Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trial & Error

Like many bakers I'm always on the look out for new recipes to try out, you never know when you'll find that one cake recipe that's better than what you have. So recently I came across 2 new cakes that I just had to try. A youtube friend of mine recently did a video for her favorite chocolate cake that she gets from the Hershey's Dark Cocoa box, when someone divulges such information I never pass it up. Off I went to H.E.B. in search of this stuff because I had to try this out!
Here is what the container looks like for those who want to try this out. Instructions on the back were simple enough, here's a link for the recipe just in case you were wondering...
For my first run at this I made a simple 8" round. Here are the pictures of how it turned out.
Cakes still in the pans...

Turned out & left to cool...

While the cake cooled I got started on the buttercream. When I went into my fridge where I store all my icing I was shocked to find out that there was nothing in there for me to use...for those who know me I always have some type of icing on hand, not this time. No worries I quickly whipped up some chocolate buttercream to stop off this baby!

Once cooled I filled and iced the cake. Seriously delicious looking and super moist.

Now I know the icing isn't on smooth, that's cause I was going for a more rustic look after all this is just a practice cake. When it was all done I stood back and took a look at it and thought that it needed something else, but what? Chocolate cake, chocolate icing, what else.....ALMONDS! Of course it needed almonds, luckily I had some slivered almonds in the pantry; so I threw some into a small pan so they could toast up.

After a quick toasting I let them cool down and then applied them to the sides of the cake.

This cake is now my go to chocolate cake for sure! It's moist chocolaty, but not so much that it's overwhelmingly chocolate. Loved, loved, LOVED the slight crunch the almonds gave it, next time I will incorporate them in the filling. When it came time to serve this baby up, I accompanied it with some homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream! MMMMMMmmmm!

My next trial recipe was just as successful in taste and flavor, unfortunately I had a little mess up with presentation. Back story....I love anything pineapple! Soda, sherbet, empanadas you name it I love it; especially pineapple upside down cake. As much as I love it I've never tried my hand at making one. Like many weekends in the summer we were having a BBQ so I figured it would be the perfect time to try this out. Like always, I took to the Internet to try and find the perfect recipe or one that seemed perfect enough. As with most of my recipes I found one from Tyler Florence, from the Food Network. It seemed simple enough, and guess what I had everything it called for already at home.
So I called my mom and had her get the butter out for me while I was at work, that way it would be soft enough to cream when I got home. When it comes to new recipes, especially the FN ones, I like to read user comments and everyone seemed to say that when using a 9" pan like it calls for the batter was to much and that it would spill over. This wasn't gonna happen to me, instead of a 9" pan I used a 10" pan that was 3" deep...surely this would solve this problem (side did!). The caramel was easy to make, I almost stuck my finger in to eat it...good thing I didn't cause it was HOT! In making the batter it was easy to put together, I might even start using this for a regular cake batter; I leave that for the next trial test! I set it to bake as directed, but what I didn't account for was since I changed the pan size I also needed to change the baking time. As per the instructions it says to bake for approx. 1 hr, but when I went to check on it 45 min into baking it was already done! Actually it was a bit over done, not enough that the cake was well over baked but the top of the cake was a bit crunchy...doely noted for next time! Here is the cake once it was turned over and in the process of cooling...

You can probably see on the sides some exposed cake, that's due to my second lesson. On the recipe it states to let sit in pan for 1 min. then turn out...well I thought that that would be to little time so I let it sit for little less than 5 minutes, it was closer to 3 1/2. Well as you can probably guess it stuck a bit oops :/
How are we gonna learn huh? If you look at a close up pic it looks flawless...and delicious!

Everyone loved it and didn't even notice my glitches, which was a relief to me. Any way hope you guys enjoyed these updates...TTYL!


Friday, July 17, 2009

In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle!

So the last post for today is of a cake that I did last weekend. Our next door neighbor asked if I could do a cake for her sister's 40th birthday could I say no! When asked what they were looking for she told me she wanted something very chic and sexy looking, she had been to a party where the cake had animal prints of zebras, cheetahs, and leopard. I told her that I had done prints before I just needed to know which ones and how big did they need this to be. It was to be a cake for 50, and she didn't want anything bigger than a two tier cake...perfect now which prints. We ended up doing zebra and cheetah prints. I love to mix up shapes on cakes when I can so I choose a 10" square with a 6" round.
Now I've got to be honest with you, I've done a zebra print before and it's no problem...hello you just cut strips of black fondant and lay them. The cheetah print on the other hand kinda threw me for a loop. Thank god for my mom's shoes I had her bust out some heels she bought in Vegas that had a cheetah print so that I could copy the base color as well as the look of the spots. After all was said and done my worries were for nothing I think it came out looking good!
What do you think?
When I got the order for this cake it was on Tuesday which left me little to no time to prep things since the cake was for Friday @ 6:30 pm. So making a sugar flower to go with it wasn't feasible, thank goodness for HEB floral dept. They had just gotten in these gorgeous lavender mums which I think add to the exotic look of it all! I know some might be thinking "you put a fresh flower stem into a cake?" The answer is "No, I didn't". Once I decided where to put this beauty I look one of my bubble tea straws that I use for support between tiers and inserted that into the cake, then I piped some butter cream into the straw, and finally trimmed the stem to go into it without going all the way through.
Here is a close up of the Zebra print. For the boarder on this part I stripped a bag with both white and black butter cream and then piped the boarders. Credit must be given to my mom, she edged me this idea by asking if it was possible to pipe two colors together.

On the cheetah print after I cut and applied all the spots to the cake I got some brown gel color and painted the edges of the brown fondant spots to give the two tone look that cheetah spots have. The color was diluted with a little bit of vodka to create the paint and then I used a very fine tip brush.

Here you can see the two tone effect better.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at what I've been up to. I swear I'll be more diligent and keep up with things. I'm currently working on two cakes for tomorrow so I should have those posted sometime next week, as well as the videos up on youtube (look up user name azeboi2005). Take are and have a great weekend!
Check out my youtube channel @

Xavier & Janie's Anniversary

Last year I was privileged enough to do the wedding cake for two good friends, Janie & Xavier (or as we like to call him Kiki). If you recall their cake were the tower of cupcakes with flowers and bow ties. Since they were my first wedding cake I included an anniversary cake for their 1st. Janie wanted the same cake like we did at her wedding so it was a simple White Lemon cake with lemon scented butter cream. This was a 6" cake just like the top of their cake (except I did a square instead of a round, hey i got new pans and wanted to use them already!). On top I piped their monogram along with some scrolls and the sides were piped with a dot design.
Simple and elegant.

I think it suited the occasion well!
Luv yawl!

Hail to the Princess Aurora!

Hey everyone sorry for the long absence....all I can say is it's summer! But none the less I wanted to share with you guys what I've worked on these past two months. The first cake was for a little girl named Mia Rose, she turned 4 on the 28th of June. Like most girls she loves pink and my favorite Disney Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty). When talking to her mom she told me she wanted something different (at least different from a regular sheet cake), very girlie and PINK! This cake needed to serve 100 people so I went with a 10" & 12" square cake, gum paste flowers, and a diamond impression all over. Lately I've been messing with sugar paste figures, but there was no way I was going to do Aurora justice so I opted and bought a princess doll. I think it came out pretty cute! Here it is....

Close up of the top of the cake. The roses were an ivory base with pink shimmer on them, you can't really see it in the picture but they were pretty! The little blossoms were made from my favorite cutter and veiner set from sunflower sugar art.

The sides were marked with a diamond impression and then I piped the "pearls" at the intersection points. Made the plaque out of fondant and had it dry overnight, then dusted it with more pink shimmer.

Along with the cake Mia's mom ordered 75 decorated sugar cookies to hand out. Each cookie was pain-stankinly hand piped with a tip 1 for the writing.
Cake and cookies together.

I love Disney and I love cake, to have them together what a dream! Hope you guys like this cause I did.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go!

Hey everyone, so sorry that it's taken me so long to update and show off the stuff I have been working on. I wanted to share with you all a graduation cake I did back in May. I got a call from one of my cousin's friends whose daughter was graduating from high school and she wanted a really bright, vibrant, fun cake. Her main specifications were...vanilla cake, stars, and lots of colors! Every thing else was carte blanche, so being that it was her graduation it came to me to use the Dr. Seus book "Oh the Places You'll Go!" for inspiration. To begin Dr. Seus is all about color and the thought behind the book served well for the occasion.
Here is what the end result looked like...
The cake was a 16" base square with a star shaped cake on top with the graduates name on top.

I made gumpaste stars on wires ahead of time to dry hard adn dusted them with peony disco dust. I made a combination of 3 different shapes to create the star bursts

All along the sides of the cake I piped the words of book in a rainbow of colors. This was something different for me and I think it was perfect for the cake. My favorite part is the curly font of the words, totally glad I did that. Let me tell you my hand hadn't hurt so much, but it was well worth the pain.

Here is a top view of the cake...her name is Mireya.

As my gift to her, I bought her the book to go along with the cake, and at the party all of her guests signed it with little messages of congratulations and encouragement. This is how it was displayed at the party.

I dunno but I think she liked it....what do you think?

I had so much fun with this cake, it was huge and COLORFUL! Hope you guys like it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Birthday Cake with a Twist!

Last month I got a call from one of our good neighbors who asked if I could help her out and do some stuff for her daughter's school birthday party. Being that her daughter's actual birthday is in July their school celebrates all the summer birthdays at the end of May, so you can imagine by this time all the kids were pretty much done with cake and cupcakes. She wanted something different but delicious for the kids, so she asked if I could do a cookie cake which instinctively responded "Sure!" (truth be told I had never some one before, but I've read about them on cake central so how bad could it be?). Then she went on about wanting to give the kids something to take home, but something other than a "bag of junk". Honestly this was my favorite part, I suggested on a Rice Krispie Treat cake slice. I had seen these done before and have been itching to give them a go, luckily she agreed and that was that.
The first thing I worked on were the cake slices. I made two huge batches of RKTs and for fun added some m&m minis to them. Next I pressed them into 2 -10" cake pans lined with foil and greased with a little butter. After they were allowed to firm up I went and cut perfect "cake slices". Here is where the fun began, knowing that these puppies needed to be packaged I used royal icing for all the decorating...
  • Purple borders topped with sprinkles
  • Hot Pink "filling"
  • Soft Pink drop strings on the sides
  • Hot Pink rosettes w/ a Cherry on top (Nice finishing touch)

Here is how they turned out....

For the cookie cake we kept it very simple, chocolate chip cookie NO NUTS! Then I decorated it with simple butter creme icing doing some pink and purple daisies (my favorite flower of the month).

Since the party was on Wednesday, I delivered everything Tuesday night...boxed everything and yes drove it to her house.

Being that this was my first attempt at doing everything here, I think it turned out rather nicely! Most definitely the "cake slices" were my favorite part. I wonder who's birthday I can do these for?
Till next time....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Engagement Cake

Sorry for the lack of posts...I've been trying to recuperate from the last two weeks of cakes and stuff. Thankfully I feel refreshed and ready to share. First off is and engagement cake I did for two really great friends who recently got engaged, I wanted to offer up something for them for their wedding so I was given the opportunity to do an engagement cake for their engagement party they had earlier this month. Patti (the bride-to-be) got me a copy of the invitations for the party so I took to that for inspiration.
Here is what I came up with.....

The bottom layer was decorated to look like the design on the actual invitation, with two shades of pink and lime green. The middle tier had these polka dots i did with royal icing sprinkled with cake glitter as to mimic the design on the back of the envelope. Lastly I did some progressive dots in the pink colors. It's bright and cute...I think. The flavors of the cake were the bottom tier being marble cake with vanilla filling and the two other tiers strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream. Originally I was going to do a monogram plaque, but them wanted some height to the cake on top; so I came up with the idea of making two rings each with their name. I cut the two rings out of gum paste and allowed them to dry overnight, but before that on the "diamond ring" I used a veining tool to make the cuts on the diamond and on both I used a smaller round cutter to imprint the bands so I knew where paint the silver. The next day I painted the ring bands with silver luster dust mixed with vodka to make silver paint and then dry dusted the diamond with super pearl.

Here's the happy couple at the party with their cake...I hope they enjoyed it.
Thank You Patti & JJ for letting me do something like this for you guys, and Congratulations on the engagement! Can't wait for the wedding!!