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, iambaker.net.

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)
Optional:
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.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tree Trunk or Tree Stump Cake

Okay, so I love this cake... like L-O-V-E love it!
I was jumping up and down around the kitchen when I finished it, I was so happy with it.

My sister's wedding reception was held at a nature center. And she and her hubby love to do all kinds of nature-y things. So, when I was trying to think of a way to bring in the groom's favorite kind of cake (chocolate with raspberry filling), I thought of this, realizing that you could "carve" the ganache to look like bark, and it would not be all that hard to make.

What You Need:
Cake
   This was one 10"x2" round layer, two 9"x2" round layers and one 8"x3" round layer
Milk Chocolate Ganache:
 - 16 oz. heavy whipping cream
 - 32 oz. milk chocolate (I thought any darker of chocolate made the bark look too dark)
White Chocolate Ganache:
 - 4 oz. heavy whipping cream
 - 2 oz. white chocolate

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fruit Pizza {AKA The Best Summer Dessert for a Gathering}


I remember my Aunt Carrie making fruit pizzas for us when I was a kid. I loved them.
I took this one to a church gathering, and it was gone before any of the other desserts. Everyone loves fruit pizza!

What You Need:
For The Crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

For the Icing:
1- 8oz. block of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tsp. vanilla

Assorted sliced fresh fruit for toppings
Yield: 1 pizza (approx 12" round pizza pan or 8"x12" rectangular pan)

Note: You can go the super easy route, too, and use a store-bought refrigerated sugar cookie tube, and canned fruit, drained.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Baseball Cake

It's the end of the season for my boys' baseball team.
The All-Star Game is in town.
So, I made an easy baseball cake.

Simply cover the cake with white icing. (Click the link to see my tutorial: How to Frost a Cake Smooth.)
I use my Decorator's Butter Cream Icing Recipe. (Although, I did use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening instead of all shortening.)
I used the lip of the cake pan to make the marks on the cake for the laces so that I could keep the lines even and straight.

If you don't want to do a cake, I have lots of other ideas for you...




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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Easy Cookies and Cream Cupcake Recipe

My family so loved the Cookies and Cream Cake I made them a few weeks ago, that I had to make it in cupcake form. The hardest part about this recipe is probably the icing, and even that isn't terrible. You just need to be patient. (Something at which I do not excel!)

What You Need:
For the Cake:
1 Cake Mix* (White or Chocolate, whichever you prefer)
1-2 packages Oreo Cookies

For the Icing:
(This recipe is adapted from the Tasty Kitchen blog.)
5 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter (unsalted) - at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)

Yield: 20-24 cupcakes

*Note: You need the cake mix and the ingredients to make the batter. I always "doctor up" the cake batter, using milk and melted butter in the place of the water and oil. 
If you want to make the striped cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla, you will also need 1 oz. melted chocolate and 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Easy Cookies & Cream Cake {Recipe}

My boys - and my husband - went away to scout camp for the weekend... I wanted to surprise them with a treat when they got home.
But... as (un)luck would have it, I was also without a car for the weekend while one was in the shop. I needed to make something with what we had at home. And I didn't have the camera, either, so that meant I couldn't take many pictures of the process.

What You Need:
For the Cake:
1 Chocolate Cake Mix* or Chocolate Cake Recipe
1-2 packages Oreo Cookies

For the Icing:
(This recipe is adapted from the Tasty Kitchen blog.)
10 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup butter (unsalted) - at room temperature
1 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)

*Note: You need the cake mix and the ingredients to make the batter. I always "doctor up" the cake batter, using milk and melted butter in the place of the water and oil.