Friday, October 21, 2011

Trick or Treat (Part 2)

Halloween can not be complete without a few scary goodies.

We first have our pretty I mean ghoulish cupcakes. I started with Halloween orange buttercream and swirled it on top of one of the cupcakes. Next is the white buttercream with black crystal sugar. (I make all of the colored sugar myself to match the designs.) Next is that scary spider web, and last but not least is the mummy. Oooo! They give me chills just talking about them.

Next up in the trio of spooktacular treats are the "Jack" Cake-pops. They are hard on the outside with a sweet squishy center just like "Jack" from the "Nightmare Before Christmas". They are put together using my yellow butter cake recipe and buttercream. They are dipped in white candy coating and decorated with a edible food marker. Obviously it is time to get some new edible food markers cause of course my black is running out!! Aren't they cute I mean scary!

And last but not least are the freaky skeleton mini cakes. Now these are CUTE! I got the idea from seeing these Skeleton Gingerbread Men Cookies made by Sara from Our Best Bites!! I saw them and thought what a clever idea it was to use a Gingerbread Man cookie cutter to make skeletons. Since I said that I was NOT going to make cookies this year, I decided to make them using my Gingerbread Men mini cake pan. HaHa!! They are so adorable I mean freaky! I used buttercream to pipe on the skeletons, but you could also use Royal Icing.

This trio of wonderful tasty goodies could also go together for a very chic black and white Halloween party. ("Lightbulb!")

I hope that this year everyone has fun while gathering with the other the ghouls and boys, and that you all receive more treats than tricks. Remember to stay safe and Happy Halloween!!

Thanks for reading and enjoy!!

Trick or Treat! (Part 1)

Hello, my pretties!! It's time again to start making those tasty treats for your Halloween get-together. Now for years my go to treat has been a decorated sugar cookie. I spend hours cutting and baking and then even longer mixing up different colors of frosting to decorate them with. And then about two weeks later, those cookies that haven't been given away are thrown in the trash. I had to figure out why. I tried to think back to all the times I made the cookies and my daughter and my husband did not eat them; every Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Christmas that cookies were thrown away. Then it came to me. I make decorated sugar cookies for every holiday that we celebrate. Maybe they are sick of them and want something different.

So I did just that. For the past few years I have not made sugar cookies except for my niece and nephews who appreciate them! Now at my house, I make other treats. This year everything centered around cake, because I knew it would all have been eaten before two weeks were over.

I started with my basic yellow butter cake. I filled and covered it with vanilla buttercream that had been colored orange. I dyed more of the same buttercream black and piped on a spooky tree that has Happy Halloween in the branches. I then made a small dot border around the whole cake in black.

I thank you for reading and stay tuned for Trick or Treat (part 2)!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Colorado Peach Cobbler!!

Colorado peaches are a must have during the summer. Everyone waits until this juicy delight can be found in the produce department of our grocery stores. I know it's peach season when people approach me and ask if I have made a Peach Cobbler yet. Well this year the first one to ask was my father-in-law. And yes, he was the first one to get one of my home-made Peach Cobblers!!
 This year the peaches were perfectly ripe and about as big as my fist (and I don't have small hands). These ones were about a half of a pound each. Yum! They almost didn't make it to a Cobbler!!
I always remember Cobblers being made with a double crust. I make my crust a little on the thicker side!

One thing that I tend to not like about some Cobblers is that you can't tell what the fruit is, because it is entirely to sweet. When people ask for suggestions on how to make a better Cobbler, I simply say, "Make sure you can taste the fruit!" Yes, dessert is usually sweet, but when people ask for a slice of Peach Cobbler they are wanting to taste peaches and not a bowl of sugar.

Also I have had questions on how to make the top crust "fancy". One way to do this is to make a lattice type or weave design. I always role out my crust between 2 pieces of wax paper. (This way I use less flour, it does not stick to my work space and it is much quicker to clean up.) I then use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut long strips of the crust. On a piece of wax paper slightly larger than the size of the top of the Cobbler, I start making my design. I first lay strips horizontally about an inch apart. I then weave a shorter strip vertically through starting at the top left hand side going over the first horizontal strip and then under the next until I have reached the bottom left corner. I then start the next strip opposite of how I started the previous. (If the first vertical weave is over the horizontal strip then the next one starts under the horizontal strip.) After I am completely done weaving the crusts strips I pick up the entire thing, wax paper on bottom, and flip it onto the top of the Cobbler and peal back the wax paper leaving the crust on the top. Another way of making a "fancy" top is to use small cookie cutters to make crust cutouts. Remember this can be used on Pies and Cobblers!

Why is my Cobbler shiney? A good tip for use on all Pies and Cobblers is to brush it with an egg wash just before it is baked in the oven. Do not let the egg wash puddle on the top of your baked good because when it is baked it will be a scrambled egg where the puddle was. Eww!

This is the recipe that I use on my baked goods including bread:
Egg Wash
1 whole egg
1 Tablespoon of water
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of sugar
Whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Paint on a thin layer to baked good with a pastry brush.

At my house, we love deep dish Peach Cobblers slightly warm with a large scoop or two of vanilla ice cream!! How do you like your Peach Cobbler?


Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!!

In Honor of our soldiers, today's celebration cake is an American flag. We are constantly reminded of how privileged we are to live in this country. All you have to do is pick up a newspaper or turn on your television, and you will know that we live in the best country in the world. I send a big THANK YOU to every soldier that has fought for this country and for the ones that will do so in the future.

This cake is 2 square layers of banana cake frosted and filled with almond buttercream. The whole cake was then smoothed (Viva method) and decorated with fondant accents to resemble an American flag. The border is royal blue Sixlets candy.

Thank you for looking and Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interesting Petal Technique!!

I spend a lot of my free time as possible researching decorating techniques. I love for my cakes to be different from the everyday. My biggest complement is when someone looks at a sugar art piece of mine and says, "How did you do that?" Back in March I was doing the usual research and came across a gorgeous picture of a technique that I had never seen before. I decided that I needed to dig a little deeper to find out how it was done. To my surprise I found a blog on Melissa Diamond's sight that showed this tutorial on how to do the technique. Now all I needed was an excuse to make a cake!!

Thank goodness for having a husband and daughter that sometimes crave sweets. ((WINK!!)) My husband said that he had a taste for a cake that had strawberry filling... (Air high five for him coming through for me!!) Of course, I told him that if he brought some ingredients home I could definitely make it. 

I started with 2 eight inch rounds of my vanilla butter cake. I wanted to use the strawberry filling in the middle of the two layers. I decided to add in a lemon filling since I had a sleeve of it sitting in the fridge that I needed to use up soon. I cut the 2 layers in half thus making 4 layers. I placed the first layer on the plate, dammed it with my tinted vanilla buttercream and filled it with the lemon filling. I then placed another layer of cake and repeated using the strawberry filling. I added the next layer and repeated using the lemon filling again. I then placed the top layer on. I crumb coated the whole cake, smoothing as much as possible. I then proceeded to use the petal technique on the sides of the cake. I used a round tip #8 by Wilton instead of the #12 that is used in the tutorial. It made my petals slightly smaller and I piped them closer together. 
 Also,  I decided to carry the design to the top of the cake and made a large flower. I started at the edge and pulled the icing toward the middle of the cake and repeated the same technique to spread it. and repeated until I reach the very middle of the cake. For the center of the flower I used the same tip and just made a large dot.

Thank you so much, Melissa for showing the world this tutorial. Please take a moment and visit her website to see all of the many things going on at This technique looks like it takes a while, but I think that I was finished with the entire cake in less time than it takes me to frost and smooth a basic buttercream cake! And believe me, it tastes as good as it looks!!

 Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this post, and I hope it gives you the courage try this technique and to maybe even come up with your own. Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."-Oscar Wilde

In honor of Mother's Day, I made special cupcakes for the Mommies in my life. I wanted to come up with something different that they could not find just anywhere. Just like them I wanted it to be something completely different yet similar to what I usually make. So far, they have gotten the "Mommy stamp of approval".
 The first special cupcake flavor I came up with was the S'more. When I think of hot weather I think of being by a fire, roasting marshmallows and making S'mores. This cupcake has the components of this fun time treat.

 The cake is a graham cracker cake that I created. Yes, it taste like a graham cracker. The next component is the chocolate. For this I decided to use a ganache made with a semi-sweet chocolate. The fire roasted marshmallow is made of Swiss meringue that is toasted oh so slightly on the tops. They are a little messy but taste wonderful.

The other flavors that I think of are a crisp and bright lemon and a smooth coconut. So I combined them. The cake is lemon. It is covered with a vanilla buttercream and then sprinkled with coconut flakes. This are not as messy but are equally delicious!!

I also wanted to do something different for the dish that they would be presented on. With not having a lot of money to buy creative gifts I decided to make them myself. And since everyone already knows they are getting some type of cake, I made cake plates to go with them. I am not good at drawing anything, but I think I did alright with the painting. My sister thought that I had used a pattern on them. (wink!!) These were all free hand.

I hope that all of the mothers out there had a wonderful day like I did!!

Thanks for looking. Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pot Of Gold Cupcakes

 Because of our Irish heritage, we always celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a traditional meal. That also means that if you don't wake up with green on, everyone will pinch you until you do. Needless to say I am always in green (and yes, underwear DOES count, LOL) St. Patrick's Day cupcakes are an example of some of the sweets that I make every year. This year I wanted to decorate them a little different. I decided to do little pots of gold.

I started off with my yellow cupcakes. Using an open star tip I cut out a whole in the center of each one. I then filled them with lemon pastry filling. So not only do they have a gold pot, but they also have a golden surprise on the inside.
 I then piped the green grass on each cupcake using the #233 (Wilton) grass tip. Some of them look like the wind is blowing!! That wasn't supposed to happen, LOL.
 I then pipped the black pot on top of the grass. I just used a #2A (Wilton) round tip. To pipe on the gold pieces I used a #4 (Wilton) round tip. Enjoy!!

Thanks for looking, and  
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my family's favorite things to eat are my homemade chocolate chip cookies. My husband knows that all he has to do is ask, and I will make them for him no matter what time of day it is. When I first started making them years ago, I had some trouble. I tried using the recipe that was on the bag of chocolate morsels, but noticed that once they cooled they would start to harden. I wanted them to actually stay as soft as possible and still be cooked in the middle. After many test batches (no one seemed to complain) I have come up with a recipe that works for me every time. Before I start making my dough I turn my oven on to the desired temperature in order to preheat it.
You have to start with room temperature butter or margarine. I test mine to see if it is ready by peeling back the wrapper and pressing my finger into it. If my finger can make an imprint without putting any pressure then it is ready. I have tried melting and cooling the butter and then mixing it with the other ingredients. This causes the cookies to just spread when they are cooking. Instead of having 12 individual cookies you end up with 1 or 2 large flat cookies. They still taste good, but they aren't pretty. 
 I then put my butter and sugars into my mixing bowl.
Using a hand mixer I cream these 3 ingredients on low speed. To make it easier on yourself and your mixer, you can use a table top mixer.
Don't forget to scrape the sides of your bowl so that everything gets evenly mixed together.
I then add in my eggs and vanilla and mix them on low speed until they are incoprated.
 Then I add all of the pre-measured dry ingredients, and mix the dough on low speed again. Don't forget to scrape the sides.
  This time your mixer is going to sound like it is working very hard, because you are working with a much stiffer dough. If you feel that the hand mixer can't handle the strain, the dough can be mixed by hand. Now you have a perfect cookie dough ready for any type of morsels and nuts. One of my favorite combinations is white chocolate morsels and tosted macadamia nuts. Mmmm!!
But, today all I have are milk chocolate morsels. I only use half of the 11.5 oz package, because I personally don't like the chocolate over powering the actual cookie dough. I mix in the morsels by hand until they are evenly distributed.
Now they are ready to be placed on the cookie sheet. I always use parchment paper to line my cookie sheets when making cookies. In order to have each cookie be the same size I use a small ice cream scoop. This one I found at my local craft store, and it was labled "Cookie Scooper".
Scoop out dough and smooth off the top by sliding the full scoop up the side of the bowl.
Place each scoop of dough about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. If they are placed to close they will just stick together. Now they are ready to be baked.
The cookies are done when they are golden brown. Allow them to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before removing them. If you try to take them off to soon they will fall apart.
Remove them from the cookie sheet and place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. A couple of them are missing, because they took a detour to my belly. Shh...don't judge!!
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Yield 36-48 cookies)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 of a 11.5 once bag of  chocolate morsels

Bake 9-11 minutes at 375' F.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


One of the most popular characters for young children is Elmo. Both girls and boys love Elmo and there are so many ideas out there for parties. I wanted to make this face 2-D so that it would not just be a flat picture. I put the eyes on first using a #2A Wilton pastry tip. I made a big dot for the white parts and then a smaller dot for the black part. This made it easier for me to judge where the fur should start. As a rule of thumb I always have a picture of what I am making beside me for reference while I am working. I then used the #234 Wilton tip (grass tip) for the fur. For the mouth I used a #2 Wilton tip. For the nose I used the same tip as the eyes. It is supposed to be orange but after sitting for a little while it started to get white streaks. I think the main reason for this was that the entire cake was dairy free. Therefore, in the "Buttercream" Frosting I used a buttery spread made with olive oil. I didn't want to use just shortening, because the taste is horrible. I think the white streaks are the oils separating from the sugar. It didn't happen with any other color but the orange though. The numbers and letters on the side where done with the #2 Wilton tip and the shell border was done with a large closed star tip. I should have used a smaller one because the border looks too large for the cake. No matter what I, as always, had a lot fun making this cake. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Thanks and enjoy!!