Thursday, October 8, 2009


My baby sister is getting married in March. She is a total carboholic. She and her fiance decided to have a bread bar as appetizers for their reception. And she wants me to make the bread. Holy cow. I said yes like an idiot, thinking that it would be a fun challenge. What? Bread for 240 people that looks and tastes awesome enough for a wedding. What was I thinking? Her finace is in the military and is home for the weekend this weekend coming up so my mother and I decided to make some bread for them to kind of choose what they like and what they don't. I made potato bread, Challah, breadsticks, garlic bread, Norwegian rye bread and prezels. My mom and I together whipped up zucchini muffins, oatmeal rolls, savory cheese bread, parmasan bread, and corn muffins. That is a lot of bread! We are still trying to figure out the best way to present it. We are not sure if we should make loaves or rolls, if we should go with bread baskets or a dramatic presentation of everything on the table. We still are unsure of what we want to put on the breads. I am going to make a variety of flavored butters and cream cheeses, but beyond that we are drawing a blank.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yay Cake!

My cake decorating skills totally leave something to be desired. My ability to make a layer cake is shameful. Also, because I bake, I am now the dedicated baker in my family, regardless of the fact that cake that I make looks like garbage. So I decided to take a cake decorating class. Because every time I would bake a cake I would scream and cry and my husband refused to come into the kitchen. Now I had two choices for decorating classes: one at Michaels (craft store) or one through the community college. Turns out they were both Wilton classes so I guess it did not really matter which I chose.

I just finished Intro to Cake Decorating. It was so much fun. I really loved it. I was really bad at it, but I really loved it. There is just something exciting about finally learning how they make that buttercream rose. The class was four weeks long for three hours one night a week. We did not learn anything that will probably have me leaving my day job anytime soon, but the girls in the class were fun and creative and the teacher was great. We made a cake for our last day and honestly its the prettiest cake I have ever made. I felt like I hadn't learned that much until my husband commented on how far I had come. It made me happy, like that cake might not be totally out of my relm. I immediatly signed up for Cake Decorating II. I think that it will be good for me to continue on this cake experiment.

The cake I made is lemon cake from a box (gasp) but I have not been ready to branch out that much yet. I figured if I can get a handle on some decorating skills then maybe I can branch out to homemade cakes. I made the lighter lemon curd filling that I found on Baking Bites. Its a fantastic lemon curd that is super easy with a whole lot less fat than any other lemon curd I have tried. Its basically become my go to lemon curd for everything from a quick lemon mousse to a pie filling. The frosting is the class buttercream, which really means that its shortening buttercream. I like the shortening buttercream to work with, it's very consistant. However, I like the taste of real buttercream better.

Wilton Class Buttercream
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons milk or water ( I use lemon juice to cut the sweetness a bit)
1 tablespoon meringue powder (totally optional, just makes things a bit stiffer)
1 teaspoon clear vanilla (I use regular because it is what I have)
1 pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)

On the website they have a slightly different buttercream recipe that is made with 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening. I have made this icing before and it is pretty good, but it does get crunchy. It is fairly easy to work with though. Soon I hope to start baking my cakes from scratch and trying different icings.

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