Ruffle Rose Cake for Mom

 

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My mom aged another year.  And we must celebrate.   We celebrate with cake.

And out of fear of the wrath of my mother, I shall not reveal the age.

I wanted to make a checkerboard cake.  I baked up an 8″ round chocolate cake, and an 8″ round vanilla cake.  I leveled off the cakes so I got two layers out of each cake.  I then took my 6″ round pan, 4″ round pan, and a 2″ round cutter, and used them as guides to cut out even rings of cake, then alternated the rings between the two flavors.

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I then started assembling the layers, making sure to alternate between the two patterns so that they would create the checkerboard look.  I started with the layer that had the vanilla edge.

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I spread on a layer of chocolate buttercream, then put on the layer with the chocolate edge.

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and repeat.

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Covered the entire thing with more chocolate buttercream.

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Then smooth it off.

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I lightly covered the cake and turntable in saran wrap, and let it chill in the fridge overnight so it could harden before putting on my fondant.

My iced cake stood 4″ tall and was 8″ round, so I knew I needed to roll out fondant that would be 16″ in diameter.  I rolled my fondant to 1/8″ thickness.

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Once the cake was draped and smoothed onto the cake, I wanted to give the cake a crisper edge, (as you can see the cake still had a bit of a rounded corner,) so I did the upside down cake trick.  Gently place your cake upside down on a nonstick surface (parchment lined pan would work just fine).  In my case my fondant had dried enough that I didn’t need to line my pan.

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Then use your fondant smoother and smooth out the edges, running your smooth up and down, really smoothing it down towards the pan.  As you smooth the fondant downwards, you want to minimize that shadow that you see caused by the curve of the edge.

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My cake after the upside down smoothing.  You can tell the edge is a bit more defined than it was originally.

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Now it was time to decorate.  I wanted to do a ribbon border around the cake.  I took my ruler and used it as a guide to mark a light line at consistent intervals around the cake so that I had a guide when placing my ribbon.

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I then took some gum glue adhesive (little bits of gumpaste that dissolved in warm water), and painted some of the adhesive onto the cake.  I was going to be putting the ribbon directly underneath the guide lines I had created.

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and on goes the ribbon.

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Now for the flowers.  I knew I wanted to do flowers of some sort since my mom loves ‘em, so I decided to try my hand at these ruffle rose flowers I’ve seen floating around the internet.

I made a 50/50 blend of gumpaste and fondant, and lightly tinted it with the Americolor Terracotta gel paste and rolled it out super thin (thin enough that I could see the gridlines from my mat).  I cut them into strips just a bit thinner than 1/2″ wide, and used my balling tool to thin out one edge of the strip.

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I then brushed gum glue adhesive along the long, straight edge of the strip, and laid it onto the side of the cake in a circle.

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Continue making more ruffled strips, and build the petals working inwards, spiraling in, so that as you build inwards, you can see the layers of petals.

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For the center, take a shorter ruffled strip, and roll it to create a bud.

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Take some gun glue adhesive, paint it on the back, and stick it in the middle of your flower.

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I repeated these flowers all the way around, and finished it off by doing one for the top.

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And the finished cake:

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At the restaurant I had a quick moment to snap a picture of the inside of the cake to see how the checkerboard turned out.   My apologies for the mad destruction of a picture.  For a first attempt I was pretty happy, and the guests liked the fun surprise.

My mom absolutely loved the cake and as did the guests, and the surprise on my mom’s face made it all worth it.  Love you, mom!

Oh oops.

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Simple Flower Cupcakes

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So how does that saying go? “April showers bring May flowers?”

Well first of all, I haven’t seen showers lately, more like snow…so I’m not sure how applicable this statement is.  That, however, did not stop me from bringing in some surprise flower cupcakes for a colleague of mine who was retiring.

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I made my buttercream and separated them so that I could mix up 2 different colors.

I made the first half an orange-peach color.

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I made two flower types, conveniently achieved by using the same piping tip and changing the way I used it.

Centering my cupcake right in the middle of my turntable, I filled my piping bag with the buttercream, attached a wilton #104  tip to it, with the narrower, pointed end of the tip facing the middle of the cupcake, and with the wider, rounded part of the tip facing the outer edge of the cupcake.

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I piped a petal using a “rainbow” shaped motion with my wrist to get the petal look, and repeated all the way around for the first layer.20140401-234552.jpg

I then went and did another round of petals over top the first layer, making sure to offset the top layer of petals from the bottom layer, and added some yellow sugar crystals to the center to finish it off.

Positioning the piping tip this way pipes out for fatter, thicker petals.

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With the purple flowers, I took the same shaped tip, and filled another bag with a purple buttercream, and this time pointed the tip in the opposite way I did for the peach flowers, still doing the same rainbow shaped motion with my wrist as I went around the cupcake.

So this time, the narrow part of the tip was facing the outer edge, and the curved wider part of the tip was facing the middle, which gave me a more pinched/frillier looking petal.  I put a white sugar confetti dot for the center.

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I ended up with two dozen flowers, a dozen of each color, and my colleague loved them, taking some extras for home.

My husband knows I’ve never been much of a flowers gal, but I’d definitely be thrilled if I received a bouquet of these, for the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” runs true for me too!

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Mini Rose 1st Birthday Cake Smash

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If you recall from my first time I made the rosette cake, I was doing it as a trial run for the birthday cake that my good friend Lindi wanted me to do for her daughter’s (Evalie) 1st birthday cake smash.  Well the time had finally come!

Because little Evalie was just turning 1, Lindi wanted Evalie to have a smaller cake more suitable to her size, so requested a 4″ round cake.  Cute!  By far the littlest cake I’ve ever made!

So I baked up the cakes and leveled them so I got 4 equal layers.

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After preparing my raspberry buttercream, I spread some icing on the cake board before I started stacking the layers so that the cake would stay in place.

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I prepared a raspberry buttercream, measuring out 1/4 cup of buttercream for each layer so that they would be consistent once cut smashed into.  Repeat for all layers.

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I then went ahead and did a coat of icing all around the cake, starting from the bottom, and building my way up the cake.

Note: I normally do a crumb coat first, then do a second layer of icing, but because my second coat of icing was going to be the piped roses, I just did a thicker coat of icing on my first round, just enough to ensure that no cake would show through when I piped the roses.

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And then I took my beloved bench scraper tool, and smoothed out the cake so I ended up with a decently smooth finish.

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And away with the roses.  using the same 1M wilton tip as in my first rose cake, I piped the roses working from the bottom to the top, row by row.  I tried to also offset the roses on each row, kind of like when you lay down bricks.

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I finished off the cake by piping the roses on the top of the cake, piping a ring of roses on the outermost edge, and working my way to the center.

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Lindi had also requested a few accent flowers at the bottom of the cake, so I made a few ahead of time with gumpaste dyed in the same pink used for the buttercream, that way I could make a more realistic type of rose than if I piped one with the same buttercream.  With the larger rose on the right, I also went in with a bit of pink petal dust once it fully dried, to add a bit of depth inside the petals.

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Unfortunately, I was called away to a conference so I had to miss out on the birthday festivities, and so had to send husband J to bravely carry the cake safely to the party.  Suffice it to say there was a very lengthy “pep” talk from my end to NOT drop the cake on the way there.

However, I was able to facetime in from my iphone at the hotel and got to participate in some of the cake smashing, and Lindi sent me some great pictures which I had to share!

She made an adorable banner with Evalie’s name to top the cake with.

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And sent some pics of Evalie (sans clothing, which is probably a good call from mom and dad) testing the icing.

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She seems to eat cake the same way I do.

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Happy birthday Evalie, and I hope you enjoyed your cake (or what of it that was able to get into your mouth)!

 

Giraffe Baby Shower Cake

20140330-193750.jpgI was invited to attend the baby shower of a former coworker of mine recently and was asked if I would be willing to make a cake for the occasion.  Would I?  I most certainly would!

I got word that the baby theme would be giraffes (partially because of the husbands love of the long necked creatures)

I decided to do a 4 layer yellow cake with chocolate buttercream all around, to stay consistent to the giraffe colors of yellow and brown.  I started with baking two 8″ round cakes. I divided the batter evenly between the two pans.

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Once cooled, I sliced each cake into 2 to get create 4 layers, also levelling off the domes at the top of each cake.

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I put a little buttercream on the bottom of the cake board so that the bottom cake layer would adhere better.

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I measured out a cup of the chocolate buttercream for each layer so that the layers would look consistent between each layer.

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And repeat.

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Once the layers were stacked, I chilled the cake for about 30 minutes to let the icing set before doing the crumb coat.

Once set, I applied the crumb coat, starting with spreading the icing out on the top of the cake, then all around the sides, working from the bottom up.  As mentioned in past posts, it’s okay if it’s a bit messy and the cake peeks through.  You’re gonna do a second coat.

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I put the cake back in the fridge to let the buttercream set and harden a bit so that the icing was not tacky to the touch.

Once that happened, I took the cake out again and did my second and final coat of buttercream.

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Then take a metal bench scraper, hold it at 90 degrees, and slowly drag the scraper around the edge of the cake, occasionally removing the icing that accumulates on the scraper.

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Once done, I put the cake back Into the fridge to let the buttercream firm up again. While the cake was in the fridge, I started working on my yellow buttercream for my decorative border.

Once the cake set again, I took a wilton #3 round tip in a pastry bag and piped a simple scallop border. First I piped a circular bead.

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Then I took the back of a spoon handle and light made a divet into the bead. Repeat all the way around the cake, letting each subsequent bead slightly overlap around the previous one so that it looks continuous. I did this for both the top and bottom.

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I also wanted to do some simple decorative lettering to spell out “BABY Z” (Z representing the last name of the family), so I took some gumpaste, dyed it yellow, rolled it 1/8″ thick, and cut them into 1 inch wide strips.  I used my mat which had guidelines to make sure that all of my letters would be the same height. I worked on no more than a couple letters at a time keeping the rest of the gumpaste saran wrapped, as it dries pretty fast.

I tried to minimize the number of separate pieces needed to form each letter to reduce the risk of them falling apart.  With the letter “B”, I needed to cut out 3 strips, one for the back, and two separate pieces for each bump.  However for letters like the “Z”, I was able to get away with just taking one longer strip and folding it at the appropriate angles.

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I let those harden up until they were completely dry.  I had also had created a cute fondant giraffe ahead of time to use as a cake topper. Unfortunately because it was one of the first animals I ever made, I was too distracted to take any progress pictures.

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Once the gumpaste letters dried, I placed them on the top of the cake, pushing them into the cake so that they were about halfway in, that way they wouldn’t slide around.

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And then the little giraffe on the top to finish it off.

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And the finished cake.

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The couple was very much surprised and touched with the giraffe cake and the baby shower thrown for them, and they even took the little giraffe home with them, which I thought was awesome!

And like the cake, although the giraffe was completely edible, I did suggest to them it probably wasn’t the more appetizing thing to eat at that point.

That was probably good news for the giraffe.

Congratulations to you two! You guys are gonna be great parents!!

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

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Who loves peanut butter? *raises hand*

Who loves jelly? *raises other hand*

Who loves peanut butta and jelllayyyy? *throws both hands in the air*

So consider me tickled pink when I found a super simple recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars on Martha Stewart’s website.

It’s simple because the base of the bars and the top crumbly stuff on top is actually the same batter, but you wouldn’t really know it when you eat it.  The only difference is the bottom is pressed flat as the base, and the top is just all crumbled on top.

So…if you’re allergic to peanuts, you miiiight wanna stay away from these.  Just sayin’.

The directions are simple enough, beat the butter and sugar.

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Add the eggs and the PB.

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And get that madness together.

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Whisk together the dry ingredients, and slowly incorporate it in the PB/butter madness.  I’m pretty sure I heard my Kitchen Aid mixer begging slightly for mercy at this point.  This recipe makes a LOT and it was almost spilling out of my mixing bowl.

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Take 2/3 of the dough and press it into a greased pan lined with parchment paper.

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Spread your jam over the top with an offset spatula.  I admit I was a little short on the jam on the recipe, but I have a feeling even if I had enough according to the recipe, I’d probably put more on anyways to get a nice thick layer of it.

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And then you take the remaining batter and crumble it all on top, with some chop salted peanuts to give it some crunch.

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Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes, and voila:

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Let them cool in the fridge so that they’re easier to cut.  I let mine sit in the fridge overnight, and cut them into as big or as little bars as you want!  And enjoy!

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This recipe makes a lot; as the recipe suggests, you can get 36 bars out of ‘em.  I was expecting to take home leftovers but they must’ve been a hit, cuz I ended up coming home with a clean, empty pan.  :)

Wow, I just had a thought:  What if next time I spread on Nutella instead of jam?

…….yes.

Baby Boy Shower Cookies

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Boy, oh boy, did I ever have a fun time making these adorable cookies for a boy baby shower!

Inspiration came from the baby shower invitations which featured this adorable grey and blue elephant holding a balloon, and I carried on that inspiration by making coordinating cookies chevron patterned “baby” cookies, also pulling the same font used in the invitations.

After icing all of the cookies with white royal icing and letting it dry, I did the first step by doing the outlining and filling of the elephant shape and the chevron pattern.

For both the elephant and the zig zags, I used a #2 wilton tip for both outlining and filling.

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I used an icing consistency that was thick enough to do the outline and also fill at the same time.  For a good post about this consistency of icing, refer to Sugarbelle’s great post on twenty-second icing.  However the consistency I happened to use was about a 10 second icing.  I like it being a bit more fluid, I find it easier to smooth out.

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After outlining the cookie, I immediately “scribbled” in a bunch more of the same icing, and used a toothpick to spread the icing around and smooth out the shape (and to also rid of any mini air bubbles)

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After letting it completely dry I went in with blue icing of the same consistency, and did the elephant’s ear and the balloon.  Again, I used the #2 wilton tip.

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Once the icing dried, I went in with the black icing of a thinner consistency (maybe about 5 second consistency) and did the elephant’s eye and the balloon string.  Because of the thinness of the string, I used my PME 00 tip, and it’s also why I used a much thinner consistency of icing.

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And to give the cookies a finished look, I lightened up the grey icing from the elephant with some additional white icing, and piped a little bead border with the #2 wilton tip.  This icing was quite stiff because I needed it to hold it’s bead shape.  If you were to drag a butter knife through the bowl the icing was in, the dragged line would stay.

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As for the chevron cookies, I went in with the same blue icing I saved from the elephant’s ear and balloon, thinned it down to a 5 second icing (like the black icing I used for the elephant’s eye and balloon string) , and did the word “baby.”  For this one I used a PME 0 tip, which with the naked eye, is almost identical to the 00 tip.

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And the finished cookies.

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I made a dozen of each.  I ended up making a few extra of each just in case.

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Looks like the shower was a hit, and I was sent a picture of the cookies on display (and you can see a bit of the invitation to the left as well)  Congratulations to you two on your upcoming bundle of joy!

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