Friday, July 30, 2010

Erika's Birthday Cake

Today is Javier's sister, Erika's 25th birthday. I decided to make her a cake. It is a chocolate butter cake and buttercream frosting. Both recipes I took from the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook, which is quickly becoming my go-to book for many of my recipes.

The cake was easy to make although I made a pretty big mistake when adding the sugar to the chocolate mixture, I added it all and did not see where it said add 1/4 cup. Ooops!!! I did not want to waste all that chocolate and make other trip to the store so I just let it be and added just a little more sugar to the rest of the recipe. I was worried about an overly sweet cake, but it came out fine and really moist!! (Thanks again to freezing it).

I love buttercream frosting (with butter not shortening) but this recipe tasted like pure butter. It uses very little sugar. So I added powdered sugar to it and Voila! Deliciousness. But still pretty rich. I designed it with Erika in mind, the colors, the flowers, and something a little modern with the dot border. I think she liked it. Oh, and I added a Bavarian cream filling. Overall a successful cake with few mishaps, although when we ate it at the Olive Garden they threw away the box! So we had to bag it home. Hopefully it got there in one piece :)

Happy Birthday Erika!!

The ingredients . . .

Making sure they come out evenly . . .

building the frosting dam . . .

filling the dam with Bavarian cream . . .

2nd layer . . .

Javier's amazing outdoor shots . . .

Yay! Erika!!!

We did pretty good for 5 people!!

Cake #1: Buttercream Frosting (Part 2)

I made my buttercream frosting with the recipe that our instructor gave us. It uses shortening, which I am not a fan of for frostings, but the texture was super easy to work with and I liked the consistency just not the taste. I made 3 batches of the stuff!

Our class was mostly learning how to so different piping techniques such as the star, circular, drop flowers, and writing (which I really need to practice). Everyone did a really good job, although I must admit me and these two sisters in the class has the best looking frosted cake. They were both really straight and flat. We used scrapers to frost and also cut the domed tops off giving it a flat surface. The other cakes were domed and roughly frosted. I think we will all get here with time. After we practiced piping, we used piping gel and a rainbow template to transfer a design to the cake. Then we filled in each row with piped stars and different colors of frosting to make a rainbow. I was the only one that was able to finish during class (I had filled all my piping bags before class). I think it came out really cute even though I am not a big fan of rainbows. The best part: eating it!! The recipe I used (with the box mix) was delicious!! And the freezing technique really produced a moist cake. The cake gave a good balance to the frosting so together, it came out very tasty. Javier was happy to bring the cake to work the next day. Here are the pictures:

The recipe. . .

Mixing the colors . . .

All ready to go to class . . .

Frosting the cake . . .

I need to work on smoother sides, I think I get nervous about scraping off too much icing . . .

The finished cake after class . . .

Me posing with the cake, I had just done a photo shoot for Javier, hence the Betty Crocker attire.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cake #1: Basic Sour Cream Yellow Cake (Part 1)

This is a cake of many firsts for me. It is my first cake using a boxed cake mix (although I added more to it) and my first time freezing a cake. Now these are two things I swore to NEVER do as a baker, use cake mix and freeze. I like to keep my cakes fresh and made with only quality ingredients. However, I am slowly learning that baking is expensive and time consuming and using little tricks, especially when I am still in the learning process, is not a bad thing. This is also my first time using shortening in my frosting, but more on that later. I don't want to be a baking snob and I want to be open to trying new techniques and tips as I develop my skills.

I used a recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I actually got to watch her do a demo at the L.A. Times Festival of Books back in April and it was love at first sight! She is so charming and friendly. Anyway, this is the Basic Sour Cream Yellow Cake, (again I'll have to type out the recipes once I am on break from school, but if you really want it let me know). It was super easy to make and fit my two 8x2 inch circular cake pans perfectly. Here is the process in pictures:

All the ingredients.

The Cookbook.

The recipe:Basic Sour Cream Yellow, just yellow box mix, eggs, oil, sugar, sour cream, water, and vanilla extract.

I went with Pillsbury this time, next time . . . Betty Crocker.

Prepping the pans with non-stick spray and flour, this helps them pop right out!

My finished batter, looking very smooth!

I weighed the pans to make sure they had the exact same amount of batter for two even cakes.

When baking two layer cakes it is always best to bake side by side on the middle rack, that way they bake evenly.

All done baking and cooling in their pans.

Ready for freezing! I read that it is best to separately wrap each layer alone in foil and then in a freezer bag. When you defrost take them out of the bag and open the foil so that the cakes do not get soggy while defrosting. You can freeze a cake up to 2 months! Tomorrow we will see how one day turns out.

*Stay tuned tomorrow to see how my first lesson in piping goes!! We are supposed to make a rainbow design. I am looking forward to it!

Classic Coffee Cake

I love coffee cake and have never made one from scratch before. We had so much left over sour cream from our World Cup party, I thought it would be good to use it up with a coffee cake! Not much else behind this story. The recipe I used was from the America's Test Kitchen Baking Cookbook. It was a big recipe! Two 9" cakes. The bankers at Wells Fargo are going to be happy tomorrow :). In the future I will write out the recipes for the things I make, but at the moment, I am drowning in school work and should not even be posting this. So enjoy the pictures!!

All the ingredients.

The recipe.

One of my favorite baking cookbooks.

Before baking.
All baked and cooling.

The finished product!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Introduction and Cake Class #1

Well, after spending most of my summer baking like crazy and posting everything on Facebook, I decided to create a formal space for my baking projects, so welcome to Betty's Batter Blog. I am Elizabeth, a library and information science grad student/elementary substitute teacher, who loves to bake in her spare time and not so spare time (big way for me to procrastinate on schoolwork). I love trying to new recipes and creating things for my friends and family to enjoy. I have way too many cookbooks and hope to start experimenting more with my own recipes.

Tonight was my first cake decorating class. It is a beginning class of 5 weeks. I am completely self taught so far, but hope to learn some more professional tips and skills with these classes. My goal is to take beginning, intermediate, and advanced (fondant) class before the end of this year. This first class was mostly going over the tools and equipment we need for the class and some basic techniques. Since we did not make a cake tonight, I'll post pictures of some of my past cakes and baked treats for you to enjoy!! Stay tuned for next week's post of my first decorating project!

My Aunt Norma and Uncle Ron's 28th anniversary cake, my first fondant cake! A white cake (Recipes: America's Test Kitchen Baking Cookbook)

Israel's Birthday Cake, May 2010-Chocolate Fudge Cake with Vanilla Buttercream with Raspberry Filling (Recipes: The Cake Bible and Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

Birthday Cake for my grandma April 2010- All American Chocolate Butter Cake with Neoclassical Buttercream Frosting (Recipes: The Cake Bible)

Devil's Food Cake with buttercream frosting for Christmas 2009 (Recipes: Magnolia Bakery Cookbook).

Birthday cake for my mom , a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting (Recipes" The Magnolia Bakery CookBook).