Sunday, January 26, 2014

More than just cake...

Hey everyone!

I've been busy this weekend organizing a cake pricing page (which you can see here.) It's just a free site, nothing terribly special, but I am often asked if I have a website with prices and flavours and I didn't... so I decided to fix that.

This weekend, I also decided to bake for my husband... I used to make my own pizza "pops" for him to take to work for lunch, and I hadn't done that in awhile. He's been so sweet lately, I decided to do something nice for him, so I made them. Then I decided to go one step further and share the how-to with you!

Homemade Pizza Pops

You could use pizza dough (homemade or store-bought), but I actually use a dinner roll dough recipe for my bread maker. Here is the recipe:

1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dry milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 bread machine yeast

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order they are listed and set your machine on the dough setting, and go :)

If you don't have a bread machine, you could use a stand mixer or mix it by hand, just make sure to let it rise at least once.

Once the dough is ready, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Cut up all the ingredients you want to use, while the dough is resting. Here, I have pizza sauce, mozzerella, turkey pepperoni, and mushrooms.

I cut the dough into rough equal parts. Six or eight parts is fine... I wouldn't do any more than that because then they won't be very big.

Next, I make a 'well' in the center of the dough, to make room for the fillings.

I start with some sauce, then the rest of the fillings, and add a touch more sauce. Be careful with the sauce... I have found that if you add too much, it overflows and it's next to impossible to pinch the dough closed because it won't stick.

After it's pinched closed, place it pinched side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

And this is what they look like! Don't be alarmed if a couple of leaks happen... it means you have either overfilled them, or didn't pinch them closed enough... in this instance, it was only a small leak and it won't affect the amount of filling.
Let the buns cool to room temperature and place in individual ziplock bags and freeze.
My husband says he doesn't put them in the freezer at work, he lets them stay at room temperature to thaw, and then microwaves them at lunch time, unwrapped, at full power for 30-45 seconds and they are perfect. I don't usually eat these so I had to ask him LOL!
There are so many variations to this idea. You can do ham and swiss (and I have), you could also do a taco version, with taco meat, cheddar, peppers and bring some salsa on the side to dip it into.
I haven't tried this but I am sure you could do eggs, ham and cheese, and dessert versions (chocolate and marshmallow? OKAY!)
Versatile and easy...
Enjoy, and stay sweet!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, Fresh Start!

Things I love about January:

All the Christmas crap is down and put away (lol)
I start thinking about gardening
I get to plan my vacations for the year
SUMMER is coming! (Okay... we'll start with spring... lol)

I have some goals for cakes as well... there is one particular cake I have been dying to do since October, but the chance to do it fell through. Another opportunity has presented itself and I am so excited! It's going to be a huge hit on my Facebook page... and with good reason... it will take a lot of work and time but the result will be soooo worth it.

I also have something in the works for Valentine's Day.... I know, I know. We aren't even halfway through January yet, but if my experience in retail has taught me anything, it's to always look ahead at the next season or holiday. Stay tuned for that!

The chocolate rosette cake was such a hit on New Years' Eve that I made one in pink to bring to work. Bringing treats like this to work usually results in a sale or two and this time was no different. I work with people who have a serious sweet tooth, and that's awesome!

This 6 inch chocolate cake with peanut butter filling was the talk of the lunchroom! I love the fact that I don't need to dirty ice the cake first, and I love practicing the rosette technique. The trick is to make sure your buttercream isn't too dry.. make sure it's moist and flows well from the icing bag. Otherwise you will do what I did with the chocolate one, and scrape it all off, fix the buttercream, and start over. But when it works, it's so pretty and elegant, and it's really not that difficult!
YouTube is an amazing resource for me. I often browse Pinterest and have certain cakes catch my eye. Then I figure out what technique they use and search for a tutorial on YouTube. So there, you now know my secret. But it's an awesome way for me to learn, and I don't think cake decorators can ever really stop learning. There is always something new!
And then there is Thomas. My oldest son was fixated on Thomas the Train when he was young.. and boy, do I ever regret not learning how to do my own cakes way back then. He would have freaked out over this cake!


This cake was done with a Wilton 3D train cake pan, rented from Bulk Barn. If you didn't already know, you can rent cake pans from there for $2/day, with a $20 deposit. It is so convenient to do this because I already have more than enough cake pans, the last thing I need is more!

I baked the chocolate cake mix in the pan, let it cool and froze the two halves. When I was ready to decorate the cake, I just pulled up a picture of a Thomas cake, mixed my icing colours and went to work. I used fondant for the face, windows and number one. I put Thomas near the back of the cake board to make room for the greeting, since there really was no room ON Thomas to do so. So I pulled out my favourite tool... Tappits!

The cake was a huge hit, and one special little boy was very happy. I loved seeing the picture of him blowing out a candle on top of the cake, it truly warmed my heart!

Well.. more cake adventures to look forward to! Stay tuned to my Facebook page and feel free to share my pictures with your friends :)

Stay sweet!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014!

Hello hello! I hope everyone made it through today without too much suffering from the parties last night! Happy New Year from my family to yours!

I closed out 2013 with a bang of my own... we were invited to a few parties, but were only able to attend two of the closest ones... both were a lot of fun, considering we are definitely homebodies. We typically don't go out on New Year's Eve, but made an exception this year.

So my last post included a Dora cake and a Mario cake... and while I don't have the cakes to show for it, December was such a busy month for us as a family, as it usually is for a lot of families! But I squeezed a few cakes in:

This tree stump cake looked way better with the fondant lettering on it, but I didn't get a picture of it. There were also antlers to go on top but they were lost in transit, unfortunately. This was made of four layers of triple chocolate brownies and chocolate buttercream. It smelled divine!

This vanilla coffin-shaped cake done in buttercream was for a special little girl in my life. The Monster High doll Operetta topped this cake right before the presentation. I heard a rumour the cake did NOT last very long :)

This beautiful vanilla cake with raspberry filling was made to surprise some special friends of ours. I had a lot of fun making this cake and more fun delivering it. I love how festive it looked!
These cupcake were for the same friends to help ring in the new year. More vanilla-raspberry!
And last but certainly not least, this beautiful rosette chocolate-pb cake was made to help ring in the new year at the second party we attended. No one wanted to cut into it! Once it was cut, it didn't last very long either... yay!

This about sums up my month of December 2013... onto new and exciting things for the coming year! I hope you will continue to follow my posts and give feedback...

Stay healthy and sweet!