Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 38 :: (Sweet Tea and) Wheat Free!

Little background story:

A couple of weeks ago one of our family friends brought his new sweetheart to the house.  I thought it would be nice to have some special treats ready for them.  Well--no one was touching my mini chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes (seen below):

As I was about to force feed my new guest a cupcake she kindly tells me she is intolerant to gluten.  AH!  How mean is that?!  I put a whole plate of cupcakes in front of someone who can't touch them!  She comically referred to my cupcakes as "food porn" which was the best complement she could give without actually trying them.  Well--I felt pretty bad about this so for her next trip I wanted to have some gluten-free goodies ready.

Well I did have some treats ready and it was so nice to have them over again for round two.  Come to find out, Celeste is a bit of a foodie and has her own wonderful gluten-free blog, Sweet Tea and Wheat Free. What a great resource for those in the search of gluten-free!

The chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing are all gluten-free.  And in case it save you a phone call--all Betty Crocker sprinkles and decorations are gluten-free!  The tea-cup cupcake holders are one of my favorites and are available here.  Here is another shot:

The other recipe I made was a chocolate pound cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting (yummy)!  I had to serach but you some really yummy organic ingredients:

This recipe might you off at first--BUT, it was tasty and pretty good for you with a base of black beans and apple sauce!  Definitely a runner food.  The original chef has an online store, Gesine, when she sells her gluten-free baked goods.  Certianly worth checking out.

This is what the loaves looked like before frosting:

Happy Gluten-Free Baking!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 37 :: Polka-Dots in Pink!

This week I made a cake for a little girl's first birthday!  What a milestone that she won't remember ;o)

I made a small smash cake to match the larger two-tier square cake.  The smash cake and bottom layer were birthday cake flavor and the top tier was strawberry.

This is actually my first square layered cake.  I thought that the crumb coating would be easier but it was more of a challenge than I thought!

Here's a little tutorial on how to make the fondant bow:

1.  First, mix about 1/2lb. fondant with about 1/2 tsp. stabilizer (or you can use gumpaste).  Let sit for 30 minutes.  I used CMC's fondant stabilizer.

2.  Roll out the fondant and cut into strips.  Note :: I LOVE the multi-wheel cutter my mother got me for my birthday.  BUT--it's not perfectly calibrated (and that's pretty standard).  It's pretty close, but you have to pay close attention if you want this ribbons to be equal.

3.  Fold and pinch like so. Make loops of several different sizes (about 6 of each size).

4.  Set ribbons on their side on a paper towel for faster drying. The will be ready to assemble the bow in a few hours.

5.  When the pieces are fry to the touch, gently layer them to make a bow as desired.  secure together with piping gel and additional pieces of fondant when needed.  VOILA!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 36 :: Cowgirl Cake!

I made this cake and matching cupcakes for a cowgirl themed birthday party this week.  LOVE the finished product:

To make the brim stand up, I made supports our of cardboard, lined them with a paper towel, and left them in place until the cake dried completely and VOILA!  They stayed in place.

A couple tricks about carving shaped cakes:
  • Frozen cakes are easier to carve.  You can stack your cake layers (up to 3), filling the layers in between with buttercream icing and freeze a few hours up to 2 months.  Just make sure to cover and make air tight.  The high fat content of buttercream freezes well and keeps the cake moist.
  • If you make a small mistake cutting, don't worry.  Use extra buttercream to get the shape you want.  If it is a bigger mistake.  Mix extra cake crumbs with buttercream into a thick moldable paste and fill in the area to get the shape you need.  Dirty ice over the area with buttercream as usual.
  • If you make little cuts at a time, you most likely won't mess up.

This occasion also called for matching cupcakes, and here they are:

Happy Baking!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 35 :: American Apple Pie

So I'm a little off on my weeks and will catch up soon, but today required a special post.

Nashville Fire Department Station 10 set up a memorial with 343 flags in honor of the NY firefighters of 9/11.  The flags were meticulously placed, with a board honoring all who perished.  The Nashville firefighters were so kind and appreciative of people stopping, when we are the ones that need to show appreciation.

How do I show appreciation?  You guessed it--by baking.  In this case an apple pie.

Grandma Ople's Apple Pie
Prep time :: 30 minutes
Bake time :: 50 minutes- 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 7-8 apples of choice, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 unbaked 9" pie shells
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place one unbaked pie shell in baking dish.  Place apples in unbaked pie shell mounding slightly in the middle like so:

  3. Top apples with lattice-work crust.
  4. Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour and thicken.  Add sugars and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour mixture over pie slowly like so: 

    Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Lower  temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 45 minutes more.

    Happy Baking! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 34 :: Happy Birthday Betsy!

So I have a bit of catching up to do!  A two week trip to Europe has put me a bit behind, but more about that later...

This week was yet another important birthday!  Betsy was my very first friend when I moved to Nashville and drug me all over town meeting great new friends (including last week's Jill!).  Well, the crazy cougar turned 30 20 this year and celebrated on a pontoon boat!  She requested chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing and here they are.  The fondant decorations are beach balls, turtles, suns and flips flops.  If you try this, make SURE you have a big enough cooler and lots of ice!

Happy baking!