Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So, a few weekends ago, there was a local peach festival. So of course I went, gobbled up some peaches and fair food, and brought a bag of peaches home too. These are Colorado Palisade peaches, in season right now, and people say they're better than Georgia peaches. Well, growing up in the South, I had to try them and see.
I decided to make 2 peach desserts with my 6 large peaches. Both are Martha's recipes, with some tweaks by me. I made peach cupcakes and peach cookies.
First, the cupcakes. Martha's recipe calls for nectarines, but peaches are a good substitute. I peeled and chopped up all the peaches at once, so I could just make the various recipes easily. They smelled so good!
After mixing up the batter, I layered the batter with the peaches so when you bit into the cupcake the peaches are in the middle. I've made peach cupcakes before, but I mixed the peaches into the batter, and they all sank to the bottom. This is a better technique.
They baked up perfectly, very fragrant, with a few bits of peaches peeking out. The recipe suggested topping them with whipped cream, but I left them plain.
I also made peach cookies, which also turned out great. Little sweet bites of peach in each one. It was a peach bonanza!
I love using seasonal products when I bake, or coming up with a recipe just to use whatever's fresh. These were indeed excellent peaches, although I can't say how they compare to others. We'll have to do a side-by-side taste test to determine that.
Friday, August 20, 2010
So, I wanted to practice making more cake pops, to perfect my technique. I had leftover cake and frosting from the threadcakes challenge, so I used that. It was only the tops of the cakes that I cut off to level them, and it made over 50 cake pops!
The cake was a few days old, which I think made it better to work with. Last time I tried this, I used fresh cake and it was too soft and it fell apart. I also let the mixture sit in the fridge overnight once I added the frosting.I rolled up all the little balls, froze them, and then started to melt the coating.
I had some vanilla candy coating leftover, but I couldn't get it to the right consistency. It was way too thick, and the balls I tried to dip in it just fell apart. Maybe it's the brand, I got it at the grocery store, it's some no-name generic stuff.So the next day I went out and got Wilton candy melts. These worked great! Nice, smooth consistency, great for dipping. Will have to use those from now on.So I added the sticks, and got to dipping, about 12 at a time. The candy re-melted great after each batch.
For the decorations, I had brought back Smarties from Canada a few weeks ago and wanted to use them. These are not what Americans think of as Smarties, these are more like M&Ms, but better! They are slightly flatter and have a thicker candy shell, and come in fun different colors. I loved them as a kid, and they're still great!
I added a Smartie on top of each pop, as well as a ring of colored sprinkles around it. When I look at them all together, they kind of look like eyes! but the wrong colors of course.
Then I wrapped each one in a little bag and twist tie, so they wouldn't rub up against each other. Plus, it's super cute, like they are really lollipops.
Anyways, I was very pleased how they turned out, super cute! I still need practice getting the coating smooth over the cake, but sprinkles can always cover up any flaws :)
Friday, August 13, 2010
So, I got it together and entered the Threadcakes contest this year. It's a contest where you make a cake inspired by the Threadless Tshirt designs. I chose carefully, and entered a feather cake. Check out the link! http://www.threadcakes.com/entries/view/932 I made the feathers out of gumpaste, which is an edible sugar dough. You roll it out like a pie dough, then I cut out the feathers individually using a cookie cutter. Then I embossed a vein and cut notches into the side of each one. Then, I hand painted them with food coloring to get the look I needed. That took forever. Fortunately, gumpaste can stay covered for about a week. Plus, it needs time to dry, so it gets hard.Then I made the cakes, my trusty vanilla recipe. 2 8 inch layers and 2 6 inch layers. Yum! Then I made 2 batches of vanilla frosting. Once I had leveled the cakes, I frosted them and let them chill for a while. Then the fun part, fondant!
Fondant is also a sugar dough, but it doesn't get hard like gum paste. I rolled it out and covered each cake, then stacked them. Pretty!
The I attached the feathers using royal icing, which is sugar and meringue powder and water. It's like glue. I kept adding more and more feathers until I couldn't add no more.
I took the cake to Jason's office so everyone could enjoy it. It was kinda sad to cut into it, but it actually cut nicely too. Everyone loved it, and ate it up in minutes. Sugar rush!
I took pictures of the whole process, to submit to the contest. So check out the link above and hope for the best!
Monday, August 9, 2010
So, a friend of mine who's making a Lego video game asked me to make Lego cupcakes for a meeting today. So I racked my brain and came up with the following: red velvet cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with individual Lego blocks made out of fondant. And the Lego logo, of course. (say that 5 times fast.... Lego logo Lego logo.......)
I made the bricks the night before, out of tinted fondant. They are edible, although not very tasty. This was rather time consuming, as I had to tint the fondant, cut out the bricks, then cut out the circles to go on top. 20 bricks, 6 circles each, that's.... 120 little circles! Then I attached them to the bricks with water and let them sit overnight. They turned out great I think!
Then I made the cupcakes, red velvet of course. I wanted very colorful cupcakes :)
I split a batch of frosting, and tinted half blue and half yellow. It was actually more like 2/3 yellow, but that's ok.Since I had 20 blocks and 24 cupcakes, I wanted the last 4 to be the Lego logo. I piped that with black frosting on yellow background. all in all, they turned out great!
When I delivered them to the office, everyone loved them. This was a great challenge, and I always forget how much I like working with fondant until I do it again. So thanks, Jordan, for the opportunity to show off my skills!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
This recipe is designed for children, or anyone who doesn't want to consume mass quantities of refined white sugar. The cupcakes are sweetened only with maple syrup and molasses. Yum!
Since I just got back from Canada, with some maple syrup, I wanted to use it right away, and these cupcakes were perfect for that.They're typical carrot cupcakes, with the exception of the sugar. I also added a bit of honey for added sweetness. The cakes came out great, nice and domed and golden. The recipe says it makes 12 regular and 24 minis, but I got 8 regular and 24 minis. I love baking cupcakes like this because the house smells amazing!
The frosting was a bit problematic. It also is only sweetened with maple syrup. 1 pound of cream cheese to 1/4 cup of maple syrup. It was awful. Tooooooo tangy. I'm not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting, and this was like eating pure cream cheese. I had to doctor it up a bit, adding honey, and finally, about 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. I just couldn't get it sweet enough! And by the time I was finished beating it all together, it was too runny. I chilled it for about an hour to try and firm it up, but it was still a loose frosting.
Martha piped designs with her frosting, but mine was too runny for that, so it was just blobbed on the top. I added a sprinkling of maple sugar on top of each one, to enhance the maple flavor and sweeten it a bit more.
They turned out ok, but I won't use that frosting again. And this morning I found 3-4 mini wrappers in the trash, so apparently someone liked them :)