Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

This little paper turkey was hand crafted with love. 
Unfortunately this year there were many friends that I missed on Thanksgiving. But I am always thankful for my family and my friends and especially thankful that they have stuck by me this last year. 

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful. I can't remember the last time our whole family was in the house for more than 10 minutes at the same time, let alone sit down for a family dinner together.

Yum Yum YUM! Every family has traditions on Thanksgiving. Here are ours.

New potatoes. Wonderfully delicious with minimal ingredients. Red potatoes, garlic, salt and olive oil. 

These rolls are delicious. We ONLY have them at Thanksgiving and Christmas and for good reason. They're stuffed with cheese.

 These rolls are actually canned biscuits. You place 2 cubes of cheddar cheese on the biscuit and roll it into a ball nice and tight so they don't open up and toss some Mrs. Dash on top then bake per package directions. Even if they do open up like this one did they are still simply amazing.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a roasted pecan praline topping and whipped cream. Again something we have ONLY during the holidays. 

And lastly, our Christmas tree always goes up on Thanksgiving. This tradition started because it was the earliest I could convince my mom to let me put up the Christmas tree when I was a kid. This year I put up a tree of my very own in my room the first week of November.

Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe can be found here
 I substituted 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice for the cloves and nutmeg.
Praline Topping Recipe can be found here.
 I used 1 cup of pecans.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Irish Birthday Cake

This is the cake version of the orange cupcakes for my friend's 22nd birthday. Not my greatest masterpiece but after surviving an initial icing crisis, it was a modest success. Both he and his family loved the cake. They're irish so they loved that the cake was in the shape of a shamrock.

I added green food coloring to the orange cream cheese frosting. I like to use the Wilton gel icing colors. They offer more pigment without altering taste or consistency. 

I tripled the original recipe and split it between two 9x13 pans. Then I drew out a shamrock on a piece of paper and cut it out. Once both cakes were cooled I placed the stencil on top and cut out my shamrock with a knife.

I had a lot of cake left over so I used it to make cake balls. I crumbled up the leftover cake, mixed it with my leftover frosting and used a cookie scoop to roll the cake mixture into balls. I used green candy melts to coat the cake and melted vanilla bark to add some fun drizzle. The cake balls were an afterthought and were kinda messy but still kind of pretty and definitely edible. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Halloween was a whirlwind week for me in a very unspectacular way. I had a lot of family issues come up unexpectedly and I had a cake order due on Halloween.

Halloween Cupcakes
Naturally I found time to bake a few extra things on top of the cake order. These cupcakes were pretty straight forward. Vanilla batter with chocolate icing. I just added some orange food coloring to the batter.

I almost forgot to say these are mini cupcakes! And they have super cute halloween cupcake liners with bats on the bottom which I failed to get a shot of.

Cake Order
A friend of a friend put me in contact for this cake order. This is a red velvet cake with chocolate icing. The request was fairly simple. A black cake with webbing and spiders on top. The spiders are sculpted from fondant and the webs on top of the cake are made from vanilla bark. 

I was fairly pleased with the out turn of the cake considering the time constraint I was under. They said the cake was wonderful and that they loved it but you never really know what people are thinking...

Chocolate Dipped Apples

I also made candied apples. I'm not really into caramel so I made chocolate dipped apples instead.

Lucky me, the apples were on sale so I bought a variety. Red apples, granny smith and gala apples. I inserted short bamboo skewers instead of using lollipop or popsicle sticks. They were much easier to insert but may want to be careful with kids. The ends are very sharp. I dipped the apples in chocolate bark and let them cool. Chocolate bark hardens much quicker than using chocolate chips and in my experience is much easier to work with. 

I then poured the white chocolate into a zip lock bag and cut off the corner. The bigger the cut the bigger the drizzle. This is the fun part as the messier it is the better! After you drizzle each apple immediately sprinkle on your nuts or they chocolate will be too dry or the nuts to stick. I meant to drizzle on caramel as well to keep true to tradition but I completely forgot! Whoops. You could also reverse this and do milk chocolate on top of white.


1 pkg vanilla bark
1 pkg chocolate bark
1 pkg chopped nuts 
10 - 12 small apples

short bamboo skewers
parchment paper
cookie sheet
heavy duty ziploc bag, sandwich size


Wash and remove stems from apples then place on large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper will prevent the chocolate from sticking to anything.

Make sure your apples are totally dry or your chocolate will slip off. Insert skewers into center of each apple.

Melt chocolate bark in microwave safe bowl (deep enough to dip 3/4 of apple in) for thirty second intervals. Do not over warm or your chocolate will scald and harden. 

Dip each apple into melted chocolate and place back onto cookie sheet to cool.

Melt white chocolate bark in a microwave safe bowl. You should only need about 4 pieces of chocolate depending on how much or little you would like to drizzle onto your apples. Once melted pour your white chocolate into a heavy duty sandwich size ziploc bag. Cut the tip, again according to how much or little chocolate you would like to drizzle. 

After drizzling each apple immediately sprinkle on nuts, or sprinkles or any other topping you would like to so that they will stick. Then again place on the cookie sheet to cool. 

Orange Cupcakes

My dear friend Scott has a birthday coming up and naturally I am in charge of the birthday cake. When I asked Scott what his favorite flavor is he informs me that his grandmother used to always make him an orange cake and that he would ask his mom if it would be okay for me to take over. Now that is a lot of responsibility taking over a family tradition and i've NEVER even made an orange cake before. Being the perfectionist that I am I had to do a test run with cupcakes. I used two slightly modified recipes I found online.

The cake recipe kind of had me worried, lemon pudding and lemon extract were added into the mix. I thought we were making an orange cake here? I tend to think I know best so I started sorting through the comments to hear others suggestions. Vanilla pudding was suggested in place of the lemon pudding and while I was at the store about to buy the lemon extract, the orange extract was right next to it and I thought why not? We're making an orange cake we should be using orange extract. I was worried that I may have gotten too overzealous and maybe my cake would be too over bearing but the result was incredible.

The cupcakes came out great and the orange cream cheese icing even better. The icing was from a Paula Dean recipe and was supposed to go on top of her orange brownies. Since I was worried about the orange flavor being too intense I omitted the orange zest from her recipe. The two together were even better than I could have wished and tasted even more amazing out of the fridge.

I also used my circle tip for the first time on these cupcakes to give them that fun swirl. I had been on the hunt for the decorating tip for a few weeks and finally found it at a restaurant supply store.

I didn't add too much flair to these as the goal was just to test the recipe. Honestly I was so relieved the recipe turned out so well I didn't even think twice about dressing these cupcakes up. I'll save my creativity for the actual cake.

The recipe for the orange cake can be found here.
I subbed in vanilla pudding for the lemon pudding.
I also subbed orange extract for the lemon extract.
I opted out from the included glaze recipe and used a Paula Dean icing recipe.
The recipe for the orange cream cheese icing can be found here.
I omitted the orange zest in my recipe.