Wednesday, August 24, 2011

September Cakes

The summer has had me very busy making lots of special order cakes and cupcakes and spending the rest of the time trying not to be hot which includes not turning on the oven unless someone is paying me! So no TWD lately :( boo!  Oh and we are getting new windows in our house Saturday! Im most excited, I will have to share the before and afters.

I have two more upcoming cakes in September which will be lots of work but lots of fun too.

The first is for a gal that is having her very first birthday party and the very young age of 70!
The second will be for a baby shower with an Orange and Pink Dress theme. This one will a lot of cute baby paraphernalia and some cute dress cookies to accompany it.




Kat's First Birthday

This is one of my most favorite cakes that I've made in a long time. The colors just made me happy and her parents loved it.

You can read a little more about this cake and see the detail photos here http://www.nichicakes.com/kats_first.html

Tufted Rose

This little bridal shower cake was for my nieces friend... the idea that my niece is old enough to have a friend that is old enough to be married just makes me feel old old old...

You can see more photos here http://www.nichicakes.com/tufted_rose.html


Monday, August 8, 2011

Lemon Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

These were for my friend Jenn's Surprise Birthday party on Saturday. They turned out so tasty and were a little hard to ignore sitting on the table all night.

The cake was Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to yours. It really is a perfectly nice cake for any occasion. Since the recipe has lemon in it, I paired it with a Lemon Vanilla Bean Butter Cream below. They turned out nice and light and citrusy.


Lemon Vanilla Butter Cream

  • 8 oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 oz. Water
  • 4 ea. Egg Yolks plus enough egg whites to make 4 oz. (This is roughly 3 yolks plus 1 whole egg, give or take the size of the yolks)  
  • 1 ea. Vanilla bean (you can use a bit of extract if that's all you have, should result in the same mellow flavor with out the specks)
  • 1 lb. Unsalted Butter - Softened
  • 1 ea. Large Lemon (juiced)

Put sugar and water in a stainless steel pot and set it on the stove to cook to 238 degrees. While the sugar is cooking, separate your eggs and start to whip in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. The airy-ness of the eggs usually reach their proper consistency by the time the sugar is cooked to the right temperature, for me anyways. With your mixer on high, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the eggs and continue to beat on high until the whole thing is cool to the touch. While your egg/sugar mix is cooling, reduce the lemon juice down to a syrup consistency and scrape your vanilla bean. I usually scrape the vanilla and stick it onto the butter, so that I don't loose any of those precious beans, its easier than trying to scrap them off a knife into the mixing bowl. Add the butter to the cooled sugar/eggs  mixture a little at a time, making sure to incorporate it before adding the next nub of butter. Lastly add in your reduced lemon juice and incorporate completely.

This was plenty of butter cream for 30 regular sized cupcakes.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mango Cranberry Chutney

A few weekends ago we went out to help my parents with their rental house. They live in the Devils Inferno of Southern California, aka the High Dessert. As my reward for helping and somehow not bursting into flames the entire weekend my mom gave us a couple of Yellow Mangoes which I found out are called Ataulfo Mangoes. They are super tangy compared to the everyday mangos I'm used to so chutney immediately came to mind.

I set out last weekend to turn them into just that.

Mango Cranberry Chutney
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 C. White Vinegar
  • 6 Ataulfo Mangoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 C. Maui Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 C. Dried Cranberries
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Dried Ginger

Stir everything together in a large heavy pot and cook for about and hour and a half on low until the mangoes break down and the mixture thickens.

To can your delicious chutney you pour the mixture into sanitized jars and process in a water bath for 15/20 minutes. I got a total of 9 half pint jars from my batch.

In hindsight it might have been funner to make some Chicken Curry and invite some friends over for a party......

Friday, August 5, 2011

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo cupcakes lined up like little solders for a co-workers party!

I wasn't quite sure what really qualifies as an Oreo Cupcake in the first place. When in doubt Google it! There are so many variations on the web it boggles the mind! Oreo crushed and cooked into the batter, whole Oreo placed in the bottom for an oreo surprise, minis, filling, pudding, whip cream, cream cheese... the ideas go on and on.  Ahhh deep breaths...

In the end I topped my best chocolate cake with luscious Oreo butter cream and crowned the whole thing shebang with a whole Oreo for good measure. I got a thumbs up this morning! I'll have to take his word for it because I was a good girl and made just enough ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ni Hao!


This sweet little Ni Hao, Kai-Lan cake was for my friends daughter Lorraine who was turning 2. It's a simple 8 inch chocolate layer cake covered with almond vanilla butter cream. The little Kai-Lan character was a bear to duplicate. Odd proportions and her eyeballs set in her head like ET required a plethora of cutters and serious dexterity to get her finished. For awhile she was looking an awful lot like Tommy from Rugrats but in the end I think I captured her likeness pretty well and I hear little Lorraine was a happy girl!