Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Potpourri of Baking Projects

A Frosty-licious Cake Pop

As I'm sure most people are aware, I love to bake.  On top of that I REALLY love celebrating holidays.  So combine my love of baking with the biggest holiday of the year and you'll get a lot of photos.  For that I apologize.  For the people who get to eat the baking projects on the other hand, enjoy.

Every December, the church from my hometown holds a "Holiday Shop" to raise money for all sorts of charities and organizations.  This year I donated some time and effort in the form of cake pops.

I's ridiculous how many cake pops I made, but I absolutely LOVED the way they turned out.  Very cute, very festive and every part of them edible.  Seriously people, nothing is too cute to eat! 

The Frosty and Reindeer pops were inspired by Bakerella (shocking, I know!).  The Santa pops were my own creation, after some trial and error, I think they turned out pretty well.  Here's a closer look though, I'll let you decide... 

What I loved about these were how easy they ended up being after I just figured out what I was doing...granted that took a few tries.  The santa belt is made of melted chocolate covered with black sanding sugar and the belt buckle is fondant covered in gold luster dust.  I used a black edible ink marker for the belt detail and the buttons are black confetti sprinkles. Phew!  Happy Holidays, cake pop style.

I'm going in reverse for this blog entry, because my previous project was Turkey pops.  I actually made these last year for Thanksgiving, but couldn't think of a cuter idea this year, so here they are again! 

Ok, these are just the heads...creepy, right?  I love them.

Hand Modeling provided by my younger sister, Betsy

There she is!
If you're going to attempt Turkey Cake Pops, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands because these things are labor intensive.  I watched an entire movie while gluing on candy corn feathers.  Just a warning.  On the other hand, they're super cute and it's great watching my cousins' little ones chow down on them.

FINALLY!  One of the biggest projects I've ever taken on, if not the biggest.  Ok, definitely the biggest.  I made a wedding cake for one of my coworkers.  She wanted a unique cake, one that resembled a drum set.  She also wanted a St. Louis Cardinals themed sheet cake.  This was the type of project I had to head home to Jacksonville for.  There's no way my poor tiny little kitchen could have handled it.  Plus, I needed the expert help of my mom (professional piper of icing borders) and my sister Abby (expert holder of wedding cakes in cars) and my dad...who pretty much just let me yell and stomp my feet when things weren't going the way I wanted them to, then told me how awesome I was.  Everyone needs people like this. 

Anyway, here's a picture timeline of the whole process which involved the following:

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
White Cake with Champagne Buttercream Icing (yes, it's as good as it sounds)
White Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Cupcakes of an assorted variety and Vanilla Buttercream Icing

(When the going gets tough, the tough eat buttercream icing...holy yum)

A day in the life of a drum cake...

Ok, we're done here.  Next week will be photos of my cookie exchange / Eclipse party.  Yes, you read that right.  I know you're excited.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Tricks, Just Treats

Happy Belated Halloween!  I went a little crazy with my baking, but I love holidays and Halloween is one of my favorites. 

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Buttercream (And a Halloween Twist)

The first item on my agenda for Halloween week was of course, cupcakes.  I used a chocolate cake mix, added chocolate chunks and a little bit of cinnamon and baked the cupcakes.  Mixes are great and it's always fun to add a little more to it (especially if that more is chocolate).

I made the vanilla buttercream icing from scratch and used Wilton Brand orange food coloring to get it the color of orange I wanted.  I'm not gonna lie, it took a lot of food coloring to get a real orange.  The best part of cupcakes are always the sprinkles though...

(the decorating dots were from Crate & Barrel...their stuff is always adorable)

 Halloween Cake Balls & Pops

You can visit Bakerella for the nitty gritty on how to make cake pops.  Her step-by-step photos are ridiculously easy to follow and much better than I could ever do.  I will however, let you see my final products.

(My key decorating ingredients)

(The Balls)

(The pops)

The cake balls went to a Halloween Party that my friend Melissa threw. 

 As you can see, even Angels are tempted by these cake balls....

(Mini cupcakes for those unlucky enough to not get a cake ball)

(My friend Little Red Riding Hood...aka Angela and I at Melissa's party)
(The lovely hostess, Miss Melissa Tull with her little devil)
 The cake pops went home with me to Jacksonville where they fed a few little ones and their parents at my church.  And that's all folks!  I'm currently prepping for wedding cake fun, but I may have a few more sweet stuff coming your way. :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How 'Bout Them Apples?

As I mentioned previously, the star of this week's blog is apples.  And I STILL have more to get rid of, so if any of you have any fantastic apple recipes, please send them my way.  I had a pretty busy baking week, so this blog entry will be a bit longer than most.

First up....

Apple Spice Drops

You can find the recipe for these cookies here: apple spice drops.  I call these "Breakfast Cookies" because they taste almost like an apple coffee cake.  They are sooooo good.  I always throw in more apple pieces than the recipe calls for because I love how it tastes.  No one wants to get an apple cookie minus apple pieces.  These cookies most definitely make your kitchen smell like fall, so it's a great way to celebrate the season.

The next apple recipe I threw together this week was Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie.

Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie

 This recipe really is impossibly easy and on top of that, it comes out tasting like pure apple pie heaven.  You can find the recipe on the Betty Crocker website here.  I threw this together right after work and then took it over to my friend Melissa's house to bake while we watched some quality TV (I use the word "quality" loosely here, 90210 won't be winning any emmy's). 

This recipe consists of three basic steps:

1. The apples

(covered in cinnamon and nutmeg...oh the smells)

2.  Pouring the batter onto the prepared apple covered pie pan (so pretty)

3. Covering everything in a brown sugar & pecan streusel (yes it tastes as good as it sounds)

Melissa and I managed to eat a third of this pie right out of the oven.  It was that good.

Last, but certainly not least, I hosted a Beauty and the Beast DVD re-release party this past week.  Yes, I know I'm almost 27 years old, please don't judge.

I chose to make Champagne Truffles as my dessert because of the French setting in the movie. 

Champagne Truffles

These are a favorite of my friend Angela, so I knew at least one person would be excited about them.  You can find the recipe I used here.  Truffles sound fancy and difficult, but they're really easy to make once you've gotten the hang out of it.

This recipe requires very few ingredients:

(Champagne or Sparkling wine, butter, one egg, chocolate and whipping cream)

Getting the chocolate ready is my favorite part, there's nothing better than the smell of melting chocolate.

I make it look so easy!  Don't be discouraged if you burn a batch of chocolate, it happens...a lot.  Just make sure you have some extra on hand, just in case.

As a side note, I hate hate HATE opening up bottles of champagne.  I am Marshall in How I Met Your Mother.  I'm really scared of opening them, because I'm positive one of these days I'm going to hit myself or a friend in the face with a cork.  So I always go outside to open bottles, just in case I break something in my house (windows, glasses, faces, etc). 

And this is my neighbor's fence that the cork shot over when I opened the bottle, causing all the dogs in the neighborhood to go on a barking spree.  Graceful, I am not.

A lot of making truffles involves waiting.  Waiting for chocolate to thicken, waiting for it to hold its shape...just waiting.  But in the end it is so worth it.  I roll my truffles in powdered sugar rather than cocoa powder, it's just a personal preference.  And now some party favor photos :)

Apple Spice Drop Cookies in the CUTEST little cupcake holders from

Tea, in honor of Mrs. Potts and a candle for Lumiere.

Champagne Truffles: The finished product.

Ok, so that's it for this week!  Next week will probably be less eventful, I have no idea what I'm making yet, so we'll just call it a surprise.