Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recap of the Past Few Months

So to say I have been busy is an understatement. I have been on a roller coaster the past few months. I started a new job which was a blessing but also a burden since I am also going to school for my master's full time as well. I was hired to teach a 4/5 combo class and learning two new grade levels and how to teach two at the same time has been crazy! Since it is technically my first year as a contracted teacher I also had to start my induction program to clear my credential as well, so that meant playing catch up on two months worth of work and meetings with my BTSA advisor. Plus the regular eating, sleeping, bathing, and maintaining the house, still needed to be done, so that left no time for baking at all. :( I did manage to complete a few goodies for the holidays and was still making time for my fondant class so the following are the pictures of the projects from that. Hopefully in this new coming year, I will find a balance with my crazy schedule and have more time for baking.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting for Thanksgiving.

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting for Halloween.

I also make fondant cutouts of punpkins and candy corn as a decoration.

The first cake we made in fondant class. Here we learned a quilting technique and rolled roses. I also learned how to use my bead maker for the border.

For the last cake for fondant class, we learned how to stack a cake and made a pretty cherry blossom design.

A close up of the cherry blossoms. This was a really fun cake to make.
So hopefully you will be seeing more from me in this new year, if not my apologies are given in advanced. Happy 2011!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

God Bless, Lucas

I can't believe I have not had a chance to post this cake until now, almost a week later. You know before when I said I was always busy? Well this week took the cake, haha, get it? Ok I know I am lame in these late hours, but man this week was incredibly crazy!! My life has completely changed. I don't know if I mentioned this before (my mind is also failing me these days) but a couple of weeks ago I had two job interviews for teaching, and a library job offer in one day! The library one was part time and interfered with my cake classes so I emailed back but never heard from the company, oh well. The two job interviews went well, I thought my Val Verde one was a sure shot. The Bassett one was good too, but the interviewee that was after me had so much experience so I thought for sure he was going to get the job. Anyway, after a few days, no calls. I thought that it was ok, I would just continue doing what I was anyway. Then on Tuesday Bassett called and offered me the 4/5 combo class. I was pretty nervous and shocked. But I accepted. So since then my week has been a whirlwind of wrapping up my time at VV and beginning at my new school. Oh and I started my fondant class too this week, more on that later.

Anyway, (that was a long story, sorry) back to Lucas. My friend Jennifer from the Cook's Club, had her baby son, Lucas, baptized on Sunday. She wanted a half chocolate and half white cake with fresh strawberry filling and a swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I also decided to cover it in fondant to make it easier to apply the ribbon she requested. It was a 14" cake, but I made the layers pretty thick so rolling out the fondant was a workout that left me not needing to go to the gym for about a week! The fondant had to be rolled out to 25"! So tiring and with the weather being so wet and rainy, my fondant was not a friend that day. But I did it and was able to deliver all 50 lbs. of that cake in time. Here is the final result. She also wanted the design to replicate the invite for the baptism, so I enlarged an image of it and traced it out in black fondant. I liked how the rosary looked, just like the invitation. I was really glad to be able to do this cake. Especially since I now need to take a baking break until after the holidays since I am both working and going to school full time now. Plus learning two new curriculums, a new school, and district. Thanks to Jennifer and her family for allowing me to take part in Lucas' special day.

God Bless Lucas.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Julio!

This weekend was Javier's and my friend, Julio's birthday. Julio is a DJ and Javier posed the idea of making a DJ themed cake for his birthday party. I did a little research online, but did not like what I saw so I came up with this design on my own.

The base is a 1/2 sheet vanilla cake and the top two rounds are chocolate. I covered it all in vanilla buttercream frosting because it really holds food coloring well. The details such as the record tops, dials, and volume control, are all fondant with piped writing. I baked the cakes on Friday and decorated on Saturday. Julio was stoked with his cake and everyone was impressed. I was pretty proud of this cake.

Julio DJ's regularly at Cherch Lounge, Fullerton, CA on Wednesday nights, and Downey Billiards on Thursday night. He also does weddings and other special events, so contact me if you need a good DJ!

Happy Birthday DJ Habitat!

The cake in progress.

Javier's Photo Shoot.

DJ Habitat with his cake.

Me (after I took off my costume) and Julio.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Cookie Class

On Monday night I took a Halloween Cookie Class also taught by Dawn at Decor. This was a great class. We were going to make 5 different cookies but we only made three. As you can see they are really detailed and pretty time consuming. I still have some undecorated cookies so hopefully after my two projects are due next week for school, I will have a little time to focus on them.

We made these cookies out of fondant. No royal icing at all. This was my first time working in detail with fondant. It was easier than I thought and I love how it adds depth and dimension to the cookies. I was surprised that you only need water to adhere the individual pieces. After each cookie was made we used Luster Dust to make it sparkle and just to add a nice finish. I don't think I can eat these cookies!! They will forever be stored in a bag, they are just too pretty!

My picture.

Javier's incredible shot! With the cute web bowl my mom gave me.

Final Intermediate Cake Class

Tonight was my last intermediate cake decorating class. We had four classes but this series was mostly about learning techniques and so we did not make many cakes. We learned how to make flowers with royal icing, chocolate wrapped cakes which you saw an earlier post on, the rope border, basket weave, and colorflow. Tonight we made a cake that expressed all of these new things. It was really hard to basketweave on the side of a cake. Gravity was really taking over, but in the future I will make my icing more stiff so it will be easier. I also really loved the way the rope border looks and will be using it more in the future as well.

This class only had 5 students in it. It was nice to have a more intimate experience than the beginning class of 15 + students. I felt like I bonded more with this group of ladies. The best part is that we are all taking the next class in the series: Fondant. So I will get to see them all for another 4 weeks :)

Here is the final cake, sorry for so few pictures.

My picture.
Javier's picture.

Bakerella Signing

Today I drove out to Santa Monica to meet one of my inspirations, Bakerella, (Angie Dudley). She has an amazing website that I have linked before Her cake pops are so original and adorable and she is just full of good ideas and advice. Not to mention such a sweet and charming woman. She is so friendly and warm, I felt like I was reuniting with an old friend. She just wrote a book on her cake pops and I bought it at the Williams-Sonoma where she was having her book tour. I made it being #16 in line, I took pictures, met some cool bakers (Yvette Torres of Sweetness Cakery and Jonay Hritz of Lucy Blue Bakery), and left feeling very happy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cook's Club: Comfort Foods

Today was our October Cook's Club meeting and I hosted this one. Our theme was "Comfort Foods" and I think we all had a hard time thinking of what to make because we love so many! My choice was of course sweets and I made Blondies, Brownies, and Cornbread to accompany the chili. I was a little busy in the morning setting up so I did not take any pics of the process of making the goods, but I do have recipes typed up to add!!! Here is what we came up with for this meeting and who brought what:

Me: Blondies (AKA Congo Bars from Bakerella Website.) I would type it out but the link is much easier!

Me: Cornbread (recipe from America's Test Kitchen Baking Book)

Northern Cornbread
Note: I double this recipe for the Cook’s Club
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground)
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tbs. (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8” square pan.
2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Process the buttermilk, thawed corn kernels, and brown sugar in a food processor until combined, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to process until combines, about 5 more seconds.
3. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold in the melted butter until just incorporated but do not overmix.
4. Scrap the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and when a toothpick into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
5. Let the cornbread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Me: Ghirardelli Award Winning Brownies (I used the recipe from the can of cocoa)

Note: I doubled this recipe and used a 9x13” pan. Also baked for 40 minutes.
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¾ cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
¼ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup walnut, chopped (I omitted this)
1 cup 60% Ghirardelli Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a spoon, stir eggs, sugar, and vanilla; add melted butter. Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. The stir into the egg mixture, add the nuts and stir in the chocolate chips. Spread into a 8” or 9” square pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes. For chewy brownies, use an 8” pan and bake for less time. For cakey brownies, use a 9” pan and bake for longer time. Cut into squares and serve!

Vanessa: Spinach Artichoke Dip (my stomach hurt from eating so much of this!)

Vanessa: Rosemary Herb Bread, for the dipping!

Vanessa: Pita Chips, for dipping.

Priscilla: Individual Chicken Pot Pies (It was like a little cup of heaven! I practically licked the ramekin clean).

Adriana: Mac and Cheese Casserole (I ate it hot, I ate it cold, I ate alot!)

Julia: Spicy Chili (This was spicy, chunky goodness in a bowl! And I have left overs! )

Vy: Garlic Shrimp Pasta (1 cup of garlic and a group full of happy women :)

Jennifer: Creamed Corn (I told Vanessa it was an "O" in my mouth, you know what I mean ;) I am trying to keep this blog PG.

Our table looking very Autumnal. (It is a word I looked it up!)

The Cook's Club.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Today I was in major procrastination mode. I have a few assignments due soon but what better way to spend my time than trying out a recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream? I also wanted to try a different vanilla cupcake recipe. I have heard many good things about Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcake recipe so I Googled it and found it on It was rated 2nd best by New York Magazine, so I knew it was going to be a winner. I also have been wanting to try some new frosting recipes, I am a little bored with the traditional American Confectioner's Frosting and I have been eager and a little reluctant to venture into the world of cooked frosting, so I decided today was the day!

I started with the cupcakes which was an easy and quick recipe. So easy I think I already memorized it. They baked up beautifully, so full and round and even!! I was already a fan and man that batter tasted like heaven! The frosting recipe I got from another baking blog called How to Eat a Cupcake. I have been reading this blog for years and Cassie is full of good information. She just opened up her own bakery, so congrats to her! This recipe was easy with just 4 ingredients: sugar, egg whites, butter, and vanilla. It took a while to make this frosting but the results were amazing!!! I am a new convert to cooked frostings :) Since it is almost Halloween and since I have an ungodly amount of Halloween sprinkles these naturally became Halloween themed. I'll be sending these with Javier to work tomorrow because I have already eaten two!
Happy Halloween!

Put the sugar and egg whites in a double boiler.

Then transfer to a mixer and beat until fluffy soft peaks form.

Add the butter a few tbsp. at a time and then the vanilla until it starts to get thick, this is where the time and patience comes in handy.

The perfect little cakes.

I had to add another pic, so pretty!

All piped and ready for sprinkles.

So pretty!!!

Time for their close-up! I bought this cute little dessert display dish at Crate and Barrel last weekend, I love it!!

Mmmmmmm, devouring one . . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kermaine's Raider Cake

Javier's friend and co-worker, Kermaine, ordered a cake for his brother, Jerry's, birthday. It was a half sheet chocolate cake and he wanted a Raiders theme. At first I was nervous to be honest, but when he sent me a picture of what he wanted, I knew I could do it. This was my first half sheet cake and I was excited to finally find a half sheet pan. I bought it at Surfas Gourmet Restaurant Supply in Culver City. This place has quickly become my go-to for all things cake and bake! Their prices are great and they really do have everything.

I was up super late making this cake so there are only a few pictures of the process. But I was really happy with the cake and Jerry looked pretty happy too. That is what makes me want to do this. Being a part of making someone's special day even more special.

Happy Birthday Jerry and thanks Kermaine!

The finished cake.
I tripled this recipe but should have only doubled it. I had a lot of extra batter.

The base coat at about midnight!

Fondant football and lettering.

The logo is fondant and the man is royal icing. I printed out an outlined image off the internet.

Jerry looking pretty happy :)