Tiramisu Cake

One of my all-time favorite desserts is Tiramisu.  The creaminess of the filling, the sharp flavor of the liqueur-soaked ladyfingers, the bitterness of the espresso and the sweetness of the cocoa powder… my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I have easily fallen in love with some Tiramisus in my time.

This year for my mom’s birthday (Happy Belated Birthday, Mom!!), she asked me to make this Tiramisu bundt cake that she had pulled out of a magazine around a year ago.  She has been bugging me to make it for somewhere over 6 months, but I kept finding things that I wanted to try, so I kept putting it off.

That was really, really stupid of me to delay this. Continue reading

“Champagne” Cupcakes with Strawberry-Champagne Whipped Cream

Happy second day of Cupcake Week!

(p.s.  who’s totally psyched for Top Chef tonight?!?  This girl!!)

I’ve already made champagne cupcakes in the past, and while I enjoyed them, I really felt the champagne didn’t lend enough flavor to the cupcake itself – what I tasted more than anything was the dryness of the champagne.

No longer.

This time when I found out I would be making these, I set myself on a quest for a good bubbly.  While I love champagne dearly, I have decided it’s just not quite appropriate for a cupcake.  This time, my goal was to find a prosecco or sparkling moscato to give these lil cupcakes the extra “oomph” they needed.  After spending some time at Trader Joe’s, I found exactly what I was looking for – a delicious tasting prosecco.  Has the bubbles, but just a bit more flavor than champagne.

And these cupcakes turned out mah-velously.

Continue reading

Earl Grey Mini-Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting (aka Happy Start to Kat’s Cupcake Week!)

Hello readers!

It’s the start to my own personal cupcake week! (or mini-cupcake week)

A colleague of mine is having a brunch coming up and hired me to make some mini-cupcakes for the event, so starting today I get to have a few different mini cupcake posts!

I ran into this woman when I was getting my hair cut, and what she requested for the cupcakes was something that was not “pedestrian” – something unique and delicious.  So I came up with a bunch of suggestions, and she selected four that she and her sister liked best.  One is a recipe I’ve made and absolutely love, one is a recipe that I’ve made before and am improving on, one is a cake recipe I’ve made and I’m turning into cupcakes, and one is brand spankin’ new!

My brand new recipe is something that sounded interesting and very different – Earl Grey cupcakes with a lemon frosting.  Personally, I’m  not a tea fan – I like peppermint, mint, and then I switch to coffee.  But the idea of a tea cupcake just sounded so appropriate for a brunch, I couldn’t not include it in my list of recommendations.

This cupcake ended up oddly delicious – it almost tasted like a light lemon poppyseed cake.  The tea flavor doesn’t come out until the very end, as a subtle lemony-floral aftertaste.   Continue reading

It’s Time For Some Funfetti!

Wow – it has been WAY too long since I’ve written an update (and yes, I know my last post starts the same way).

Anyway!

To kick start myself back into the baking (tis the season), I decided to formulate my recipe for funfetti cake – mainly because I had a groom’s cake with that cake type 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, funfetti is a great cake – basically a plain vanilla cake, but with some rainbow sprinkled mixed in to give all these little points of color within the cake when you cut it.  I swear it tastes better than regular vanilla cake… but I’m part of the funfetti generation, so I’m a wee bit biased!

The groom for this cake is a vanilla lover, so he requested vanilla with a simple vanilla buttercream.  Enter Kat – Funfetti cake with some Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.  I’m excited for this cake – this was going to be my first fondant-less cake for an event. Continue reading

Learning to Let Go of the Perfectionist Baker Gene (yeah… right)

I’m sure it’s happened to everyone.

You make a cake.  Situations arise.  You run out of time and have to just give the cake as it stands at that moment.  You are disappointed with yourself and want to beat your head against a wall.

This past weekend, I was to make a “Chicago” cake for a friend who was having a surprise party for her girlfriend who finally moved to town.  I was told chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream, and other than that, just a “Chicago” theme.

My mind exploded, and I had all sorts of grand ideas for this. I finally nailed down some stuff a few days before – I wanted to make the Bean (I love the Bean), the Chicago Theater sign, the Wrigley Field welcome sign, and the Picasso (if possible) – and to have a skyline across the bottom of the cake.

I know, I know… I’m a little ambitious.  But my mind doesn’t understand the word “no” when it comes to cake decorating.  You try to tell me that when I’m in the midst of a cake.  I dare you. Continue reading

Anniversary Cake (frogs included!)

This past weekend was a full and crazy weekend – a cake and two family parties.  Lots and lots of work, ending with fun (and unfortunately, mosquitos).

When making this cake for my aunt and uncle, my aunt had mentioned that she liked frogs – so my whole idea of doing something kind of formal with their wedding colors changed completely into a cuter cake idea.  Running (or hopping) through my mind were thoughts of frogs and lily pads and cattails.  So I got to work doing my usual Google Image research.

The frog part was easy – form it out of fondant, just like you would with clay.  But I wanted to give some sort of identity to these creatures.  Since my uncle tends to wear a lot of Hawaiian shirts, I figured that would work well for one frog.  For the other, I wasn’t so sure.  I wanted to do a little pearl necklace, but figuring out a way to do that was making me want to chuck the frog across the room after a bit.  But then… viola!  I took a very thin little snake of fondant and started pinching it with a pair of tweezers.  It wasn’t perfect (my tweezers were square edged), but it definitely gave the look I was looking for!  Add a couple flowers to the lady frog’s head and it was perfect. Continue reading

Christening Cake II (aka how to save a cake)

Happy Monday everyone!

Well…it finally happened.

Just a couple of weeks after reaching my first baking milestone of creating my own recipe, I reached another baking milestone.

My first cake disaster.

I got lucky with this disaster – it could have been MUCH worse.  This wasn’t me slipping and falling with a cake on top of me, this wasn’t finding one of my cats with its head fully enveloped in cake.

But it was bad enough.

I was so close to being done.  I had finished the decorations on the bottom tier of the cake, and all I had left to do was put polka dots on the top tier and figure out where the name was going to go.  The cake was sitting on my super nifty tilting turntable, which I love.  Or loved. Continue reading

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

I have a confession.

As a child, I hated cake.  The only part I liked was the royal icing flowers on top.  I think I still ate funfetti cake and the like, but that was it.  Whenever we had birthday cake, I would just turn up my nose and eat my royal icing roses (which, by the way, my mom/aunts had to always ask for a specific number of those so there wouldn’t be fighting among us cousins).

Oh – and I also didn’t like chocolate.

Whew.  That’s a huge weight off my shoulders.  Feel free to throw words at me like “are you insane??”

Now I’m normal and like both chocolate and cake (a little too much for my own good, in my opinion).  I guess that’s one of the good (bad?) things about getting older, your tastes changing.

When we had the double baby shower at work this week, I knew one of the women was a chocoholic, so I decided to make the same cake I made this past weekend for the christening cake

One of my favorite memories of high school was Market Day.  Does everyone remember that?  That “grocery” service through the school where you paid a semi-crazy amount of money for what was basically a bunch of junk food?  Mmmm Italian Dippers.  My favorite thing we got were these frozen Chocolate Puddin’ Cakes.  They were slices of a super moist but not super chocolatey cake, riddled with chocolate chunks.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even let a slice thaw – I would just eat it still frozen (and it was still amazing). Continue reading

Italian Coconut Cream Cake

It seems to be baby week/month in my world!  This past weekend was a christening, I just had a double baby shower at work, and in a week and a half I have another christening to go to.  All this new lil sweet peas joining our world sure is reason for celebration… and cake!

One of the women for the baby shower LOVES coconut.  I am actually fascinated by how much she loves coconut… the way she talks about it, sometimes I wonder if she would trade this baby for some coconut! 🙂

In order to get her good and coconut-ed, I decided to find a really good coconut cake that would be just the ticket.  I searched and searched, but mainly what I found was either a pie or something that was a plain cake with coconut frosting.  That simply wasn’t good enough for the idea I had in mind.

Then I came across a blog that had an Italian Coconut Cream Cake, and it just sounded perfect.

Continue reading

Christening Cake

Happy Monday – it’s cake time!

This past weekend was a christening in my family.  I’m not exactly sure of the link – it’s my dad’s cousin’s son’s son… is that my second cousin once-removed?  Something like that… I think… but regardless – this new lil guy is my cousin! 🙂

Trying to figure out what to do for a christening cake was a feat unto itself… try googling it. Seriously.  You get everything from cross-shaped cakes to cakes with teddy bears to cakes with booties and balloons.  Basically, it seems like whatever is blue works well, and most people seem to shove the religious part by the wayside.  After spending days and days searching for something to give me inspiration, I gave up, feeling no more inspired than when I started.

Then I ran across a forum post on Cake Central (if you are a baker, check it out, it’s awesome!).  For billowing fondant.

And I was hooked.

Continue reading