Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Late night craving...

Okay...let me just tell you first off - these aren't cakes!

But they are stinkin' delicious!!

So, last night S and I are watching the Hell's Kitchen finale and of course, it made me hungry. Unfortunately this was about....10:30 or 11 pm! But, what can I say? I like food and if I'm hungry, I'm gonna eat!

I looked in the fridge to see what we had that could be made quickly and remembered I had some cream cheese and crescent rolls....mmmmm....Sopapilla Cheesecake came to mind!

But, true to fashion, I did not have enough of those ingredients....or a pan in the correct size (yes, my sink was full and I'll do them today, okay??)

That's when it hit me! Muffin tin!

So, here's what I came up with:

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 lid's worth of Mexican vanilla (sorry! this is how i frequently measure this!! It's about the size of a 20 oz. Coke bottle lid, FYI)
  • approx. 1 cup powdered sugar (approximate b/c I kept pouring in until it seemed spreadable and tasted good!)
  • --- mix first 3 ingredients and set aside - probably easier if my cream cheese had softened!
  • 2 heaping plastic spoonfuls of country crock, melted (note - change to butter!!!)
  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Because I was working with limited ingredients I needed to make my 8 rolls fit my 6 muffin pan.
First I made a slice across 1/3 of the half that were laid out:

Then I took the 2/3 side (from the bottom half to make a square) and put it in the muffin tin. Easy to do for 4 of them. For the last two, I had to take the 1/3 'scraps' and put them together to make a square too.

Then I took 2 heaping plastic spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture (probably too much in hindsight but I was trying to split all that mix by 6!) and plopped them on top of the roll.

When filled, take the corners of the square and fold over the cream cheese mix and pinch together.

Then, take your butter spoon over each roll - mine ended up at about 1 1/2 spoonfuls each - basically you just want to make sure there's butter on top, and some butter in the bottom b/c you don't want this getting really crunchy.

Then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Throw it in your oven (pre-heated to 350) for anywhere from 10-14 minutes (depending on your oven - just watch them to make sure they don't over cook!)

I probably should have let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. But I didn't want to! So they were pretty tricky to get out without my heaping cream cheese mix spilling out. See?

I did a little magic with a spatula and tongs though.

Pay no attention to the little one in the center. That was leftover dough with some strawberry jelly thrown in there for the hubs. He's a fan of strawberries.

They are almost as good looking as they tasted!! 


(The only thing I'd change is using about 1/2 the amount of cream cheese b/c there just wasn't enough breading for the ratio I prefer. Oh, and butter. Butter is always a better flavor option, but we had about 1 tablespoon left.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

1st post-move cake!

I haven't made a cake since May! 

(might have something to do with the fact that this summer I drove through 16 states in 30 days and we moved halfway across the country)

So, I don't have a ginormous kitchen any more (although I'm thinking I actually have the same amount of counter space in this apartment...hmm....) but I was anxious to get back to baking!

My husband volunteered me (behind my back) to make a cake for a going away party at his work. 
For someone he's barely met. 
Because he didn't want to pay the $10 toward the party. 
(Does he know how much these cakes cost???)

Anyway...  my husband tells me that this person worked in HIV research and could I make an HIV cake for him? Well, sure! 

Here is my reference picture:

Of course while I'm counting how many circles and bars to make he's blabbing to me about how it doesn't have to be perfect. Um... death stare! Of course it should be exact!

(Later I realized that he meant this is a 2D pic of a 3D form and we're looking into the inside and there could be lots of little yellow 'trees' all over the outside of the form, not necessarily 13 of them or even these colors... but oh well, right?)
Okay...this time around I tried to do a little more photo documenting instead of just presenting a final product. 

Unfortunately, I didn't remember this until I had baked and covered the cake. 


It's a shame too, because I used a dome cake this time (thanks to my friend J for giving that pan set to me!) and it would have been neat to show how I had to fit it all together.

Maybe S will take a picture when they cut into it at the party?

So, I remembered to take pics right in the middle of my mess-making...
I, of course, always make a mess when I bake. 

You can see a small part of that constarch-y explosion with my little cut pieces:

Just imagine it all over the kitchen!

I got the base fondant layers on the cake:

No, those aren't two different cakes... I was trying out flash settings on my iphone. The second picture is a little more realistic of the actual colors.

Once I was able to focus on the details part of the decorating, I realized that my 'trees' were going to be way too big to put on a toothpick and still be supported in the cake. I almost taped toothpicks together to make it longer. (I was desperate!)

Then I remembered I had some lollipop sticks from some cake pops! Phew!

Cover with a little fondant rolled around the middle and they're all set!

Next up: add the yellow tops to the 'trees'. 

Maybe I should ask my husband what the 'trees' really are? naaaaah!

And then while those were setting, I got the orange and white balls and added them on.

My next step was going to be to get the last tiny bit of my buttercream frosting to pipe the little white lines and dots in the center of the image. 

But, I couldn't get my makeshift piping bag (ziplock) to pipe that small in a smooth line. 

Enter the fondant again!

I ended up painting the top of the little designs with some gel coloring b/c I was afraid it would take too long to color each part of the fondant the way I wanted (and make it in time for the party), but I'm actually really pleased with the painted look. 

It's kinda fun, and the white borders make them stand out!

Next, I added the 'trees'. 

Looks pretty, huh? I really like the bright colors against each other!

And, I like how the 'trees' give it a little more 3D awesomeness.

Okay, and just for a little comparison:

This was fun to make, and I'm happy to be baking again!


Got a text from S after I took it up to his work:

'Everyone loves it, by the way. Dr. Gillis identified it right when I walked in the door and she made Marc ID it before the party started. He had a great look on his face. Good job, babe.'


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No kids and rum? Yes, please!

So, a couple weekends ago I drove up to Atlanta for a 'mommy weekend' with some great gals from one of my online boards. We all have kids born in the same month and year so we started a little forum to chat about our kids. Well, we became even closer than imagined and started planning annual 'retreats' to take a break from the kids and enjoy some grown up time!

Since I was driving and because we were staying at a home instead of a hotel (seriously, C has the most amazing home- way better than a hotel!) I decided the weekend needed a little baking.

I wanted to try a cake ball recipe with rum in it, and a few Internet pages later I found recipes for rum balls. Mmmmmmmm!

Here's the first recipe I found:

I pkg Nilla wafers
1 cup pecans
1 cup confectioner sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp lite corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon or rum

Crush wafers and nuts in food processsor. Add sugar, cocoa, corn syrup and bourbon. Mix well.
Measure out teaspoonful of mix and roll into ball. Roll ball in something else like nuts or chocolate if you want. They stay good for weeks and weeks.

Sounds great, right? Well, not if you dont really like nuts (me) :-P

I thought I could just use some Heath baking bits (crunchy and delicious) but the store was out! Boo! So, I'm looking in the candy aisle and decided upon Worthers. Double yum.

I pounded them with a ladle (didn't want to burn out my little food processor)and subbed for the pecans directly. They busted quite nicely with the ladle but my husband said he could hear me outside the apartment- oops!! I also used 2 tbsp of cocoa instead of 1 1/2.

But they were strong!! Like, not so good strong! So, I added a tablespoon of cinnamon. I figured if it was gonna burn, it might as well have a spicy burn. That did the trick! Fantastic!

I made a quick cinnamon sugar mix and rolled each ball in it. Glistening deliciousness!

Then there was the second recipe- yes, two... 11 moms together with no kids for three days? We need two batches!!

Midnight Rum Balls

1 small package (8.5 oz.) Oreo cookies
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts, although they can be omitted
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/3 cup rum
granulated sugar

Put whole cookies in food processor and whiz until finely crushed. In medium bowl, combine crumbs, powdered sugar, nuts, and cocoa. Blend in corn syrup and rum. Wet hands and shape mixture into one-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Store covered, in a cool place. (Rum balls are better after they have "mellowed" for a day or two.)

So, I don't eat oreos. They leave a fatty film on the roof of my mouth like balogna and I can't stand it. (I'm sure you didn't want that association in you mind! Sorry!)

I figured that everyone else in the world does, so I just wouldn't eat them.

But once I put them in the mixer, it just turned to a ever so slightly moist dark chocolate crumbs. No sign of the nasty filling. Hooray!

I intended to follow the recipe, omitting the nuts and subbing a few more oreos for dry ingredient ratios, but with a little change to the rum.

I had some butterscotch schnapps that I wanted to use (um, buttery chocolate? Yum!) but not quite enough. Then, while digging around my baking box, I found some orange emulsion. Dark chocolate and orange? You know they go together! So, I used the rest of the butterscotch, a teaspoon of emulsion, and topped off my 1/3 cup with rum.

So as I'm mixing it altogether, I noticed that it's way too wet. Not sure why, but it is not going to roll like the first batch.

So, I added a little more cocoa powder/oreos until it looked right. I don't know how much though, so sorry :(

I wanted these to have a little different look than the first ones so I rolled them in powdered sugar. They were fluffy white little balls! They looked great. Fast forward through the overnight packing and the 10 hour drive and they looked...well...like the moisture had taken over:

Ok, so I know this isn't the best pic and obviously it was after some (most) were gone. But, it's still a pic so thanks to my friend Y for taking pics of everything that weekend!! I can't believe I forgot completely!

But even if they looked odd, they tasted marvelously! Dark chocolate orange was definitely a great choice!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Previous Entries

Okay y'all. 

I've taken the time to create a quick entry about each cake I've made. 

That I have pictures of or remember. 

If you know one I've missed, help a sister out! Send me the pic and I'll add it in! 

Until the next cake (which could be a while with this whole moving to another state thing) happy eating!

Rhinovirus, Salmonella typhi, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy - OH MY!

This past May, my husband graduated with his Master's from TTU-HSC and our friend Stanzie graduated from the same undergrad program as my husband the year before (that's right- one year from BS to MS! :)

We had a double party at Shogun's. Yum!

But, before that...

Her mom had asked me to make a cake within a certain budget but gave me total creative liberties. 

Oh yeah!

So, I knew I wanted to do a giant Double T. 

And something science-y. 

And funny. 

This time, I asked my husband for help. We googled together. It was nice ;)

We found a particular website that markets germs/diseases as 'stuffed animals'. 

That was the money maker right there!

We carefully chose a few that they had particularly studied during their courses. 

Well, and the mad cow disease. He didn't want it, but it was too cute not to use!

Can you find it?

There is also rhinovirus (common cold- blue clusters), salmonella typhi (typhoid fever- red one), lyme disease (green twist), ebola (brown) and my favorite: 

the T4 bacteriophage! 

I even made sure his 'head' had 12 sides with 20 verticies.  

Because I'm awesome that way.

And because Stanzie has the stuffed animal of it. 

But it really was fun to see their friends kind of guess at the different germies :)

Bang Bang!

I was fortunate enough to be in two different musicals with a local church, First United Methodist. 

The first year I was in My Fair Lady (top 5 favorite musicals of all time) and this last year I was in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 

The cast was really an amazing group of people and I really wanted to do a little baking for them. 

But, with a cast of 60+ a regular cake during rehearsals would be a little tricky. 

So, I decided to tackle the cake balls again. 

Now, two years ago, I had successfully made 2 cake pops:

hello kitty - for my friend Jessica's birthday, and

a little chickie I was trying to take to an Easter/Family reunion thing. 

So, 2. Oh believe me...there were supposed to be more:

The problem was that my chocolate was a brand I'm not fond of (but had no other option) or that I had them too cold before I dipped them.... because all the rest cracked or oozed and weren't cute at all. :(

But, that was then, and these were just cake balls. 

A little dip in the vat of chocolate. A nicely contrasting drizzle on top. Easy and done :)

It also helped that they were in the mini cupcake liners. Made them look like truffles I think. 

Strawberry, cream cheese truffles covered in white and dark chocolate.


Call of Duty

Oh man. 
That game. 
In fact my husband is playing it right now. 
It takes up too much time. 
From everyone. 

But when I was asked to make a graduation cake for our friend Mark, who has the same small addiction as my husband, I knew what to do. 

I spent a lot of time looking at the logo.

I hand cut each letter.

I bought a toothbrush so I could splatter paint. 

It took too much time ;)

But seriously, it was fun to create. I liked trying to make my spoof work in the little details. 

And, because the sides of the cake would be lonely (and it was a graduation cake, after all) I added some Double T's and some soccer balls around the side.

Mark's three loves: Call of Duty, Tech, and Soccer. Throw in some single gals and he'd be all set! ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner!

mmmmmmmm..... there is nothing like a good turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. 

Ask my husband about my thoughts on other meats. It's not pretty!

So, I knew that for my first year of hosting Kindergarten Thanksgiving dinner (for parents too) I needed to do something fun. 

The year before, I had been given Hello, Cupcake! from a co-worker and knew there were some great options in there...but no turkey! :(

I did a little googling and found something that I had ingredients on hand to make (I mean really...they're 5 and 6 year olds...they wouldn't know the difference! ;) 

(It *was* actually an awesome way to get rid of the surplus Halloween candy that was reaching its second week of calling to me from the bowl!)

So, the first picture shows ideas from the book: 

corn (jellybellies, dark green sugar for the pepper and a pad of starburst 'butter)

peas 'n carrots (quartered orange starbursts and green sixlets)

mashed potatoes with gravy (frosting, pumpkin flavored ice cream syrup - I had to go seasonal!)

and a drumstick (white chocolate painted bones, a mini reese's cup, underneath piled frosting and ground - smushed - golden crisps)

Next is the turkey idea I found on the internet and my own creation. 

On the right is the turkey idea: a plate of Thanksgiving dinner (a cookie plate, frosting taters, nonpariel peas, ground golden crisps dressing, and the coup de grace is a split cashew turkey with gravy!)

Then on the left was my own creation. I had too much green frosting... and a plethora of sour apple air heads from halloween that would never get eaten in my house. NEVER. 

So, I made some green bean casserole. :-D

They were a hit with the kids and the parents and I had a blast creating them all!

Oh yeah! I just remembered that I made the cupcakes all different flavors too!
One was cranberry, one was pumpkin spice....and the third was....gingerbread maybe? Hmmm...that was a while ago ;)

Lakers win in '10!

So, my friend Jessica's family moved to Texas from California. 

And they're ridiculously huge Lakers fans! 

So, when their 10th wedding anniversary happened to be so close to the Lakers victory in 2010, she knew exactly the cake she wanted to surprise her husband with! 

We tossed a few ideas back and forth, and after a little googling, inspiration hit!

Once again, my procrastination tried to get the better of me. Let's just say in the future, I'll not be making cakes for parties I'm attending and wanting to spend a little time looking nice for. It's too much.

Anyway, I really enjoyed how this cake turned out, but I wish I had a better picture of it, instead of the one with my fondant and powdered sugar mess at the top of my workstation!

I will say that when I posted this on facebook, one friend said she actually thought it was a shirt at first look. :-D

It only took 8 years!!

So, my husband's journey to graduation was a long one. 

In and out of school, 4 different schools, 4 different cities. 

Hard work and a job well done!

So, we had a big party for him (and his sister, who was graduating at the same time).

I could have gone in many different directions with the cake (and came really close to doing the ZIT cube ) but he really likes our school's seal. So that's what we ultimately decided upon.

The black is all frosting marker, but each little design in the middle was hand made cut-outs. And they sucked!! They are the single reason that I will never again do a TTU seal cake! (unless someone were to pay me an exorbitant amount of money in excess of $500 ;)

I also managed to make the inside of the cake Tech-themed as well :)

New Flower Fondant Cutters

My husband can be a tool at times. 

Especially when I'm trying to create a new post. 

But, I digress....

My mom was a hostess for a bridal shower and was placed in charge of the cake.

She was given a budget and then hired me! Woohoo!

So, I was told to go find a spring/flower napkin and make it match.

Talk about limitless boundaries!

I found a cute orange one with some lime and turquoise flowers. 

That's when I knew it was time to purchase some fondant cutters. Michael's had a new daisy set that I had already seen. They were cute! 

The two layers of flowers were fun to work with, and made it easy to give a lot of color choices around the cake.

And, while I knew the cake was not nearly as dark as the napkins, this next picture in natural lighting makes them look completely different! Now I know :)

The Game ... of Life!

So, our friends Jessica and Jarrod were getting married and we had a shower for them. 

But, they asked for board games for the shower gifts, and we got to play some at the party. It was actually a pretty great idea - we love games in our house!

So, I knew that this would be the perfect time to make a Game of Life cake so I could put some spaces from the game that would fit their new lives together.

I actually looked at the real game to pull words and phrases - and as my cousin pointed out later, it would be nice if we could get childcare for just $5,000 these days!

I made the car and people from rice crispie treats again. And also the bushes. 

This was also my first creation after purchasing my 16x16 (and two smaller) pan(s) from Michael's with my 40% off coupon. That set is *definitely* worth the $25 I paid for it!!


Somehow I managed to stumble upon the website www.bakerella.com

I am in heaven. She's just marvelous!! I saw some postings about cake balls. 

I didn't know what they were but I knew I wanted to try them. 

So, I decided that K's 3rd birthday would be based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar book and I could make cake balls for the body segments.

My awesome friend Liz made her invite for me....and totally rocked it!!

So it's the day of, I'm rushed (as usual) and I'm ready to get this stuff going.

Apparently I was so excited about the cuteness of cake balls, I didn't really read the instructions well. 

I almost made them without baking the cake first! I thought you just used the dry mix with the frosting. 

Good thing I thought it seemed really weird and double checked!

Well, I made the 'the right way' but since I really didn't know what I was doing...they flopped.

Partly because my town only has a certain brand of melting chocolates (they suck) and they didn't cover the balls well. Also because I didn't know it would take so long to dip each ball and I was in a hurry.

So there are the 6 segments on the caterpillar. And you see that leaf to the right? Yeah...the one that looks like a cake sandwich? Yeah...that's the leftover mix there. Live and learn, right?

But, the kiddo was happy about the party (and literally will still bring it up today, 1.5 years later!), and I did get all of the fruits and other foods from the story made (and in the correct number) so that was awesome. :)

Oh yeah! And looking at this pic reminded me that I also tried this cherry pie pop recipe from Bakerella and they were perfect! Probably my favorite, actually :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh Baby!

My mom's cousin was having her first baby. They waited a really long time to have a kiddo, so we were all super excited for them!

When I was asked to make the shower cake, I was thrilled.

A little less thrilled that the shower was 7 hours away from me, but thrilled!

It did let me find out how to logistically transport a cake though :)

Anyway, I was sent an invitation and a picture of the napkins and got my idea!

I'm proud to say that the cake made it in one piece!

I don't have a picture of the top, but it had the words from the napkin. 

The shower was fun, and we got to see my Granny as well (who also lives 7 hours away).

How old am I?

My mom called to say that she was hosting a graduation party for Loriann.

The same Loriann that I used to babysit. 

One of the youngest ones I babysat, in fact. 


So anyway, the call was to ask if I would make a cake for her. Well, of course I would!

I needed a little inspiration though, so I asked mom to find out her favorite colors.

Red, Purple and Light Blue. 


Didn't seem to work in my head. At all.

But then I started a little drawing and started to like it more and more. 

(I also remember trying out some new flavors with this one...but I have no idea what kinds. )

Here's what we ended up with:

Red, Purple and Light Blue - who knew? :)