Stacked Books Cake

I made this cake for Dave (my boss) for his birthday this year. His wife Samantha wanted to surprise him with a cake disguised as a stack of some of his favorite books. Inside the fondant is a vanilla sponge cake filled with vanilla bean frosting. I also added 2 secret layers of diced reese’s cups, that everyone seemed to enjoy. I really enjoyed making this cake; it was a large (and heavy!) project, and the small, awkward slices of fondant for the book covers were quite a challenge. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the end result. Happy Birthday Dave!

Book Cake
Stack of books Cake

iPad Cake

My first attempt at a computer/ipad/electronics cake; it was a new challenge for sure, but I love how it came out. I printed out a photo of the birthday boy and his daughter, and then brought it to the grocery store to print it out on an edible rice paper. He was so surprised when he saw the cake. Half the reason I love making cakes is how amazing it feels to see how happy people get when they see you made something delicious for them, and to watch them discover all the little details you spent so much time working on. I’ve been all smiles. I think he took more pictures than I did! I made the app icon “button” out of tinted fondant, and then piped buttercream frosting for the tiny details.

I really had fun with this cake.


Happy Birthday Kyle!

It’s been a fun and busy birthday week for my dear Kyle and me. I thought “what better way to celebrate Kyle’s birthday, his love for the Miami Heat, and the recent victories of the team, than to bake a Heat cake!” He seemed to love it, and I guess it’s good that he wanted to eat it as soon as he saw it. I made the heat logo out of fondant that I tinted. I hand-cut each piece of the logo- sheesh! it took longer than I would have preferred…but anything for Kyle. =)

Inside the cake I added a little surprise layer of Reeses Peanut Butter cups that I diced up on top of a layer of buttercream. The second I cut into the cake the smell of peanut butter filled the air, it was delicious. Happy Birthday Kyle, and Let’s Go Heat!

Hoppy Easter!

It’s that time of year again; flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and the Easter bunny is preparing for his big day. This year, the Easter bunny made an early delivery at our house! =) Everyone knows I can’t resist some fresh baked sugar cookies, so I thought I’d whip up a batch in some fun easter shapes; (I’ve really been craving cut-out cookies, and I would much rather indulge in delicious homemade cookies than all the store bought Easter candies and chocolate…)

For these cookies I used the recipe listed under  “my favorite sugar cookies”, and decorated them with the royal icing. I used cute spring cookie cutters- an egg-shaped one and a flower-shaped one (from Wilton). As for the recipe, I didn’t change anything- but I this time I added a bit extra lemon zest to the dough this time- and YUM!

The extra lemon zest added just what I was looking for; the sweet icing complements the lemon flavor so well, and adds a refreshing zing of flavor. So if you’re looking for a fun Easter “craft” or a yummy activity for the kids, whip up a quick batch of these delicious cookies! The whole family can get involved; for little ones, instead of using just colored icing, they can show their creativity with some sprinkles to decorate. Have a “hoppy” Easter! Enjoy everybunny! =)

An Easter bunny favorite!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

It’s been a while since I’ve baked, so I figured I’d go all out- and skip the box mixes. I’ve always wanted to attempt a red velvet cake from scratch, and have always been intimidated… well there’s no time like the present to take on a new challenge. Not wanting to make a large sheet cake, I opted for some mini cupcakes instead. I figured this way at least I can easily share the cake (and calories) with some friends and the boyfriend’s coworkers. 🙂
I also made the cream cheese frosting from scratch, another first; yet I was quite surprised how easily it came together, and how simple the recipe was.
The cake recipe included a great frosting recipe, both of which I found online through allrecipes.com; I love their site for dinner ideas, and the dessert recipes in their database are endless!

I definitely recommend this recipe- it was moderately simple, and the cake is super moist and wonderfully chocolate-y. Although my minis didn’t come out as red as I would have liked, I love the flavors, and how well the frosting compliments the cake. I will definitely add a few extra splashes of red food gel next time I make these.
(I also melted some milk chocolate and piped out fun shapes on a sheet of wax paper, let them set in the fridge, and then topped off the frosting swirls) Why not give them a try? Here’s the recipe I used:

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle Red Food Color (I used Wilton’s red gel and only used a couple toothpick’s worth)
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
This recipe is also found here

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ah…. a day for love; what better way to show your love than with fruit? How about fruit dipped in chocolate? Yum.

valentine's day strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries are wonderfully delicious, easy and quick; the perfect dessert to follow a Valentine’s day dinner.

Wash the strawberries well and be sure to dry completely; if there is water on the skin then the chocolate won’t stick! Melt milk (or dark) chocolate in a double boiler on low-medium heat. Be careful not to heat the chocolate too quickly (burning chocolate  is not a good smell!) Once fully melted grab the top of a strawberry and dip it into the chocolate, and twist it as you bring it out of the chocolate (to give it a smooth layer). Set the covered strawberry on a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Repeat with additional strawberries 🙂

To add a little extra, you can melt some white chocolate chips in a ziplock in the microwave for about 20 seconds at a time. Knead the white chocolate in the ziplock until fully melted. Once ready, snip one of the tips of the bottom of the ziplock and you’ll have an instant piping bag! Pipe some fun zigzags, or any pattern you want directly on the strawberries and stick the cookie sheet in the fridge to let the chocolate set. When it’s time for dessert, just set them on a pretty plate and serve! Be sure to keep them refrigerated. Enjoy! <3

Halloween Cookies

Hello all! Well, late as ever I finally uploaded the pictures from my camera of some of the Halloween cookies I made. They turned out wonderfully! Yummy as always. 🙂 I hope you all enjoyed them as well. I’m already debating on baking up another batch for Thanksgiving… maybe some shaped as autumn leaves? We’ll see. School is quite hectic lately and I’m sure it will only get more chaotic as the semester comes to a close, especially with my graduation! I’m getting really excited already; it’s so surreal. Anyways- here are the pictures as promised! Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you for all veterans and active military keeping us safe at home! <3

My favorite sugar cookies

Hello all, and happy Friday! Now that it is officially the weekend, what better way to relax and celebrate than with baking up a batch of the most delicious sugar cookies? These are perfect for cutout cookies, the dough is firm and not at all sticky; a word of caution though- if mixing by hand, get ready for a workout! =) the dough is very “dry” and thick, much like a shortbread dough. Last time I made these cookies for Christmas, I burnt out my little $10 handmixer. This time I’m planning to mix all the wet ingredients, then some flour, but as soon as the handmixer starts whining- I’ll finish by hand. Here’s the recipe as promised! Happy Baking- BOO!

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or 2 tsp fresh lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons)
  • Royal Icing

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Turn out dough, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to just under 1/4-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut out cookies using desired cutters or templates. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Roll out scraps, and repeat once. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Chill cookies in freezer until very firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake cookies, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Decorate with Royal Icing.

Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

Pictures of my Halloween cookies are soon to come! <3

Craving some sweets

Hello everyone and happy Friday eve! This week sure has been hectic, the weekend cannot get here soon enough! I’m particularly excited about this weekend because I’ll be baking Halloween cookies! I know it’s only the first half of October but I love Halloween! The house is already dressed in “spider webs” and festive decor, but I feel that something is missing.  I’ve decided to make at least two batches of my favorite shortbread “christmas style” cookies, cutout in fun halloween-themed shapes and decorated with royal icing in spooky colors. I think cookies will be a welcomed break from all the bag candy I’ve purchased… It seems like every year around this time I start craving holiday goodies, so I think these cookies should satisfy some of my cravings… I’ll post the recipe Friday evening; I highly recommend that you bake some too! It’s an easy recipe, and a fun project for the kids as well!

To be continued!

Zombie cake

My brother is amazingly talented and artistic. He draws incredible comics online and he loves zombies. The figures were made of sculpey baking clay (that were baked the day before). The zombie figures are made of glow-in-the-dark clay (it looked awesome in the dark!) The main figure holding the shovel I made based off of a comic that my brother drew of himself holding a shovel, killing zombies. The cake is a simple fun-fetti (his favorite) two-layer cake, hand-carved in a rectangle. I enjoyed making this cake and all the figures; not often that I get to put “gross” things on a cake! “Keeping the world Zombie free for 22 years”

Zombie Birthday Cake
Zombie Cake