Baby Shower!

One of my favourite things about making cakes is making them for special people! Like my brand new baby cousin! Her nursery colours are melon and pink, so a cake themed to the same colours seemed like a good idea. The cake itself is pretty basic, simple shapes covered in fondant. The cake topper is a small pair of converse sneakers, and the bottom layer is decorated with royal icing baby items. 

Im pretty pleased with how the sneakers came out, they look very cute and remind me of cabbage patch kids shoes! 

 I used an edible marker for the badge, and incorporated the baby's name into the design! They are Sally-brand converse!
 I traced out bottle shapes onto a piece of paper and taped wax paper on top. Then I used royal icing and the colour flow method to create the shapes. I allowed these to dry for a few days. It works well if you make a 'practice' one, so that you can see when they are dry and when they are ready to come off of the wax paper. (I had to travel with this cake for a couple hours, so I left the shaped on the paper until I assembled the cake.)

I used my tiny alphabet cookie cutters to cut out her name to put on the front, and then added small 'stitch' marks to add some cute. 

 I think that final cake turned out really well!

Spun Sugar!

Spun Sugar! The Perfect addition to any winter cake, it looks very icy and whimsical. However the creation process for spun sugar is anything but whimsical! I gave it a try over the christmas break, and it turned out pretty good, I still need practice though, so the following tutorial is more of a guideline, I had a hard time cooking the sugar to the right temperature. (I also didn't have a very good candy thermometer, which may make the process a little easier!)

Start with wooden spoons taped to the counter top... (I added a box on the end of the spoons to ensure that they were really secured!) Then add newspaper... I was very skimpy on my newspaper... If you don't want to spend an hour, before your friends come over for a christmas party, cleaning hardened sugar off of EVERYTHING then I suggest you add ALOT more newspaper... pretty much cover your kitchen in the stuff.

Two sheets of newspaper... what was I thinking?!? Next crisco your spoon handles... (So that the spun sugar is easily removed)

Now prepare your Ice bath, this is to stop the sugar cooking more once its reached the correct temperature.

Now it starts to get tricky... First dissolve 2 cups of sugar into two tablespoons of corn syrup, and allow to boil, stirring constantly.

Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling stop stirring and allow the mixture to cook till 300F.
Once the sugar mixture has reached 300F remove from heat and immediately place in the ice bath. (Because the pot will be hot it will hiss and steam and make fun sounds when placed in the ice bath)
The sugar syrup should be a golden yellow. Allow the mixture to cool till 250F stirring occasionally.

Now Im not sure that I cooked my sugar long enough, The spun sugar was to white, it should also be a golden yellow colour. However it still looked amazing!

Here is where this gets fun! Now you take a fork, dip it in the sugar syrup and quickly flick it back and forth across the spoons allowing the sugar to form long strands. (The flicking of the sugar is the part that will COAT your kitchen in tiny sugar droplets. Once again I stress the need for lots of news paper!)

I think that it looks pretty cool though!!! My sugar cooled a little to fast so it was very brittle and I think that would be solved by simply cooking the sugar a little longer. Now you simply 'collect' the sugar strands and form it into the sugar nest or the sugar-what-ever-you-want.

Now, That could've been the end, but I wanted to make more so I thought I would re heat the sugar... Turns out that this is a delicate procedure... in case your wondering what burnt sugar looks like, it looks something like this....

Black and tar like. but I thought id try and make the spun sugar anyway... it looks something like this...
Actually, it looks kinda nice, all golden in colour... I think that the perfect spun sugar would be something in between the burnt dark-gold sugar and the pure white spun sugar. I ended up using the gold sugar, as I had more of if and it was taller. I used it as a cake topper on a simple, and yet amazing chocolate cake.
I think that it looks kinda neat, but maybe I should have used the white sugar as a better colour contrast between the cake and the topper...
I havent used the white sugar yet when writing this post, but it was intended to be used like a sugar halo... something like this...
I think that it looks pretty good, I will have to try the spun sugar again... maybe with a better candy thermometer! Happy Holidays!

Cake Delay!

Sorry for the delay in updates!

The first cake were going to look at is a halloween cake that I made for a good friend of the family. She brought me a a couple photos and came and helped make the spider! It turned out really well!

Close up of the spider web detail!

And of the spider! Isn't he cute with his big eyes?!

Anyway this was just a short post to say happy (very) belated halloween! I will be posting more frequently from now on so check back!

Berries and Cream Tarts!

This weekend, for an engagment tea party, I made my very first pastry dough. And then I needed to make the pastry dough into something... and mini tarts seemed like the perfect solution. Finally I needed to fill the tart shells with something, and nothing says summer better that berries and cream! This recipe was taken from the June 2010 issue of Marth Stewart Magazine.

First the Pastry: I was/am very intimitated by pastry and therefore decided to try a relitivly 'easy' pastry recipe. (It is very similar to the Martha Stewart recipe mentioned below) Its 100 grams of Sugar, 2oo grams of Butter, and 300 grams of flour. Easy right? You simply cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour, kneeding in the excess flour by hand. This dough is molded into a ball, wrapped in saran (cling) wrap and placed in the fridge for at least 20 mins. (This is a good time to make the cream filling)

Cream Filling: The cream filling recipe can be found on and she can explain it much better than I can!

Now its time to roll out the pastry dough and place it in your tart shells. ( I did/do not have tart shells, having never made them before so I simply 'pammed' a mini cupcake pan and used that instead, the end result isnt quite as pretty, but they still taste great!)

Looking good so far!!! (There is a slight rip in that corner, that I just noticed now, it baked out as the pastry puffs alittle during baking)

You let the filled shells chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or untill they are firm, and then bake them at 325 for 15 to 20 minuites, untill they are a light golden bown. Yum! After they are removed from the oven, allow them to chill ( At this point the party was less than an hour away and I still didnt have my hair done, so I sped up that process by placing the trays in the freezer for a few minuites.)

After the shells have cooled you VERY CAREFULLY remove the shells from the tray. These actually came out rather well, I only broke 1! Not to shabby!

Phew... T minus 30 mins to the party now, and I have 24, well 23 empty and oh so cute tart shells!
The shells were then filled with the cream/custart filling, (which tasted amazing!) and then topped with fresh berries.

They looked pretty cute and tasted awesome, just the right size for a tea party! They were finished just in time to head off to the party!

(And the best part was that I had alot of leftover filling and berries... thats a healthy breakfast right? )


There is nothing better for a summer evening than toasting smores over the fire. Since there happens to be a fire ban on in my area smores on the stick were out of the question, but smore cupcakes? Yep those would satisfy my craving! The recipe is from the Martha Stewart website. (I adore martha's recipes, they always work perfectly!)
The first step is making the chocolate cake batter.
This batter tasted so good! I could hardly keep out of it!
Then, the graham crackers were crushed (a good way to relieve some stress of the work week!) and mixed with the butter and a quarter cup of sugar.

I was watching Julie and Julia while making these cupcakes, Julie proclaims her love for butter many times during the movie and I have to say that I agree with her!

A tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture was put in the cupcakes lines and pressed down with a small glass.

Next the chocolate was chopped and added to the bottom of the cups as well. I used bittersweet chocolate because my friends are always complaining that my cupcakes are too sweet. Personally I like sweet! But the bittersweet chocolate complimented the frosting very well.

The graham cracker/chocolate bits were baked for 5 minutes and then the cupcake batter was added. The remaining graham crackers and chocolate were sprinkled on top of the cupcakes before they are baked.

These even look good before they are baked! They baked in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes.
While they were baking I started to make the marshmallow frosting! Yum. I love marshmallow frosting!

The frosting was fairly simple to make, the egg-whites and sugar were whisked away on the stove for 5 minutes. Then beat in the mixmaster for about 9 minutes, starting on low speed and slowing working up to high. And then the cupcakes were done!

Yum, they look so delicious! They are pretty enough without topping, but what kind of smores don't have marshmallows?
The topping looks amazing just in the bowl. I love the stark white whipped topping. It looks so fresh.

Its very similar to a meringue but it isn't baked. Its more of a marshmallow puff frosting. Come to think of it the marshmallow fluff you cant get would probably work just as well. I put the frosting in a piping bag with a large star tip. I then pipped the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes! While 'sampling' a large amount of the frosting.

Oh my god. These turned out looking so good. I love the little bit of graham cracker on the tops of the cupcakes. Yum. But no-one eats smores with a regular un-toasted marshmallow....

Mmm. Much better! I don't have a creme brulee torch so I used a barbeque lighter. It worked well but it took awhile. The cupcakes turned out just like Martha's. Yay! I love them they tasted great, weren't to sweet and had a nice layered look when you bit into them. Yum!
Here are a couple more Smore shots...

Cinnamon Buns!

Nothing is better on a sunday morning than a fresh batch of Cinnamon Buns, (or on a wednesday evening when your craving something sweet)
I used a bread maker to whip up the dough using a basic dough recipe. Even the dough smelled good!

The first step is to flour the surface,

Apply flour liberally... we ended up using more than we needed...

try and get the dough in a ball, only because its way easier to roll out that way!
we the rolled out the dough to about a 1/4inch in thickness, trying to make it into a rectangle... we settled on wonky circle. A 1/2 a cup of melted butter was then spread all over the dough.

a half a cup of of brown sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon were then spread on the buttered dough.

we the rolled the dough in to a cinnamon log and cut out slices to make the cinnamon buns!

They are starting to look like real cinnamon buns! yum! The cinnamon bun slices were placed on a greased pan and allowed to rise for 40 minutes.

shhhh... they're getting delicious! After the cinnamon buns were allowed to rise they went in the oven at 375F for 15 minutes. The house smelled so good!

Dont they look good? The smelled wonderful!

The brown sugar/ butter mixture caramelized perfectly and there was just the right amount of cinnamon. But wait... it gets better.
Maple icing! Yum! I whipped up a simple icing and added some maple syrup. The icing was a little to runny, but it tasted amazing!

Oh. My. God. They were amazing! Needless to say not a single bun made it until sunday morning. not even until thursday morning. We will defiantly be making these again!