Saturday, December 22, 2012

This may or may not be the last cake made in 2012...

I am in love with a little girl named Dakota. She is just three years old and I absolutely love her to pieces. She is tiny and blond and stubborn and picky with what she eats. But whenever she sees me, she comes running into my arms and gives me a huge bear hug and won't let go for several minutes, like she is enjoying every second, like I am! Her mom is terrific and words cannot describe how proud of her I am, and how much I admire everything she has done and is doing in her life.

This is the second year I've been asked to do Dakota's birthday cake. I have made this cake several times, it's quite popular with the kiddos. This one is a chocolate slab, with crispy rice treats for the pillow and headboard and footboard. Vanilla buttercream, and some cute toys to go on top!

Such an easy cake to make, and every time I make it, there are different characters on top! I love it!

So happy birthday to my favourite 3 year old... I know your mom is going to spoil you this Christmas!

On another note, I am contemplating a classy cake for New Year's Eve. I am having a cousin and her family over for some festivities, and haven't decided yet. I will probably go ahead and do it, it just seems like a lot of work to me right now because I have so much to do in the next two days! :)

Whether I do or I don't, I wish you and your wonderful families a VERY Merry Christmas. Much love to you all and I hope you are all able to enjoy some quality time together. Hug your loved ones just a little bit longer this season!

Stay sweet!

Festive Cupcakes!

Last weekend, the cousins of my large maternal side of the family all got together for a dinner. Some of these cousins I haven't seen since we were little, and I've looked forward to seeing them since we first began talking about this get-together.

I made three desserts to bring, I knew many of my cousins would be bringing main dishes or sides. So I made magic cookie bars (recipe below), cheesecake dip (also below), and red velvet cupcakes.

I used my standby recipe for red velvet, and overfilled the muffin pan, so the first batch and a half turned out crappy, but I managed to save the best-looking ones and I indulged in a couple of unfilled and unfrosted, and they were sooooo goood. Light and fluffy!! I filled 12 with cream cheese icing, and topped them with vanilla buttercream, and sprinkled crushed candy canes on top. I even managed to send a few in with my husband when he went to work... he came back with none so that is always a good sign :)

Here they are:

So, here are the recipes for the other two things I made:

Magic Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup non-hydrogenized margarine, melted
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
3/4 package of milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper (I have found that this is the easiest way to remove the bars and cut them without having them stick).

Combine crumbs, margarine and corn syrup in a small bowl until well mixed. Pour and press into lined pan. Top pressed crumb mixture with nuts, chocolate chips, coconut and drizzle entire can of condensed milk on top.

*The original recipe for this actually says to put the milk on top of the crumbs but in my experience, when you cut into the bars, everything fell off, which defeated the whole purpose. So, I tweaked it, as usual :) *

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let cool for about 1/2 hour and cut into bars. Delicious when warm and melty :)

Cheesecake Dip

1 box Jell-o No Bake Cheesecake Mix
1 container of frozen whipped cream, thawed
1 can cherry pie filling
1 package of graham squares

Combine cheesecake package with whipped cream until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. On a platter, spoon cheesecake mixture into the center, and surround with graham squares. Top cheesecake mixture with cherry pie filling. Enjoy!

*You can save the graham crumbs from the cheesecake mix for your magic cookie bars!*

Found this recipe on Pinterest... and it was truly a hit! I think that the best-tasting recipes require the least amount of ingredients and fuss!

Enjoy, and stay sweet!

Hi-Tech Cake

Hello again!

The next cake is one for a co-worker's son. It's a vanilla slab cake, decorated in fondant to look like the computer. It was the cake I was most afraid of, with all the details, but the easiest one to actually do.

My husband crafted the monitor of the laptop out of cardboard and construction paper while I took on the details of the keys.

Now, as you can see, the keys are not exact, obviously, but my kids were wowed, and that usually means it's passed the vision test... after, of course, asking if it's "for us". Apparently I don't bake enough for them? Ha, what a crock! LOL

So here it is:

That's it! Very simple, not a whole lot to say about it! :)
Stay sweet!

Catching up...


It's been busy here... aside from cake orders, I have been trying to clean and decorate my house and do some Christmas baking!

There are a couple of cakes to post about, so I will begin with my anniversary cake! I began with making vanilla cake from scratch... since we were eating it at home, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a cake from scratch. It tasted really good, but wasn't as light as it could have been, so I need to practice the recipe and tweak things.

I made four layers of vanilla cake, and froze them. Then I made red velvet cake from scratch and broke it all up. Then I made buttercream frosting using a new recipe including butter, not vegetable shortening. I ended up with a delicious but very rich icing. I would make it again, for sure!

I took two layers, put them together with some icing and carved out the top part of the heart. In retrospect, I should have used a spoon to round it out a bit better, but hey, for a first time, I was pretty proud of myself. Then I took the last two layers, and carved out the bottom of the heart. I filled each cavity with the crushed red velvet cake and froze each half of the cake for about an hour. Then I carefully put the two halves together and did a crumb coat.

I had to freeze the cake for a couple of days because this cake was a surprise for my husband, and since he's been on days, it's harder to hide things from him LOL! So, I sent him out with one of his buddies on a weeknight and completed the cake. I used a ribbon technique to decorate the cake, and used colours from our original wedding cake. This is what I ended up with:

Pretty classy, huh? I thought so too! So everything was grand until he asked me who the cake was for. He had found it. I was so disappointed :(  But there was still one aspect I could surprise him with, he didn't know about the inside of the cake! This is what it looked like:

We ate it for breakfast on our anniversary, and our oldest son wasn't up to taking advantage of the situation, he was trying to tell us to eat a real breakfast first, and have a slice on the side! We nixed that one! LOL!

It was delicious, and massive, it took awhile for us to eat it!

I'll post about the other cakes seperately because it's just too much to scroll through! :) Stay sweet!