February 28, 2011

Welcome Brayden James

Best wishes to the Reals on the upcoming arrival of Baby Brayden James!
Congrats to the entire Real - Jimenez family!


February 25, 2011

Lady Luck ~ Pin Up Girl Cake

My cousin, Chloe, asked me to make a Pin Up girl cake for a party she was having.   I made a double chocolate cake and filled it with fresh raspberry puree, topped with vanilla buttercream in HOT PINK!

Everything on this cake is edible... even the diamonds.  Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the shoes being made because I wasn't sure they would work out.  I made the zebra print the same way I made my camo back in July.


February 22, 2011

Sweet SugarBelle

Ever have trouble mixing colors for frosting & fondants?  Take a look at SugarBelle's blog post today!! She made a fabulous color chart for a guideline on mixing your colors!  Isn't it fabulous!! 


February 14, 2011

Valentine Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream

Last of the Valentine sweets...  Chocolate cupcakes topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream:

5 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 lbs confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract & the flavor is amazing!)

In a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the salt, water & vanilla.  Gradually add sifted powder sugar until fluffy.   Easy as that.. and so much better tasting than store bought.


French Macaroons for a sweet friend

My "to do" baking list is so long and sometimes it's hard to pick which recipe to try.  This weekend I tackled one that's been in the pile for well over a year, if not two years. Due to certain diet restrictions (Gluten free) it was a perfect recipe for one person I had in mind (I won't name her but she knows who she is) for this recipe. She goes above & beyond for her friends + family on a daily basis and is one of the sweetest people I know.

Last week I watched a "How to" video on Sprinkle Bakes and thought I can do this! I made her recipe sans cayenne powder.  What I didn't realize was how fragile the shells are once you take them out of the oven. Juls and I taste tested all the broken shells.  I made 24 shells so I could make a dozen macaroons.. I ended up with 5 unbroken.  ;( Better luck next time, right? 

I filled my macaroons with left over chocolate buttercream and boxed them up...all 5 of them.

I think I sifted & folded more than I ever have for any recipe yesterday but it just proved to be totally worth it when I got this email from the sweet recipient...."just tried one, best ever!!!!!! OMG it taste sooo good!" 

Hope your Valentine's Day is filled with LOVE & lots of sweets!

Cayenne Pepper Macarons (copied from Sprinkle Bakes)

Makes about 14 sandwich cookies

3/4 cup almond flour - I like Hodgson Mill
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 cup extra fine sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Sift almond flour and confectioners' sugar together 2-3 times. Set aside.
Whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Reduce speed and gradually add extra fine sugar.  Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
Sift flour mixture over whites with a fine sieve. Discard any lumps or coarse bits that remain.  Sift in cayenne pepper.
If coloring the batter, place a bit of gel food coloring on the end of a rubber spatula before you begin folding the mixture with it.  Normally powdered food coloring is used, but a small amount of gel does not disturb the batter.  I would not recommend liquid food coloring.
Fold with a rubber spatula using short strokes at first.  The batter will be very stiff.  Use bigger folds once batter loosens.  When batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula in a thick ribbon.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag.  Pipe 1 or 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Let piped macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust.
Decrease temperature to 325 just before placing the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Note: After first batch has baked, oven temp should be increased to 375 then decreased to 325 just before the 2nd baking sheet goes in.

Chocolate ganache filling
4.5 oz. chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate and place in a small bowl.  Heat cream on the stove-top until very hot but not boiling; pour over chocolate.  Mix until smooth.  Refrigerate until ganache is of spreading consistency.  Place a small spoonful of chocolate on one shell and top with a same-sized macaron shell.


February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!
I saw Sweetopia make really cute cupcake decorations with royal icing & had to try it! Once I got the hang of how to make "blobs" out of royal, they worked up very fast.   I made triple chocolate cupcakes and added mini chips to the top..then topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream.


Valentine Cookies.. Mini Chocolate Chip Cut Out cookies

I am in love with Sweet Sugar Belle . Callye aka Sweet Sugar Belle makes the most amazing cookies..one truly talented lady!   In my general blog stalking fashion I stumbled on her "Mini Chocolate Chip Cut Out cookie" recipe and could not wait to mix up my own batch. It made about 2 dozen 3" cookies.  The mini chip allows the cookies to bake with a flat surface versus a big chip that would make the cookie bumpy for royal icing decorating. I used sharp metal cutters (copper) as she suggested. I don't think plastic cutters would have worked to cut through any chips. I also made standard cut out cookies (no chill recipe).  The recipe is below but please be sure to check out SugarBelle's blog, it is fabulous!  Oh and I so want her cookie cutter collection but we'd have to move because I do not have that much space in our small house!
If you haven't tried Kuhn Rikon decorating bottles, you should.. I love mine!
(Note: a year later I found that I like CK Squeeze bottles even more!!)

Sugarbakers’ Chocolate Mini-Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour {Sugarbelle suggests to try 2 cups first, and add more flour if it seems too sticky)
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cup semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips

Cream together the butter, granulated sugar & light-brown sugar. Add the vanilla and egg yolk. Sift the flour and salt.  Add the flour, one cup at a time until time until mixed.  The recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups but I only used 2 cups.  Once the flour and butter mixture are completely mixed, add the mini chips by hand so they don't get broken up.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350°.   When the 30 minutes is up, roll out your cookies on lightly floured surface (I use powder sugar instead of flour).  Bake for 10-12 minutes.


February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day sneak peak

Here's what I've been working on over the last day or so:
  - Mini Chocolate Chip cut out cookie recipe from SweetSugarBelle ... it's so yummy!
  - Royal Icing cupcake toppers (Thanks Sweetopia for the idea)

Pipe a bunch of hearts on wax or parchment paper and let them dry overnight

Pipe a bunch of circles and let them dry overnight
add pixie/disco dust to them

once dry, pull off the paper and add some royal and glue it
ontop of the circles

there you have it, the perfect cupcake topper

Make extra because they do tend to break easily

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