Monday, April 26, 2010

No more procrastination...that was my realization

I posted pictures in my baking photo album on facebook and I hadn't noticed how fast time has gone by. I had picture from January and February that I hadn't posted nor written about. Therefore, before we get to the more recent things I'm going to write about the baking experiences in order. If you knew me, you'd know that I like to have things neat and orderly so this fits.

My grandfather's birthday was January 27th. I believe he turned the big 79 and I always bring some goodies to my grandparents on their birthdays. I wanted it to be more on the healthy side but tasty as well of course.

I made him an angel food cake with real strawberries as the filling and sugar free whipped cream to top it off. I was going to make the angel cake from scratch but time was limited and I was working the day before so I settled for a box mix (I know...blasphemy!!) It was actually quite difficult to level and split the angel cake. It was so light and airy. However, in the end, even though it wasn't as nice underneath, the whipped cream hid any imperfection. I figured red royal icing would go well with the pure white of the whipped cream and it matched the strawberry decoration nicely. Using a paring knife I cut the strawberry and flared it out.

Needless to say it was a hit. Nutritious and delicious!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fly fly ladybug.

My aunt and uncle's church was having a bake sale. Of course they knew the right person to call to make a cake and cupcakes. It was a rough start but I devoted all of Saturday to finishing it all up. You should have seen the mess in the new kitchen. I got the idea from a decorating book my sister Louie got me for Christmas.

Planet Cake by Paris Cutler: A beginner's guide to decorating incredible cakes

There are plenty of really amazing ideas in here. Most of the cakes are beautiful because of the use of fondant (can anyone really ever go wrong using that stuff?) But for the cupcakes/cake I made I used buttercream mostly and just decorated a little with fondant. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the step by step process because my camera was packed in an unknown box and I couldnt find it, but here is the end result.

These little guys were right from the book. Just your regular vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream (dyed black with food coloring). I got the circle cutters in cascading sizes. I cut the red fondant with the biggest circle cutter and then cut out the head by using the same circle cutter. Then using a knife I cut the circle in half and placed it on the cupcake like shown. I then dyed white fondant black and used the smallest cuttero make the dots. I used raw spaghetti as the antennas and put little balls of the black fondant on the ends. Small white balls as the eyes. Once that dried then I put the black pupil using a food coloring marker.

The cake itself is a bit more simple. I wanted it to match the cupcakes. It is the chocolate mud cake from the Planet Cake book. Very tasty! I covered it in red, vanilla buttercream and smoothed it out. Then I cut out varying sized spots in black. Around the bottom edge I used a large circle tip for the border. This was simple but it went very well with the cupcakes.

Isn't it adorable?!?!?! I'm very happy about how it turned out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

and reality sets in

Remember when I said that I would write in my blog more often with the new year. Surprise surprise...I didn't. Was it because I was busy? Was I just being lazy? Did I just not have anything good enough to put on here? It was a little bit of all of the above. James and I stopped going to the cooking class. Things just got in the way -- work and life. I feel bad. It was kind of my fault we did the 2nd class. Even though the 1st was hard enough to always get to, I insisted we keep going. We both signed up and low and behold by the second class there was a cancellation due to the crazy snow storm we had then the next week James was in upstate New York for work and I was bartending an event. Then the next week the instructor canceled to go to Florida and the following week I was asked to bartend another event. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Anyway, enough with the excuses. My H.S. track coach always said "Excuses are for people who accomplish nothing". What was his name? Mr. Willams I think? Today I had a damn near nervous breakdown (again) because of baking. I wonder if that happens to anyone else? When I bake I need to have all the ingredients. Sure one or two insignificant ones can be missing but when I'm missing something big (like vanilla extract or the thingys for my electric hand mixer) I throw a hissy fit and act like a 3 year old little girl. I raise my voice, I get annoyed when people try to help, I get even more annoyed when people stop trying to help, and I normally just stomp away and slam a door. Hence what just happened not even a full hour ago. I'm suppose to make a cake and cupcakes for my aunt and uncle's bake sale for their church. I was looking forward to it. I thought I'd have plenty of time and we just moved into our new apartment so I've been dying to try out baking something in the new kitchen. I did not factor in the point that my birthday just passed and some of my friends would talk me into going out. There goes one of my precious days to work on the cake. I also have been filling up my days after work with running/shower/cooking food/unpacking/sleep. There goes another day or two. Then today I was going to start baking the cakes at last. James and I went to the store and got everything we needed. I got home thinking I had my vanilla...nope. I opened up my hand stirrer thingys. James tried to help...impossible.

Baking was suppose to be my way of letting go and relaxing. I guess it only works if I have all my ingredients and tools so it can go as smoothly as possible. Hopefully everything will be out of the boxes soon and once everything gets in order I will be able to breathe again. I never knew I was so OCD about this stuff. Tune in the next few days and I will post the picture of what I do (I still need to find my camera). Hopefully things will go better tomorrow when I try again. Until then....just breathe.