Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Tip

This year when you make dozens and dozens of cookies remember this little tip.

To keep your cookies soft (or to make cookies that are a little too crispy softer) store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread.

The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread. Change the bread every few days when it drys out.

I did this the other day when I over cooked my cookies by about a min or two. I really like soft cookies, and by the next day they were perfect.

Try it. Promise it will work. Your cookies will be soft and yummy for all of the holiday season.

Linking up with We Are That Family

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rice Krispy Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend time with friends and family and reflect on everything you have to be thankful for this year.

I saw these cuties floating around the blog world and decided I wanted to take them to Thanksgiving!! I followed the recipe that Give Me Some Oven and adapted my decorations from her. Her's were MUCH better decorated - but I did the best with what I had. I wasn't making a trip to the store, too tired for that - and I am terrified of what I might find the day before Thanksgiving!

They are really simple to make.

Make rice krispies, mold them into balls, then decorate.

I used candy corn for the feathers, whoppers for the head and colored candy melts for eyes and beak.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Matt had a Thanksgiving potluck at work today - he signed up to bring cupcakes.  So we decided I would make the recipe from Carol and Tim's wedding cake.

I made one batch of the cake batter recipe and ended up with 35 large cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes!! I guess I could have halved the recipe!

I made a double batch of the filling recipe and had only a little bit  left over, which is perfect because I will be making a half batch of cupcakes to take to my grandparents on Thursday.

The cupcakes only took about 12 mins to cook (about 9 for the minis.)

I just piped the icing on in a swirl. I should have let the icing chill in the fridge for a few mins, but I didn't so the swirl sort of blended together. But they still tasted yummy!

This recipe has become a favorite of mine. :-D

(sorry no pics - I left the camera in the car for this one and didn't want to get my cell phone all messy- See cake post for pics :-D)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter Butterbeer

Remember on my birthday I made a list of recipes I wanted to try? No, ok check it out here.
One of those things was Harry Potter Butterbeer.
I am a big HP fan, and typically see the new movies on opening weekend (even a couple midnight showings.) When I heard that they were opening a whole area of Universal Island of Adventure that would be devoted to HP, I couldn’t wait to get to FL (still waiting- but hopefully soon.)
This drink is very popular in the park, makes sense since it is one of the drinks the wizards drink at the 3 broomsticks pub.
This was very good, sweet with a sort of butterscotch taste to it.
I found the recipe from Noble Pig. I pretty much followed her recipe exactly.
[Printable Recipe]
For butterbeer:
1c. packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. water
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
4 12 oz. bottle root beer
For whipped cream:
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
Combine brown sugar and water and bring to a boil.
Cook until reaches 240 degrees.
Add butter, salt, vinegar and cream.
Stir until combined and butter is melted.
Let cool to room temp.
With mixer, whip cream and brown sugar for about 3 minutes until thick.
IMG_5040  IMG_5042
To assemble:
Put sauce in bottom of the glass (I put a little less than 1/4 c.- next time I might use more because Matt said the root beer flavor was pretty strong)
Add 1/4c. root beer and stir to combine. The sauce is thick so stir well.
Then fill glass with remaining root beer.
Spoon a bit of whipped topping on it and serve.

This was really good. I liked it a lot. Saving the extra syrup so I can make more later this week. I think that adding a little rum to this would be good too. After all in the movie those who drink butterbeer get a little tipsy! :-D

And now I am ready to go see Harry Potter 7!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip

I made this recipe to take to a Halloween party. I figured I could call it lizard eyes or something.

Final pic

I adapted this from The Sweets Life

[Printable Recipe]


8 oz. cream cheese – softened

1/2 c. butter – softened

3/4 c. powdered sugar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. mini chocolate chips


Beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. IMG_4913

Add powdered sugar and brown sugar

Add vanilla


Stir in Chocolate chips


Cover and refrigerate for about an hour

Place on piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. IMG_4919

(you can’t tell, but this is on plastic wrap)

Refrigerate for another hour.

Serve with Graham crackers and vanilla wafers.

Final pic

My skills at shaping this into a ball were lacking. It might have been because I didn’t let it set up in the fridge long enough, but it was basically just a blob of yummy goodness. We served it with a spoon to dip it out. So good! So good with the vanilla wafers.


This is a new must make for a party.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to make cake flour

I typically have a box of cake flour in my pantry, but when I started making the wedding cakes I realized I didn’t have enough and I didn’t feel like going out to get more. I knew it was possible to make your own, and just days before Joy the Baker posted how to do it! So after a little google reader searching I found it!

I think this is a great recipe to have just in case you find yourself needed cake flour.

It is simple.

You need  3 things -

1- Flour

2- Corn Starch

3- Sifter


Measure out your flour

For every cup of all purpose flour you have , remove 2 Tbsp flour.

Then add 2 Tbsp corn starch

Then sift – a lot – like 2 or 3 times, then sift it again with all the ingredients.


And that is how you make cake flour from regular flour.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recipes for Carol and Tim’s Cake

The cake was Pumpkin Spice cake – recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
The filling was Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing – recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven
The Icing was Buttercream icing – Recipe adapted from Wilton. ( taken from the book from my cake decorating class)
final cake 3
Cake recipe
[Printable Recipe]
4 c. cake flour ( I made my own – I will explain in another post – but you can use store store bought too)
1 tsp baking soda
1Tbsp + 1tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon (my teaspoons were not level – but not exactly heaping – I just was generous with the cinnamon)
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg (I didn’t use fresh grated- I used from the jar)
1/4 tsp cloves
2 sticks butter – room temp
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 and 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree (generous with this measurement too)
Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices – I sifted twice.
In mixer on med- cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add in eggs one at a time making sure each are incorporated and scrape sides in between each one.
Reduce to low (make sure you do this – oops)
Add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk. (Three batches of flour and two of milk – start and end with flour mixture)
Beat until combined.
Add pumpkin and beat until combined.
Pour into a cake pan (I used wilton’s cake release, but you could just butter and flour your pan)
Bake for 25-35 mins.
(a 10” cake took about 32 mins , 8” – 30mins, 6” –27 mins and the 11x14 sheet cake was 34 mins)
Let cool on rack completely before icing and filling.
Filling Recipe
[Printable Recipe]
**I made this recipe as the icing for the cake when I made the tester cupcakes**
8oz cream cheese – room temp
4 Tbsp butter – room temp
1 lb powdered sugar (more to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (generous tsp)

In mixer mix together cream cheese, butter and vanilla.
Slowly add powdered sugar until all incorporated.
Add cinnamon.
Add more powdered sugar if needed (I prefer it more sweet- I put a few Tbsp extra in)
Refrigerate until ready to use. Let come back to room temp before using.
Buttercream Recipe
[Printable Recipe]
1 c. white vegetable shortening (crisco)
1/4 tsp vanilla flavor (use clear vanilla extract if want white icing)
1/2 tsp butter flavor
2 Tbsp water
1 lb powdered sugar – sifted
1 Tbsp –Wilton Meringue Powder
pinch of salt
In mixer cream shortening, flavors and water. Sift sugar and meringue powder together. Slowly add to the mixture. Add water until you get desired consistency.

The cake and cream cheese icing make really yummy cupcakes – just throwing that out there!!

How to make a wedding cake

Carol, my college roommate, got married this past weekend.
Her wedding was very beautiful and had lots of personal touches all through out it.
I was one of those personal touches. I made her cake.
She called and asked me a while ago, and said she didn’t care what it looked like and that it could even be just a single cake layer.
Well I have never made a wedding cake before – but I also know that a single cake layer wouldn’t do.
I found a picture that I liked and decided I would use that as my inspiration.
Carol wanted a pumpkin roll as her wedding cake. So I took the flavors of it, and made it into a wedding cake.
Here I will show you pictures of the process – I will post the recipes in a separate post. Click here for recipes
Divide the cake batter into the cake pans. (One batch made one of each size cake – a 6”, 8” and 10”)
Make the largest bowl of butter cream icing ever. (I took the recipe – doubled it and then made it 3 times. I used all but a little bit – and that little bit is still in the mini fridge in my hotel room)
Slice and fill the cakes with the cinnamon cream cheese filling.
IMG_4955 IMG_4956
Slice and fill the large sheet cakes – even if they crumble – they will look ok after they get iced
Crumb coat the cakes.
Ice the cakes
I did all the icing at my parents house – we were staying there the night before we left because it was closer and we could leave later. It was a good thing. I didn’t have this kind of room at my apartment.
I put them in their cake boxes and put them in the trunk of the car overnight – thank goodness for mid 30 degree temps. The next am – I smoothed the icing more and re-packed them for the drive.
Put the cake boxes in boxes and buckle them in for the 4.5 hour drive to New Jersey. Hold your breath and cross your fingers they make it
Have a heart attack when the road to deliver the cakes to the reception site is cobble stone and bumpy as heck!
Go to hotel, rehearsal, dinner, sleep and wedding – then drive like something is chasing you to the reception site to assemble the wedding cake before everyone gets there.

I was in the wedding – and I didn’t want to get white icing on my navy dress – so I tossed the shirt I wore to the church that AM on over my dress and got to work as fast as I could.
I used straws to make sure the cakes wouldn’t crush each other.
Stacking the cakes was more difficult that I thought it would be.
Now it is time to fix all the finger prints and parts of the icing that didn’t want to come off the cake boards when I to stack them.
Pipe the boarder around where the cakes meet.
Try very hard to ignore the fact that people are coming and and walking right past you to go to the cocktail hour. (it was very hard for me- I was slightly freaking out about this.)
Add flowers (make sure you hide the spots that are a little thin!)
Rosemary made the centerpieces and helped me by arranging the flowers on the cake – she is a true artist!
Give Rosemary the biggest hug and take a deep breath because it is finished (then hit the bar for a well earned drink!!)
IMG_4978    74803_10100101858671258_5700482_52847360_1180658_n final cake final cake 2final cake 3 IMG_4979IMG_4977
Take lots of pictures of the cake.
Eat, dance and have fun for the rest of the day.
Drive back to VA
IMG_5016 IMG_5019
Clean up the disaster you made in your kitchen.

And that my friends is how you make a wedding cake. :-D

I am sure there are easier methods, this is just the one I used.

Special thanks to:
My mom – for believing I could actually do this from day one! (and for giving me all those cake pans you had in the attic!!)
Matt – for not driving like a jerk and ruining the cakes on the way to NJ – and for tolerating the mess I made all over the kitchen and dinning room.
Meg – for being the best photographer/cheerleader/people blocker ever. I seriously would have panicked while putting it together without you!
Rosemary- for making the cake look amazing with your floral arrangements.
Mom’s Group Playgroup – for taste testing the recipe before I made this cake. :-D
Carol and Tim- for trusting my ability enough to allow me to make the cake for your special day. I love that I was a part of it.

I had a lot of fun making this cake. I was very stressed, but only because I was afraid it wouldn’t make it to NJ and that I wouldn’t have time in between the wedding and the reception to make it look beautiful. (I had to be at the church at 7:30 am – for the wedding and couldn’t get to the reception until about 12:45 because of travel times. I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it all together before the wedding so I just had to hope I was fast and there were no disasters. It all worked out of course!) I am not sure I will make another wedding cake again for a little bit – I just didn’t have enough space in the apartment to work!