Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Cake Pops

Happy Halloween!

All mummied up!
Spooky Friends!
Ghosts, Draculas, Frankensteins and Mummy Funfetti Cake Pops
Causin' spooky trouble...

Pumpkin Patch!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Winnie the Pooh....and baby (showers) too!

A few weekends ago, a couple of my co-workers and I put together a baby shower for a sweet little bundle of joy on the way! We realized quite too late that we got a tad bit carried away with things, but when there are sweets and babies involved, how can one seriously put limits on the cuteness you can create?!

Let me also mention that it was Winnie the Pooh themed, and for a baby girl. Let me also go ahead and answer the question that must be lingering in your mind right now- why yes, it was a pink, cutie pie explosion! 

So, of course, you know I went there. 

Yep, that definitely happened.  The best part about making these is that I had help, ha! In all seriousness, it is so much more fun cake popping when there is some one else to squeal in excitement with over what you have created. Although you best be believing I gladly do that out loud to an empty room while cake popping by my lonesome.

This was the first one we made. It was perfect- we could not recreated him in his perfection, but we came darn near close! 

I seem to be on a cassata cake kick lately (making one for an anniversary party next weekend!), and knowing how the momma-to-be feels about cannoli filling, I decided to make a tiered cassata cake for the Khloester.

It is simply just a dense white cake with a chocolate chip cannoli filling in the middle. And it's becoming quite a big hit when taking cake orders lately!

All in all, it was loads of fun! The favors were colored honey pots (we had mums as the centerpieces), 

and then we did a candy bar so everyone had something yummy to take home in the pots! 

I'm pretty positive those smiling Pooh bears were pretty happy to be a part of it all. 

 Khloe built an extensive wardrobe, thanks to family and friends,

and she tells me frequently how grateful she is to all who came to celebrate her that day!

 After fleeting thoughts of party planning, our day was over and we had one happy momma-to-beeee! I'll stick to the sweets in the meantime, but if you had an idea for a party you'd like to have, I wouldn't think twice about planning a whole party all over again! Such fun!

Even Pooh bear thinks so!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Funfetti Bake Off!

There is something to be said about practicing a baked good before show time. 

Lucky for me, I have fantastically wonderful, hungry co-workers that like to eat cake. 

So, here’s the backstory- I’m making a tiered funfetti wedding cake this weekend (what could possibly be better than a lifetime of love and sprinkles?!). Anywho, as a fellow lover of all things funfetti, this job lead me into some deep thought. If you want funfetti cake, you want it the way you have always had it, right, with the assumption that we are talking box mix. But now that this whole baking thing has spiraled my life out of control, I realize there are substitutes to box cake mixes. I thought that perhaps a white cake recipe with sprinkles thrown in might be a refreshing change to the funfetti box, and taste a little yummier, due to the homemadeness (I just made that word up, right?) of it all. So, I had to do it. Funfetti Bake Off 2012. Box versus scratch. 

This activity wasn’t merely to see which cake would taste better. I wanted to see if you could taste a difference, if people could determine which was the box mix and which was the scratch recipe, and why they preferred their respective favorite cake.

White cake + sprinkles
Funfetti box cake
Before I go any further, I will admit that I incorrectly guessed which cake was mine (ha!). Feeding cake to a bunch of scientists brought up flaws in my research design (I did not randomize which cake would be feed first to each person- eek!) but we muddled through in the name of sweets!

Drum roll!!!!

Along with a few outside sources, the funfetti box cake mix was overwhelmingly chosen, 5-3! While both cakes were good (at least this is what my sources claimed….), the box mix was favored for its lighter and fluffier texture. The white cake mix I was using was from one of my baking classes, a recipe typically used in a professional setting, which was a little denser and richer (which was favored by a couple for that reason), and since people more often are eating box mix than professional cakes of this manner, I think that is ultimately why it was picked over the scratch recipe- people are just used to eating those box mixes. My mother had a few choice words to say about people growing up on box cake mixes, but I will omit her comments. = )  

I would be interested to try this again, with a different, lighter white cake mix. That would be truer to the box mix and possibly taste a little fresher. In the meantime, I adamantly support giving people exactly what they want, so I’ll be going with the box mix for the bride this weekend! I can’t handle the thought of choosing the tub frosting over homemade buttercream though, so that’ll be the choice of frosting. I can’t wait to place the cute cake topper on the top tier, that the bride made! A full report will be up this weekend! 

Today’s events made me anxious to collect more recipes and learn more about different cakes and their textures. I’ve been meaning to collect all of my recipes and organize them into an app on my phone, so I’m making that my new priority, and then collecting more recipes from there. 

In the meantime, let me know if you have any other baking experiments for me! My co-workers would love you for it! ;-)

Now go throw some sprinkles around your kitchen!

A cookie report

Lots of random things going on, and little blogging about it! Mostly cookie related things though.... 

A few weeks ago I whipped up these little peanut butter chocolate ganache sandwich cookies. They tasted exactly like a peanut butter blossom (the peanut butter balls with the Hershey kisses in the middle). Which are a personal favorite of mine. So this worked out in my favor!

This could potentially be a cookie I make again. It would make a nice addition to a lovely Christmas cookie platter. If nothing else, I will definitely be using the peanut butter cookie recipe I found here for this recipe, in the future. A major peanut butter cookie recipe keeper! 

More recently, I decided it was time for some more pumpkin desserts. Whipped up a moist, wonderfully delicious pumpkin cookie recipe that my momma has, and that we usually make every fall. I'm not a big fan of nuts in my desserts, so I usually omit them, but I ALWAYS put raisins in this cookie, which makes them extra yum! I left the raisins out of some of them though, to try and please all of the people, all of the time...I left some plain, some with raisins, some with chocolate chips, and then frosting on the rest.

Personally, they also need cream cheese frosting. 


Cute and yummy! This delectable pumpkin tasting left me with an extensive list of which pumpkin dessert to try next, which is becoming quite the dilemma, because there is only so much time in a day. I HAVE decided though that I will be trying a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving, which I've been wanting to do for a while, but haven't yet! But what else in the meantime? Pumpkin pie squares? Pumpkin cheese danishes? Pumpkin biscotti?  

Then, while in Wegmans today, I completely forgot about pumpkin bread. I nearly went home and made it right that second. 

Yesterday was a spontaneous chocolate chip cookie day. 

I love taking orders and planning days on which I will bake, but as far as I am concerned, the best days are the ones on which you wake up in the morning and have no idea that you will be baking and enjoying cookies by the end of the day.

Sigh. I love cookies.

Tonight ends with multiple brushings of my teeth. There was a sprinkle explosion in my kitchen, which you will learn all about tomorrow!

Sweet dreams!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The first pie of autumn

Apple pie!!! JP and I went apple/pear picking in his friend's Buffalo backyard a few weekends ago. I wanted to get some pie making practice under my belt before the holidays, so I whipped up this delightful apple pie to give to his friend.

I never really dived into the pie making realm until I took classes earlier this year. Now, I'm pretty sure I could make pie dough all day, day after day! It's the only thing I prefer to make without my mixer- I love kneading the cubes of chilled butter into the flour- it's practically therapeutic!

Also, I love making the lattice crust. I'd like to get fancy and make pretty designs on the top crust. However, maybe I shouldn't make it too pretty looking though....who would want to eat it?! 

One the other hand, I soon discovered that peeling, coring and slicing apples isn't my most favorite thing in the world, ha! But I'm excited to try more pies in the near future. =o)

Tomorrow should be exciting- I'm planning on checking out a brand new Barnes and Nobles culinary store in Niagara Falls, which is part of the NCCC Culinary Arts program. I'm hoping I don't come home with half the store! Maybe I'll just pick up a fun cake book or two. Yay!

Feel free to ask me to practice my pie making skills for you! ;-) In the meantime, go eat something delicious!


Monday, October 1, 2012

National Homemade Cookie Day!

I love made up days like these. Who claims this day as National Homemade Cookie Day? And why wasn't it me? And why October 1st? Who has all of these answers? 

I am unpacking from moving, and procrastinating in a big way. My mother supported my move to make cookies though, despite my baking stuff being all over the place. Perhaps she just wanted to reap the benefits of the end product....? We went with oatmeal, which ended up being a wise choice. 

While in line at Salsaritas last winter, a father and his little girl were in a heated discussion about her choice of cookie for dessert- oatmeal or chocolate chip. He made the final decision of oatmeal, and his reason being was- because it has oatmeal in it, it is healthier for you. Seriously, dude? Did he have any concept of how much salt he was about to consume in the tacos he was about to eat? 

That was not the reason I went with oatmeal today. But they sure were yummy! Still some blogging to catch up on, in addition to baking an apple pie I've been meaning to make. I picked apples a couple weeks ago.....if they have been in the fridge, how long do they last?

There is still time to celebrate homemade cookies today! Have some for dinner! That's what I did! ;-)