Monday, January 25, 2010

101 Gourmet Cupcakes

Okay, I've just discovered this book...well, actually my sweet sister gave it to me for Christmas, but I finally decided to try it out this week. LOVE IT! Seriously, this book is awesome.

Wendy Paul has come up with so many scrumptious cupcake recipes. After looking through this book I started dreaming about cupcakes--chocolate rasberry trifle, chocolate caramel surprise, banana struesel, peach cobbler--wow, my mouth is watering again just mentioning them.

Besides the fact that these recipes all sound downright delicious, this book is great because she takes regular cake mixes and just adds additional ingredients to create these masterpieces of desserts. Also, you don't have to do one whole batch of one flavor. Instead, pick 2 or 3 recipes that use the same cake mix as the base and just half or third the recipe, thereby being able to make 2-3 different flavors simultaneously. Amazing.

Here is my first trial of a couple of her recipes--the Lemon Blueberry and the Lemon Cream, both with a Lemon Whipped Cream icing on top. The Lemon Blueberry was my favorite--such a yummy combination of flavors. The Lemon Cream was good too, although I think it would have been much better if I had used regular cream cheese and regular sour cream instead of the fat free stuff I had on hand (but I guess I'm more apt to eat them if I know they are slightly healthier for me :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Adam and Rachel Larsen's Wedding Cake

Success! I made a wedding cake for my nephew Adam and his cute fiance (now wife) Rachel during the Christmas holiday. I was worried with how it would actually turn out, but once I finished I was very happy with the final product.
It was a 3 tier cake (6", 10" and 14" round layers), with each tier being a little less than 6" high. The bottom and top tier were chocolate with a chocolate ganache filling, with the middle tier being a marble cake with chocolate ganache filling.
Rachel had told me that she wanted a cake with fondant bows/draping that looked like piece of fabric and been pulled loosely around that cake and tied in a bow instead of the look of a piece of ribbon pulled around and tied. It was rather difficult to maneuver a piece of fondant long enough to wrap around the 14" bottom and sculpt it right, but with the help of my wonderful husband and his 2 hands and mine, we were able to get it just right before the fondant ripped and cracked. After it had all dried I painted it with white luster dust mixed with clear vanilla to give it a satin sheen.
She also wanted me to duplicate the lace motif that was on her dress onto the cake. I piped the lace design with royal icing, painted the middle with white luster dust+vanilla mixture, and added edible 4mm pearls. (Here is a picture of pieces of her lace)

To finish it off Chris dry luster dusted the entire cake (while I was painting the inside of the lace design) and we added an 8mm edible pearl border to the middle tier. Because my nephew is such a huge Disney fan, I added a "hidden Mickey" in the pearl border. It was a hit. Everyone at the reception was looking all over the cake trying to find the hidden mickey. I may put a hidden mickey in all my cakes now. It makes the cakes more interactive!