Monday, January 18, 2010

Split, Fill, and Ice

James and I started the Wilton cake decorating class at Micheal's on January 6th. The first class was okay. Here's a quick run down of what happened.
  • We met Linda, our instructor. 
  • There's only one other woman in our class; it's very small but I like it.
  • We went over the things we will be learning and Linda gave us the scoop on what we need and what's not really worth getting.
  • Linda gave us a homework assignment - make buttercream icing, make cake, bring in tools.
The second class was more interactive and we got our hands dirty---which is AWESOME of course!
  • Brought in the cake --I made white cake, James made yellow.
  • Took the cake out of the pan and leveled the cake off by cutting off the top
  • Cut the cake in the middle. Took off the top half and placed it aside for later.
  • Made a thick border around the cake to keep the filling in. Then filled it up with some icing.
  • Smoothed it out and replaced the top half of the cake, making sure it was straight.
  • Took the cake icer tip and iced around the cake and on top.
  • With a spatula and hot water, smoothed the icing and removed any excess.
  • Learned how to make the shell border around the circumference.
  • Linda gave us a small amount of homework for this week - make more icing, bring tips and decorating bags.
Finished products:
James's cake after he cut a perfect piece out for me to taste. Look at how smooth it is and James did it all by himself!! (Even though he was having a little bit of a hard time getting the icing to stick onto the sides of the cake) hahah.

This is my cake with a purple border. When James and I made the frosting, we didn't realize that the Crisco with butter flavoring would give a yellow tint. Next time we will stick to the original and hopefully it will come out whiter. The cake tasted really good. The buttercream was kind of strange. It was very, very sweet with a hint of salty taste to it. I put the recipe for the frosting below.

Linda's Special Wilton Buttercream Icing
2 cups solid white vegetable shortening (Crico --not butter flavored!!)
2 lbs pure cane confectioners' sugar (approximately 8 cups)
1 tsp of salt
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1 tbs clear Vanilla extract flavoring

Mix everything together (add vanilla last). It takes approx. 20 mins with a stand mixer or a little longer with a hand mixer. Start slow at a speed of 2 and then increase the speed to about 4. Mix until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together, occasionally scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure it is all being mixed. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

There you go! Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Its a wonderful life

2009 was a year of new discoveries, adventures, and starting fresh. James and I went on our first real vacation (to New Orleans), I finally graduated from college, I discovered my love for baking, and I got a new job that I love.

Right when things were looking a bit bleak in my life I discovered baking. Since then I feel like anytime I go to a store, all I'm doing is looking for an ingredient, tool, or cook book to help me improve. Here is a run down of the cakes I haven't had a chance to post on here because I made them before I started my blog.

The first one was the cake I made for my sister, Louie's, friend Nick. Nick always wears Nike shoes and has a lot of pairs. Louie, being the ambitious little sister that she is, decided that for our first real cake (she was my assistant), we were going to go all out and use fondant and make the shoe out of rice krispie treats. Surprisingly, it turned out wonderful. Not bad for a first timer. Nick really liked it too.

The next one I made for an employee from my aunt's job. She had finished college and had just got a job in her field so they wanted a cake. I think she was becoming a guidance councilor at an elementary school so I wanted to incorporate that into the cake. Plus it had a surprise interior.

Delicious rainbow cake


For my cousin's Laura's 25th birthday (we celebrated her 25th birthday on the 25th day of the month -- 25 on 25) I made some cupcakes with 25 butterflies on them. I set it up on a tower and made plenty of chocolate cupcakes (since she's a chocoholic).

 Then Halloween came along and I made some more cupcakes for my niece's class. I choose mini cupcakes for the since they're 4 year-olds. Plus instead of using any oil, I substituted it with applesauce it make it a little healthier for the kids. My niece, Angelina, was spidergirl for Halloween and she insisted that I make spider cupcakes. She got what she wanted.

After Halloween it was my grandmother's birthday. Ever since I was young my grandma has LOVED owls. I remember being in 4th grade art class and we were painting these thing wood scraps. I found one that was the perfect owl shape and I knew immediately who I'd give it too. I painted it and it looked so awesome. I remember being so proud of it. Then I gave it to her for her birthday or mother's day -- some holiday and she loved it too. I was so proud of myself. So when I found this idea in the Hello, Cupcake book (shown in an earlier post), I could not wait til it was her birthday. We had the whole family together for a surprise birthday party and this was our dessert.

After that, I got my first paying gig. Luz hired me to make cupcakes for her niece's and friend's birthdays. She asked me to make 4 penguin cupcakes and i think it was 16 panda bear ones. These ideas also came from Hello, Cupcake. These were fun to make and I also had the assistance of Louie to make these as well.

Finally, the latest cake I made was for New Years Eve. James and I went to a friend's house for a grown up New Years party. It was a bit low key as there were only 7 people there but we had a good time. We had amazing food (I'm still very impressed with the crab cakes) and played a fun game of Scatagories. James and I had made an angel food cake with strawberries and I must say that it was DELICIOUS! There was three layers of angel cake and between each layer was a thick layer of cool whip and the sweetest freshest strawberries you've ever tasted. Unfortunately the pictures I have of this doesn't really do it justice. Which just means that we will have to make it again so we can take some better pictures.

All in all a good year for baking. I'm looking forward to the next year. James and I are finally getting our own place (and my own kitchen)!! We will be taking a cake decorating class together soon. More experimenting with cakes and just trying to have a wonderful life.