Friday, June 17, 2011

Cool Link for Calibrating Your Oven

Any serious baker knows that oven temperature is extremely important to the success of your recipe!  We've all probably learned the hard way that our oven is not necessarily baking at the correct temperature and by trial and error figured out how to adjust for the difference...  Well, I came across this really cool article on Cake Central and had to share!  Did you know that you can calibrate your oven temperature with SUGAR!  I didn't... but now I do!  Also, and I'm shocked that I didn't know this before... but keeping a pizza stone in your oven (on the bottom rack) will help regulate the temperature!

So, for the good of hard working ovens everywhere, check out this article and make sure YOUR oven is working properly.  If you have recipes that continually fail, it could be the temperature of you oven!

Calibrate Your Oven with Sugar, Keep Its Temperature Steady with a Pizza Stone

Happy Caking :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mmmm... Cupcakes!

Am I the only one who thinks cupcakes are beautiful?  They don't have to be ornately decorated.  I think a pile of fluffy, delicious buttercream on top of a single serving cake is a thing of beauty!  I made these cupcakes yesterday... I've been dreaming about frosting... White Chocolate Buttercream to be exact!  And I can't just make frosting, so I made Devil's Food Cupcakes to serve it on!!

Now that the weather is warmer, I've had retired my absolute favorite recipe (Swiss Meringue Buttercream) in favor of the more heat resistant American Buttercream...  To make it White Chocolate flavored, just melt down some really good quality White Chocolate and add about 1/2 - 3/4 Cup to about 2 Cups of your favorite buttercream recipe (let the chocolate cool a bit first!).

If you have not tried White Chocolate Buttercream I encourage you to give it a shot... but for now, feast your eyes on these beauties!

 I used Reynolds Staybrite liners for these cupcakes. I love them, they are adorable and sturdy and don't fade!
 And just to prove that you don't need a fancy wrapper to have a beautiful cupcake, I made a few with plain old white liners!

Beautiful, right?  Almost too perfect and beautiful to eat.... almost ;)

Happy Caking :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Icing Smiles

Hi Everyone!  I have a few things planned for today that I'm hoping to share in a future blog post.  But I wanted to stop and take a moment to tell everyone about a great charity that I stumbled upon this morning.

Icing Smiles!  They coordinate celebration cakes for critically or terminally ill children and their siblings.  I saw a story on Cake Central that tugged at my heart strings and prompted me to check them out.  I think what they are doing is great!  What these children and their families are going through is so difficult and sad.  But to have a beautiful and delicious cake can really bring smiles to their adorable faces.  Who doesn't love frosting?!

This charity relies on donations exclusively for operation.  They are staffed entirely by volunteers and rely on the generosity of bakers to donate their time, skill and product.  They coordinate cakes for children all over, so if you are willing and able to help, please consider contacting them to contribute to this amazing and generous programs!

You can visit their website or facebook page for more information and/or to contact them about contributing.  You needn't be a professional baker to help out, they're happy to have the help from amateur bakers as well!

Happy Caking :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Simple Rose Cake

I made this cake over the weekend... It was a vanilla cake, filled with strawberry buttercream and fresh strawberries.  It's a buttercream finish with gumpaste roses and a fondant "ribbon" around the middle.  I'm trying to find a style of roses that I'm really happy with, so these ones were just for practice :)

Once I find a style/method of rose making that I'm happy with, I might make a tutorial.  But for now, if you want to try making gumpaste roses, check out Edna's tutorial on YouTube, she's a great teacher and you only need circle cutters, which most cake decorators will already have!

Happy Caking :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Watermelon Cake!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday...  he's going on a hiking trip, so we celebrated his birthday today with dinner and of course cake!  I had to share his birthday cake with you :)
OK, so it's not actually made out of cake... but we have a lot of cake around here and my husband didn't want more cake for his birthday.  So his cake is actually a watermelon, decorated with berries, kiwi and pineapple!

And here are the super simple instructions, in case you want to try this one yourself:
Get a Watermelon- this is a smallish one, it's a seedless...

Cut sections for your "tiers"  I cut a section about 3" tall from the middle of the watermelon for the bottom tier (right) and then cut a section, about 2" tall from the end for the top tier (left)...

Cut "V's" with a paring knife (or any sharp knife) all around the bottom tier- I only cut in about 2" to give the top tier a flat surface to rest on.

I inserted toothpicks on the bottom tier, so the top tier would "stick."  It was a bit slippery without them

Stick the top tier of watermelon on the toothpicks and cut more "V's" around, I made them smaller for contrast- before i cut my "V's" I also trimmed off the rind a bit, to give a better difference in size between my two tiers... that is not necessary if you have a more tapered watermelon.

Then decorate however you like, with any additional fruit!  I used a fanned out strawberry for a topper, surrounded by thinly sliced Kiwi Fruit.  The bottom tier has a raspberry and a blueberry in each of the "V's."  More sliced Kiwi Fruit around the base as a boarder.  The "33" is pineapple.  I sliced it thinly length wise and cute out the numbers free hand!  The numbers have toothpicks to hold them onto the watermelon, and give them some support.

See?  Super easy!  It was the fastest cake I've made yet!  My husband was surprise and loved it!  So, while this cake does not actually involve baking or any flour, butter or eggs... give it a shot!  It's so yummy and refreshing!  We served it up in slices, topped with Cool Whip!

Happy Caking :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Wilton Products!

Many of you, like me, probably avoid shopping for your cake supplies at the craft store.  When I first started out I didn't know that places like Global Sugar Art or local cake supply stores existed.  I invested in a bunch of Wilton products and my cakes and decorations were OK.  Wilton is great for the beginner decorator.  Their products are widely available, fairly cheap, and for the most part will "get the job done."  Well, the more I got into decorating, and the more I was researching supplies and suppliers, the more I began to realize that the Wilton products just weren't the best quality and the selection was limited.

Well, I had to run to Michael's the other day, for a cake box, because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to order supplies or drive out to my cake supply store.  I ran up the cake aisle to where I expected the boxes to be... but wait!  Everything is all moved around... why?  To make room for the loads of new Wilton products (and Duff products too)!  I was like a kid in a candy store, and my "quick stop" at the store turned into an hour of me drooling over new toys!  They have silicon molds, new veiners, petal dusts, a new system of "sugar sheets" and punches.  They have a new gumpaste tool kit... and a new and improved gumpaste flower cutter set!

I have to say "Bravo" to Wilton, for realizing it was time to revamp and widen their variety of product.  I've purchased the new flower cutter set and will probably do a more complete review on it when I get to play with it.  But just from the looks, it looks superior to the "old" green cutter set!  I wanted to pick up a couple of the silicon molds, but the ones I wanted were sold out...  If you haven't yet, go check out the new Wilton line at your craft store!  I think I still consider them "beginner" tools, but I'm very impressed with the quality and variety at this point.

Happy Caking :)