Friday, May 27, 2011

Busy Busy Week!

Wow! It has been a crazy busy 2 weeks!  Last week my mom came out for Chris' graduation.  She was here Tuesday night through Sunday morning.  It was really fun even though I had to work for most of  the time.  The graduation was awesome and even better...the food!  My mom helped me out and we made pulled pork sandwiches, fruit skewers, potato salad, tuna macaroni salad, veggie pizza, and his favorite snicker brownie cupcakes.  

It was really fun.  I used Reese's cups then put a square of Hershey's chocolate on top.  I piped the tassels with half orange and half blue for Purchase's colors.  Everyone loved them and they were really cute!

Next up was this week.  A friend of mine introduced me to a friend of hers looking for a cake and cupcakes for her son's 1st birthday party.  He is very into Yo Gabba Gabba.  A number of my friends don't have kids yet so they're reactions were the best..."Yo Gabby what?"  Haha!  I didn't know too much about the show but I had seen pictures.  She sent me a picture of a cake she liked and then said she wanted the faces of the characters on the cupcakes.  I was excited because they're such fun colors and cool looking characters.  They were just picked up tonight and they were so excited.  It sounds like the party is going to be a blast- the characters face painting for the kids, bubble machine, character shirts for the kids, lots of fun Yo Gabba Gabba games and decorations.  I wish I was a kid!

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Chocolate cupcakes
Vanilla cupcakes

Now, it's time to go relax.  Until next time, happy baking!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A spot of Tea and Crumpets

Alright, alright.  I know I am dreadfully behind and now I have two posts in one day.  I really need to work on this.  I guess I should start putting this blog ahead of my relaxation time.  Yea, that's not going to happen.  Well, in honor of His and Her Royal Highnesses (is that right?), I made crumpets last week and brought them into work on Friday morning.  I should have just stayed up and watched the wedding live after I finished the crumpets but I did have to work so I filled up my DVR with all of the wedding craziness.  I absolutely love that they televised it.  I kind of understand how some people don't get all the hype because I don't know if I really get it either but I just absolutely love watching weddings.  Kate's dress was absolutely gorgeous and Will looked handsome.  I would have very mixed feelings about going through something like that.  On one hand, I would be completely nervous that I would mess up with all those people watching and I would try to just speed down the aisle because I wouldn't want all those people staring at me.  But then again, I have also always wondered what it would be like to be famous and have that many people be interested in my wedding.  Imagine, the Queen fighting for a ticket to my wedding.  Hah!  As my mom says, I still have a chance with Harry.  Apparently his girlfriend doesn't like the idea of all that attention.  I'm guessing that will change once a ring is in the picture but who knows, she seems nice enough and able to fit in there.

Back to baking...I thought it would be so much more difficult to make crumpets than it was.  It was a mix between making bread and pancakes.  I was a little worried since I decided to make the crumpets Thursday afternoon and saw on different websites that I needed "crumpet rings".  Luckily enough, a couple weeks ago I bought a set of maybe 10 multi-sized round cookie cutters.  These worked perfectly as you can see in the picture below.

All I had to do was mix some yeast with water and milk and butter, then beat it with some flour, let it sit and rise, then beat it again.  After that, I just filled the cookie cutters with batter.  When the bubbles popped, I removed the cutters and flipped the crumpets.  I think they looked great.  You can judge for yourself.  I then added raspberry preserves on top and they tasted amazing.  Another item I had never had before and another item I will be making again in the future.

Until next time, happy baking!

Recipe from


How to make it

  • Grease inside of 6 crumpets rings.
  • In a bowl or jug, with a spout, mix together water, milk & sugar.
  • Heat in microwave to scald milk & then cool to lukewarm
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm liquid & let sit for about 5 mins until yeast has softened. Stir
  • Add to yeast mixture the beaten egg, salt & melted butter. Mix well
  • Add flour & beat until no lumps remain
  • Cover container with plastic wrap & leave in a warm place & let rise until batter has doubled, 35 - 40 mins
  • Beat down lightly & let batter rest for about 5 mins
  • Heat electric griddle to about 365 degrees & brush with melted shortening
  • Place rings on griddle & heat well
  • Fill the rings at least 1/2 full with batter, dividing the batter between the 6 rings
  • Cook until bubbles form on the tops & start to pop & the bottoms are golden
  • The crumpets will pull away from the sides of the rings slighty
  • Using tongs, lift the rings off the crumpets & flip them over
  • Cook for about 2 mins until lighly golden
  • .
  • NOTE:- I like to use a container with a spout to ease pouring
  • You can cook the crumpets on an electric griddle or in a heavy skillet on top of the stove. Just make sure your skillet is completely flat or the batter will run out under the edge of the ring.
  • If you don't have crumpet rings, save tuna cans, shrimp cans etc & cut off the tops & bottoms. They make perfect rings

Spring in New York

Creme Brulee Cake decorated as cherry blossom branch  cake
Yes, yes. I know.  This post has been a long time coming and I'm sure most of you have already seen the pictures of it on Facebook or Twitter.  I was reading a book called, Always the Baker, Never the Bride.  It's a great book that is a story about a woman who is the head baker at a small bakery and gets recruited by a newly renovated one stop wedding facility.  The author includes a few great recipes, but the masterpiece of the book was this Creme Brulee cake.  The author didn't include the recipe unfortunately, so I had to use some other recipes with a few variations.  The basics are the cake is a sour cream cake, I used creamy vanilla icing in between the layers and covered it in buttercream.  I was also tempted to add some caramel frosting between the layers as well.  I also put Simple Syrup made with dark brown sugar in the base of the cake pan then poured the cake batter over and baked.  In the end, this cake came out fabulous!  I will make it over and over again!  Surprisingly, I've never had Creme Brulee before but others who tried definitely got a taste of creme brulee event though it wasn't the same texture.  I think it was a major success considering one of my co-workers, who never eats my desserts that I bring in because she only eats non-fat/sugar free food, actually tried it.  That may have been because I left out the fact that it was covered in buttercream!  Haha! Oh well!

These are a few more pictures detailing the outside of the cake with the branch and flowers.  It was so simple to decorate for this look.  I've seen the trend popping up lately and I figured what better time to make a cherry blossom branch cake than Spring in New York.  The trees are in full bloom here and I just love the aroma.  However, nothing beats walking past the large planters on the sidewalk in the city that are filled with lilacs.  They just have such a great and powerful scent that you can practically smell them from a block away.

This is the inside of the cake.  Doesn't it just look amazing.  I love how the simple syrup gave a difference in color and it just stands out so much.  I can't wait to make it again.  It has probably in my top two of cakes right now.  It's difficult to decide between the funfetti cake and this.  That rainbow chip frosting that goes with funfetti cake is just hard to top!

Until next time, happy baking!