Oh boy! It’s Mickey & Minnie!

I was never really a fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  I think it’s because I never really grew up watching the Mickey Mouse club nor the cartoons.  Growing up I remember watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, Schoolhouse Rock, and a Japanese cartoon called Star Blazers.  I feel so old reminiscing…

For Mickey and Minnie, I decided to do 2D cakes and relied again on candies I had on hand for the decorations.  I baked chocolate cakes in two 2×9″ circle pans for their heads and cleaned out peach cans for their ears.  The base frosting for the cakes were dark chocolate frosting.

To decorate them, I softened some vanilla tootsie rolls and rolled them out on a powdered sugar dusted board.  I cut out the shapes so that it would make their faces.  I shaped chocolate tootsie rolls for their eyes, nose, and mouth.  I used left over chocolate frosting to outline their eyes and create some dainty lashes for Minnie.  I used cherry starburst to create their tongues.

For Minnie’s bow, I sketched on paper, the shape of the bow and then placed waxed paper on top of the sketch.  Using melted white chocolate, tinted red, I outlined the sketch I made and filled it out.  After the chocolate had set, I piped another layer on top to give it more strength for handling.  Using white melted chocolate, I piped polka dots on the bow.

This is probably one of my more easier cakes, but well received by the kids as they were fans of Mickey and Minnie.

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Baggin’ it

For a friend’s daughter’s birthday party, I decided to make little handbags.  Since I’ve made a couple of cake purses already, I thought I might be cute to make mini-cake-purse-pops.  Note to self: thinking is always so much easier than doing and imagining how beautiful it will look like after is usually not the case.

But…I like to try different things and my friend loves cake pops, so pursed my lips, ran with it, and did not look back.  Also, these weren’t really cake pops in that they were not on sticks because they were too big and would fall off the sticks because of the weight.  They are cake pops in the sense that it is crumbled cake mixed with frosting for a denser consistency.

I baked lemon cakes and made cream cheese frosting.  You need to make sure the cake has cooled completely before crumbling and mixing with the frosting, otherwise, you’ll get mush.  I don’t really have a recipe to follow because I make my own cakes and frosting, so I what I do is put in frosting a bit at a time until I get a consistency that will allow me to press the crumbs together without falling apart.  This way I can make the purse cake shapes.  I made trapezoid type shapes for the purses, the big one being for the birthday girl, and the balls in the back I made into actual cake pops.

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I set them in the fridge for about an hour or two, so they would be easier to handle when dipping into the melted chocolate.  To coat them, I melted white chocolate tinted pink.  I used a wide fork to hold the cake purses on the bottom.  I then poured the melted chocolate over the cakes.  If the chocolate does not look smooth, gently tap the fork to even out the chocolate (it will drip down).  The first time I tried it, I tapped the fork roughly and I saw that my cake started crumbling, so adjusted my roughness, which was mostly attributed to me rushing to try to finish the cake on time.  One would think after a couple of years of cake making, I would be able to learn better time management skills.  But alas, it is not to be for me, though I have improved…really…I have improved.

Depending on how thin the chocolate looks on the cake, you may want to  dip/cover them twice.  I think I did.

For the handles, I rolled some starburst and poked toothpicks on either end to anchor them onto the cake.  I also rolled out some starburst and cut them out to make the purse flaps.  I lined the bottom w/ dots of icing and also decorated the purse flaps with icing dots.  For the button I used the large sugar pearls.

Here’s the final product.  They are by no means Louis Vuitton quality, but good enough to make the  little birthday girl smile with joy.  🙂

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Tricks for Jack-O-Lantern Treats

I can not…for the life of me…believe…that my last post…was well over…a year ago.

I’m not sure what happened exactly, except that time flew by along with my blogging.  It is now coming back to haunt me.

So here I am again, to document what I have created since my last entry.  It will be tough trying to remember what I did, but I think I tried harder to take more pictures to help me remember.

This post is not about cakes, but about rice krispies treats.  For Halloween, I decided to make little rice krispies jack-o-lanterns to give away at my children’s halloween school party.  They were a hit and were pretty easy to make.

Mostly everyone has made rice krispies treats before, so I’ll skip all the instructions since you can find it on a Rice Krispies box.

After melting the marshmallows, I used some orange wilton food coloring:

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I then folded in the rice krispies and shaped them into balls about the size of tennis balls.

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I then melted some dark chocolate to pipe in the eyes, nose, and mouth.  I melted green chocolate chips for the leaves and used caramels for the stub (?) or stem on top.

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Since I was going to give them out, I packaged them up in plastic for portability.

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Jolly green dragon

I made a green dragon for a friend’s son, who was turning 6.  At first I was thinking of using my triceratops cake template, then changed my mind since a dragon has a thinner body.

To make the dragon, I baked four 9in. circles.  I cut in half one circle, frosted it, and placed them side by side w/ the cut side down.  I cut another circle in half, laid them on top of each other, and then cut about 1-1 1/2in. off the long side to make a smaller semi-circle.  I frosted these then put them on either side of the of the larger semi-circles to form the body of the dragon.  For the arms, legs, head, and tail of the dragon, I cut the rest of the circles in various shapes.  Since it is too hard to describe in words, I’ve created a template to help visually.

1 – inner body (frost and place side by side)

2 – outer body (frost and place on the outer sides of the inner body)

3 – lower neck

4/4a – arms

5/6 – hind legs

7 – top tail (goes behind the inner body & on top of 9)

8 – head & upper neck

9 – main tail behind body

10 – second tail (connects to the main tail to form a curled tail)

After assembling, I frosted the chocolate cakes w/ green tinted whipped cream frosting.  For the yellow spikes, I used yellow starburst which I shaped using powdered sugar on my fingers, so it wouldn’t stick.  I later realized that the starburst does not hold it’s shape well after being manipulated.  If you decide to use starburst, keep them cold and put them on the cake right before the celebrant blows out the candles.  I put them on before the party started and had to keep “fixing” the bending spikes throughout the party.  It was so frustrating!  I think fondant might be a better choice next time.  Starburst is just to pliable and soft.  Another alternative would be piping colored chocolate to form the spikes.  That might have been better, actually.

For the wings, I initially tried to make a skeleton using rice krispies.  Boy, was I wrong again.  The skeleton wing was just too floppy.  Last minute I used melted chocolate to pipe a wing template I made.  I was so worried about the chocolate breaking apart that I made it really thick.  I probably piped the template 4-5x just to be sure.  You can see from the pix how thick the chocolate wings looked like.

For the wing membrane, I got these Hi-Chews from Cost Plus.  They are the European version of the Starburst.  The flavor was green apple and it had a light green tint.  I added a bit more green coloring the chews so it would show up better in the pix.  I microwaved the chews until they were soft and pliable.  Be careful!  Overheating the chews will melt them completely and they will be extremely HOT to the touch!  I put powdered sugar on a plate and laid the chews on top to prevent it from sticking to the plate.  Also, the powdered sugar helps keep the chews from sticking to your hands and rolling pin.  I rolled out the chews and cut it into the shape of the wings.  I probably used 2-3 packets of the chews for both wings.

I then adhered the membrane to the wings using more chocolate.  The problem w/ the wings being so thick was that it was hard to support upright!  This gave me a lot of problems trying to keep the wings upright during the party.  I’m not sure what to use next time….maybe chocolate again, but only 2-3x piping so the skeleton is thinner?

I piped more chocolate for the toenails, eyes, and nose.

Here is the dragon w/ the spikes only and no wings.  My son told me it looked like more like a lizard.

And here is the lizard w/ wings, in an attempt to make it look like a dragon.

I scream “cone cake”!

For a summer party, I decided to revisit the ice cream cone cake.

The last time I made the ice cream cone cake, I used the cake as the cone and real ice cream for the ice cream.  This time, I wanted to make the cone pointed, like a waffle cone, so a cake cone was out of the question.  I decided to use rice krispies instead.

To hold up the cone and cakes, I used a dowel screwed into a wooden base board.  This really helps when cake transportation is required and going 5miles an hour to get to the location is not an option.  🙂

I started by making the rice krispies treats.  What I had learned from previous rice krispies experiments is that you need to cook them right if you want them to harden and not fall apart on you.  To do this, cook the butter and marshmallows longer than you normally would.  I think I cooked them for at least 10min. in low heat.  I constantly stirred it as it bubbled so it would not burn.  Then add as much rice krispies as you can…just enough to so that they are sticky but not marshmallowy.  I also found spraying the sides of the pot with cooking spray helps with clean-up as it’s not as messy.

Starting at the base of the dowel, press the rice krispies all the way around.  Be sure to pack it in real tight since this will be carrying the weight of the cakes.  Start with a small amount at the bottom and work your way up, gradually increasing the amount and size (so it resembles a waffle ice cream cone).  It gets harder to pack as you go up in height, so as your packing it down, use one hand the grasp the base of the cone to retain its smaller shape.  I usually do this at night so the rice krispies can harden overnight.

To get that smooth, brown look of a cone, I softened a whole package of caramels and rolled it out to ~1/8-1/4″ thickness.  You can use fondant, but I decided to skip the making and dyeing of it.  Wrap the rolled out caramel around the cone at an angle and then trim off the excess using a knife.

For the scoops of ice cream, I made a chocolate cake baked in 1/2 of a ball pan and a vanilla bean cake baked in the other 1/2 of the ball pan.  Trim the flat side for easier stacking and trim the edges to shape it more like an ice cream scoop.

For the frosting, I wanted to keep it light since it was a summer cake.  Also, I wanted it to have that ice creamy texture, so I decided to use whipped cream.  I purposefully over-whipped the cream slightly to give it that rougher look.  I tinted 1/2 the frosting pink and kept the other 1/2 white.

Insert the cake domes through the dowels so it rests on top of the cone.  Frost the cakes as usual, but add a bit more frosting at the base of the cakes and gently pat the frosting w/ the icing knife.  This will give it that “ice cream scooped” look.

I topped off the scoops of ice cream with some licorice pastels I bought from Cost Plus.

And here is my son trying to take the first lick!

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