Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 16 :: Happy Birthday (NAS)DAD!

This past week the family went to NYC because Dad was asked to ring the opening bell for NASDAQ.  It was a super short trip but it was really great to get to share that with him.  Here is a pic of him doing his thing, being awesome...

Well just a few days later was his birthday, so what better way to celebrate than a NASDAQ (or NASDAD--thanks Anna!) cake.  I used the Guinness cake recipe with a Bailey's Irish Buttercream frosting because those are his favorite; however, he refuses to cut the cake so I guess he'll never know!

Happy Birthday Dad from your biggest fan!

P.S.--I did take what few free hours I had in NYC to hike it over to Hoboken, NJ to visit Carlo's Bakery from the Cake dice!!  There was a 4-5 hour line just to get in!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 15 :: Peeps cookies

I got this idea from the amazing SweetSugarBelle.  Her blog is incredible, with innumerable tutorials on how to make some pretty incredible cookies in just a few steps.  You can find the tutorial for the Peeps cookies here.

I love holiday baking so this is the first of many Easter creations this month including new recipes for "Bunny Bread" and Carrot Cake.  

Happy baking!

Week 14 :: Engagement Cupcakes

Congratulations to my friends Andres and Melissa on their engagement!  To celebrate, the girls went out to Arrington Vineyards just south of Nashville.  The weather was perfect and the view was incredible, if you're in the area I highly suggest a visit!  

These are chocolate cupcakes with chocolate and strawberry frosting.  The decorations I made out of fondant 24 hours before and let dry.  Here's a close up of the love birds!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 13 :: Topsy Turvy Cake

When I started out this year I never thought I was going to love cakes this much!  But the hours of hard work and (many) failures are worth it when you make a finished product that is JUST what you wanted!  I love a challenge--so when a friend had a special request birthday cake, I got to work and created this chocolate-flavored-black-and-pink-hip-hop-and-music-themed-sweet-16-cake!  (More pics at bottom of post)

The whole process starts days before...3 days before the event I baked the cakes and froze them....THIS IS SO HELPFUL!  I baked three of each tier....chocolate, strawberry, then chocolate again!  When you freeze them you can just brush off the crumbs, fill them, and dirty ice (crumb coat) them and they are ready to go!  Here's a peak inside my freezer....

Don't stack them as they will flatten out and freeze.  The next day of so when you are ready to decorate, take them out, trim them as you please and crumb coat.  If you are making a topsy turvy cake, you just stack the first two layers normally, and then cut the third layer of each tier at a diagonal BEFORE you cut a hole in the middle.  Use the second tier's cake board as a template to cut out the hole.  This way the second tier sits flat, and reduces the risk for catastrophe (sinking, shifting, etc.)...if you want to know is a great video of how to make a topsy turvy cake.

If you need extra tips refer to Week 9 :: Christy's Cake.  This week I used all recipes I have used before, except a from-scratch strawberry cake recipe is below:

Strawberry Cake
All recipes

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour (2) 9" cake pans.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar, and gelatin.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  
  3. Combine flour and baking powder and add to butter mixture alternating with milk.
  4. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree.  
  5. Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.