Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day Donuts





I bought this really cute mini donut pan from my friend Kim who sells Avon. Can you believe Avon sells baking stuff? AwesomeNESS! (If you want Avon ladies, I will give you her info) Anyways, our friends and their son are coming over for the game tonight and I thought I would test out the mini donut dish. So here are some pictures of the first batch I have made. These are just chocolate cake donuts. I used a mix I got from Christmas (don't worry it is still good). There are 3 diffferent types of chocolate cake donut: the first is simply rolled in powdered sugar, the second are just left plain, and the third one is dipped in a white powdered sugar frosting (I like to use this frosting for sugar cookies because it is light and coats easily)and I drizzled them with blue powdered sugar frosting, as it is opening day for the DODGERS! No orange in this household! Go BLUE!

For the powdered sugar recipe, all I use is powdered sugar, milk and vanilla (all pretty much to taste and consistency desired :) ). Oh and p.s. if you don't want the white powder to show through (like in the frosting donuts) just keep mixing the frosting until there are no visible sugar clumps. I just didn't take my time here :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cookies for Halle










For my friend Heidi’s baby shower, I thought I would make her favorite pregnancy treat, white chocolate & macadamia nut cookies for favors. For these cookies, I used both granulated sugar and brown sugar to sweeten these treats. I then chopped white chocolate chips to add more sweetness to the batter. Since macadamia nuts are so big, I crushed them down so that the cookie would have a softer texture.


For the decorations I just made simple flowers using an icing tip (I will add the number of the tip later) and royal icing, so the flowers would not get smashed easily.


The cookies came out a little flatter than I expected, but I almost feel like it was for a better cookie. They were very sweet and Heidi said she really enjoyed them, which meant Halle was one happy girl, and that is all that mattered right? :)

Diaper Cake














OK , so I know this blog is dedicated to my edible desserts but I had to post some pictures from the Diaper Cake I made for one of my best friend’s baby shower. This cake is made out of 100 baby diapers. Happy changing Heidi!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Max Brenner Is My Idol








Have you ever been to the Forum Shops in Las Vegas? If you go, you need to check out Max Brenner's Restaurant in the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops. OMG! He is a genius! A couple of weeks ago, we went to Vegas to celebrate my sister-in-law's 21st birthday. Since she was celebrating her 21st in Vegas, there was no need for a cake...just shots :)

Anyways, while were were there, Katia, Jay and I went to Max Brenner's for lunch. While Katia and Jay ate actual lunch, I snacked on a chocolatini made of peanut butter liqueur, chocolate, a coffee flavors (SO DELISH!) and chocolate eggrolls made of peanuts, chocolate ganache, and bananas rolled and fried in a spring roll wrapper. (I saw these egg rolls featured on the food network and on the show they were made with strawberries, which I think might have been better, since banana is quite overpowering, but really a chocolate eggroll? Who's going to fault Max Brenner for such creativity?)

This man is truly a genius. He creates the most abstract desserts and drinks, it is amazing! He has the restaurant that I strive to have one day! Hopefully, I can fulfill this dream sometime in my future!

Max Brenner created a dessert pizza. With this pizza he uses regular pizza dough, pre-cooked almost fully, and topped with a base mixture of dark chocolate and white chocolate chunks (which will melt down) topped with mini marshmallows. That goes into the oven for 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then is topped again with candied hazelnuts and drizzled with peanut butter! In his restaurant, he offers his guests a syringe of chocolate ganache for those chocoloate lovers out there.

There were no specific directions for creating this dessert but I took the information from the food network (Kid in a Candy Store) and created what I thought was this dessert pizza. I used a simple dough made of flour, salt, water and baking powder (next time I will use an actual recipe, as this was just blan if eaten alone) I used milk chocolate and peanut butter chips (instead of white chocolate, didn't have it), I used mini marshmallows and baked it until there was a nice browning of the marhsmallows. (Have you ever seen marshmallows cook in the oven? They get really big and fluffly as they get hot.) I candied the crushed hazelnuts in a brown sugar and water syrup and stuck them in the freezer for a quick shock. Once the pizza was out of the oven I sprinkled the hazelnuts on the top and took melted peanut butter and drizzled it all over.

Let me tell you this dessert makes for 6 generous slices. It is such a sweet dessert, even for me, that I gave 2 pieces to our neightbors who said they enjoyed this sweet treat. This dessert would be great for a dinner party!

Baby Girl Baptism Cake



After Jack's Birthday Party I was asked to create a cake for a baby girl's baptism. Actually, it was for 2 baby girls.

The order was for a butter cake with a lemon custard filling and butter cream frosting. The only specific requests given for the decorations were for 2 baby angels.

In order to create the angels, I melted down Airheads and molded the bodies. The pictures I captured are not great quality, but the babies both have what should appear to be pink diapers. For their eyes I used a toothpick and food dye for one, and small blue pieces of and Airhead for the other. The angel babies both have a nose and ears molded from Airheads, though the camera does not really show it. The two baby angels have thin wings made out of royal icing and are sitting on fluffly white clouds also made out of royal icing. It was important for these babies to not move, especially the wings, and also for the clouds to keep shape, so royal icing was the perfect choice. For those of you not familar with royal icing, this icing is quick drying and dries hard. It is important that you work quickly with this frosting if you don't want to end up with clogged frosting tips. Also, you should use parchment paper over wax paper to create your decorations on. You can save these decorations in an air tight container for quite sometime for future decorating purposes.

The cake is decorated with pink and purple plumeria flowers, also made out of royal icing. I think I went a little overboard with the flowers, but again, you live and learn right?

The cake is piped with buttercream frosting dyed with food coloring. The writing is also done with buttercream.

For the custard filling, I used a jello custard pudding mix, I really just followed the box instruction as I have never made a custard and really didn't want to screw that up. Though I have to note, if you put the custard in the refrigerator right after being heated on the stove it coagulates, which can pose as a problem when trying to spread it between layers of cake.

I hope they enjoyed this cake :)

Christmas Is The Time...



For treats!

For our friends and family I made some bite size red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese flower flake. I also made red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy canes (thank you Jannie for this delish idea). To accompany these sweets I made my famous S'more bites, classic milk chocolate and peanut butter cup.

I made the snowman cupcakes for every person in our family. The snowmen are made out of large marshmallows cute in halfs. A long toothpick holds them together and sticks into the cupcake itself. I "painted" the faces with dyed frosting and a toothpick. The hats are made of frosting and the cookie portion of an oreo. The hats don't exactly look like a top hat, so I will have to work on that. If you notice, there is a yellow frosting halo on the middle snowman to honor my son Shane. Christmas was such a hard time without him, but I know he is always with me.

Packers vs. Steelers


I am NO football fan, but since I like to bake, I figured I'd make some tasty treats! Luckily for me, all the girls at the football party we had weren't big fans either, and since 3 of the 5 are getting married in the near future, we spent the night looking at bridal magazines instead of watching football, hahaha.

These cookies are just your typical sugar cut-out's recipe with vanilla frosting.

Hamburgers and Cake?


My husband's favorite food is a hamburger, so for his 27th birthday (which was actually a year ago) I gave him a hamburger for dessert!

Don't worry, these hamburgers are not the savory kind; nope these are actually very sweet. In order to make the buns I used two "muffin tops" from two cupcake. I guess I could have used the bottoms too, but I though 2 tops looked better. The cupcake top was made out of a butter cake recipe. The frosting used to create the look of ketchup, lettuce, and the meat patty was a vanilla based frosting with food dye added. I saw this on the food network recently and they added raw sugar crystals to create the sesame seeds that are often on top of hamburger buns. I think I might use this idea the next time I decide to make these.

These desserts definitely made people laugh and they were a tasty way to celebrate Mike's 27th birthday!

Just a "Couple" of Birthdays




Both my soon-to-be sister-in-law and my brother-in-law celebrated their 30th birthdays within a month of each other.

For Katia's birthday, Jay invited us along with some of her good friends out for a Brazilian dinner at a place in L.A. called Bossa Nova. Because we were going to a restaurant I thought a simple cake would do just great, it is easy to transport and it's just a very classic way of celebrating a birthday.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the inside of the cake as was a two layer round cake but I didn't. Again, I used a chocolate chip batter but instead of a vanilla based frosting, I used a chocolate fudge with mini chocolate chips. I filled the space betweem the two layers of cake (though the cake may look small it was actually 2 layers)with this frosting and also used it to frost the outside of the entire cake. For the decorative design, I used a vanilla frosting and red and blue food coloring to add color. For my future blogs I will put up the number of the frosting tips I used.

When I finished the cake I really liked the blue frosting on the brown fudge. I think it adds a refreshing splash of color to the pink, white and brown.



THE FOOTBALL CAKE

My mom gave me the bunt cake pan in the shape of a stadium! It is so cute and SO perfect for my brother-in-law, who like my husband, is a HUGE football fan. The best thing about this cake is that it looks like it takes a really long time to make, but it is SO quick and easy!

For this cake I used a chocolate batter. The cooking time on this cake said to bake it way longer than it really should be. So instead of giving you a time for bunt cakes, I think you should just test periodically. For the field, I took green cardstock and drew a Raider's logo and 30 yardline marks (it was his 30th). I taped that down to the pan I was going to place the cake on. On top of the cardstock I used double stick tape to tape down plastic wrap to not only keep away any moisture from the marker ink on the paper, but to also create a glossy sheen to the field. Once the cake was cooled and removed from the pan I centered it over the "field". The frosting used was just a simple vanilla frosting dyed with red, green and blue food coloring. For the people I used a simple round frosting tip for the bodies and a smaller round frosting tip for the heads (again, in the future I will put the number of the frosting tips down). The stadium is piped with a small round frosting tip and the extra frosting was used to fillin the gaps where the cake met the serving dish. I made 4 Raider/personalized birthday flags with paper and toothpicks to put at each corner of the stadium.

Jay said he really liked this cake, however, I think it was our 10 year old cousin, Jeffrey and his buddies Trevor, Devner and Jackson who enjoyed it the most :)

*Another great thing about this cake is that it is easy to cut and serve. Because it is essentially a ring, it make it super easy to distribute. Not that many people really care about this aspect of cake, I just found it quite nice!

It's a Dirty 30...



Happy 30th Birthday to Arce. Arce is one of Mike's best friends and his wife Heidi is really like a sister to me. Both Arce and Heidi were our roommates in college. They started dating a couple of months before Mike and I did it was just pure AWESOMENESS because we went on double dates to the wax museum...hahaha ok maybe not funny to anyone who reads this, but it was a super great memory for me.

For Arce's dirty 30, we decided to surprise him with a dinner to his favorite place in the world, a place that holds so many college memories for all of us, you know who you are: Heidi, Arce, Mike, Casey, Robin, Folmer... DAVE n BUSTERS! It's like Chuck E Cheese minus the kids AND with a full bar! Woo hoo, but unfortunately we couldn't take him to the one in Milpitas, CA, (where we spent so many weekend nights) instead we surprised him at the one in Irvine.

In honor of Arce's BIG 3-0 I decided I had to make Arce cupcakes. Since I was creating a cupcake that would essentially look like Arce, my first place was straght to the drawing board, literally. I sat down at my dining table and sketched out a caricature of Arce's face. Once that was established I started to make the cupcakes. Heidi said, Arce's favorite flavor was chocolate chip so I made him a chocolate chip cupcake with a butter cream frosting. I used yellow and red food coloring to establish the flesh tone for the face of the cupcake. Once each cupcake was layered with the frosting I melted down milk chocolate chips and added them to the butter cream. The chocolate naturally dyed the frosting brown and I used that to create the hair and facial features.

The cupcakes were consumed after Arce had had a couple of drinks and after he Hardcore Parkour'd his ankle in the parking lot, but he did say they were tasty! Heidi said they were yummy and she was 6 month pregnant! Glad baby Halle liked them!

Check out the cupcakes and tell me if you can see a resemblance.

S'more Bites


These have probably been voted the BEST THING I HAVE EVER MADE! This is your classic camping treat transformed into a bite size delicacy. I can make them with your favorite chocolate candy, though the favorites are your simple milk chocolate and the peanut butter cup. I have made these for our annual FriendsGiving Dinner and have been asked so many times for the recipe. Hmmm should I really give out my secret to these super delicious treats? Let me think about it...

Happy Birthday Jack





Jack is very special to me. He is the son of two of our best friends, Jon and Laryn. Laryn and I joke that I have probably seen Jack at least once every week of his life so far, besides the week they vacationed to Minnesota :) Jack is like a nephew to me, infact I believe my name is aunt Dan hahaha. Since this little guy is so special to me, when Laryn decided his 1st birthday party theme would be beach and turtles, I decided I had to make a special cake for him. Laryn decided cupcakes would be the best, since it was a party for a 1 year old and many of his friends are 5 and under. I decided that a vanilla cake would be best, it's not too complex and it pretty much suites everyone's taste. For the frosting I used a simple white vanilla frosting and used blue food coloring to create the blue ocean. The tops of the cupcakes are coated with a light layer of blue frosting and for the sand I sprinkled crushed graham cracker crumbs. For each small cupcake I simply used green food coloring to dye the batter green and used a mini cupcake pan to create the shells. Once those were cooled, I quickly piped the turtles shells to add texture and placed them on top of each cupcake. Then I added the turtle's head, legs and tail to each shell. With a very fine frosting tip I added eyes to each turtle, to bring each one to life.

For the BIG cupcake, Laryn bought one of those giant cupcake molds from the store. I only used the base and I had to spray a good coat of non-stick spray to the pan to make sure it didn't stick when removing it from the pan. The instructions say to cook for 75 minutes but my advice to anyone using these big pans is to keep an eye on it and test it periodically while it is in the oven. The inside of the giant cupcake is what takes the longest. Though the cupcake will appear to be browning on the outside, the inside may still be very wet. Also, another word of advice, leave room for the cupcake to expand. I actually didn't realize how much it does expand and placed the cupcake on the center tray in the oven. The cupcake rose so much it hit the tray on top...yep had to start over.

The decorations for the big cupcake follow the same guidelines as the small ones, however, in order to create the big turtle shell I had to use a small ceramic round dish because the regular cupcake pans were too small in size for the giant cupcake. When baking the turtle shells, simply pour a small amount of batter on the bottom of the dish, enough to layer the bottom, and bake at 350 until the cake is cook throughout. I can't give you a time-frame, just test with a toothpick.

The cupcakes seemed to be a hit. From the looks of the kids when they got through eating them, I'd say they enjoyed eating their turtle cupcakes. So many of them had little blue frosting mustaches, SO CUTE! In fact, after this party, I was offered another baking job for a 4 month's old baptism. Pictures of that to follow...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK JACK!