Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pink & Green Baby Shower

I love, love, love throwing parties and when I had the chance of doing my sister in law's baby shower I jumped at the chance.  I went back and forth deciding what I wanted to do and search high and low for just the right something but in the end I found nothing I liked enough so I created my own.  Everything from the baby shower invites to the banner with Baby Emma's name was custom designed. 

I will be posting tutorials for most of the items I made over the next couple days but here is an overview of the entire shower in all it's pink and green wonderfulness!
Advice Book for the Parents to be and Thanks You Cookies for the Guests.

Take Home Cookie Gifts for the Guests.

Lemon Sugar Cookies Shaped like Onesies with Pink and Green Royal Icing.

Custom Made Thank You Labels.
Dessert Table.

Dessert Table.
Custom Water Bottle Labels.
Vanilla Cupcake and Cake with Sweet Cream Buttercream Icing.

Ribbon Cake (just like the one I tried)

Cupcakes with White Sugar Pearls
Veggies and Dip.

Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread.
Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce.
Home made Mac and Cheese with a Toppings Bar.

Food Table.

Banner with the Baby's Name.
Home Made Pom Poms.

Hat Boxes Painted to Match the Color Scheme.
Custom Cake Stands. This one is 6 inches.

This Cake Stand is 8 inches.
This Cake Stand is 10 inches.

Considering I planned this baby shower 1000 miles away and had to ship everything I am so happy with how it turned out. 
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

When the parents are away...

the kids dog will play.  At least it was in our cause tonight.  My husband and I dropped the kidlets off at the inlaws for the night.  Figuring the dog was safe and sound in her crate we grabbed dinner and a movie.  This was the sight that greeted us when we returned home. 
See that red and black crate in the upper left corner of the picture.  She broke the zipper and pushed her way out.  They she decided the room was in no way festive enough so my ultra crafty puppy make home made confettii from a ream of copy paper.  Then because white wasn't her thing she peed on it to make it yellow.  BUT we told her before we left to not eat her doggie bed and I can happily say that she left the bed alone.  Guess next time we need to say "stay in the crate, don't destroy the room and don't eat the bed!"

It is a good thing she's so stinking cute!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Trial and Error

I've learned a few things in life; how to tie my shoes, how to french braid, how to drive a stick but when it comes to baking I like to fly by the seat of my pants.  Now grated most of the time I land perfectly on my feet but occasionally I land in the belly flop position shaking my head going what happened?  Thankfully I am learning from my mistakes lessons and not jumping so wildly before wondering if it will work. 


This beautiful cake I made this week looks absolutely scrumptious!

Just look at it.  All that creamy, pink icing piled up the sides. 

With all those moist, mouth watering layers of cake tucked inside that dreamy shell of icing. 

Who could resist the sirens call of this cake.  No one...until you taste it.  BLECH!  The cake was great, the icing tasted like Crisco.  No joke, it tasted like Crisco and the funny part...there isn't a lick of Crisco in the entire batch of icing!  I had attempted to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream and followed the directions step-by-step.  The consistency was great but the taste...was not good at all.  So in the trash it went and I wiped up another cake using my traditional, never fail, always tastes good buttercream. 

So lesson learned that sometimes trial runs on food are a good thing before serving to your guests.  I know I am glad I did a practice cake for the baby shower next weekend!

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Pretty Pink Ribbons

I am in the process of planning a baby shower for my sister in law Katie.  Now this isn't your run of the mill baby shower because let's be honest...I don't do anything run of the mill.  After spending weeks custom designing every aspect of this shower my attention has finally turned to the food and I figure let's start with my favorite part...dessert!

I knew I wanted the cake to be cute, girly, sweet, pretty, dainty and just plain fun.  After seeing pictures after pictures of ribbon cakes I had to try my hand at it.

I started with a plain white cake batter from this I was able to make 3 six inch cakes all in different colors.  I wanted to keep mine in the pink color spectrum but you could do any three colors.  I divided the batter into 3 equal parts; leaving 1 part white, 1 part had 1 drop of coloring and the last part had 2 drops of coloring. 

I trimmed the tops off of each cake so that they would have a smooth, flat surface (if you eat the scraps no one will know they existed and the calories don't count.  At least that is what I tell myself).   Then I cut each six inch cake in half so that I would have a six layer cake. 

Starting with the darkest color I assembled the cake.

One layer...

at a time.


All six layers were stacked.  A thin crumb coat finished it off.

Phew, mission assemble the cake is done.  Now onto mission decorate the cake.  For this I used a Wilson #104 tip (a.k.a. rose tip).  As you can see there is a wider opening (bottom) on one side and a narrower opening (top) on the other.  (Please ignore my alien hand.  I know it looks like I have no fingers and my arm ends in a piping bag hand.  I promise that is not the case.)

To make the ribbons on the side of the cake you are going to hold the piping bag pointing straight down with the wider opening against the cake and the narrower opening closest to you.

Then gently apply pressure to the bag moving it back and forth so the icing piles up on itself.  Keep doing this until you have reached the top of the cake.  Then repeat all the way around the cake.

Some rows are going to be better than others but thankfully this is not a have to be precise design. 

The finished cake is so frilly and sweet and cute and delicate and girly but what takes this already cute cake over the top is the inside.

I love how the layers go from darker pink to white.  This screams baby girl baby shower but you could easily switch it up with blue or do both for a gender unknown baby shower. 

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coffee and Cream Cupcakes

I love me some coffee with cream but rarely drink it in the summer because well it it hot and so am I.  Here is the next best thing to a steaming cup o'joe.  The cupcakes are coffee flavored and the icing is a nice sweet cream flavor, definitely knock your socks off worthy.

To start preheat your oven to 350.  Cream 1 1/2 sticks UNsalted butter with 1 1/4 cups sugar.  Add 2eggs plus the whites of 1 egg slowly and mix well.  Mix in 2 teaspoons vanilla and 3/4 teaspoon salt.  Slowly add 3/4 cup of cool coffee.  Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa.  Mix very well.  Now add 1 3/4 cups flour slowly.  Lastly add 2 tsp baking powder.  This will make 24 cupcakes.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done.  Do NOT over bake because if these start to burn in the slightest they will taste rancid. 

To make the Sweet Cream Icing start by creaming 3/4 cup UNsalted butter with 1/2 cup Crisco.  Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Mix in 1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar.  This will get THICK.  Add 1 tablespoon of cream at a time.  I used about 3 tablespoons. 

To finish cupcakes I dropped a dollop of icing on the cupcake.  No spreading, no piping, no fuss.  I wanted part of the cupcake to be seen around the edges.  Let me say that these are too good.  I mean could sit down and eat the how batch good.  These are the ones you make and eat a couple then give away for fear of eating the rest.  So this summer when it is hotter than Hades our there have a "cup"cake of Coffee & Cream. 

Coffee Cupcakes

3/4c UNsalted butter (room temp)
1 1/4c sugar
2 eggs plus whites of 1 egg
2tsp. vanilla
3/4c coffee (cooled)
2tb cocoa
3/4tsp salt
2tsp baking powder
1 3/4c flour.

Cream butter and sugar.  Slowly add eggs and mix well.  Add vanilla and cooled coffee.  Mix in cocoa and baking powder.  Slowly add flour until well mixed.  Spoon into lined cupcake pans and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  Let Cool.

Sweet Cream Icing

3/4c UNsalted butter (room temp)
1/2c Crisco
1lb. Powdered Sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbl cream

Cream butter and Crisco.  Mix in vanilla.  Slowly add powdered sugar until all incorporated.  This will be thick.  Add cream 1 tbl at a time.  Dollop on top of coffee cupcakes.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate Pie

My husband will eat just about anything I make but if I really want to make him happy I make pie. He loves him some g-o-o-o-o-o p-a-a-a-a-a (good pie). Chocolate Pie is his absolute favorite and if I made it often he would probably turn into one...no, I am serious...he really would!

To start pre-bake your pie crust. You can use the easy stuff that comes already done at the store or you can make your own. Usually I make my own, today I cheated and used the ready made stuff. Remember to prick your crust well or you will have a nuclear mushroom crust in your oven (don't ask how I know this). Once the crust is golden brown and cooling you can start the filling. Basically it is a chocolate pudding filling. Whisk together 3 cups of sugar, 6 tablespoons cocoa, 3 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups milk. Once this is mixed put bowl on top of a pot of boiling water (homemade double boiler). Stir mixture until it gets really hot. While this is heating separate the yolks from 4 eggs and beat lightly. Slowly whisk 1 cup of near boiling mixture to the eggs. You are tempering these so add the HOT mixture slowly or you will have scrambled eggs. Once you have added the 1 cup of hot mixture to your eggs you can then add that back into the hot mixture. This is the hard part, ready...mix this mixture every couple of minutes until thick. See hard...I know. Think yogurt thickness. That is what you are aiming for. Once it has reached the desired thickness remove from double boiler and stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons butter. This set is important, probably the most important step...strain your hot chocolate mixture before you pour it into your pie crust. Trust me, you don't want to skip this and realize a little of the eggs scrambled...can we say EWWW! Pour the strained chocolate mixture into your pie crusts and let set a couple hours. Once cool refrigerate. My husband grabs a slice every time he passes the fridge. You could put meringue on top but he like it simple and chocolate. This recipe makes 2 pies and if you value your waist line you will gift one to a neighbor, friend, anyone just so long as it isn't in your house to eat!

Chocolate Pie

Prebake your pie crust and let cool.

3c sugar
6tbsp cocoa
3tbsp flour
3tbsp cornstarch
1tsp salt
4 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
4c milk
2tbsp butter
1tbsp vanilla.

Whisk dry ingredients with 4c milk. Place on a double boiler and heat till just shy of boiling. Add 1c hot mixture to eggs slowly to temper. Once tempered add back to chocolate mixture and cook till thick. Once thick add butter and vanilla. Strain any bits and pour into pie crusts. Let set and store in fridge. Eat piece, groan about how good it is, grab another piece, gobble down, sneak a third piece and hide while eating it, tell yourself it is good for you while eating piece four and five. Hide pieces six and seven from the family and cry while eating piece eight because it is gone, then remember you hide pieces six and seven and inwardly chuckle at your brilliance. Once you have eaten the entire pie, seek a nap, counseling or weight watchers...which ever you think you may need.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Almond Icing

So my birthday is tomorrow and I really wanted to do something different for a birthday cake.  I love making cupcakes, they are super easy and look cute!  I decided to recreate one of my favorite candy bars, an almond joy.  I went with a coconut cupcake and dark chocolate almond icing, why...meh because it sounded good.  *grin*

The cupcakes are from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book.  This was a nice and fluffy cupcake that baked up nicely and was airy, not dense.  Perfect for summer.  I bet this would be smashing with a pineapple icing also.  Kinda Pina Cola type pairing. 

You can find the recipe on her blog here but here is a quick run down on how to do it. 

Cream 3/4 cup butter and 1 1/3 cup sugar.  Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg whites one at a time.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Add 2 teaspoons baking powder.  Shred 1/2 cup packed sweetened coconut in food processor.  Mine was already shredded but I did it till it was smaller pieces.  Add to mixture.  Add 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 of the coconut milk (3/4c unsweetened coconut milk total).  Add remaining 1 cup flour and remaining coconut milk.  Spoon into cupcake tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  I got 24 cupcakes from this recipe. 

The icing I made up as I went.  I creamed 1/4 cup Crisco and 1/4 cup butter.  I added 1 cup of cocoa, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract.  Then slowly added 1/3 cup of milk and 2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar.  Because I wanted to make it extra almond/chocolaty I added 1/4 c of Dark Chocolate Almond Butter (found with the peanut butters)

It was yummy with and without so if you don't want to splurge on this you won't be missing out too much. 

To finish the cupcakes I sprinkled toasted coconut on top.  Let me say that it is like the grown up version of an almond joy.  Lite cupcake, rich icing, nut coconut.  All around yummy goodness!

Let's hope these bad boys make it till my birthday tomorrow!

1 3/4c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c shredded sweetened coconut (shredded more in food processor)
1 1/4c unsalted butter
1 1/3c sugar
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
3/4c UNsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and salt.  Add baking powder and coconut.  Alternate adding flour and coconut milk.  Spoon into tins and bake at 350 for 20 min. 

Dark Chocolate Almond Icing

1/4c Crisco (shortening)
1/4c unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1/3c milk
2 1/2-3c powdered sugar
1/4c dark chocolate almond butter (optional)

Cream shortening and butter.  Add extracts and milk.  Add almond butter.  Add powdered sugar. 

Top cupcakes with toasted coconut.  (To toast put a thin layer on a cookie sheet and place in 450 over.  Stir every 2 minutes till toasted)
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