Saturday, November 17, 2012

Make It Festive To Set The Mood

It amazes me just how quickly the months roll by as I get older.  It seems like just last week we celebrated Independence Day and now Thanksgiving is upon us.  So I got to thinking about my past Thanksgivings with family and friends and how differently each of us decorate, cook and just enjoy each others company.

When I was young we always had a huge spread of food and all of the family got together.  If we went to my  "Mammaw Babus'" house we had one full table of food and one full table of dessert that she baked herself from scratch.  That was always my favorite table!  Thus this blog.....and my waist size! (smile).  But as I look back I think of all my friends who really went borderline-overboard with the decorations in order to make the spirit of the holiday that much more enjoyable.

We can see those traditions continuing and actually increasing amongst our younger generations.  And why not?  With all the new innovations and creative ideas popping from every corner of the world who wouldn't want to splurge to make things special?

When it comes to dessert it's always a plus to make sure the children have something sweet but also fun.  Cake pops are one idea that is relatively new with more and more people experimenting to come up with their own unique ideas.  One really neat idea I found for dessert are these Turkey Pops, found at Bakerella.com.  These little guys are simple to make and fun for the kids!



And another version using Oreo cookies was found at Cake Pops Galore.  These require a few more ingredients but I think they're worth it!  I mean who doesn't like Oreo's?  You can find other cake pop ideas for a slew of events at Cake Pops Galore.


A couple years ago I created a blog hosting some of my own creations for Thanksgiving, featuring my cupcake cakes.  I'm seeing more versions of my Turkey around the Net.  Awesome!  That means it's a great idea! (smile)  If you follow this link you can see some of those ideas Thanksgiving cake ideas.  Working for Walmart was great because they allowed me to do my own holiday cakes. These were selling as fast as I could make them!  How much fun is that; to see people grabbing something I designed myself!


In addition to dessert, table decor is very important to stir the excitement of the Day.  Creating a nice centerpiece is one way to set everyone in the mood!  And how 'bout this one?  I found the photo on kitchendaily.com but the link lead to no idea of how to make them!  My guess is they bought the pipe cleaners, eyes and colored foam from a craft store and glued them onto some miniature varieties of squash.  You can usually find hat patterns on the Internet.  Too cute!  And a great idea!


And this was so simple but really very elegant idea; lightly spray painting the squash.  I found the next two ideas at The Lady's Home Journal: 


And this next one is just glued/bonded together dried beans, lentils, etc and placed in the cornucopia.


Aren't these just so beautiful?  I love the ideas!  There are literally hundreds of websites where you can gather ideas that can cost little to nothing or if you prefer to spend some money you can find those ideas also!  Check out some of these sites for just a few great ideas for the upcoming holiday:

Good Housekeeping
Fashionably Southern
Digs Digs
Bravo Bride
Lady's Home Journal

Best of wishes from my family to yours!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Until next time........happy baking!

Learn from the pro's how to professionally decorate cakes using various methods and with very little cost to you following the links below!

Online Cake Decorating Class       Online Cake Decorating Class      Online Cake Decorating Class

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Don't Forget One Key Ingredient!

My daughter is in the Air Force, (stationed in Dover, DE) and was coming with her husband for a two week visit.  She told me she wanted to entertain the kid in him by making him a Star Wars birthday cake for his 31st birthday.  "Sounds great" I said.  I haven't made any cakes in quite a while so I was up for the job.  



We bought all the ingredients and set to work making and coloring the icing, baking the cake, etc.  I decided to use the frozen buttercream transfer method to make the Star Wars emblem; so I put that in the freezer. This time I remembered to flip my emblem backwards so when I lay it on the cake it was the right way!  Something was strange though, I kept noticing the icing wasn't going as smoothly as it should have.  When icing the cake the icing rolled up as I spread it but I didn't worry because I knew it tasted fine but was just a little thick and I knew I could use a paper towel to smooth it down like fondant.

Well we got every thing made and decorated the cake and it was alright.  I wasn't really happy with it but like I said it tasted fine and looked acceptable.  Everybody loved the cake and bragged on it but I still couldn't figure out what went wrong.....until about 3am the next morning.  That's when I was going over the ingredients in my mind, as I slept and it hit me!  I didn't add the one ingredient that would have made this cake perfect.......you guessed it!  The milk/water!  OMG!  What was I thinking?  What amazes me even more is that only a tablespoon of this key ingredient would have made all the difference in the world!  The recipe calls for more but that's all it would have taken for the transfers!

So when you're in a rush and you think you have it all together, check and re-check your ingredients!  

Until next time.......Happy Baking!


   

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fruity Cool, Fun And Oh So Easy Summer Treat

Woohoo it's Summer and school's out!  With children at home and temperatures rising, you're probably fumbling for ideas on how to not only keep them busy but also cool them off!  Here's an idea that you should find very easy and so much fun for your child.  Watermelon cutouts!  And all you need are watermelon or other melon type fruit, cookie cutters and your imagination.  Check out what I've found around the Web and get your creative juices going!  

Ok, so Joy Of Cakes doesn't always have to be about cakes but creativity with food......and cake/cookie....... paraphernalia.....yeah that's it!  (wink)



Using simple cookie cutters cut out some flowers or other design.


Add some cake icing, berries, etc


How about some flower pops?


Surprise them by showing your heart


Or fill your heart with sweetness of another kind


Make it educational by teaching numbers and a-b-c's


Use different types of fruit and let them get creative!


Or let the artist in you out of the box and make a lifelike carving!

I'm sure your ideas are popping by now and you just can't wait to get started!  I would love to hear what you are doing with your children this Summer.  Readers are always encouraged by ideas of others so please share what you've got in your bag of creativity.   

Until next time........happy baking!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nopalea - The Wellness Drink

Do you or someone you know suffer from inflammation and its related health problems?  Muscle, joint and body, respiratory, arterial, digestive tract widespread body cell inflammation?

Well, there's a product on the market called Nopalea.

- Napolea contains rare and potent antioxidants (Betalains) that are scientifically proven to help the body reduce inflammation.
- Taken daily Napolea can help your body reduce inflammation, cleanse itself of toxins and promote optimal health.
- Nopalea contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners but is sweetened with Agave nectar which is a natural form of sugar.
- Nopalea contains no preservatives
- Nopalea has been found to have no known interactions with medications.  However, if you are taking any medications or have a known medical condition it is advised that you consult with your physician or healthcare provider before drinking Napolea as it is a dietary supplement.
- When taking Nopalea for the first time, it is suggested you drink 3-6 ounces each day for 30 days.  For maintenance, drink 1-3 ounces daily depending on your body's inflammation-fighting needs.
- Optimize the product's freshness and maintain it's natural color and taste by refrigerating the bottle upon receiving the shipment, avoid drinking directly from the bottle and consume it within 30 days of opening.

Napolea was created by a 12-year old company that helps people pursue physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Their mission? To help people everywhere achieve greater wellness and create wealth for their life purposes

Over 3 million bottles sold! 




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Decadent Chocolate Cakes

How would you like to learn step by step with video, how to make the most decadent chocolate cake?  Well, you'll have the opportunity to learn first hand just how you can spice up your chocolate cake; making it the hit of the party! Just what will your learn and how?

You'll learn not only how to properly work with chocolate and understand it's properties, but how to accurately measure, melt, and mix it.  How to really whip eggs, create chocolate ruffles, slice and build layers.  Learn how to balance the flavors and how to finish with the perfect presentation!  And you can learn that and more at Craftsy.com's Chocolate Cake Class contained within 9 HDTV videos created specifically for the cause of chocolate cakes!

Don't miss the opportunity to receive a 50% discount off the class making it all the more decadent!  While you're there check out the rest of their site where you'll find patterns and tutorials for almost any craft you can think of, from crochet to paper crafts.  Take advantage of the free or low cost patterns for table decor and you'll be on your way to a most complete and elegant dinner party.


Until next time.....Happy Baking!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

'Fundelicious' Valentines Goodies!

I came across a really beautiful cake this morning and was just curious how many decorators are using this technique.  If you do I'd love to see some pics of your work.  It's decorating using fondant molding.  I didn't see too many cakes when I searched for it but did find one in particular that caught my eye for Valentines Day.

If you are one who uses fondant frequently and you like the flavor then use fondant, but if not, you should be able to use marzipan just as easily.  I'll post the photo of the Valentines cake and a few more sweetheart ideas as well.  Links are in the picture description if you want to go check out their sites.

From Global Sugar Art - Very nice work!


This is a technique that can be used on cookies as well.  And I did find quite a few nice looking ideas across the Net for Valentines Day.  


From Bakerella

  


From Cupcake Cookie Shop




I absolutely love this idea!  A cameo cookie?  Wow, nice!
From Lila Loa


And why not paint your impressions?  Painting really makes the image stand out!  And at Cookie Stamp the whole family gets involved in making these goodies!
From Cookie Stamp

Also from Cookie Stamp



To me this one is just so elegantly made... 
From My Sweet And Saucy



I would have never thought about using fondant on cupcakes this way!  Very nice!
Also From Bakerella


And of course if fondant isn't your thing or if you just wanted something less complicated and just a bit more fun......you can do the love bug cake bites!  Too cute!
From Hungry Happenings


Until next time......Happy Baking!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cake Decorating Made Easy!

When most people think of cake decorating they think decorating tips, pastry bags, and lots of training.  But what most people don't realize is there are many some every day kitchen items and some not quite so ordinary things that you can use to decorate a cake so easily even a child could do it!

Let's take a look at only a few of these items and I'm sure you'll find even more ideas after looking through your utensil drawers.


Fork - After icing your cake simply rake the fork lightly and steadily over the icing in various designs.  You may choose to go in only one direction or criss-cross the lines.
Zigzag
From Simple Cake Decorating











Table Knife or Spoon - Using the tip of the knife or back of the spoon swirl the icing and whip it up making little peaks. 
Hobnails
From Simple Cake Decorating





 





Toothpick or Pointed Knife - After icing your cake, use tubed icing found at local grocery stores and make stripes or rings on your cake.  Using a toothpick or pointed knife and drag it back and forth through the stripes to create a unique design.  The thicker your lines the nicer the effect.

Be sure to wipe off tip of knife after every line.
TLC Cooking














Plastic Sandwich Baggie - Melt chocolate candy or candy melts of your choice of color.  Pour some the melted candy into the baggie, cut a small hole in a bottom corner and squeeze your designs onto wax paper.
TLC Cooking












After the candy has melted, lift them and place them in various ways onto your cake.  Since these harden you can even stand them on edge!
TLC Cooking













Potato/Vegetable Peeler - You can also take a regular chocolate bar and a potato peeler and make chocolate curls to drop randomly over your cake.
chocolate curls
From Betty Crocker











Plastic or Paper Lace or Stencil - This is a good idea whether you want to ice the cake or leave it without icing.  Lay the lace piece on top of the cake very lightly if it is iced.  Sprinkle powdered sugar or alternatively chocolate powder over the lace then gently lift the lace without spilling the excess powder.  The results can be so beautiful and so simple.

From Notecook.com
 









So you can see what a little imagination can do for your cakes.  Now I'm curious what you'll find in your  kitchen to decorate your cakes with.  Please comment and share your ideas with the readers.

Until next time.......Happy Baking!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Do They Make That!?


My Tres Leches Cake


Decorated With Whipped Cream Cheese Icing



When I worked for the bakery the lead lady was a sweet older Mexican woman.  She occasionally would bring us one of her special recipe cakes but wouldn't dare give the recipe.  She once had a business out of her home and closed up shop but still made a few cakes for close friends.


One day I came into work to find a Tres Leches Cake in the cooler.  I was told to take a piece home.  Yeah right! It didn't make it home and actually it only lasted about 5 minutes after I tasted the first bite!  I'd never eaten a cake so delicious in my life!  I decided to post a Venezuelan Tres Leches Cake recipe for everyone who's always wanted to make one but didn't know how.  And by the way, this lady uses Tres Leches even for her wedding cakes!  

This recipe calls for a meringue topping but my friend uses a whipped cream cheese topping. I'll also post that recipe and you can choose between the two.


Sponge cake:
4 eggs
¾ cups all-purpose flour (*)
¾ cups sugar

Topping:

3 egg whites to soft peaks
3 tablespoons sugar

Cream:

1- 8oz carton of cream (or heavy cream)
1 can Evaporated milk
½ can of condensed milk


PREPARATION:
Sponge cake:
Beat egg whites until stiff, and gradually add the egg yolks, then sugar and finally the flour (*). In a pre-buttered baking dish (the same that is used to serve the finished dish), put the preparation and bring the oven to 180 ° C (350 ° F) for about 20 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean) .


(*) You can use cornstarch, so the sponge is softer. You can also use the cake (ponques) that is sold commercially in supermarkets and bakeries.


Cream:
Blend together the three milks. Use more or less condenseduntil the desired sweetness.
preparation:


Make several little holes in the cake with a fork, pour the cream over the cake, put some additional condensed milk if desired, you can decorate it with a little cinnamon on top if you like, or make a soft caramel on top drop the cake in the form of fine wire. You can also decorate with cherries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries or raspberries in syrup.


The dessert can be left in the same mold where it is baked, but if you can unmold before bathing with cream and mold it to another presentation, and then bathe it with the cream and then decorate with meringue (or whipped cream cheese icing below).


Whipped Cream Cheese Icing:
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

While cakes are cooling, start making your frosting. In a medium bowl, beat your cream cheese until it is soft and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, mix well, then set aside.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat your whipping cream.  Beat until stiff/firm peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.

Transfer about 1/3 of the whipped cream to your cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Gently mix until cream cheese and cream are totally combined. Add your remaining whipped cream, and gently stir until you have a uniform frosting. 

Until next time.......Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Betty White's 90th Birthday Cake!


Wow! Ninety years old and still full of energy, Betty White was presented with this huge star-studded bash and her very own TV special!  Her cake was even more spectacular, presented from the Betty Crocker Kitchen's,  this Triple Chocolate Celebration Cake had three HUGE layers of chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse, decorated with red and gold roses, and red and white stripes, and of course a miniature version of her sweet dog, Pontiac, on top.


The gold accents of pearls, the number 90 and the candles are symbols for the "The Golden Girls".  And the bold colors representative of Betty's character.  There was even an edible name tag with a special wish from Betty Crocker!  A gorgeous cake for a gorgeous lady!


I hope for one, I can live to be 90 and still get around and two, that I will still have my mind and body as this "young" woman still does!  Ok, so the body I have to work on...LOL!

Until next time......Happy Baking!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rainbow In A Jar

If you're looking for a dessert to brighten your winter blues look no further!  I have just the treat for you!  Color therapy has been around now for some time.  We all know colors encourage our emotions, black can make us blue and yellow can make us happy.  Sooo this dessert should make your insides and emotions excited!

I found this recipe posted by Brooke McClay, on Babble, a site full with blogs of all sorts from 'Baby' to 'Recipes'.  This is such an eye-opening and fun recipe I had to share!


BabbleJarRainbow3 234x300 Rainbow Cake in a Jar



Rainbow Cake in Jar, shared from Babble POSTED BY BROOKE MCLAY ON APRIL 8TH, 2011 AT 12:08 AM
You may wish to read the post edit at the bottom of the page before starting this recipe.
  • 1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions
  • Neon food coloring in pink, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple
  • 3 one-pint canning jars
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
BabbleJarRainbow1 200x300 Rainbow Cake in a Jar
Scoop about 1/2 cups of cake batter into five small bowls. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t panic if you get a little more of less of one color than another.  Tint each bowl of cake batter with the food coloring until very vibrant.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the purple batter into the bottom of each jar.  Spoon equal amounts of turquoise batter, then green, yellow, and pink.  Place the jars in a shallow baking dish, add about 1/4″ in water in the baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a hefty dollop of vanilla buttercream to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge or pop into the mail & surprise someone you love!
POST EDIT: Several commenters have indicated that the cake is not cooking all the way through in the 30-35 minutes indicated in the recipe.  This was enough time for our cake, but I’m cooking at high altitudes, and my oven tends to bake hot.  So, I’d recommend baking the cake for 40 minutes, then return it to the oven if it still doesn’t spring back to the touch when you check to see if it’s finished.  As for the cake puffing up and out of it’s bottle, ours did that a bit, as well.  Easy fix. We just scooped a bit of the cake out to make room for the frosting and wiped the outside of our jars clean.  Several people have indicated that the wide-mouthed mason jars work a little better for this purpose.  I’ve not yet baked with wide-mouthed. What you see above is what was baked in my kitchen according to the recipe instructions, and what came out of the oven when it was all.   Of course, if you’re feeling wildly impatient, you can also zap the cake in the microwave for 2 minutes.  It’s going to bubble up, for sure, but you can scoop the top part of that cake out, frost it, and no one will ever be the wiser. Good luck, everyone! This is such a fun cake. My kids went nuts over it, and I hope it works as beautifully for you as it did for us!

For more recipes in a jar check out their page 'Dessert Recipes In A Jar'



Friday, January 13, 2012

Brush Embroidery Decorating Techniques


Not only did I enjoy the video I posted from youtube onto my Facebook page but everyone else also did!  So I decided to make a post about it and show you some more ideas to motivate you even further.

Brush Embroidery Decorating is simply taking royal icing for cookies and buttercream or other thickened icing for cakes.  For cakes, the icing just has to have thick enough consistency that it doesn't run.  And of course for the cookies it's important to use the royal icing so it will harden into a candy.

This video isn't one that I've produced myself as this is the first time I've seen this technique.  So sit back and enjoy.  You'll find this technique so easy you'll be dying to try it on your next cake or batch of cookies!






These are beautiful and Cookie Decorator even has a video tutorial for these!



I love this flower.....so delicate.
From Cakes & Sugar Flowers Blogspot



This one is even more precious.  The mint green with pink with the lacy outer edge....wow!
From Orntraria-Mente-Neoc Blogspot

I wouldn't have thought about cake pops being decorated like this but hey, they're sweet.
From The Cake Poppery's

The emerald green color gives this cake an antique'ish look.  I love it!
From Rouvelee's Creations

Wow, this is gorgeous and I think my favorite!  Love the butterflies!
From Bake In Paris
Nice work!
From Bake In Paris

Add a nice colorful bouquet of Spring flowers and walah!
From Rosey Sugar Art Confectionery

Very nice

From The Knot





As you can see there are a number of uses for this technique.  I honestly believe you could paint almost any picture on your cake or cookies using this technique.  It just takes a little planning and creativity.  

If you decide to try or have already tried this technique I'd love to see pictures of your work!  You can forward them to my email and if I get enough I will make a post and display your photos with your info!

Until next time..............Happy Baking!



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