Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Behind My Back

I am inspired. Again.

I have been surfing the web, exercising my Google and Flicker pages, and have found soooooo many pictures of beautiful cupcakes.

Cupcakes aren't what they used to be when I used to (technical term alert) slop batter into 25 cupcake papers, (again) slather them with icing and send them off with my daughter to kindergarten.

In case you are not aware, cupcakes have grown up.

Also, cupcakes come in different sizes and shape these days from mini to giant. Who knew so much was possible?

Check out these beautiful creations:
The cupcake at the top of the post is embossed fondant topped with a fondant rose. The one above is covered in minature roses. Major cute alert. But that's what cupcakes are: They're cute.

As the outsides of cupcakes have been changing behind my back and so have the insides. You can scoop out a cupcake and stuff anything inside such as fruit or preserves or even use it for a hiding place for MORE ICING. Yes, my name is Leslie and I'm a sugarholic.

To the left we have a culinary interpretation of shabby chic. Oh yeah, I'm making some of these.

Just in case green food turns you off, they would look equally delighful in pink or white. These look as though they were dipped in royal icing or poured fondant and topped with a buttercream or fondant flower.
Now, is this the most beautiful cupcake you have ever seen in your life OR WHAT? What do you think those curlycues on top are made of? Pink chocolate? I'm pretty sure I could make this using white chocolate and it would be equally beautiful.

If anyone has any ideas on how to make this, I would really appreciate your input. It's just too pretty.

Finally, these cupcakes to the right are just flat elegant all decked out in white rose buds. Half have a single, slightly open rose while the other half are sporting three closed buds, strictly following the rule to always decorate in odd numbers.
If I had to guess, I would say that these cupcakes were topped with fondant and have either gum paste or fondant roses. Wouldn't these be great to serve at a wedding or anniversary party?

You can not get more mature than that.

And that's how to go directly from kindergarten to grad school.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Be a Cookie Hero

One of the best things about baking is that it combines two of my favorite hobbies: sugar and gardening. Okay, I'll admit that I don't always enjoy digging in the dirt, which is why I appreciate flowers when I get to play with them in icing.

My third favorite hobby is writing, so blogging about baking and decorating with flowers is a natural. Go figure that anything like this would ever fall into place. Ha.

Anyway, I was inspired by Wilton's garden colors and by some really cute cookies I saw on the web, so I decided to make some of my own.

To make these cookies:
  • cut out and bake sugar cookies
  • allow to cool
  • dip in very thin royal icing flavored heavily with lemon juice
  • allow to dry
  • decorate background with royal icing in a few of your favorite colors
  • allow to harden
  • pipe a half rose in pink and stem in green with buttercream or royal icing
  • pipe some buttercream or royal icing dots all around
  • deliver to your boss, mother and future mother-in-law
These cookies are beautiful and addictive.

Viola! You're a cookie hero.

See one, Do one, Teach one

The story goes that after my first fondant class, I was bragging at work about how easy it was to make beautiful cookies and cakes and the girls at the office retort was something like, "Easy for you to say!"
So, I told them that I would show them in one lunch hour how to make really cool cookies that would impress friends and family alike.
The day before the class we surfed with web for a design they would like to make.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen the night before class, I baked sugar cookies and cut circles with the same cutters out of yellow fondant. I stored them for the following day.
At the class, my two students colored their fondant, learned how to roll it out, and how to cut two sizes of flowers. We used piping gel to attach the layers and the little center.
They were amazed at how easy it was.
Don't forget that whatever you can do to a roundish cookie, you can also do to a cupcake.
I like to think of teaching fondant decorating as advanced Play Dough class.
By the way, everyone passed.
*We decided that this design might look good as a water lily with a white flower with a touch of purple painted on the petals on top of a background of blue for water or green for a lily pad. Later.

Mother's Day Cakes

This cake is a devil's food cake that was jazzed up with a dozen crushed oreos mixed with (and forgive me for being so specific with these technical measurements, but that's how it goes in my kitchen) a mountain of buttercream icing (note specific procedural term) shoved between the layers, which made it yummy for the tummy when we finally sat down and devoured it Mother's Day night at my parent's house.

The gum paste flower known in the Wilton World of Flowers is called a Fantasy Flower because you aren't ever going to run into one of these suckers out in the woods. However, they're a head-turner.

I used Wilton's garden colors to color the fondant and am hooked on the sage green, delphinium blue, white and pink combos. They are sooo shabby chic.

I made a six inch cake just like this with my leftover batter for my future mother-in-law. I tied a few yards of tulle around the brim and tied bows and it looked just like a spring hat. They don't eat many sweets at that house so a six inch cake was just right.

Sorry, but I don't have a picture of that one, but it was very similiar--just smaller.
I think small fondant cakes made to look like spring hats would be an adorable sweet alternative for Easter dinner dessert. Meanwhile, it would make a great centerpiece for the table. You could even put a basketweave impression on the brim to make it look like a straw hat.
So many cakes! So little butter!

First Blood, er, First Blog

My name is Leslie and I'm starting this blog to chat and vent about baking and decorating and to use it as a place to stash and--okay--showoff, my baking photos. I'll also be adding links to other baking blogs and websites where you can buy cool baking accessories.

The cake pictured above is a white cake with buttercream icing. The cake board is covered with fondant that has been impressed with swirls, the cake is covered with fondant, the seam is trimmed with hand-rolled balls and the entire presentation is covered with two sizes of leaves and three sizes of fondant flowers. Daisey cookie cutters were used to make the flowers. Pearl dust was brushed on the flowers.

For those of you anal-retentive, detail obsessed, scientifically accurate critics that are unfamiliar with the rare flowers displayed on this cake, they are from the species: fondant, genius: daisey, color: white. . . as they say in the botanical bizness.

Got milk?