Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hockey Jersey Cake

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A friend of mine asked me to decorate a cake for his dad’s 62nd birthday.  Not a problem, I said.  Actually this made me think of my own dad who will be turning 62 in early May, and the hope that I get the chance to make him a cake as well.  (My parents currently live in sunny L.A., while I live in Ontario)

Anyways, my friend asked me to decorate it as a hockey jersey – a Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey. 

Okay, okay, I will be the first to admit that I no absolutely NOTHING about hockey.  Yes, I have watched a few games on television.  And yes, I’ve even gone to watch a game live at some major event, which I completely enjoyed more than watching in front of a tv screen.  But no matter how much I’m exposed to it, no matter how many times anyone explains the rules to me, for some reason or another I cannot retain the information beyond, in our net = good, not our net = bad.  It’s sad, I know….

So into the late evening I started working on this cake.  Because there isn’t any major designs (we decided to copy the jersey from behind rather in front to capture the name and significant number), I procrastinated.  So like me.  And thus I ended up working on this cake until 4:00am.  The latest I’ve ever worked on a cake to date. 

I wanted to make sure the detail – lettering, lines, stitching on the jersey were somewhat captured.  *Sigh – and this is the other trait of myself: the extreme detailed perfectionist side, that tends to get the better of me.  But after the lines started to blur and the fact that I was holding onto an exacto-knife at the time, gave reason to crawling into bed at 4 o’clock in the morning.

By morning, and some last-minute attention to more details, this is what I finished with.

I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to create the Canadiens logo on the puck, as I had hoped I would. 

I did hear that the cake – vanilla cake with chocolate mousse filling – turned out to be a hit .  And that my friend’s dad loved it. 

L

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Cake Decorating 101 continued….

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I had my last cake decorating class at Golda’s Kitchen last night.  We were asked to bring in a smooth iced cake.  Yeah, mine didn’t exactly turn out that way – but I’m learning so that didn’t bother me.

In the end I decorated my cake with sad “melting” highlighter pink roses (my icing didn’t turn out stiff enough – no matter how much loose icing sugar I kept throwing at it!!) and black piped on dots and lines. 

Among the sea of other sugar confections all brightly coloured, I loved that mine seemed to stand out in its own right.

And in the end, I got my certificate of completion.

Now onto the next cake decorating class…. creating flowers.  Yeah

L

Chocolate Cake with a Twist

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The 8th challenge for The Sweetest Kitchen Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge is: chocolate cake – with a twist.  Unfortunately I missed the deadline, but still created the cupcake just for fun…. 

Anyways, chocolate Cake – with a twist…sounds simple enough.  Chocolate cake with the addition of another “interesting” ingredient.  So what to add?  When you really think about it,  the ideas of what to add to chocolate are limitless.

In the end I reached all the way back to my childhood…and thoughts of ube came to mind.  What is ube, you ask?  Well simply it’s purple yam.  When I was a kid my favourite colour was purple – so what is more fantastic to a 6-year-old than to eat something purple, than that?  Okay, okay – not a lot of kids are like me and are willing to eat yam (in any colour for that matter), but I did. 

And now here I am wanting to add it into a cupcake! 

Part of this challenge was to add the mystery ingredient into a chocolate cake.  With that said, I didn’t want to add the ube to a dark or milk chocolate, should the flavour of the yam completely be masked by the chocolate…so the white chocolate cake route I go.  Then off to the nearest asian food market I go in search of ube jam…..if you’ve never been to an asian food market, I totally recommend it if only once in your life.  I am one of those types of people who enjoys noise and chaos and crowds (to a point) and there is a type of hustle and bustle confined within the tightly packed walls of this grocery store – something I don’t exactly feel in the grocery store down the street from my house.   

As I turn an aisle looking for ube jam – I eventually come across it on shelves upon shelves of brightly coloured exotic fruits and beans packed in syrups.

I also pick up some pandan extract – I wanted something more “exotic” than vanilla.  *NOTE: Pandan is GREEN – like GREEN GREEN.  Adding in purple food colour to mask the green is a good idea at this point.

Creating my white chocolate cake base is the easy part.  Like I’ve said before, I’m a busy mommy of two, and if I can take the easy route sometimes in baking, I’ll take it.  After adding the ube jam and a teaspoon of purple food colouring (I really wanted this to look purple!), the batter looks like this…

Scoop the batter into lined cupcake tins.

When it comes out of the oven, it should look like these yummy little purple morsels.

Not to overshadow the ube’s delicate flavour, I opted with a simple vanilla buttercream icing.  I think it compliments it fairly nicely.

And there you have it, my childhood baked into a warm and delicious cupcake.  Enjoy.

White Chocolate & Ube Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 jar Ube – purple yam spread
  • 1 tsp pandan extract or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 tsp Wilton purple colour gel

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix the first four ingredients together.  Add the Ube jam, extract and food colour and mix until well incorporated.  Scoop into pre-lined cupcake tin and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.  Cool and top with vanilla buttercream or preferred icing.

Cake decorating 101

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I went to my first cake decorating class last Friday! 

Sadly this is after missing 2 classes before that, due to being sick for over a week.  For the record, vertigo, is not my idea of a fun – if I wanted the sensation of spinning and dizziness I would have continued my pole dancing classes.  Now that’s a fun reason to be dizzy … but I digress….

I must admit the class was interesting.  16 women of various ages all sitting around a large metal U-shaped table, pulling out varieties of cake decorating supplies and colourful icing in closed Tupperware, all preparing themselves for the 2 hours ahead.  We all have our own reasons to learn, something shared during the first class I’m sure. 

The woman sitting next to me on my right is Suzanne, a tall lady with a warm, friendly and witty manner.  She shares that she’s always wanted to take cake decorating class in the past, and jumped on the opportunity after buying the complete cake decorating supply kit on sale and seeing it as “a sign”.  At the far end of the table is a mom and daughter team, each pulling out supplies and lining them out for one another.  Their conversation is mixed with laughter and mild critique of things they have forgotten to pack, occasionally injected with shrugs and soft sighs from each woman.  Then there is the cute and eager 16-year-old girl sitting on the opposite side of the room.  She has braces and a smile as sweet as the icing she takes out from her bag.  Her hand shoots up at every moment to ask a question or to show pictures of last weeks project.  Oh to be 16 again….

This week we’re suppose to work on piping details.  Drop flowers.  Swirled flowers.  Rosettes.  Simple enough.  I fit my piping bag with the incorrect tip (it’s actually a smaller version of the tip our instructor asks for).  I smile at the instructor who notes that it’s well done, just small.  I instantly feel like I’m back in school on the first day of class with out a pencil.

We change the tips of the piping bag in unison and move onto shells.  Once again mine is just a smaller version of what everyone else is doing.  I make notes of the tips I need to buy next time I’m out shopping.

We now move onto Pompom flowers.  I finish two effortlessly, setting them aside on the table to dry.  I can move ahead to leaves.  As you can see, I do not have the correct food colouring – only having brought blue colour gel in my cake decorating caddy.  I don’t mind.  It’s as if everything has been touch by a smurf.

So my leaves are blue (like I said, something touched by a smurf – or something from Avatar).  I find these actually challenging at first.  Coming out looking like elephants.  C’est la vie, it’s a design detail…  By my fourth attempt I am improving.  I do better with the ruffled leaves, making a mental note that in the future all my iced on leaves will be ruffled from now on.

We are given the rest of the class for free rein to decorate cupcakes.  Because I wasn’t here last week, I am decorating the full size cake I brought in.  I don’t mind.  I decorate half of it with white drop flowers, adding blue ruffled leaves in between for detail and contrast.  It looks decorative, the instructor says as she passes me … in reality I’m just using up my icing before packing it up.

Next week is our last class.  We’re suppose to bring in a smooth iced cake to decorate, of course.  Graduation, our instructor smiles.

A Very Fancy Cake

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A friend of mine contacted me last month on making a birthday cake for her soon to be 3-year-old daughter.  I, of course, couldn’t resist.

After many conversations with her daughter, it was finally decided that fashioning a cake after the Fancy Nancy books was the way to go.  We’re talking about fuchsia, lavender, polka dots, a crown and a tutu.  Oh so Fancy Nancy.  And just as fitting for a soon to be 3-year-old too.

I decorated each tier separately – sounds like common sense, really – but once upon a time, I didn’t do this step (shock and amazement) and yes the cakes looked like a disaster!  C’est la vie

The bottom cake was really the easiest to decorate with an assortment of polka dots in various shades of pinks and purples.  Easy peasy….

Decorating the top tier wasn’t so bad – but this was my first time creating a tutu from fondant.  Basically I cut out strips of fondant and pleated then around the cake.  The finished result was just too cute.  Next time, however I’d roll out the fondant thinner, since I found the thickness I did roll it out to seemed to dry out faster and created cracks along the surface. 

The easy part was the butterflies … roll out colour choice of fondant and use a butterfly cookie cutter.  (Really I enjoy the path of least resistance!)  Then using a piece of ordinary paper that has been folded, I slid in the fondant butterflies and allowed each to dry (preferably over night).  The paper held up the wings to allow the butterflies to look like they are about to fly.

I then strung them up on curled 12 gauge of jewellery wire (any colour you want – I just chose pink because of the theme), cut long enough to be embedded into the cake.  And that is how you make sugar butterflies take flight….

The crown (a Fancy Nancy must have!) was really the easiest, but in the end the most nerve-wracking detail.  Easy – because it was a cut out of piece of flattened fondant and formed against a tube (in my case I have a measuring cup that served this purpose well).  When it is dry, gently pry loose and LEAVE IT ALONE

When I was ready to top the cake, I made sure to secure it with pipped frosting along the front and back.  Then I just prayed it didn’t come lose during transport.  Ah, the details few people know that go through our minds when making a cake….

I finished the rest of the cake with little dots of piped icing around the base of the cake and along the empty spots of the top-tier. 

And there you have it – a very fancy cake.  Wouldn’t you agree?

L