Monday, September 15, 2014

Tiffany Birthday Cake

Here's a look at the Tiffany box cake I made for my darling little niece's first birthday.  The cake is funfetti cake with a double batch of American buttercream frosting.  Covered in fondant.  Bow is made from gum paste.  Writing hand painted on with piping gel.

It is a 10 inch square cake that is made up of 2, 2 inch cakes with a layer of buttercream in between.  There was about 40 people at the party and I had about 1/2 the cake left over.  It was a bigger cake than it looked.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Salted Caramel Coffee

I used to work fairly near this little local coffee shop.  It was the kind of place with eclectic knicknacks and live music on Friday night.  The owner of the shop makes your coffee and he would serve it in a mug so big it took two hands to hold it.  It was a place of refuge for me all winter long.

It was here that I had my first affogato, dark rich espresso poured over sweet homemade ice cream.  It was this wonderful blend of hot and cold, sweet and bitter.

This drink has all the same attributes.  Creamy, sweet caramel ice cream plopped into dark bitter coffee.  The result is heavenly.  I'm sure that you can probably buy salted caramel ice cream, but take the time to make your own, you won't regret it.  Salted caramel ice cream is completely addictive.
This recipe from David Lebovitz is perfect.  It takes a bit of time but is well well worth the effort.

Salted Caramel Coffee

  • 1 cup favorite blend coffee
  • 1 (or 3) scoops salted caramel ice cream   
Make your coffee.  Add in as much ice cream as desired.  I like a little bit more, but if you are interested in a little less sweet, it can be made just to your liking.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Maple Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

It's another Monday.  Maybe you're like me and ate a little too much junk and drank a little too much soda over the weekend.  Maybe you're like me and you went for a run and felt like that justified eating about 20 Rolos.  Maybe your thinking cause this is Monday, I should snack on some fruit or something with a little less refined sugar.

This fruit dip is packed with protein from the peanut butter and Greek yogurt sweetened with just a touch of pure maple syrup and spiced with a hint of cinnamon.  Only four ingredients.  If you're like me, you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself this early in the week:)  Perfect pick me up for a Monday.

Maple Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)

Stir ingredients together.  Serve with fruit.  Crazy easy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Funday

Hope everybody enjoyed their shortened work week.  I know we are supposed to be headed into fall, but here, everything is still super hot and humid.

I went to the county fair on Thursday night and it was wonderful as usual.  As kids, my grandparents would take us.  We would ride a million rides, the tilt-a whirl being my favorite.  We would play games, each hoping to win a goldfish to take home.  My mother really loved that the years that we won (nothing quite like taking care of a stinky goldfish).  And of course, there was cotton candy.

Now I go to the fair to look at the animals and the baked good entries, but mostly I go for the food.  I have been going with the same people to the fair nearly every year for more than a decade and each year the food strategy is a bit different.  One year, we bought cups for bottomless homemade rootbeer.  That was a pretty bad call.  We drank so much rootbeer we ended up with quite a tummy ache.

This year, among other things, was the first year I tried the deep fried Snickers bar.  It was good, but certainly not $7 (plus  the damage to my arteries) good.  Next year I will know to stick to the funnel cakes.

Fried Snickers

Here are some interesting reads from this week:

Plum season is here and this plum cake looks like the perfect weekend snack.

As you know, peanut butter and chocolate are some of my favorite things so Yammie's flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is right up my ally.

These cinnamon roll cookie bars look like all of the awesome of a cinnamon roll and about half the work.

This article by Allison Vesterfelt speaks to me.  Actually, almost everything this girl writes is gold.

Lemon cake is one of the best kind of desserts and these lemon cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting are calling my name.

Love this interview with Valerie Jarrett.  "Put yourself in the path of lightning."

And of course, if you missed it, I made some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour this week.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Tell me, did you do anything fun?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies

Feeding people is my love language.  (Not just people, really, I love feeding my critters too).  One of my favorite things is to whip up a batch of cookies or bake a loaf of bread for a friend.  It's my little way of telling them I love them.

I read, once, of a woman who prays over her knitting for the person the project is for.  That is a little bit of what I do when I bake for you.  I think about you as I cream together butter and sugar.  I am grateful for you as I sprinkle in baking powder.  I pray for your struggles as I fold in the chocolate chips.  And I hope, that with the gift of these cookies, you know that I love you and am always here for you.

So, if you get the chance this week, make some cookies for someone you love.  These even have whole wheat flour in they are kinda healthy, right?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (1/2 bag) mini chocolate chips
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and peanut butter together.  Stir in brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.  Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time.  It is always possible you will need slightly less flour than the recipe calls for.  Your dough should be thick but not dry.  Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet (or line it with parchment paper).  Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  Preferably with a tall glass of milk.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tutorial: How to Cover A Cake Board With Fondant

Today, we are going to talk about cake boards.  What are they?  They are the board that goes underneath your cake so you can transport it around.  They come in all kinds of shapessizes
and colors.  A cake board can be made from cardboard, wood, or plastic.

When making a tiered cake, I use a cake board under each tier to make the tiers easy to move.  The board underneath all of my cakes is usually a bit bigger.  You can cover the board with fancy paper, tinfoil, fondant, or nothing at all.

Why cover your cake board with fondant?  I think that for cakes covered in fondant, when you cover the board in fondant too, it gives a nice flow from the cake to the board.

How To Cover Your Cake Board In Fondant

You want to cover your cake board several days in advance.  The fondant needs time to dry.  If you can, it's not a bad idea to knead a bit of gum paste  into your fondant to speed drying times.

  1. Color fondant
  2. Roll out fondant to the size of your cake board.  You want the fondant to be about 1/8 in thick.  Use the cake board as a measuring tool to be sure that you succeeded in this endeavor.
  3. Cover the top and sides of your cake board with piping gel.  Piping gel will make your fondant stick to the board.  You can buy piping get in giant tubs, but I don't use it very often so I just picked up a tube.  It's a better idea to go with clear/white rather than black because black could show through lighter covered fondant. (Do as I say, not as I do).
  4. Place cake board piping gel side down on your fondant.  Flip the whole thing over.  Smooth fondant with your hands over the surface and down the sides of the cake board to eliminate air bubbles.
  5. Trim off excess fondant.
  6. Allow to dry.

Blast from the past-here are some previous cake decorating tutorials to help you along:

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