Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspirational Posts

I wanted to acknowledge those other cake bloggers that have inspired me to try new things, learn new techniques, and start my own blog!

*Note: these inspirations are not wrecks, they are part of the Sunday Sweets collection featured every week.

This is one of my favorite sites, Louise has many how-to's with lots of pictures.

Warning! This is a very addicting website!

Cake Central is a large forum website with user submitted recipes, pictures, how-to articles, and heaps more.

That's all for now, have a sweet day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chalk Petal Dust

I am devoted to cake decorating and am establishing quite a collection of supplies. I have purchased shimmer dust in the colors available at my local craft store, but there were only 12 and I wanted matte powders too. When I went searching for petal dust the prices for small containers shocked me. There was no way I was going to pay that much money, there had to be a better way.

After much searching I stumbled upon a reference to chalk powder used on gum paste flowers. Voila! That was the solution I was looking for. So here are the instructions to make your own cheap petal dust using chalk.

Supplies needed: paper, cornstarch, non-toxic chalk, tea ball, small containers, gloves. I bought a box of sidewalk chalk with 20 colors for $2.20, cornstarch for $2.00, a tea ball for $2.00, and a $5.00 case with 24 small containers meant for beads. So $11.20, which is about the cost of two 1/2 ounce containers of petal dust.

1. Disassemble tea ball into two halves, wash all containers and dry completely.
2. Put on gloves to protect your hands, grate chalk through tea strainer onto a piece of paper.

3. Add 1/2 tsp cornstarch, also sifted through tea ball half. The cornstarch keeps the powder from clumping, but it also lightens the color.

4. Mix together with your finger and pour through tea ball half one more time to combine.

5. Fold paper and pour powder into container. Use a paper funnel and poking device (I used a mangled paper clip) to help if the opening to your container is small.

6. Snap on the cap and repeat for all desired colors. After all is said and done you have an entire kit of powders, and a lot of chalk and cornstarch left over for several more batches as you need them.

I will caution you that although the chalk is non-toxic it's not really tasty. Since you will probably use it sparingly it shouldn't cause a problem, just keep in mind if you are covering large areas. You can mix the powders with clear alcohol or an alcohol based extract (like almond or lemon extract) and use it as a paint. The alcohol evaporates, leaving behind just the liquid color, this keeps gum paste and fondant decorations from becoming soft after painting. You can also mix with clear piping gel to tint for writing, although I recommend using gel or paste icing color for large amounts.

I hope to make some gum paste flowers soon and use my new powders. I'll post pictures!

Have a sweet day!

Ice Cream Cake & Devil's Food Cupcakes

I have some catching up to do! I finally got the pictures off my phone onto my computer, so here's the ice cream cake I made for my husband for his birthday in September. It was two layers of ice cream and one layer of white cake with whipped topping and oreo cookies. It was delicious, easy to make, and so much cheaper than Baskin Robbins.

I also tested cake mix to make domed cupcakes to be dipped in poured fondant. I also used this same post from Louise's Cake Journal website as inspiration for the flowers & leaves on my Devil's Food cupcakes below. Betty Crocker mix versus Duncan Hines. I have always been steered towards Duncan Hines, but one week they were out of white mix so I grabbed Betty Crocker. The cupcakes came out very domed without my even trying. I wanted to be sure so I tested it, the winner is Betty Crocker for domed cupcakes!

Betty Crocker

Duncan Hines

I made a test batch of Devil's Food cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Icing. I made rolled pink fondant roses and leaves using marshmallow fondant.

They were delicious, but the cake was very light and fluffy, I need to find a dense chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Fudge Icing
This icing dries thick and is very rich. I don't think it's too far off actual fudge. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar separately to prevent lumps.

2/3 cup butter (5.4 oz)
1 1/3 cups cocoa (5.3 oz)
6 cups powdered sugar (1 lb 9.8 oz)
2/3 cup milk (5.3 oz)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter over medium heat, add cocoa and heat just until bubbles form.
Pour into mixer bowl and cool slightly.
Add powdered sugar and milk, alternating, beat until smooth.
Add vanilla, beat until fluffy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spice Ornaments and Banana Cupcakes

I've been busy this weekend, it felt good to be baking again. Yesterday I made spice ornaments. They smell heavenly, I'm going to have a hard time giving them away! Mostly I made gingerbread men but threw in a few gingerbread girls and snowmen.

Spice Ornament Recipe & Instructions
1 cup cinnamon
1 tbsp cloves, ground
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 cup applesauce, drained
2 tbsp white glue

Drain the applesauce with a fine strainer (about 1 1/2 cups makes 1 cup drained). Combine all ingredients with a spoon until it starts to form a ball. Knead for a few minutes until it is smooth but slightly sticky. Use flour on the dough and a cutting board to prevent sticking, then roll out 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters for desired shapes. Before removing cutter from dough make a small hole in the top with a toothpick for the ribbon to go through. Dry cutouts on stackable screens for several days until completely dry and hard, flipping over each day so they dry evenly. Then decorate as desired, I use royal icing if I want them to look like frosted cookies. You can use glue, glitter, buttons, candies, etc. You can spray or dip with varnish or shellac to seal and add gloss, but it would probably affect the scent. DO NOT EAT THE ORNAMENTS.

I also made banana cupcakes with lemon frosting. Very lemony, just how I like it! I'll take them to work tomorrow along with my huge bowl of leftover halloween candy to share.

Have a sweet day!