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:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Funday



Hope everyone's weekend is going well.  I feel like here in the Midwest we are in the dog days of summer.  All the kids have gone back to school but it is hot and HUMID!  Like a fool, I went for a run the other day at 3p.m.  I thought I was going to melt into the ground.  Needless to say, short run that day.

Is everyone looking forward to their three day weekend?  We had been hoping to do some car camping next weekend, but the campground we wanted to visit is all booked up.  Boo.  Should have looked into it sooner.

We are starting to get some red tomatoes.  I love our home grown garden tomatoes.  This year, thought, our tomato plants look like total garbage.  They are half dead and aren't producing much.  Anyone else having the same problem or was I just a terrible gardener this year?

I am hoping to harvest some basil from my plants this week and make some pesto.  I have been itching for it but haven't taken the time to get it done.

Here are some interesting things I read this week:

An older article, but I am hoping to make this salted butter caramel ice cream for my friend Denise this week.

This roasted strawberry cake is what my dreams are made of.

Brownie batter Oreos-does it get any better?

These Monkey Cupcakes are some of the cutest things I have ever seen!  Plus there is peanut butter!

To see other interesting finds, you can find me here on Pinterest.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread

whole wheat, bread, english muffin, homemade bread, bread from scratch, whole wheat bread from scratch, whole wheat homemade bread, direct method bread

I have been meaning to make this recipe I got from my grandma awhile ago.  She's not a bread baker, but she found this recipe and went to town.  My grandpa loves it so much, he went out and bought her a Kitchen Aid mixer so she would have an easier time mixing the dough (and then make him bread more often).

whole wheat, English Muffin Bread, Homemade bread, bread from scratch


This bread is great fresh from the oven and even better when slathered with salted butter and strawberry jam.  It's sturdy enough to make a sandwich, but light enough you don't feel like your eating horse food.  The original recipe calls for only all-purpose flour, but I like to add some whole wheat for character.  This is exactly the kind of bread that can be made on a lazy Saturday, in between yard work and house cleaning (is that really a lazy Saturday then?).

whole wheat, homemade bread, English Muffin Bread, whole wheat homemade bread, bread from scratch

Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) combine whole wheat flour, yeast, sugar, baking soda, milk, water and salt.  Beat to combine.  At this time, switch to your dough hook or do some stretching to prep your arm muscles.  Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.  You may need slightly less or slightly more.  Let your dough tell you what it needs.  Your ending dough should be tacky but not sticky.  It shouldn't be crumbly either (too much flour).

Cover and allow to raise for 45 minutes.  Grease 2 loaf pans.  Divide dough and plop into pans.  Cover and allow to raise for another 30-45 minutes or until the dough just reaches the top of the pan.  

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake loaves for about 35 minutes or until done.  Enjoy with some salted butter and jelly. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zombiecide Inspired Cake

Birthday Cake, Cake, Board Game Cake, Zombie, Zombiecide

I told you I was a cake baking fool this past weekend.  I also made this Zombicide inspired cake for our friend Rob, whose birthday was last Friday.  We love to get together with them and when we aren't camping or climbing-we play board games.  Zombiecide is our newest addiction and so I thought this would be the perfect birthday cake theme.

The cake is red velvet.  The frosting, cream cheese buttercream.  The guy is drawn with candy melts and the ROB is made from sugar sheets.  The little cards are made of gumpaste that I painted with food coloring.  I used the character cards as inspiration for this cake, and I didn't realize when I started how many colors actually make up the card.  I frosted the top and sides of the cake in a blue ombre to reflect the changing colors in the character cards.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

James's 4th Birthday Cake

Spiderman, Spiderman Birthday Cake, Birthday Cake, Tiered Cake, Spider,

The past couple days, I have been a cake baking fool.  Yesterday was my nephew's fourth birthday party and I had a special request for a "really tall spiderman cake."  So that is what I made.  I was inspired by this cake.  The bottom layer is white cake with vanilla buttercream.  The middle layer is chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and the top layer is actually Rice Krispie treats with chocolate buttercream.  The cakes were covered in fondant and the buildings and spider were both made from black fondant.  Spiderman and the #4 were both piped candy melts.

Spiderman birthday cake, spiderman birthday, spiderman, marvel, comic, chocolate spiderman

Now for the sad part, because it is August here in the midwest, it was like 80 degrees and a million percent humidity spiderman melted.  I had removed spiderman to take separately (because we had a hour long car ride).  However, the spiderman and the four both melted on the way over (even in the air-conditioning).  I actually had three spidermen but they all melted.  Luckily, I had a spiderman figure I could stick on the top, but I was pretty frustrated! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paneer Tikka Masala

paneer, Indian food, Tikka Masala, tomato, rice, vegetarian

Remember way back in the day when we made our own paneer?  Well, one of my favorite paneer dishes is paneer tikka masala.  It's rich and creamy, not too spicy but had a boatload of flavor. 

paneer, Indian food, vegetarian

We start by pan frying the paneer to give it a little flavor boost and to firm it up a bit.

cumin, spices, crushing spices, makeshift mortar and pestle, Indian food

This dish has a bunch of spices that need to be ground up.  As you can see, we didn't have a mortar and pestle, but that didn't stop us!

Spice, paprika, prep bowl, Indian food,

This is definitely one of those recipes where you need to have mise en place.  These little prep bowls come in handy, but really any bowl will do.  Sadly, this means washing a lot of dishes.  Trust me, the organization is worth a little extra sink time.

Paneer Tikka Masala 



  • 1 block paneer
  • 3 serrano peppers, diced-remove seeds if concerned about spice
  • 1 quart of diced tomatoes, including the juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt to taste

Cut up paneer into cubes of whatever size you find desirable.  In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt butter.  Once butter is melted, toss in the cubed paneer and pan fry until golden brown.  Remove from Dutch oven.

Place the cumin seeds into a small frying pan over medium heat and try toast them until fragrant.  Be careful, they will want to burn.  Remove from heat.  Crush up toasted cumin seeds and garam masala.

Toss the serrano peppers into the Dutch oven.  Allow to fry for a few minutes, then add in the tomatoes and juice.  Bring to a simmer.  Add in spices.  Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add in cream and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Stir in paneer and allow to heat all the way through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve over rice with fresh naan.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Test Kitchen-Failed Chocolate Cups

Obviously, I have not been crushing it when it comes to baking these past few days.  I had whipped these babies up a few days ago, thinking about what cute little dessert/fruit/ice cream cups these would make.  Plus you get to eat the cup.  No dishes!
It was not to be.  I tried using my silicone baking cups and just regular paper liners, but both cups broke when I went to remove them from the cups.  I probably did not have enough chocolate up the sides of the cups to make them strong enough to withstand peeling off the support.  Nonetheless, they were still tasty crumbled up into my morning yogurt, so not all was lost.
Have any of you had success with chocolate dessert cups?  What was your secret?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Funday




Happy Sunday!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

I am working on my nephew's fourth birthday cake this week.  His request was for a "really tall, like up to the ceiling Spider-Man cake."  

I don't know how close to the ceiling I will get, but I will try for tall.  Sadly, when I was turning this guy out of the pan, he cracked and broke.  

Anyway, here are some fun things I read this week.

This photo shoot with a puppy cracks me up!

I have been meaning to make bacon jam for ages-this recipe by Brown Eyed Baker looks fantastic!

I know it's an older post, but his Whipped Chocolate Buttercream has become my new "go-to" chocolate frosting.  It's fast, easy, and tastes amazing!  I usually make a double batch to cover an 8 inch 2 layer cake.

For those interested in our travel adventures, I have started a new blog called Heather From The Flat.  This week I posted a recap of our trek to Machu Picchu.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

3 Ingredient Coconut Milk Ice Cream


coconut milk, coconut, ice cream, vegan, dairy-free

My mom, sister, and I all like to hang out.  And, in the summer, hanging out would often involve a bowl of ice cream.  The only trouble is, as the years have worn on, regular ice cream doesn't agree with all of us anymore.  So when I learned that you can make ice cream out of coconut milk instead, I was all about it.

Three ingredients.  That is all it takes to make cool, creamy, dairy free ice cream.  There are about a thousand ways you can make this coconut milk ice cream your own.  Add in brown sugar and pineapple for a bit of a piƱa colada flavor.  Or maybe some roasted strawberries are more your style.  No matter which way you churn it, your belly will thank you.

coconut milk, coconut, ice cream, vegan, dairy-free, easy

Coconut Milk Ice Cream


  • 3 cups Coconut Cream (you can use full fat coconut milk if you can't find coconut cream)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 1/2 cups coconut cream and granulated sugar until sugar is fully dissolved.  

Remove from heat.  Pour hot sugar/cream mixture into a medium bowl.  Add in remaining coconut cream and vanilla extract.  Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight.

The next day, churn according to your ice cream makers directions.  Freeze for 2-3 hours until solid.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

S'more's Bites

chocolate, marshmallow, Graham cracker, peanut butter


A couple weeks ago, my mom, sister, and I took my niece and nephew "camping" for the first time. (We stayed in a cabin...with air conditioning...and a shower).  But we did have the all important campfire.  We roasted hot dogs and made s'mores.

chocolate, marshmallow, peanut butter, Graham cracker


I hadn't eaten a s'more in eons and I forgot how good those suckers are.  Gooey marshmallow, crunchy graham cracker and melty chocolate all melded together for the perfect treat.  These little s'mores bites give you all that s'mores goodness, without building a campfire.  They are even better of you slather a bit of peanut butter on too.

chocolate, peanut butter, Graham cracker, s'mores, marshmallow


S'mores Bites

*These can make as many or as few as you desire so I am only including the ingredients rather than specific amounts.

  • Graham crackers
  • marshmallow fluff
  • peanut butter (if desired)
  • melted chocolate (I used Ghirardelli melting wafers but chocolate chips would work just fine)

Melt chocolate in a small bowl or short fat glass.  Break apart Graham crackers into quarters (or halves if you prefer a larger bite).  Spread marshmallow fluff on one Graham cracker.  If desired, spread peanut butter on the other cracker.  Make a sandwich.  Dip ends into melted chocolate and set on wax or parchment paper to dry (about 15-20 minutes).  Enjoy!

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