Monday, July 26, 2010

Lemony Yumminess!!

Another yummy taste test cupcake.

This one was a White Cake from scratch. It seems a good deal of scratch recipes taste like pancake mix to me. So I am learning some tricks. Actually sifting the flour (as the directions suggest) can make a difference because there is less flour - flavor change. Also I have been taking 1/3 of the flour and replacing it with Cake Flour.

I have quoted WiseGeek in explaining the advantage of Cake Flour, "When baking a cake, most cooks aim to create a light, fluffy cake with a tender crumb. This requires a flour with a low protein content, as protein promotes the production of gluten, which can make baked goods more tough. It also means that the flour must be very finely milled, to keep baked goods from getting heavy. Finally, a flour which is starchy and able to hold large amounts of fat and sugar without collapsing is required".

Replacing some of the All Purpose Flour (even after the sifting) with Cake Flour has helped to take away the pancake flavor many of the scratch cake recipes give me.

Now after baking the perfect White Cake Cupcake I then hollowed out the center. Filled the center with a Lemon Curd - here is the recipe for the Lemon Curd recipe (gotta love Alton Brown) - and then topped the whole thing off with a Lemon Butter cream icing.

Ben took a bite of this cupcake and said, "That is what I want to take to school for my birthday." A new family favorite was born.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Copying Is Fantastically Fun

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it when someone gives me something and says "Can you do this?" Sure there is a lot to be said for just CREATING whatever I want, but when I am doing it for another group of people it is much less anxiety ridden when I can just bang out what they want. And Copying something is my total specialty. This cake was one of Those.

This summer the kids were in a play at the local community theatre. Fantastic Mr. Fox. This is the billboard poster. So so simple. So so easy to copy.

First I copied it in making Thank You cards from the cast to the crew/staff of the show. A tad time consuming cutting out all those trees, but easily done. In fact, doing the cards made my brain very familiar with the curves and design of the plays poster so it made the next task much easier...

Creating the cake that we took to the Cast and Crew Picnic. Mr. Fox was most easy of all the cake. Honestly he was also the most fun.

The only real challenge to this cake was that one of the younger actors had serious allergies. Nut allergies for certain, but there may have been other ones mixed in there too. Dairy and Wheat were not though. So the father asked me to be very careful in how I made the cake. I decided to look for a new chocolate scratch recipe. Give me an excuse to look for new things and I will these days.

I threw a lot of cake away that week. Too picky you think? I also sprayed down my entire kitchen with a mixture of bleach and water.......just to be safe.

Everyone enjoyed the cake tremendously. Yea!!! My favorite part of the whole thing though - overhearing Ben brag to those who stopped near the cake not knowing that I made it - he went on about how talented I am - made me swell up that I made him so proud!! Another really cool thing......everyone with a phone took a picture!! Never saw that happen with one of my cakes before.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

SWING! Butter Butter Butter

Nothing better then baseball season. Right? Well for the past two years at the end of baseball season I get the chance to make a baseball cake. No one cares what I do as long as it is Basebally (is that a word?).

Last year I did a cake with a raised baseball on it. This year I thought perhaps we needed a bat........then as I began doing the bat I realized - Bats Are Harder Then Balls. Primarily it is the scale that is a challenge. Bats get very tapered at the base - balls are just round. Round is easy. Baseball bats done correctly are not round or stumpy. The last thing I wanted was to create a stumpy bat that might look so phallic it would end up on Cake Wrecks (funny to look at - but I am sure traumatic to be featured on).

See........easy and round.........topped simply with a Vanilla Butter cream..........just about finished. Gotta love Baseballs.

Baseball bat.......well at least it doesn't look like a penis right? But crumbly and messy with that first crumb coat - yeah yeah....that is why they call it a crumb coat. Thanks.

Next step.....the real pretty icing. This year the team was a very dark Forest Green. Plop on top and easily spread across the cake

Then, as normal, I kinda got into the decorating part and forgot to take pictures. Sorry.
Basically - iced the cake - placed the Bat on first - then positioned the Ball - piped on the stitching for the ball - did the lettering and edged the cake.

Way to Go Big Green!!!

The cake was the traditional crowd pleasing flavors - Chocolate on one half and Yellow on the other half. All Vanilla Butter creaming icing. The kids and parents LOVED it!!