cheese frosting batch and made quick ghetto swirls on all those minis. A few of them looked sloppy, but eh, I was being speedy since I needed to set them out quickly (what else is new these days?) and plopped them onto my glass cake stands. Vin made a nice little sign and laid out my baking cards and napkins, and we rushed out the door so the realtor could work her magic. She told us later that the cupcakes were a hit and that quite a few people were really interested in the house… but we haven’t heard anything since =( We’re just waiting for those offers to come rolling in. Any day now. C’mon, people… my house is realllly nice…
I’m pretty much spent. I have a bridal shower order for this weekend and wedding favors for the same beautiful bride-to be, then making mini cupcakes in support of a rising actress friend’s play, but other than that I can’t really take anything else on with the borderline suicidal workload and all the extra effort needed in keeping the house neat and clean. Such a Catch-22 getting all this business now and I have to turn people down b/c of my real job. Meh. I was thinking of making something pumpkin-y for Halloween, but who knows. Aside from these projects, I’ll probably just be baking for Thanksgiving and Christmas family holiday dinners… and catching up on sleep. And I’m kiiiiinda sick of red velvet now. =P
birthday , buttercream , cupcakes , custom design , fondant , kids/babies
It’s been a year since I started this so-called biz. How do remember the date? It’s been one year since I made custom Pinkalicious cupcakes for a coworker’s daughter’s birthday. This year, Hello Kitty cupcakes were requested. Due to time and budget constraints, I had to think about how to make some basic cupcakes that still clearly screamed cutesy Japanese white cat without going overboard. (BTW, did you know that Hello Kitty is 37 years old???)
The abstract art idea popped into my head after browsing the ThinkGeek catalog (I love the stuff from that store!) and seeing a tee shirt that was a play on Hello Kitty. It was just a white cube with the trademark bow with the headline “Hello Schröddy” and that was perfect for a cost-effective cupcake design. I got a kick out of the physics joke about Schrödinger’s cat, too (yes, I wholeheartedly embrace my nerdiness).
I made a super light vanilla cake batter and whipped up some white vanilla frosting for basic swirl designs. That part was easy. Making the bows turned out to be a bigger undertaking than I expected, even when I used *gasp* ready-made fondant. Yeah, I know… I said I’d never use it again, but I was in a pinch. And in hindsight, MAYBE I should have just made my own. The bright red fondant-from-a-tub was the perfect color, but it dried up soooo quickly. After rolling out the fondant, I was barely able to cut out shapes for three bows @ max without the fondant starting to crack. WTF? I had to toss a chunk of it out b/c the fondant was rock hard and useless, so I just rolled out a small ball of it and cut a few shapes @ a time. I don’t have bow-shaped cutters and had to improvise so I used circle cutters that were two different sizes: a tiny one for the middle of the bow and the sides are actually pinched-in larger circles. After making about ten of these, I realized I left out a little nub on each side of the bow but decided eh, I was over it. They look pretty close though, right? The fondant dried within minutes, so I immediately placed each bow on the corner of each cupcake.
There you have it: abstract Hello Kitty cupcakes with signature red bows. So simple and yet so kawaii! And I saw a pic of a really happy birthday girl loving her cupcakes =)
Labor Day weekend signifies the last weekend of summer, and most normal people spend it chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool being all lazy, but we were the anti-thesis of beach bum, BBQ-ing, beer guzzling couch potatoes. We had just signed the papers to sell our house on Thursday, and we had people coming to view the house Friday. I was let out of work a few hours early on Friday for the holiday and had originally planned on baking cupcakes and making frosting for Vin’s little niece’s 2nd birthday party, but I rushed home to re-organize some clutter @ home before the potential buyers came. (Cross your fingers! They really liked the house!) I was too pooped to even think about baking by the end of the night, so I woke up early on Saturday to do everything before the party @ 2.
The theme for Penny’s birthday was pink pigs in honor of the petting zoo animals that were coming to her party. I knew I wouldn’t have time to plan for and decorate an entire pig cake, so I promised cupcakes instead. The birthday girl had asked for chocolate and hot pink, so chocolate cake and hot pink frosting she got. Vin’s sister had requested about two dozen cupcakes, and the batch of cake batter I made was enough for 37 (perfect for exactly 3 dozen cupcakes for the party and 1 test one to cut up into tiny bites to analyze and eat). I decided to turn the extras into “adult” cupcakes… not anything with genitalia shapes (if I did, I wouldn’t be posting pics!), but added some booze and caffeine =) I was like, “hmmm….” and whipped up some Kahlua-coffee-mocha frosting for the extra dozen; the icing was a little melty b/c of the liquor, but it tasted really good! AND, to top it off, I just so happened to have pig-shaped candy sprinkles for the cupcakes. Tiny white pigs were carefully placed on the hot pink frosting and one little pink pig was put on the grown-up cupcakes.
Both versions of cupcakes were well-received; both kids and adults loved the pink frosted cupcakes, and I clearly didn’t make enough of the coffee-Kahlua ones. Oh well. Next time y’all should get in on that limited edition stuff faster. Baked goods + booze = fun time for grown-ups @ children’s parties. haha
Now it’s back to cleaning and sorting our junk… I’d love to be able to get rid of half of my things, but that’ll happen when pigs fly. Sorry, I had to say it =P
Happy birthday, Penny!