Pink Cake

My daughter turned 12 this month.  She ordered her very favorite strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream.  If you haven’t been around here before, you may not know how pink this cake really is.  It’s definitely a girly cake.  This year she wanted to have a layer of strawberry cake with a layer of chocolate cake.  She asked for the filling to be chocolate and the strawberry buttercream for the whole cake.  She also asked to put colorful flowers on it.

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Funny thing about her cake…she never ate one bite of it.  Still at 12 years old, she requested (and expected) her star cake that I have made her since she was 2…

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I guess she didn’t want to share since it’s a 4 inch cake.  Or maybe she was feeling a little sentimental and decided to help me out with this how getting older thing and agree to eat her cake that I will willingly make her until I can no longer bake.

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Fall Baking Fun

On Thanksgiving, we had a little dessert party with our neighbors.  It was full of Fall treats and so much fun.  Our treats included apple pie…

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and pecan pie…

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and pumpkin pies…

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Shoo Fly Cake…

IMG_0004some pear crisp…

IMG_0019a pumpkin bundt cake with streusel filling and dark chocolate ganache…

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and some spice cupcakes with maple buttercream…

IMG_0014and just keepin’ it real around here…my kitchen during baking…

IMG_0005I didn’t show you the floor for a reason ;-)!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Halloweeny Cupcakes

I made some Halloweeny cupcakes for my daughter’s fourth grade class.  I have been teaching a weekly class and tomorrow happens to be my last day.  I thought the kids have been so great that they deserved a little treat from me.  I made mini cuppies so the teacher wouldn’t have to deal with the sugar rush!
Since there is a student with a gluten sensitivity, I went with a chocolate gluten-free recipe and topped them with vanilla bean buttercream…

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I dipped them into some sanding sugar and Halloween sprinkles to make them a little more festive.

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But I really liked the mini cupcake holders I found at Michael’s…

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They were so cute I couldn’t resist.  Happy Halloween!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fall is my very favorite time of the year.  I love everything about Fall.  The cooler weather, the beautiful colors, the yummy baking.  All of it.  So when the PTSO asked me to donate cupcakes for the teachers to have a treat during the parent/teacher conferences last week, I couldn’t resist.  I was so excited to try out a new recipe…Caramel Apple Cupcakes.  Oh my goodness, they were divine!

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I shredded Granny Smith apples into the batter so that there would be apples in every bite with the caramel topping.  I added some chopped nut to the top to have the authentic taste of an actual caramel apple.  I’m sure that you could be creative with toppings.

I also made a spice cupcake with maple buttercream.  The flavors scream Fall.  I didn’t take a picture because I was so excited that the caramel apple cupcakes turned out so well.  I also added a traditional vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and a chocolate chocolate chip cupcake with chocolate buttercream.  Again, while they were delicious, I just didn’t photograph them for the blog.  I’ll do better next time!

But, with keeping things real around here, this is what my kitchen looked like on the morning of all this baking…

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Fourth of July

We are settled here in Utah now.  Not sure what we are doing about the business at this point but I’ll keep you posted.  It’s similar to living in Colorado to this point.  We are a little lower in elevation but still have to make the adjustments so things don’t bake out of the oven or crisp on the bottom.

One sign that I am settled is that I can bake and want to bake.  It just so happens that worked out to be the same time as celebrating America.  So thanks to ideas on Pinterest. I decided to use my own vanilla cake recipe to make a fun and festive cake for the fourth.

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I decided on vanilla because it’s light and it’s so darn hot around here.  Plus everyone loves it.  So I added blue coloring to 1/3 of the vanilla batter and red coloring to another 1/3 of the batter.  I put them into 8 inch pans and baked them up.  After the cakes cooled and I leveled them, I used a 4 inch circle cookie cutter and cut the centers of each cake.  So I had small circle of each color, red, white and blue and a large outer circle of each color, red, white, and blue.  Are you following me?  I should add here that I double my vanilla cake recipe to have enough cake.

Then I place the red center in the blue ring and put it on the cake board.  After a layer of vanilla buttercream, I added the next layer of the blue center with white ring and covered it with vanilla buttercream.  I add the last layer of white center and red ring to the top and covered the cake with vanilla buttercream.  I used the star tip (tip 18) to place 2 rows of white stars followed by 1 row of blue stars (tip 21) all the way to the top.  I used a star-shaped cookie cutter (4 inches) to make an outline for me to follow and did the outline in blue and filled it in with red tinted buttercream stars (tip 18).

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My critics (the kids and husband) were all about it.  They loved the way it looked and the taste, of course.  I knew they would love the taste.  I like how it turned out.  We had way too much cake leftover the just the 5 of us but it was festive and just what I need to relax after all the unpacking!

Commissioning

The commissioning ceremonies at USAFA took place on May 28.  For those of you who are not military, this is when the seniors (or firsties) are commissioned from cadets into the air force becoming 2nd lieutenants.  It’s a big deal.

I was asked by two different cadet squadrons to make goodies for their ceremonies.  First I will show you the order for cadet squadron 10.  They ordered 2 half-sheet cakes.  Each cake had two flavors and specific decorations.

First cake was half strawberry and half vanilla with vanilla buttercream.  I was asked to put the AF patch and the squadron’s Tiger Ten patch on the cake.  I think they turned out pretty well…

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The second cake was half chocolate and half red velvet with cream cheese buttercream.  They wanted it to be a red, white, and blue cake congratulating the new “Lts”.

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They were fun to make.  Congrats Tiger Ten Class of 2013!

Next up, the order for Squadron 6.  This is the squadron my husband was the AOC (Air Officer Commanding).  They ordered 300 cupcakes in 3 different flavors.  So I made 9 dozen chocolate with chocolate buttercream, 8 dozen red velvet with cream cheese buttercream, and 8 dozen vanilla with vanilla buttercream.  I didn’t get a picture.  And, quite honestly, if I don’t see a cupcake for a little while I’ll be able to live with it.  But it’s nice to know that I can make that many cupcakes.

They also wanted to have a cake just for the seniors being commissioned.  I was asked to make it vanilla with vanilla and look good.  So I tried.  I made one 10 inch square layer and one 6 inch square layer.  I torted each layer and filled them with vanilla buttercream.  I covered the cakes with vanilla buttercream.  I used silver tint for the 2013 and red to congratulate the class and then used red, black, and silver to design a Bull for the top.
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IMG_0005Congratulations Ragin’ Bulls class of 2013! We are proud of you and look forward to seeing you again in your AF career.

Lily Wedding

My nephew got married over Mother’s Day weekend.  I was asked to make the cake.  I was so excited to be part of their special day!  My new niece was very specific about flavors.  She wanted the base to be chocolate mint with chocolate mint filling, the middle layer to be strawberry with strawberry filling, and the top to be vanilla with chocolate filling.  The whole thing needed to be covered with white icing.  I used Italian meringue.

My crafty new niece made the topper.  And asked for bling on the cake.  And lilies too!  I sent lily petals and leaves to PA hoping they would make it.  I ended up with enough to make 9 full lilies!  I was happy.

The disaster that happens with wedding cakes happened when I pulled the first layer of the base out of the oven and had it cooled.  I flipped it over to a board and walked it to another area to finish cooling when I caught the edge of the door frame and sent the cake flying to the floor.  It was early enough in the day to replace the layer with a freshly baked cake but wow what a start!

No worries though.  It turned out great.  I iced the cake smooth and applied the ribbon and let them set for the wedding.  When we arrived at the church, I stacked the cakes and finished the design.  Then I inserted the lilies and topper.

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I was pleased with it and so were the bride and groom!  Congratulations Joey and Jenny.  I wish you the best!

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