Michael Myers Football Cake

Talking to my mom about this cake pretty much sums up what’s happening here:

Mom: “…and it’s such an unusual cake…then again, it’s from your brain.” Um, thanks?

Actually, it’s also from my good friend and coworker, Denny’s, wife’s imagination, since she was awesome enough to request that I make Denny’s 30th birthday cake.

Anyone who knows Denny knows that he has 4 great loves in life: 1. Scary movies, 2. Fantasy Football, 3. Leftover pasta in Ziplock bags, and 4. Conspiracy theories.

I didn’t think a cake based on The Smurf’s hidden Cold War references would translate into “fun birthday,” but Denny’s wife did suggest a few things: A huge Mike Myers head, a Halloween cake, or [drum roll] a Michael Myers taking over football cake. Bingo! Super weird, super creative, and super personalized-my favorite.

I really had no clue what I was doing with this cake. I had about a week and a half to plan and bake, so I knew I didn’t have time to try and make Michael Myers myself, which led me to the amazing online world of collectable action figures [oozes sarcasm]. Need Jason Vorhees? Got it. Jonesing for Freddy? No prob. Oh…Michael Myers? $100, please. So after being f-ked over by Gamestop 2 days before the cake was supposed to be ready, I got a 4″ Mike Myers mask and had to completely re-conceptualize the cake.

Which is also why I took a day off work. Oh, the massive feature that’s due? Psht, please. I have a CAKE to make, people.

I have to say, making this cake in 2 nights and 1 day was a challenge my under-eye circles and rambling-to-herself alter-ego hope to bypass for at least another couple of weeks, but, oh man, was it FUN!

I also took way too much glee in smearing fake blood all over the cake…while snickering…alone in my apartment at 1 a.m. Okay, maybe my mom is on to something here 😉

dennycakeThe cake is 2 (13x13x2) layers, 2 (10x10x2) layers, and 2 (7x7x2) layers. All of these layers are homemade carrot cake [you can find the recipe here] with maple cream cheese frosting [here-just add maple extract from KAF here]. The football is made out of boxed pound cake mix because you need a stiff cake for this and, well, I ran out of time 😦

dennycake3Back

dennycake5Side-Jason Vorhees

dennycake4Side-Freddy Krueger

dennycake9I was happy with the way this football turned out, not only because I found an imprint mat for texture, but also because I don’t think I’ve ever held a football in my life.

dennycake2My first time sculpting hands with white modeling chocolate.

dennycake13I used gum paste to make the fingernails and edible dust to make them look dirty.

dennycake10I used edible silver spray paint on gum paste for the knife blade and colored modeling chocolate black to make the handle.

dennycake11The wall of blood I was way too excited about. I made blood by tinting piping gel red. The actual ooze itself is black gum paste I shaped with an an icicle mold.

dennycake12Denny is a Dolphins fan. I’ve heard this is a depressing thing to be.

dennycake7Spiders, because, why not?

dennycake6

Pink Lemonade Cake

Let’s be honest, no one eats lemon stuff in the winter, unless you live in the tropics and then, well, F- you.

So to celebrate this especially global warming-friendly summer, I thought I’d make King Arthur Flour’s Pink Lemonade Cake.

It’s everything it sounds like: pink, lemon juice…I guess that’s it. BUT the cake is extremely moist and not overly sour, which I like. And by adding the lemon juice in a separate mix before the milk, the batter doesn’t curdle.

What’s also pretty cool is that the buttercream is quick and easy [that’s what she said] and uses King Arthur Flour’s Lemon Juice Powder, which stops the frosting from becoming too acidic and runny. It’s honestly one of the best baking purchases I’ve made to-date…though everything will now be covered in lemonade buttercream, because what the hell am I going to do with lemon juice powder? Get ready for a beautiful blend of cavities and diabetes, friends of mine.

Another plus? This cake was incredibly easy to make. In fact, I made it while also watching Beverly Hills Cop and crushing some watermelon beer…because nothing says avoiding heat stroke in the summer like watching 80s movies in a pink cupcake apron while drinking $20 4-pack specialty brews. I would ask if this is just me, but I know it’s everyone. Right guys…right? 😉

pinklemon2[Makes around 6-7 double layered mini cakes or one double layered 8″ or 9″ cake. To make them mini cakes, use your biscuit cutter to cut out the rounds from 9″ cakes.]

Equipment:

  • Electric or stand mixer
  • (2) 8″ or 9″ round cake pans
  • Round biscuit cutter (optional; but you’ll need one if you want to make these tiny cakes. I got mine here.)
  • Paper rounds for your tiny cakes (optional; I got mine here.)
  • One small and one large star piping tip, and pastry bags (optional)

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbl. cake enhancer (optional. Find here at KAF-it makes cakes stay fresher, longer. I know that sounds like a commercial. I can’t help it.)
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbl.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • Red or pink soft gel paste food coloring (I used a soft pink)

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbl.) unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbl. meringue powder (optional and for stability)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice powder (available here)
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, SIFTED!
  • 2-3 Tbl. milk
  • Yellow soft gel paste food coloring (optional)

Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour your 2 pans. Line the bottom of your pans with parchment. Mix together the dry ingredients. Mix in the butter until evenly crumbly-about 3-4 min.

Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating and scraping the bowl after each addition.

Add the lemon juice and beat to mix thoroughly. Add the milk and beat to mix thoroughly. Stir in the food coloring by drop until your desired shade is reached.

Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake 25-35 min., until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 min., then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Beat together the butter, salt, and meringue powder until butter is thoroughly whipped and almost white in color. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

Buttercream beauty [*Note: The little edible lemon sugar decorations are also from KAF and you can find them here.]

pinklemon

Pretty ladies

pinklemon4

White Cake with White Chocolate and Peppermint Buttercream

Happy New Year! I always seem to forget that just because the holidays are over it doesn’t mean I can go back to wearing skirts and tanks. So, even though it isn’t technically Christmas anymore, the snow on the ground, my short-circuiting space heater, and my super sexy thermal underwear all revealed to me that it’s still okay to make a white cake for winter.

Let it snow.

winterEarly morning wilderness treks with Beau. Clearly, I’m still 5 years old and throwing snow balls at my poor dog.

me_chienThis cake was inspired by Southern Living‘s “A Very Southern Christmas” issue, which highlights cake contest winners. This year’s winner was a white cake with white frosting that had little fondant snowflakes as decorations.

And while the cake was beautiful, sometimes Southern Living‘s recipes are wonky, so I decided not to put my family through a potentially disastrous culinary experiment and made a tried-and-true white cake with my white chocolate ganache buttercream frosting. What makes this cake a smidge more wintery is the layers of white chocolate peppermint frosting between the 8″ rounds [done with a dash of peppermint extract].

It only took about 4 hours total to make this cake…so, between the short time needed, having the oven on for warmth, and the extra insulating layers this cake is sure to add to your body, how could you go wrong?

*Sidenote: Best part of the season? Winterizing your body. Happy 2013 non-dieting, everyone 😉

P1040624[White cake recipe can be found here from Wedding Cakes for You. Makes the three 8″ x 2″ deep shown in the photos]

White chocolate ganache/peppermint buttercream frosting [*Note: This makes enough for the filling and frosting of the cake. It’s an extremely light and not-too-sweet frosting].

Equipment:

  • Electric mixer
  • Double boiler or microwave
  • Sifter

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, rm. temp.
  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Wilton’s white icing coloring [optional]

Chop the chocolate and melt with the heavy cream in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. Let cool to rm. temp., about 30 min., stirring occasionally.

Beat the butter and 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar in a large bowl at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, alternating with the milk and beating at low speed after each addition. Add MOST of the white chocolate ganache [I always find I need only about 3/4 of it] and beat on med-high speed until it reaches a spreading consistency.

This is where I add Wilton’s white icing coloring, just because most buttercreams tend to be a bit beige in color and I wanted this cake to be extremely white. Just add however much you want and STIR in to make sure all of the coloring is incorporated.

Scoop out about a cup of frosting and place in a small bowl. Stir in the peppermint extract. Use this frosting to go between the layers of the cake.

whitecake7Use the rest of the frosting to coat the outside of the cake.

*Note: Sometimes getting a very smooth-looking surface on buttercream cakes can be tough. An easy trick is to put the frosted cake in the fridge for a few hours until the buttercream hardens, then take it out and smooth the ridges in the frosting with a heated spatula. To heat the spatula, dip it in very hot water, shake off the excess water, then use to smooth the cake. Dab up any excess water with a paper towel. I like to move vertically over the ridges, as this make the smoothing easier.

whitecakeThe decorations were made using gum paste and edible white flakes and sprinkles

whitecake5I used aspic cutters to make the shapes

whitecake6Frosty

whitecake4

Halloween Baby Carrot Cake

The best way to describe this cake is by relating the conversation I had with my cab driver:

Cabbie: “Is that…is that a baby Halloween?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Cabbie: “Like, is it, um…is it both a baby and a Halloween cake?”

Me: “Why yes. Yes it is.”

It all started when my coworker, Denny, decided that he was going to devote his life to the love, and celebration of, Halloween. Then he decided he wanted to be a dad and combine his love of both with a ghost- and goblin-themed nursery. And then he chose to quit his job as my official office bestie to move to more non-profit pastures. Or, you know, something like that.

An editorial sketch for the editorial dream team

So what better way to say goodbye then with a combo daddy shower cake/Halloween cake? And sure, it’s creepy as hell, but after 4 1/2 years of finding fake spiders dangling in front of my face and rubber rats under my chair, I thought it was only fair to return the favor by mildly implying that his spooky baby is soon-to-be devoured by flesh-eating spiders.

Who’s laughing now?! [Mumbles to herself while crying in utter isolation in the large editorial office]

Everyone came out for Denny’s going-away, even our fab former summer slave, Raishay

The cake was going to be red velvet, until I actually bothered to find out what Denny’s favorite kind of cake was, which turned out to be carrot. What’s different about this carrot cake is that the carrots are cooked and puréed instead of shredded. The frosting is maple cream cheese [recipes below].

So good luck out there, #2. When I meet your little one I promise not to let him watch The Shining until he’s at least potty trained 😉

[Makes (2) 8″ or (2) 9″ cakes. Adapted from Lorelie Carvey.]

Equipment:

  • Blender or food processor
  • Stand or electric mixer

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbl. baking soda
  • 1 Tbl. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups corn oil [*Note: You can go veggie, but corn goes better with the flavoring for this cake]
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced/minced walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 lbs. carrots [I used baby carrots]
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups crushed and drained pineapple

[*Note: You can do this first step the night before] Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cover, cooking approximately 20 min. until carrots are tender. Drain carrots and turn off heat, leaving enough water in the bottom of the pot to cover the surface. Add the 1/2 cup butter and 2/3 cup brown sugar, putting the heat back on low if the butter doesn’t melt all the way. Stir. Place carrots back in the pot and let soak, covered and stirring a couple of times, about 20 min. Put carrots in a large blender or food processor and purée [you might need to do this in 2 batches, and if the carrots need more liquid to purée effectively, add a bit of the butter/sugar mix from the pot]. Ideally, you’ll want to have about 2 2/3 cups of purée.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease, flour, and parchment-line the bottom of your pans.

Mix together all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Add oil, eggs and vanilla, and beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple of times. [*Note: The “batter” will be extremely thick at this point. This is normal and will moisten when the other ingredients are added]

Fold in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Smooth the batter level. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or just until the tops are springy or a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Then invert onto racks.

You can find the cream cheese frosting in this post. To make it maple-flavored, I used this maple extract from KAF.

The centerpiece was this baby, made out of gum paste. There’s a mold you can find online by First Impressions called Small Baby 1. You can find it here. You can also watch videos on how to make this baby with your mold here [part 1] and here [part 2]. I put a little diaper on him because, well, it’s the office.

Also in focus was the black baby pram, which you can learn how to make here.

Lots of angles

I made many of the decorations using silicone molds that you can find on Etsy. The pumpkins were modeling chocolate tinted orange.

All set for the office

Destroyed

Princess Heart Cake with Rainbow and Homemade Confetti Cake

Recently I was asked to make a heart cake for a 3-year-old little princess whose party consisted of “so many people I wouldn’t know how to count.” I was asked to make the bottom tier a very large square and the top two tiers large hearts. I was also asked to make the cake look like these decorations:

Okay, so one 16x16x3 square with (1) 12×3 heart and (1) 8×3 heart coming up, I said with a smile, while inwardly dying a bit inside. The amount of batter it would take to even fill up the bottom tier had my mind trying to process mathematical calculations I hadn’t contemplated since my SAT days.

Princess’ Mom: “Oh, and I’d like the bottom and top tier to be rainbow, with the middle confetti. Think you could do that?”

Me: “Sure, of course!” [Screams inside with sheer panic]. Now not only would I need about 5 gallons of batter, it had to be divvied up evenly into the colors of the rainbow. And confetti cake from scratch? Did that even exist? [It does, and I’ll provide the recipe below]

“Meris,” said my friend, Shana, her super logical mind asking a question my artistic, happy-go-lucky mind was too flighty to process, “Is a pan that size even going to fit in your tiny oven?”

Oh, well…crap.

Turns out it did, barely, but the fridge? That was a whole other issue. Let’s just say that over the course of 2 days many cake layers played fridge musical chairs.

But hey, all little princesses deserve beautiful cakes. So with a little research, courageous balls of steel, ordering really weird things like glucose from Amazon, and one severely overworked stand mixer, it all came together over the course of a week.

And truth be told, making the cakes of my childhood dreams was a lot of fun, especially since Christina Tosi of Momofuku’s Milk Bar has the perfect recipe for confetti cake and white, creamy frosting.

Happy birthday, little lady. I hope your birthday cookout was all the pink, rainbow, confetti blowout your 3-year-old mind couldn’t possibly handle 😉

Homemade Confetti Birthday Cake

[Makes enough batter for 1 quarter sheet pan cake. For a 12×3 I multiplied this recipe by 3]

Equipment:

  • Stand mixer
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick [4 Tbl.] salted butter at rm. temp.
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbl. tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil [do not sub this oil for veggie oil. It’s the grapeseed flavor that makes the cake taste like confetti-trust me on this]
  • 2 tsp. clear vanilla extract [same rule applies for clear vanilla as the grapeseed oil]
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles + 2 Tbl. rainbow sprinkles

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your baking pan [I use Wilton’s cake release] and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine the butter, shortening, and both sugars in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 min. Scrape down sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2-3 min. Scrape down sides of the bowl again.

On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 min, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original butter and sugar mix, and completely homogenous. *Note: Don’t rush the process. You’re forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles. Mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down sides of the bowl again.

Using a spatula, spread the cake batter into the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbl. sprinkles over the top of the batter.

Bake for 30-35 min. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense. At 30 min, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for another 3-5 min. if it doesn’t pass these tests.

Take cake out of oven and cool on a wire rack. Cake keeps, stored in the fridge, covered in frosting or wrapped in plastic wrap 5 days.

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow cake is made taking a basic white cake mix and then coloring it with the six colors of the rainbow: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

Here’s the recipe for a basic white cake [makes (2) 8”, (1) 9” or 24 cupcakes. I multiplied this recipe by 6 for the 16x16x3]:

Equipment:

  • Stand or electric mixer
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 Tbl. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, rm temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour your pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter until soft and smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down sides. On low, alternate adding flour and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in vanilla extract.

In another bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir in a 1/2 cup of whites into the batter, then fold in the rest in several additions.

Now, most people make rainbow cakes by making thin sheet cakes out of each of the 6 colors, but since I couldn’t do that with the tiers, I divided the batter evenly into 6 bowls, coloring each a separate color.

After making the 6 colors, I would spread one of the bottom [purple] then covered that layer with the next [blue] and so on until red was the final color. The good news is, the batter is thick enough that you can spread the batter in layers without worrying that they’re going to run together.

Divide batter between pans and smooth. Bake 30-35 min.

Birthday Cake/ Homemade Store-Bought White Frosting

[Makes about 2 cups of frosting]

Equipment

  • Stand mixer

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick [8 Tbl.] salted butter, rm. temp.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 Tbl. glucose
  • 1 Tbl. corn syrup
  • 1 Tbl. clear vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • Pinch of citric acid [I tried this and thought it tasted horrible so I cut this out of my recipe]

Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 min., until the mix is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.

With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Crank mixer up to medium-high and beat 2-3 min., until the mix is silky smooth and a glossy white. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid [optional!] and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Crank speed back to medium-high and beat for 2-3 min., until you have a brilliant white, super smooth frosting. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Side view

Back

Front and side designs

Up close. These were made using stencils and royal icing tinted black

The cake topper is pretty common online and can be found here

Purple Flowers and Hearts Cake

When you’re constantly baking you know there’s always a best of times and a worst of times. I’ve been fairly lucky lately, having some complicated things turn out easy-peasy, but as my friend told me this week: “It’s your turn for bad luck.” Sometimes, it’s the seemingly- easy things that make you want to take a fully-clothed shower at 2 in the morning.

This cake was interesting from the start. A friend of a friend requested a purple birthday cake. Simple enough. But she also wanted all the layers lemon-chocolate marble.

Me: “So, just to double-check, it’s lemon-chocolate marble.”

T: “Yes.”

Okay, fair enough. To each his seemingly heinous combination own. Then, when I asked her what kind of decorations she liked/what kind of person she’d describe herself as to help me decide the design, T told me: “I’m not a girly girl by any means. But I LOVE hearts, flowers and butterflies.”

So far, this cake was starting out to be one for The Twilight Zone. But hey, who am I to argue? So hearts, flowers, and marble adventure it was.

Now, I’ve never marbled anything in my life, but after doing 5 min. of research, it seemed simple enough and I’ll detail how to do this below. To my delight, the marbling came out perfectly, as did the coat of purple cream cheese frosting

.

But, just when I thought I’d become a cake master, the universe had an awesome way of bestowing some humility. It took me 6 tries (!) to cover the cake with the purple fondant [something I’ve done many times before with only minimal problems] and by the time I was done, because of the unwilling-to-harden consistency of the cream cheese frosting, the fondant was half fondant half cream cheese–unable to hold together after rolling and full of pockets and dimples. I also had to re-ice the cake 3 times with some leftover frosting I had saved [thank god].

Fan-tas-tic. I quickly had 2 beers and read a trashy magazine. Sometimes, you just have to walk away.

As it turns out, if you leave the crap fondant out to dry, it looks a lot better, so the cake wasn’t a complete waste and turned out to be somewhat pretty. But here are some hints in case you’re ever in  the same situation:

  • 1. Make sure you have enough fondant to cover your cake–get a lot more than you think you might need. Stretching fondant too thin will cause all kinds of stretch marks and cracks.
  • 2. If you’re worried you might need to re-cover the cake multiple times, work with a frosting that hardens in the fridge, like buttercream. Cream cheese is fine, but it only crusts, not hardens.
  • 3. Always have extra decorations on-hand in case you need to cover blemishes.
  • 4. If you’re really f-ed, have some alcohol on hand. It won’t help the cake, but it will help you.

With all said and done, the cake turned out just fine: T loved it, the flowers turned out beautifully, and my liver is destroyed. All-in-all a great learning experience I hope to never have again 😉

I thought I’d give a brief pic tutorial on what’s involved in making a cake:

When marbling, it’s best to use two cake recipes with similar baking times and temps., such as 350 degrees for 45 min. When in doubt, average out the times and temps and keep checking with a toothpick.

While both of my cake batters were the same baking times and temps, the consistencies were very different [unlike me, you should try to have similar consistency batters]. But it still worked out okay.

To marble, alternate scoops of one batter and the other. Then, cover scoop of A with scoop of B and scoop of B with scoop of A for the next round.

I did three total layers, alternating batters. With a knife inserted all the way through the batter, swirl in an up-and-down pattern. Then, swirl in a left-to-right pattern. The end result looked good.

Here’s the recipe for the cream cheese frosting, taken from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking Fifth Edition. [I doubled the recipe to cover my three-tier 8″ round cakes and then saved the leftover for potential tweaks.]

Equipment:

  • Stand or handheld electric mixer

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 lb. 4 oz. sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract [I used the clear kind]

*Note: You can also add 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, a little grated lemon or orange zest and orange or lemon juice to thin. If you need to thin the frosting and want to keep it vanilla-like, use cream or milk instead of citrus.

Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until well-blended. Add the vanilla and blend at medium speed. Then mix at high speed until light and fluffy.

I tinted the frosting with some purple gel coloring.

I wanted the flowers to be a mix of things and couldn’t really find any video tutorials on how to make carnations or daffodils, so I winged it, and they’re a little interpretive, but still usable 😉

Using food-safe petal powders make flowers look almost real. I dry my flowers for a couple of days on egg cartons.

Aaaaaand after 6 tries, the fondant is on and it’s time to decorate.

Wild things

I dyed these gum paste flowers different hues of purple, ranging from fuchsia to royal purple. Using a bright blue petal powder can work well with purple.

Front and back

Ocean Cake, Flower Cupcakes, and a little Southern Hospitality

Whew, lord, it’s been a busy week! And it all started with a bottomless mimosa brunch in 96 degree weather at Southern Hospitality [I like to call it Southern Ho’], a place that’s known for its tasty brunch offerings like fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, and bacon bloody Marys.

Bitches be brunchin’ [Shana, Me, Sarah, and Shaunique]

Scallion Mac & Cheese

Fried Chicken Eggs Benedict

Snooty faces at Southern Ho’

Guuuuuurl

Then, tipsy and barefoot, it was time to bake some cakes and color some gum paste. I’m truly proud of myself for not slicing off a finger or just face-planting in a pile of cocoa…#I’llNeverBeAnAdult 😉

I was asked to make some cupcakes for my coworker who had family coming into town for a party. She said to “make it summery and flowery” and something with strawberry. I also happen to know that this coworker loves chocolate, so I made some chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting, and some strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting. [To see the recipe for the strawberry cupcakes and strawberry frosting, see here, though I did have to stiffen up the strawberry frosting to get it to hold its shape for these cupcakes. For the chocolate cupcakes, see here. I’ll discuss the chocolate frosting in greater detail below.]

Chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting.

Strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

The big rose flowers were made with gum paste.

The tops of the other cupcakes are rolled fondant [to make sure people still got icing, though, I cored out the center of these cupcakes and filled with frosting, then topped with fondant].

I was also asked to make a cake for one of my favorite friend’s sister, who supposedly likes to look at my blog…and for that, I have to give Raishay’s sister, Rachel, a big shout out: thank you, lady, for appreciating my attempts at cake decorating and for, as pretty Raishay put it, having “enough faith to let you decorate however you want…as long as it’s blue.”  😉 Rachel also asked that the cakes be chocolate and the frosting chocolate hazelnut.

Raishay seemed interested in my new photo editing app’s abilities, so I gave us a super classy disco rainbow star [Raishay, me]

Denny makes fun of me for my instagram-esque photos, so he got zapped by my new app [Denny, Raishay]

I was hesitant about the frosting, because, besides Nutella, which is extremely unstable for frosting [see here], I didn’t really know how to make frosting hazelnut. However, after consulting my Milk cookbook, it seems that Hazelnut-Praline paste will do the trick–and it truly is a miracle worker! Here’s the recipe [makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or the ocean cake layers mentioned below]:

Equipment:

  • Double boiler
  • Electric mixer
  • Whisk

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 Tbl. heavy cream
  • 4 Tbl. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 (11 oz.) can Hazelnut-Praline paste
  • 1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbl. Frangelico liqueur

Melt chocolate, cream, and butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Then whisk in 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, then the Hazelnut paste. Using an electric mixer, beat in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, then the two cocoa powders, then the Frangelico. Ta-da!

I’ve been doing a lot of flowers and pink things lately, and as much as I love to be a girl, I welcomed the chance to do something less Monet and more Van Gogh [I know I sound lofty, but go with me here]. I love all things sea, ocean, and water, so blue seemed like a great backdrop.

The bottom layer is (2) 7″ chocolate cake rounds, (1) 5″ and (1) 4″.

The blue starfish was made with colored modeling chocolate [to color, use candy coloring, not gel paste].

The decorations were made with fondant, edible dusts, and royal icing.

Thank you to all the wonderful friends and fam this week for good times and awesome support. Love you, guys 😉