Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Birthday Lunch

I found these silicone cupcake wrappers that look like flower pots at Michaels and just had to buy them. For these I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and cookies and cream sprinkles (also found at Michaels). The flower is using my new daisy cutters and made out of gumpaste.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fondant & Gumpaste Class

The fourth and final class in my series of Wilton classes was the Fondant & Gumpaste class. It wasn't really what I expected it to be, but I did learn that I prefer to work with fondant & gumpaste much more than I do buttercream.

In the class we learned how to cover a cake board in fondant and make a few flowers. Here's the cake for the final week:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bridal Shower

I hosted a bridal shower for my friend Laura who is getting married in July. I love planning showers (or entertaining in general) because I get to make some of my favorite recipes. The shower went pretty well considering the disasters I kept running into while preparing for it. Nothing was going my way this weekend, especially the desserts. I really wanted to make a 3D bride cake and mini fondant covered cakes, but neither turned out right. After ruining 7 cakes I gave up and went with plain ol' cupcakes. At least the cookies I made turned out cute (and were delicious). Here's the recipes for the food that was served:

Lynn's Mandarin Orange Salad:

I got this recipe from a coworker and it is one of my favorites. I seem to get a lot of recipes from coworkers, we must all be good cooks. ;)

Dash of Tabasco Sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup corn oil

1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp sugar
1 head romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped celery
4 green onions
2 - 8oz cans mandarin oranges, drained

* I usually quadruple the dressing recipe and douple the salad recipe for a large group

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or container with tight lid and shake well, set aside.

Cook almonds and 2 tbsp sugar in skillet over medium heat until sugar melts and turns light brown. Turn almonds onto waxed paper and let cool.

Combine lettuce, celery, green onions and oranges in a bowl, add dressing (shake well first) and almonds, toss well.

Pop's Fruit Salad

This recipe has been in my family for generations. I am pretty sure it is my grandpa's grandpa's recipe. It is definitely a family favorite, but it is a ton of chopping and it makes a ton. For some reason this recipe does not turn out right when you half it or leave out the walnuts, so be sure to follow the recipe.

3 apples (I used the pink lady apples from Sam's that are already sliced)
12 oranges
2 1/2 pounds grapes
2 cans pineapple (drained, but reserve juice)
1 - 6oz pkg chopped walnuts
2 cups sugar
10 bananas
Slice all fruit and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Soak the bananas in the reserved pineapple juice to keep them from browning. Add bananas just before serving, draining the pineapple juice first.
Shortbread, Straight Up
The idea for these cookies came from a book named "Cookie Swap" by Julia Usher. They are shortbread cookies cut in 3 different sizes, covered in royal icing and stacked on top of each other. They are decorated with sugar pearls and handmade gumpaste daisies.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Approx 2 tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling (omit if you are icing the cookies)

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 2 tbsp flour and the almonds until the nuts are finely ground but not pasty. Add the remaining flour and salt and process until well combined, set aside. I actually don't own a food processor, so I just used a blender.
Place the butter and sugars in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to bring the ingredients together. then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture, blending just until incorporated. Scrape down the sided of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing.
Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until firm enough to roll without sticking.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a cookie cutter and carefully transfer to cookie sheets using a spatula, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar evenly over the cookies to thinly coat them. (Omit if icing cookies) Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom and firm to the touch. Immediately transfer to wire racks with spatula. Cool completely before storing.
Emergency Backup
These are the cupcakes I created at the last minute, when nothing else would go right. At least they tasted good....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

I hosted a birthday dinner for one of my friends. Since her birthday is on Cinco de Mayo I thought a taco night was very fitting. With all the leftovers I made this:

Taco Salad

This is probably the only recipe that you will find on this blog that has ground beef in it that I actually eat. Don't ask me why I will eat this and not a hamburger, I really can't explain it. ;) I got this recipe from a co-worker, but can't seem to actually locate the recipe at the moment. But, that's OK, you don't really need one. Just toss these ingredients together to your liking:

Ground beef (I seasoned mine with taco seasoning, but you don't have to)
Shredded cheese
Catalina salad dressing
Tortilla chips
Sour cream (optional)

And for dessert....

Chocolate Overload

Chocolate cake with chocolate icing and kit kats on the border and chocolate covered strawberries on top.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I'm Exhausted!

Who knew Mother's Day weekend was such a popular weekend for cakes?! The first three cakes were made for other people and the last one I took to my Grandma's for Mother's Day.

Rubber ducky themed baby shower

John Deere themed baby shower

Basket of daisies for Mother's Day

Another basket of daisies for Mother's Day

2 baskets side by side....I think the chocolate one looks really cool