Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
WOW! We reached 10 in less then 2 days!! That was quicker then I would have imagined! Incentive is everything.......as a former counselor and current mother of 3 I know this, but it is one of those things that when applied to ones own situation you totally forget it.
Now........at this exact moment I am sitting on a beautiful porch on the edge of a moutain - at a very nice wood table - listening to turkey and birds and the wind whoosh through the trees and watching the sunrise over a mountain in TN - in the quiet waiting for my family to wake up. While the cabin we are staying in has a great kitchen - none of my tools are here and I have a date to spend the week doing things like ziplining and driving treacherous roads (that make my heart pound) up a mountain to the top peak to then hike back down with my family.
On Monday I will be back to baking for an If You Give A Cake A Cookie cake for my sons teacher to gift the student teacher because she has just scored a job in this horribly under budgeted teacher atmosphere our schools find themselves in. So her accomplishments are being celebrated!! I will bake cookies then and mail them on directly after. They will be in shapes of Stars as Pennie suggested.
I need addresses though. So you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Promise not to share them with anyone......and if you live near to me then I will simply deliver them.
Now - I would love feedback on the cookies as until 2 weeks ago I have never really baked shortbread cookies. Although the people who have received them sought me out to say "more please" - so they must be worthy. And what are suggestions for more fun things like this?
Oh.......and the cookie pictured here is not my creation - but it is really cute right?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
OHMYGOODNESS - we are up to FIVE Followers. Yeah, I know the Evil Voice in my head is saying - Come on Patti 5 is kinda Lame isn't it? I mean other cake blogs have THOUSANDS - Geez O Bakerella has HUNDREDS of thousands!! You have 5.....and no matter how cool those 5 followers may be - 4 of them are directly related to you in some fashion. So don't get all geek'd out excited.
Maybe that is True I tell the Evil Voice in my head - but I have FIVE people who are remotely interested in actually seeing what I put up.........enough that they have clicked a button to follow it!! And that is the Beginning of the Positive End you Evil Voice in my head. I mean today 5 - four months from now maybe 7 - and then so on and so on and so on. Shoot - Mrs. Burns just pointed out that I have a typo on my Ipsy Bipsy Cake Shop card. Maybe once that is corrected (takes a teacher to notice a spelling error right? Because my IT husband who was hired to do the spell checking - he get free muffins (pun intended) - wasn't able to see it)the Cake Blog World Will Be Mine!!!
Now imagine my excitement when the Blog Reaches 10!! Shoot at 10 followers I think I will ask for EVERYONES address and send them cookies. Let's plan for that - what kind of cookie cutter shall we make the cookies in? What is a sign of success? Shamrock is luck......I cataloged my cookie cutters (yes I am a dork - I told you all this a million blogs ago) and it seems I have almost 200 cookie cutters - this is counting the tiny ones. So give me some suggestions of what shape these cookies should be in as a sign of reaching a goal.
Speaking of Goals........I have made enough profit off of cakes for friends that I bought my son a new mattress!! Okay I have bought other things too - like the payment of bills, but that is not nearly as exciting as a mattress right? Oh, it is? A mattress is kinda lame too? Hush Evil Voice - no one invited you here. Well I have also purchased a bunch of new bakery tools too. I could list them, but it would bore most of you to unfollow me - and that is working against the goal. Since we are Goal Oriented here let's not do that.
So in conclusion (because that sounds smart)......10 Followers and then Cookies.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Now best laid plans are sometimes better then the actual happening. Stephanie contacted our favorite student teacher - Ms. Brown - who ALL the boys have a crush on (although Ben would deny this.........his friend, Malik, called him out on it by saying, "Dude you know you crush on her because we all think she is hot" - I even think she is very cute so he was totally fibbing). Anyway - Stephanie contacted Ms. Brown who helped her send out notes to the class asking for donations for a gift. Then I made a cake.......since we were buying her a gift card to a scrapping store I thought a cute Scrapbook Replica cake. Had it all planned out to the gumpaste scissors.
Then Ms. Brown let us know that while we could still do the party........it would also be the day they do the Multiplication Ice Cream party. You earn a scoop and/or topping for every times table you complete. Ben earned both scoops and 6 toppings with whipped cream - yea Ben!! Which seems weird since they did 0 - 12........where are the other toppings? So anyway - now we were doing the Birthday at the same time as the Ice Cream - as a parent we did the responsible thing and downsized the cake to a "Take Home Gift". Cake AND Ice Cream might be a party tradition, but it makes for a giant mess in the class and we didn't want to take away from the experience of what toppings they earned.
Idea born. Cake Baked (I know Mrs. Burns a chocolate fan). Cookies Baked (I didn't know she was a shortbread cookie fan - bonus!). Cake Decorated!
Turned out pretty cute. A little icing flare at the bottom and the cake only took a few more minutes to decorate. Love the cookie thing. Ben came in as I was finishing and said in an unbelieving and thinking I had lost my mind voice (you know how kids do that?)...."Why would you put cookies on a cake?"....I said, "To decorate it and tell Mrs. Burns how lucky we are to have her teaching you." Ben thought for a minute and then said, "So she gets cake AND COOKIES TOO? She is the lucky one." followed by, "Are there any cookies left?"
Friday, March 18, 2011
Anyway - cookies are something new for me. I guess making and baking cookie cutter cookies would seem to be a Gimme since I am decorating cakes, but in my sometimes addled head it seemed as though decorating cookies would be tedious. Honestly........all those sprinkles and jimmies are what I am avoiding.
Then people started to ask - Can You Do Decorated Cookies? And I found myself saying - Sure.........and buying cool cookie cutters and googling Royal Iced Cookies. Although I do already have a TON of cookies cutters! At least 200 - I know this because I cataloged them to make sure that I didn't buy anymore doubles in the same size.
To mess around and for a cake I thought I would make 3 sugar cookie style recipes. 1 Traditional Sugar Cookie - 1 Shortbread Cookie and 1 Cinnamon Cookie (I just added cinnamon - not brain surgery in my kitchen). Then made a bunch of shamrocks!! Tah Dah!!
Monday, March 14, 2011
Tim is one of my favorite people - he is part of one of my favorite families too! and husband to one of my favorite friends. When Catherine asked me to make him a cake she said "simple". I am totally good with simple, but Catherine keeps sending me her friends and they have me do creative things.........so I wanted to do Creative for Catherine too. I asked her if there wasn't something that he enjoys (if you know them you know that they are huge WV fans..........so I kinda figured she might say something in that line) - Catherine said no, not really.
Through the year Tim has been subbing for one of our gym teachers. I see him all the time at school in his "Coach" uniform with a whistle hanging around his neck. That is how I have been thinking about him in my head......as Coach Tim........I asked if I could deco the cake with a coach whistle and Catherine said that would be fun.
I didn't realize how "not so easy" making a whistle would be. And my in-experience with modeling things did not lend itself to being over successful the first few tries with modeling a whistle. Eventually, however, I was able to figure it out. I let it dry for a few days and then I painted it with Silver Luster dust and let it dry again - then attached the pieces together - let it dry again for another day. The one thing I am learning is that anything fondant modeling based I should start about 5 days ahead of time. I am also learning that fondant takes longer to dry then gumpaste. At this point though I wasn't quite ready to admit that gumpaste was a bit easier to use.
Day of the birthday I baked the cake. Catherine said simple and chocolate - so simple and chocolate is what I did. A basic cake with a basic icing and a kinda fun little swirl and a trim that looked a bit like a fancy rope.
Next I topped it with the whistle and a thin line of fondant for a rope. Now this is one way that using gumpaste might have been smarter. The fondant thread I created kept breaking when I would attempt to move it up onto the cake. Gumpaste is a bit hardier and could have been moved easier. Live and learn right?
End of cake deco though..........and tah dah...........a Coach Tim cake!! Cute and simple. Now Catherine tells the story that when they presented it Tim really enjoyed it. He was planning in his head to save it and take it to work to show people.......only before he could say what his plan was his daughter (my favorite friend of Andersen's - see how their family is full of favs?) plucked the whistle off the cake and bit it in half. Whoops.
This cake was Chocolate Chocolate Chip with a Chocolate Buttercream icing.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!
How old would Dr. Seuss be today? Well he was born March 2, 1904 (do the math and you will see 107 he would be).......same year as the St. Louis World's Fair where hot dogs and ice cream cones were born!! Can you tell I am from St. Louis? Course Dr. Seuss wasn't - he was born in Springfield, Massachusetts (where my favorite friend Noel lives). I wonder if they treat Seuss's birthday around that area like they do Abraham Lincoln around here in central Illinois?
A few years back I read a little about him in a bio. He remembered back that as a child his mom would soothe them by sing songing chants about things. That made me feel good because I do that with my kids - maybe they will grow up inspired by my sing song rhyming chants.........."If you don't pick up your shoes you will soon be singing the blues"....."Eat the greens on the plate or you will never go on a date - you'll stay home with us and miss the bus that includes doing anything away from us"......"I've said it once, I've said it twice, Make is say it again and you'll pay a price"........think those will make my kids brilliant children's book writers?
Well Ben did just win the Young Authors award - so there is hope right?
Anyway.......these were fun to make and they will be fun to take to school. I googled Cat In The Hat cupcakes and found this idea. The kids will get a big kick out of them because besides being served yummy icing - they will also get some cotton candy (because we all know that a cupcake is a cupcake after all - the real treat is the icing - cupcake is simply a catalyst to carry icing for kids).
Now - if you are going to copy this cupcake - KNOW THE FOLLOWING - Do Not create the entire cupcake and then wrap the box to keep the moisture of the cupcake in. Okay - go ahead - flick me in the forehead - but YES I DID THIS. Within 2 hours my Thing 1's and 2's hair were totally flat. Sigh.
You Live You Learn You Take Your Turn Doing Things Once and Sometimes Twice - Just Be Sure To Tah Dah at the Finish With Something Nice.
Tah Dah - these cupcakes were something new. Applesauce (oh my goodness YUM! - tastes kinda like apple crisp a bit.) There is a Cream Cheese Marshmallow filling and a Vanilla buttercream icing. VERY Yum!! My neighbor came by and I fed her my sample - she said "YUMMO!!" I ate the filling hole scraps and agreed!