Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pan Goop - Copycat 'Cake Release'

This is the best, easiest, quickest, cheapest gift for the baker in your life.
It's called "pan goop." I found it on another baking blog when I ran out of my favorite, Wilton's Cake Release, and I needed something to grease my cake pans with.

This stuff is a-maz-ing! It works perfectly, and it's SO easy and cheap to make.

What You Need:
1 cup shortening
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix {Recipe}

My boys and I made these homemade hot cocoa gifts for their teachers this year. Just because I thought they needed it, I also threw in a mini bottle of schnapps to flavor their cocoa. They work with second graders all day. They deserve it!

What You Need:
1 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

* Note: You could use all of the original Hershey's unsweetened cocoa, and you may cut back about 1/2 cup of the sugar.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pumpkin Treat Roundup

Looking to 'spice up' the Thanksgiving table with something other than the traditional pumpkin pie?
Here's a collection of pumpkin-inspired recipes and ideas that you can make to impress your holiday guests.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Easy Halloween Eyeballs Cake

A super quick post to show you a super quick Halloween cake idea that's easy on the eyes... get it?!?

What You Need:
Round Cutters (or Icing tips)

Simply cut out the white and black fondant in various round sizes. Layer them, using vanilla to help them stick to one another.
Voila! Spooky Eyeball Cake.

For an Easy Fondant-Free Halloween Cake...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spy or Secret Agent Birthday Cake

My boys turned eight (eight?!) over the weekend. Their birthday party had a spy (or secret agent) theme.
I made this super simple magnifying glass cake for the party. All you need is white and black frosting, and two or three round icing tips. It couldn't be any easier!

What You Need:
Cookies & Cream Cake Recipe
  (I used the exact recipe as you will find on my link above. However, since the cake was a large 9x13, I doubled the cakes, and made 1 1/2 times the icing recipe.)
Black Decorating Icing
  (You could even purchase 2 or 3 tubes of black icing to make it more simple.)
Crushed Oreo or other cookies
Piping Bag and Icing Tips #3, 7 & 12

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecake Bars {Recipe}

I love cheesecake bars. I've made Strawberry-Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars, Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, Cranberry-Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars. And now, Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecake Bars

What You Need:
For the Crust & Topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled

For the Filling:
2- 8 oz. block cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Note: I think I would like to have more filling, but my husband and children insist this is enough. If I double it, and like it, I'll report back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rose-Covered Cake Tutorial

This cake is a new favorite. It's beautiful, and it's not hard to do. BUT... it does take a ton of icing.
I first saw a cake like this on the blog of another Minnesota baker,

What You Need:
Cake ;-) (I used 2 layers of 6" round cake.)
   - How to Make Cake Mix Taste Homemade
6 cups (or more) Buttercream Icing
  - Recipe for Decorator's Buttercream Icing
Piping Bag and Tip #1M

Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple, Special Cakes

Click this link to see the video on the Fox9 Website.

I visited my friends at Fox 9 this morning to do some fun, simple decorating... and to promote some of my upcoming classes.
Below you will find the links to register for the classes and for the techniques I showed and talked about on the show.

Simple, Special Cakes Classes
(Click each link to register for that class)
Monday, Sept. 29 6-9pm Roseville Area High School
Tuesday, Sept. 30 6-9pm Henry Sibley High School (West St. Paul)
Saturday, Oct. 4 9:30-11:30am Northfield Middle School
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6:30-8:30pm North Dale Rec. Center (St. Paul)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Icing {Recipe}

My boys harvested a truckload of carrots from our garden over the weekend. They immediately began planning for their "three-story" Carrot Cake. We compromised and made these cupcakes, instead.

What You Need:
For the Cake:
2 cups peeled, grated carrots (about 4-6 carrots)
3/4 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (granulated) sugar
3 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

For The Icing:
1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Yield: 24-30 cupcakes

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quilled Flowers for a Simple Wedding Cake

My baby sister is 12 years younger than me... and somehow they allowed her to get married!

She isn't the world's biggest fan of cake. So, she wanted a s'mores bar at her wedding reception... which she had. But my mom really wanted the traditional cutting-the-cake pictures. So, I agreed to make her a wedding cake.

I generally don't do wedding cakes, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they're a LOT of work. And for this one, I was working out of my other sister's kitchen, which is really fine in size and amenities, it's just not mine!
(Please forgive some of the photo quality. Not working in my own kitchen presented some lighting challenges, so some photos are a little - uck!)

The Quilled Sunflowers are made of gum paste, and were designed to match my sister's invitations (above), which she made of quilled paper herself.

What You Need:
For the quilled flowers and ribbons:
Gum paste (16 oz. pouch of Wilton brand is what I used and had plenty left over.)
Fondant ribbon cutter (or a pizza or pastry cutter)
Ruler or measuring tape
Clear vanilla or vodka
Food-safe paintbrush
Food coloring

For the cakes:
Two 10" x 2" round cake layers
Two 8" x 2" round cake layers
Two 6" x 2" round cake layers
Triple batch of my Rich Vanilla Icing
Food-safe dowel rods
Cardboard cake circles (one each 10", 8" & 6")

*Note: I used cake mix as a base for these cakes because I was away from home, and needed to simplify things as much as possible. Click the link to see how I Make Cake Mix Taste Homemade.