Posts Tagged ‘cake’

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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

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Introducing …(drumroll please)
Frostedcakes, cupcakes & homemade treats!
  We are now accepting orders for the Akron-Canton area.
Email us at Jody@LifeWithCake.com if you are interested in ordering up some of our scrum diddly umptious goodies!

Basic Cupcake Baking Tips

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Jumbo Chocolate Cupcakes

Jumbo Chocolate Cupcakes

Our Basic Cupcake Making Tips

Downsize your favorite cake…

You can turn almost any cake recipe into cupcakes. I recently decided to turn a chocolate cake recipe that was a success into something even more spectacular – cupcakes.  King size cupcakes that is, which in turn equals about 2 ½ regular cupcakes.  Almost any cake recipe can become a cupcake – jumbo, regular, or mini.  Just be sure to keep watch over your oven; baking times vary.  The safest bet is to a keep your eye on them.

What to do after baking…

After baking I am quick to remove my cupcakes from the pan, maybe a bit too quick.  I fear by letting them sit in a hot pan they will “over-bake”.  Once they are out of the oven, I use my offset spatula to pop them right out.  Then I immediately place them on a cooling rack.

I must admit, I am a “last minute” kinda girl and have often been tempted to frost early…this is a no no!  Unless your recipe calls for it, do not try frosting before the cakes are completely cooled – it never ends well, trust me. 

The subject of frosting…

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can frost. A generous amount of frosting is always good, but don’t go overboard.  Frosting tends to be extremely sweet, so a little goes a long way.  Try to create a balance of cake and frosting.

Directly after frosting, I get the cupcakes into the fridge. This helps set the frosting.  Buttercream, in my opinion, tastes best when it’s not too cold.  It can become hard and unappealing if it’s too cold – it is butter, after all.

It is best to keep your cupcakes chilled up until 15-30 minutes before serving.  Letting them come to room temperature will ensure that the frosting tastes its best.

Cupcake liners and wrappers…

Lastly, I need to mention cupcake liners and wrappers.  When baking a chocolate cupcake, plain wrappers work the best. The pretty printing on some wrappers just disappears with chocolate cake – so it can be a waste. It is best to use the fancy printed liners and wrappers with a lighter colored cupcake.

chocolate-cupcakes-chocolate-strawberry

The cupcakes pictured are chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a chocolate covered strawberry, YUMMY!

Master Paul’s 14th Birthday Cake

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This past week the cake hotline rang with a request for a birthday cake.  This cake was for a young man with simple tastes who was turning 14.  I took a moment to figure out the cake plan. 

Chocolate and Strawberry are two flavors I knew he enjoys; this one was going to be a cinch!  A rich chocolaty layer cake filled with sliced strawberries and Swiss meringue buttercream, frosted with a sinful chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and some homemade chocolate covered strawberries.  No frills, simple and classic, the kind of cake you might see in a coffee shop bakery cabinet.  It is the perfect cake for any occasion.

Sliced strawberries and whipped cream fill this chocolate cake...

Sliced strawberries and Swiss meringue buttercream fill this chocolate cake...

My sister presented me with a copy of Martha Stewart’s new cupcake cookbook…love it!  I made her classic Swiss meringue buttercream and then jazzed it up by folding in some melted, cooled chocolate.  This frosting is so good you could serve it all by itself!

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6oz. melted and cooled semi sweet chocolate

Directions:

1. Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy and pale. Transfer to small bowl.

2. In double boiler over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl of electric mixer; beat on high with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.

3. Reduce mixer to medium-low; add butter a scant 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate.

4. Switch to paddle attachment; beat on lowest speed 3 to 5 minutes. Leave at room temperature if using same day. Or store airtight in refrigerator up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature; beat until smooth.

master-pauls-14th-birthday-cake

Happy Birthday Paul!

Old Fashioned “Ice Cream” Cake

Monday, June 29th, 2009
Old Fashioned "Ice Cream" Cake

Old Fashioned "Ice Cream" Cake

I am always curious when someone provides a new unique recipe to try.  I had overheard my friend Katie talking about her father’s favorite childhood cake, an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Cake. Katie’s  Aunt Theresa sent her the recipe and she was going to surprise her Dad with this cake for Father’s day. 

Typical me, I asked for a copy so I could make it too.   The name alone intrigued me, Ice Cream Cake, yet there was no sign of ice cream.  The recipe was originally pulled from Readers Digest and soon became a fan favorite with my friend Katie’s family. 

Old fashioned cake recipes always appear to be simple to make, this was not the case for this cake. The prep and process proved to be anything but easy.  I started the same as always when trying a new recipe - First, I make sure I have read through the ingredients and steps a few times.  Second, I pull all ingredients out. Third, I get the oven heating and grease and flour any pans I may need.  Ready to work!

It would be wise to start with the Ice Cream Cake Frosting (boiled milk frosting) if you plan on making this one…it needs time to cool.  Constant stirring is the key to avoid large lumps.  Do not skip the straining part!  Once frosting base is made, set it aside to cool and start sifting the flour…seven times that is.  I am assuming the flour needs to be sifted so thoroughly due to the fact there is no leavening agent in this cake, and it is eventually folded with egg whites.  While the sifting marathon is going on, I had my egg yolks beating with sugar in a stand mixer until they where a ribbon consistency. 

This cake recipe only calls for the juice and zest of one lemon, although next time around I would zest two lemons for extra pizzazz.  There are so many eggs in this cake that it has a very eggy taste and smell; more lemon may have offset this.  Texture-wise this cake was lovely, light and airy.  Taste-wise, I felt it was missing something.   I had a piece for breakfast the following day, it tasted like a whole different cake – it was much less eggy and the lemon flavor was much more apparent.  Conclusion…make a day ahead and store in the fridge before serving! 

Aunt Theresa’s Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:
  • 11 eggs, separated at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 heaping cup flour + 3 tablespoons, sifted 7 times
  • The juice of ½ a lemon and the rind

Preparation:

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Prepare two 10 inch cake pans with butter and flour
3.) Beat egg yolks and sugar until they are thick and lemony yellow.
4.) Add lemon juice.
5.) Add lemon rind to sifted flour.
6.) Add flour one tablespoon at a time.
7.) In another mixing bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
8.) Fold in about a tablespoon of flour.
9.) Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
10.) Pour into prepared cake pans and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Cool on racks.

Fresh Out Of The Oven

Fresh out of the oven...

Ice Cream Cake Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 sticks of unsweetened butter
  • 1 – 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

1.) Boil ½ cup milk in a saucepan.
2.) Meanwhile mix remaining ½ cup milk and ½ cup flour in bowl with a whisk.
3.) Add mixture to boiling milk. Whisk thoroughly, cooking until thick.
4.) Press through a strainer to ensure smooth filling.
5.) Cool completely.
6.) Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
7.) Slowly add milk and flour mixture…blend till smooth

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Nathan celebrates his birthday with an Old Fashioned "Ice Cream" Cake!

Food Finds – Cakes, Cupcakes & Cookies

Friday, June 12th, 2009
My Food Finds - Unique Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies

My Food Finds - Unique Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies


Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
Clever Cupcakes out of Montreal, Quebec prepared these cute corn themed cupcakes for a corn on the cob party (a popular tradition in Quebec).  I love the variety of toppers on each cupcake, all keeping with the corn theme – corn holders, a slice of corn on the cob, corn kernels, salt packets and pats of butter. 

Check out Clever Cupcakes for ideas for your next party.  Or, even better - order some if you are ever in the Montreal area.

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Creative Cake Art
You won’t believe these cakes and cake toppers!  Sarah Cowell of Melbourne, Australia is a true cake artist to say the least.  Her ultra-realistic chameleon cake is just one of the many cakes in her portfolio that will have you ogling.

Her cake portfolio includes life-like replicas of her clients, creepy characters, bachelor party cakes and much more.  Check out her incredible cake portfolio.

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Adorable Bridal Shower Cookies
Marian, from Sweetopia, is a master of cookie decorating.  I love the combination of green apples and blushing brides.  The detail in these cookies is incredible; the white line down the apple to accentuate the curve, the jeweled details and disco dust on the brides dress – so perfect! 

Her cookies are little works of art.  View all of her decorated cookies here - the Rainbow Tea Party Cookies are colorful masterpieces as well.

Sweetopia's Green Apple Bridal Shower Cookies

Sweetopia's Green Apple Bridal Shower Cookies

Marshmallow Fondant & a 21st Birthday Cake

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Autumn's 21st Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Fondant

Autumn's 21st Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Fondant

My friend violet called me with a quick birthday cake request over the Memorial Day weekend.  As I see it, I was already going to spend the weekend baking what was one more cake?  Her niece Autumn, was turning 21 and needed something girly to commemorate this special birthday.  Autumn wanted a marble cake with white buttercream…simple and to the point.

I dressed the ¼ sheet cake with pink, green and gray accents, and of course a cosmopolitan martini.  Up until recently I have been buying Wilton Fondant to decorate cakes with.  This time around I used a homemade marshmallow fondant and love it!  It’s quick and easy, plus has a much more palatable taste…give it a try!

Marshmallow Fondant

What You’ll Need: 

  • 1 bag of white marshmallows (8 oz)
  • Water (2 tbsp)
  • Icing sugar sifted (1 to 2 pounds)
  • Crisco
  • Heatproof bowl
  • Spoon
  • Sifter
  • Food colors or cocoa powder
  • Flavoring optional

Directions:

1.) Heat marshmallows and water in microwave for 2 minutes.

2.) Remove and stir with Crisco greased spoon.

3.) Add desired color and or flavoring.

4.) Stir in sifted powdered sugar until it looks dough-like.

5.) Turn fondant out onto powder sugared work surface and knead until well mixed and not too sticky.

Note: Use this marshmallow fondant right away or rub with a bit of Crisco and store in air tight container.

A Cake Tasting, New Adventures In Cake…

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
The Inside of a "Tasting" Cake

The Inside of a "Tasting" Cake

Like all girls, I grew up planning how my wedding would look in my head.  I would wear a huge white princess gown and glass slippers as if I were one of the characters from a fairytale.  Let’s just say as I got older my wedding visions changed along with me.  There were even points where I simply wondered will this wedding thing ever happen? 

I have been to many weddings and seen the stress the bride goes through to make it an “event to remember”.  To me it seemed they spent most of the evening saying hello, thank you and making small talk with guests they barely knew.  All that money spent on a party for people I really don’t know, not for me.

I chose a much different route – quick vows witnessed by actual people in my life and then a party with great cake and food to follow.  My mother made all the food, dad picked the wine, my sister baked an incredible cake, and my best girlfriend took the pictures.  Although not that grand of an event, I feel it was something that created a memory for my friends and family.       

Cake Tasting Ingredients

Cake Tasting Ingredients

Over the past few months of writing this blog I have become increasingly more busy making cakes and other confections for people.  I was approached with the offer to do a wedding cake for a friend’s sister.  I was excited and terrified thinking about taking on this colossal effort.  Unlike my wedding, this wedding has somewhere between 250-300 people attending.  That is a whole lot of cake!

I spoke with the bride over the phone about her vision, and what she likes and doesn’t like.  I suggested a few ideas from my head and then we set a date for a cake tasting.  I have no personal experience with the concept of cake tasting, so I did some investigating.

a-cake-tasting1

Some bakeries you must schedule an appointment and pay a fee refundable upon ordering.  I have also heard of mass tastings held by bakeries in house or at bridal fairs allowing many to taste their confections. 

Typical me, I chose to be different.  I wanted to give her three 3 inch mini layer cakes. Me and my big ideas, ugh!  

Three Mini "Tasting" Cakes

Three Mini "Tasting" Cakes

This proved to be more of a learning experience and a lesson of what not to do.  Let’s just say, I bit off more than I could chew and had lots of leftover cake. 

The cakes did taste wonderful, of course, but after all the time baking, cooling, and cutting I didn’t have the time to make them works of art like I had planned.  This however, was a cake tasting, and taste prevailed…I got the job!  Now the work can begin…

In order to keep the brides selections and plans confidential – I am not going to disclose any flavors or recipes.  Let’s just say I am very excited about what she decided on!  Look for upcoming posts on this cake adventure

Chocolate Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, May 25th, 2009
Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Some think Memorial Day Weekend is time to relax, I feel the opposite.  No rest for the Cake Lady!  Grandma Marion is turning 87!  Holy Moley!  My family and I spent our relaxing Sunday celebrating Grandma’s birthday and putting in my mother’s garden. 

I love Sunday’s at my parent’s house, they just feel good.  Growing up, my sister and I spent every Sunday at my mom’s parent’s house swimming with our cousins and then having a huge feast towards the end of the day.  Thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 

Another thing that brings a smile to my face is Grandma Marion.  Chocolate is the way to her heart so I baked her some extra large chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…YUM!  Once again, Ina Garten provided me with a great recipe which I swear by – Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

The cake comes out just the right, great texture and the perfect amount of chocolate.  Cream Cheese Frosting, who doesn’t like that?  Simple and easy, plus it compliments the chocolate oh so well. These chocolate cupcakes are sure to be crowd pleasers.

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

 1.) Make sure cream cheese and butter are room temperature. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla, blend. 

2.) Slowly add powdered sugar and blend until smooth.  Quick note; this is not a stiff frosting and does not pipe well.  I use this frosting for cupcakes and simple cakes…Tastes great!

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake

NOTE: This is not a SUGAR FREE cake – it is made with Splenda for baking, which does contain sugar.

Families face challenges, some harder than others – but the beauty of family challenges is that you face them together.  My family has recently faced some new challenges – mom was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  This was such a shock since although she hadn’t been feeling all that well for a few weeks, she wasn’t displaying any of the classic diabetes symptoms.

So here we are, already a few weeks later and the way we do things has already changed, the way we cook and eat has changed – it had to. But all for the better – these changes will benefit everyone in the family.  We obviously can - and will – still get together and enjoy food, we just will be enjoying healthier options.

This Mother’s Day was our first “Diabetic Friendly” holiday.  I cooked fish in parchment with very light salt, little oil, and lots of flavor – ginger, lime zest, garlic and a bit of heat.  I also made a Greek Couscous with grilled vegetables, pine nuts and cheese.  The recipe was inspired by the recipe for Grilled Vegetable and Israeli Couscous Salad I found on Things Alauna Makes.  My recipe was similar but I omitted the tomatoes and used a sugar free vinaigrette instead.

Jody got the hard part – dessert. She took on the challenge of working with Splenda to create something a bit more health conscious and fine for mom or any diabetic to eat – a Splenda Pound Cake.  Splenda is one of the better sugar substitutes in my opinion, it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste that Sweet’N Low has.

The batter for this sugar free cake turned out like any other – not nearly as sweet, but the texture was the same.  The cake rose nicely and had a beautiful golden brown color to it.  The recipe states to bake the cake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, this is far too long.  I set my timer for 1 hour, but took it out after 45 minutes.  Be sure to watch this one!

The flavor was more like a shortcake, my mother thought it tasted like Lorna Doone cookies.  I can’t say it was moist like pound cake either…this could have been due to the baking time, not sure? We served the cake with some beautiful fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries) and a dollop of Splenda sweetened whipped cream.  Overall, the presentation was beautiful and the taste was pleasant.  There is much work to be done in this new chapter of my baking life…more sugar free treats to come!

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake With Berries and Whipped Cream

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake With Berries and Whipped Cream

Sugar Free Splenda Pound Cake
Yield: 18 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups SPLENDA(R) Sugar Blend for Baking
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutrition Info:

Per Serving

  • Calories: 306 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sugars: 16 g

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt pan; set aside.
  3. Combine flour, SPLENDA(R) Sugar Blend for Baking, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until crumbly. (This procedure may be done with a mixer at the lowest speed. Cover mixing bowl with a clean tea towel to prevent spattering).
  4. Combine eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl; add 1/4 of the egg mixture to flour mixture. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed for 30 seconds or until batter is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl. Repeat procedure 3 times.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

I love receiving recipes – so of course, I was pleasantly surprised when my sister in law, Geri, sent me the recipe for her grandmother’s chocolate cake. 

My sister came over to help me prepare the cake – we decided to make an evening out of it.  We called this evening a  ”study in gum paste” since we were going to decorate the cupcakes with gum paste flowers. 

The evening started with a quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby for gum paste making tools.  Cupcake wrappers, gum paste mix, gel food coloring, and a set of gum paste tools and we were out the door.  I already had the gum paste flower cutters from a previous occasion.

Then, off to the local grocery store for snacks and wine – yes, I did mention we made an evening out of it ;-)

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Once we were home, Jody began preparing the cake batter, which we must note, turned out very thick – almost similar to a brownie batter.  We decided to do cupcakes instead of cake, since cupcakes are so much cuter.   

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

We smoothed the batter out with a spatula – then into the oven.  At that point, I was already working on mixing up the gum paste.  I have worked with gum paste in the past, but had forgotten how labor intensive it really was.  We dyed it four colors with the gel food coloring – green, two shades of blue and an orangey-yellow. 

Colored Gum Paste

Colored Gum Paste

Jody then prepared the icing for the chocolate cupcakes that were now cooling on the stove.  This icing comes out very shiny – similar to a ganache.  The end result is a very delicate looking cupcake.    The chocolate cupcake was very chocolatey and very tasty, and suprisingly moist for how thick the batter was.  If you are a chocolate lover, these are for you.

Overall, we found that working with the gum paste was harder than we expected…but as you can see from the photos – they were adorable.  I have a new appreciation for gum paste or sugar flowers – it truly is an artform.

Thanks again Geri for sending me this recipe – we are sure it will be enjoyed by many.

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. boiling water
  • 1 cup cocoa

Directions: 

1.) Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.

2.) Add flour, buttermilk, soda and salt. Mix well.

3.) Combine the boiling water and cocoa in a separate bowl. Add to large bowl and mix.

4.) Spoon cake batter into cake pans. Cake batter with be thick, so you will need to smooth it out with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean in center. For cupcakes, our cook time was about 15  – 18 minutes.

Chocolate Icing
Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

2.) Place on med heat until it comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute.

3.) Spread on top of warm cake.  Decorate how you like.  Enjoy!

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes


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