Saturday, May 7, 2011


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Hi guys! Sorry it’s taken me soooooo long to update, but the last few months have been a whirlwind of change for me. I started a job in February that didn’t work out as it was too far from my house (I was filling up my gas tank 3 times a week), but now I’m working at the bank I used to work at and it’s great!


This is the meatcake I made for my fiance David’s 22nd birthday in February. I got the idea and recipe from Black Widow Bakery. I wanted it to be a surprise, but do you know how hard it is to keep food a surprise when you live with someone? I resorted to putting all the components in a drawer of the fridge and taping it shut.

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Here is the meatloaf mixture divided evenly between two aluminum cake pans. I made the meatloaf with ground turkey rather than beef.

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I also made a woven bacon piece for the top of the cake. I baked it in the oven on an oven-safe ceramic plate.

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The baked turkey bacon topper:

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The cooked meatcake layers:

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I trimmed the meat layers with a bowl as a template. The meat scraps were delicious.

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I used potato flakes as there is no way I could use real potatoes and have them come out this smooth.

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I put a layer of potatoes down on the first meat layer, and then stacked the second layer on top.

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I then did a rough “crumb coat” of mashed potatoes and smoothed it out with a hot wet spatula. Yes, that is Buttercup’s rear end in the bottom left corner.

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I put the bacon topper on after trimming it to size, and piped some borders on. I sliced a baby carrot with my mandolin slicer and used the slices for decoration.

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I added some peas for some more color.

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And piped on some words with ketchup!

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We microwaved slices individually for efficiency.

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David loved the cake and so did I. It turned out amazingly well, I think.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rock Climbing Cake and Cupcakes!

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Hi guys! I made this cake and cupcakes for my little cousin Nick’s 9th birthday party last Sunday (1/23). He had his party at Main Event here in Austin, which is this awesome place that has an arcade, glow-in-the-dark putt putt golf, laser tag, bowling, and of course rock climbing. The theme was “Nick’s Rockin’ Birthday,” and it was a blast. My aunt Vickie asked me a week or so before the party if I’d make cupcakes for it. I had originally just planned to make cupcakes with grey frosting and some sort of candy on top to look like hand and foot holds on a rock climbing wall. Once I talked about it with my mom, however (who by the way is a creative genius), we had a completely different plan. She wanted to make an actual wall to place the cupcakes on, and have the cupcakes act as the hand and footholds on the wall. I told my aunt about the idea as well and agreed to make a small cake along with the cupcakes so Nick could have some candles to blow out. I think both the cake and the cupcakes turned out wonderfully, and the kids loved them. It was my first time really trying hard on a layer cake, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

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My mom made the wall out of styrofoam bricks and painted it grey with a small bucket of oops paint we found at Walmart.
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I added a pennant at the top I had printed out on the computer as well as some rope to the wall.
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The layer cake is three layers of rainbow chip (from a box mix) covered in vanilla buttercream. The “rocks” are actually large jelly beans. The letters are just some candy letters I had since I didn’t want to ruin the cake with mediocre piping.
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The birthday boy about to blow out his candles.

Since both cakes were made from a box mix, I’ve got no recipe to share with you, but I do have some process pictures.
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Mise en place the night before baking.
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Here is the rainbow chip cake batter divided amongst three cardboard pans that I bought from All In One Bake Shop.
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Here are the layer cakes fresh from the oven. My oven tilts toward the back, so the cakes are all lopsided, but I was going to level them anyway so it didn’t matter. I just leveled them by sticking them in the freezer for about 45 minutes (covered in plastic wrap) and then sliced them level with a large knife.
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Here’s the cake with the first layer of frosting. I don’t own a turntable yet, so I used an upside down bowl with a plate on top instead.
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Here’s the cake after the first smoothing. I used a smooth paper towel and a scraper after the frosting had crusted to achieve this.
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Here’s the cake after the second smoothing and decorating.
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For the cupcakes, I mixed up the cake batter (just plain vanilla) and divided it evenly into three bowls.
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I then added Americolor gel coloring to each bowl to dye it red, yellow, and blue.
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I used red, yellow, and blue cupcake liners as well.
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Once frosted (I used my standard buttercream recipe and a jumbo 8B piping tip), the cupcakes and the cake went in the fridge to chill until the party the next day. I topped the cupcakes with Pop Rocks before setting them on the wall.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gingerbread Snowflakes!

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Hiiii! Ugh, I'm so sorry these have taken me SO long to post. It was one of those things where I knew I needed to update, and I'd think about it, but felt so guilty about being so late that I just pushed it to the back burner, you know? I am the master procrastinator.
These are the last kind of Christmas cookies I made, and I suppose since they're more winter-themed than Christmas-themed, they're not so out-of-place in mid-January! They're spicy gingerbread snowflakes with royal icing and blue sugar, and I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
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Wet Ingredients. I had *almost* enough brown sugar, but not quite, so I had to sub a little bit of white sugar to make up the difference.
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Dry Ingredients.
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The cookie dough.
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Divided the dough into three balls, wrapped each in plastic wrap (am I the only one who is terrible at working plastic wrap??), and stuck ‘em in the fridge.
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Rolling out the dough.
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Cutting out the snowflakes. I’m not a huge fan of this particular cutter, but it’s what I had.
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Laid the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet.
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Fresh from the oven.
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Iced and sugared. There were a lot more cookies than pictured here, I think this recipe made about 60 cookies. As you can see, I tried to make a few of them unique, but decided to just stick with the one design.
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Spicy Gingerbread Cookies (from Smitten Kitchen)
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
To decorate:
Royal icing (Martha’s recipe)
Various fine sanding sugars and sugar decorations
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about one hour or up to two days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes of your choice, such as snowflakes* or gingerbread men. Spread two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until the cookies firm up again, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
When cool, you can decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. When you pipe designs, sprinkle the icing with sanding sugar and let it sit for five minutes before tapping off the excess sugar. Then let the icing set completely at room temperature, which will take an hour or so, depending on how thick it is.
Store cookies between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container for up to a week.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peppermint Meringue Kisses

More Christmas cookies! I had planned to get all my Christmas cookies blogged before Christmas, but I was so busy that there was no way that would have been able to happen. Ideas for next year, I guess?

I got this recipe from Sugarcrafter, and they came out sooooooo well. Do not be afraid of meringue! I had to bake them in a 200 degree oven rather than 175 since my oven doesn't go that low, and it actually only took an hour for them to be done. These cookies taste like peppermint, but aren't overwhelmingly minty.

Peppermint candies for smashing and topping the cookies.

Smashed peppermint candies.

Egg whites

Powdered sugar

Peppermint extract

Still totally in lurve with my KitchenAid. This whipped meringue in about 8 minutes, whereas with my hand mixer it took me an hour.

Quintessential "stiff peaks" photo


Peppermint Meringue Kisses (from Sugarcrafter)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped peppermint candies
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sift the powdered sugar twice to remove any lumps, and divide in half. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks. Continue beating while gradually adding in half of the powdered sugar. Beat until firm, glossy peaks form. Add in the extract. Fold the remaining powdered sugar into the meringue. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe swirled kisses 1 1/2″ wide and 2″ high on to the parchment paper, about an inch apart. Sprinkle with the chopped candies. Bake about 3 hours or until dry and crisp. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven for an hour longer. Serve immediately, or cover and store at room temperature for up to one week. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eggnog Thumbprints

Good morning! I hope you guys all had a lovely holiday weekend! Mine was packed full of stuff to do, and I am EXHAUSTED. Wouldn't change it one bit, though. =]

I ended up making 4 kinds of Christmas cookies this year, and baking from 9-9 on Friday to finish them all. Everyone loved them, and we've only got a few left of each to share with friends we didn't get a chance to see over the weekend.

These thumbprint cookies are SO GOOD if you're an eggnog lover like myself. I got the recipe from Allrecipes, but used another eggnog frosting recipe since the original had no actual eggnog in it.

Cookie dough. I've been so scatterbrained the past few days that I did not get a good step-by step for these cookies. I added a teaspoon of nutmeg to the dough for more eggnog flavor.

Dough rolled into 1-inch balls.

Since I have long fingernails, I indented the dough balls with the end of a thick-handled butterknife.

Right from the oven.

Frosted, waiting for the frosting to set up on my new 4-tiered platter set.

I topped them with little peppermint-flavored candy cane sprinkles.

Eggnog Thumbprints Recipe (from Allrecipes)


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together 3/4 cup butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; stir into the creamed mixture by hand to form a soft dough. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Make an indention in the center of each cookie using your finger or thumb.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, and rum. Spoon rounded teaspoonfuls of filling onto cookies. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Let stand until set before storing in an airtight container.

Eggnog Frosting
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. eggnog
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until it is well incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until frosting is very airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Use immediately to frost cookies or cupcakes, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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