Monday, February 28, 2011

March Classes!

Can you believe it!?  It's already March!  And guess what happens in March???

March classes start next week!!  

Here's my listing of March classes!  Sign up as soon as you can!  Space is limited!
Tuesdays 6:30pm - 8:30pm
March 8, 15, 22, 29
Registration Fee: $45
March Special: 50% off

Thursdays 6:00pm - 8:00pm
March 10, 17, 24, 31
Registration Fee: $45
March Special: 50% off

I can't wait to see you in class!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Afternoon of Cupcakes!

Today I taught my Cupcakes and More class!  We had a blast!  These lovely ladies learned several techniques including filling & icing their cupcakes!  Here's some pictures from all the fun we had!

These two hours flew by!  

Of course we had to eat our hard work!

If you're interested in a Cupcakes & More class, let me know.  We've got more classes coming in the next few months!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shells, Mums and Pom Poms, Oh My!

I wanted to fill you in on this weeks Decorating Basics class!

This week in class we learned some about decorating cupcakes & piping our first buttercream flowers!  

We learned how to fill cupcakes...

We learned to ice cupcakes with that fancy swirl all the professionals use!

Check out these JUMBO cupcakes! The bigger the cupcake, the better!  Right?!

That's my kind of cupcake!

We learned how to pipe shells...

drop flowers...

pom pom flowers...

and how to make a shaggy mum...

You didn't know there was so much to cupcakes, did you?

Ok, I've got to get ready for my Cupcakes & More class tomorrow.  So if you haven't signed up yet, run by the store & register! 

That Can't Be Buttercream, It's Got to Be Fondant!

Have you ever seen buttercream so smooth that it could be mistaken for fondant?  

What?  That's not possible, you say?  

Well, in my Decorating Basics class this month, besides learning about baking THE perfect cake and filling it, we learned how to get buttercream as smooth as fondant!

These are the first cakes we decorated in class!  Aren't they awesome!

We also learned some piping and stars!

Look at that cupcake piped on the cake!

How adorable are these cakes!  I think we have the "Next Great Baker" candidates in this class!

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Scratch!

Have you ever tried to make a cake from scratch and it not turn out exactly as you had hoped?  Did it fall in the middle or stick to the sides?  Did it bubble over the pan and stick to your clean oven?  Don't you just love those little disasters? 

Have you ever been too intimidated to try a cake from scratch?  

Are you a hardcore box-cake baker?

For me, it really depends on the recipe.  It's either from scratch or a "doctored" cake mix.  I think scratch cakes are easier than they appear. After practice you learn what works. For those of you who don't know a "doctored" cake mix is a box cake mix that has extras added to make a new & better cake.  You can add different flavors of boxed pudding, or sour cream, or milk, or even coffee creamer flavors.  There are so many recipes out there.

When making a cake from scratch, did you know you get the best results when you allow your liquid ingredients & eggs to come to room temperature first? 

Creaming the butter & sugar.  
This is Rosie, by the way.  She's a busy lady!

My sifted, dry ingredients & wet ingredients.

For this recipe I alternate adding and mixing dry and wet ingredients after they have been mixed separately.

As you can see, scratch cakes are more time consuming.  But I think the results are worth the effort!

With scratch cakes you also have to be sure not to over mix your batter.  Even this can cause your cakes to fall! 

Do you ever get that annoying dome in the middle of your cakes?

You can get rid of it by using Wilton's Bake Easy Strips!  They don't work great for bunt pans like this one.  But I never bake a cake without one unless... it's some kind of funky shaped pan that it just wont stay on after trying to make it stay for an hour.  Not that I tried or anything.

I always bake my cakes at 325 degrees, despite what the recipe says and check them after about an hour.  I have found that baking them low & slow gives a better tasting cake.  Okay, that's my secret for today.  I wouldn't try that at home, people, until you feel comfortable enough to estimate how much longer a cake might need to bake.  We don't want dry over baked or under baked cakes with a big dip in the middle.

Before & After

Time to eat!

What recipe did I use you ask?  Sorry.  I can't give this one away.  It's my go-to Vanilla Pound cake!

What do you prefer? Scratch or box cakes? 

Scratch in most cases.  It really depends on the recipe that I'm wanting to make.  No box-mix cakes here!  If it starts with a box, it's always doctored up.

If you don't like scratch cakes, why?

Do you have a go-to favorite recipe?

You can learn more about baking a better cake in my Decorating Basics class!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Once You Pop... You Can't Stop!

Have you guys seen these things????  

Cake on a stick, dipped in chocolate!

Really, people.  Does it get much better than this?

Guess what! Wilton has a whole new line of stuff just for cake pops!

I did a Valentine's Day themed demo at Michaels to demonstrate their new line of cake pop stuff.

These things were so easy to do!  And so stinkin' cute!

I used a box mix for Red Velvet cake and followed the recipe Wilton has, not the one on the box.  For my frosting I used a can of cream cheese frosting.

I baked a 9x13" sheet cake.  Then after it cooled, I mushed it up with my hands into crumbs and mushed in 1 cup of frosting for the entire cake.  Ok, I added a little more until I liked the way it tasted consistency.

I had this adorable heart mold pan from Wilton and I pressed the "cake mush" into the molds, then left it in the fridge for a couple hours.

Then I dipped lollipop sticks into the melted candy melts and stuck them into the bottom of my chilled mini hearts.

I set them on wax paper on a cookie sheet and put them back in the fridge to set.
After about an hour or so, I got them back out & dipped them in different colors of melted candy melts.  Then decorated!

 To decorate them I used royal icing, fondant, sprinkles, and even these adorable eye balls from Wilton.
So many people stopped buy and asked about them.  They couldn't believe they were cake!

Tip:  I learned that its best to dip chilled cake pops into your melted candy melts instead of room temperature... they will fall of the stick from the heat of the candy melts. 

I think these things all started with this lovely lady... Bakerella
She also has a book with lots of adorable ideas!

What do you guys think of these cake pops?

 So adorable!  It's hard to eat some of them!

What other sweets on a stick have you seen?

 Brownies, cookies, don't forget candy/caramel apples!

What do you prefer cake, cupcakes, or cake pops?

 I am a cake fan.  Cupcakes are good, but as far as decorating, you can't decorate anything like you can a cake!