Dreamy Creamsicle Cake Part 3 – Completed Cake!

Happy Monday all!

I had originally planned to get this post up yesterday… but then time just got away from me… so here we are.  (As a side note, don’t you just wish you could go to the store and buy more time?  In my mind it would be sold like parking meters – 25 cents for each additional 15 minutes of time you would like to add to your day.  If only.)

On Saturday morning, before and after getting my hair cut, I was able to finally construct my Dreamy Creamsicle Cake.  I had pulled the cake out of the freezer the night before to thaw, and had pulled the frosting out of the fridge first thing in the morning so they could soften.

The first problem I encountered was that my Orange IMCCB had broken (if you don’t know what that is, check here :)).  Honestly, I think it was broken when I first made it, but at the time I was too positive and was just thinking “oh, that’s only orange zest”.  Um, no.  Unfortunately after the Orange IMCCB had softened and I re-mixed it to hopefully get the emulsion working, it just kind of stared at me sadly while swirling around in the mixing bowl.  But no matter – I had been trying to decide which frosting would be for the inside of the cake, and that just decided it for me, because geez did that stuff still taste good – so good I couldn’t not use it.

When putting this cake together, I had decided to make thinner layers (with more frosting) to make sure that the flavor was well incorporated as well as keeping the cake moist.  Along with this, I had also decided that I wanted to try what I refer to as “swoosh” frosting – basically frosting the cake with an ongoing back and forth motion using a small spatula or back of a spoon to give it a somewhat-unfinished-but-still-nice look.  I think my first attempt at this came out alright – not the best, but definitely not too shabby either!

With the frosting amounts I made in the previous post – I used it ALL.  There was literally nothing left in either bowl, the amount worked out just perfectly.  And, as always, I brushed my cakes with simple syrup to make the frosting stick.  To continue the flavor theme of my cake, I used vanilla in the simple syrup, which of course worked perfectly with the oranges and vanilla cream.

This cake ended up being a nice weight – almost pound cake-ish, but not quite as dense.  Everyone seemed to love it, and their first reaction was that it taste just like a creamsicle.  My dad thought that the vanilla cream cheese frosting was a little too sweet, so I might have to adjust that a bit, but all in all, I would say this was a delicious success!

Next in line – a Christening cake.  Oh boy oh boy!

Dreamy Creamsicle Cake – Part 1 (cake)

I think every baker dreams of the day of when they make up their first recipe.  For me, that day is today! 🙂  (or I guess technically it was yesterday.  But still.)

I was talking with my friend The Culinary Cheesehead about various cakes that you can make for summer – especially in this insane heat that we are having here in the Midwest. (In case you have missed it, in Chicago we just broke the record for the highest “low” – we never got below 80.  And today is supposed to be 99 with a heat index of 112.  Sigh.)

In the midst of our chatting, Paula mentioned an Orange Creamsicle cake, which sounded absolutely delectable… and after she mentioned it, it just didn’t leave my mind at all.

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Luau Cake!

Hello there boys and girls, it’s time for a recipe-less update!

This past weekend was a surprise party for my aunt, and I got hired to make the cake (wahoo!).  When I asked, I was told the theme was “Hawaiian luau”, so that of course led to millions of ideas instantly going through my head.  In my first iteration, it was a cake with a lei gracefully draped down the side.

Until I thought it through.

While leis are beautiful, the amount of gum paste flowers I would have needed for this image in my mind was… extraordinary.  So… that idea kind of got kicked to the curb of my brain.  After that I just started Googling like there was no tomorrow.  Unfortunately, when you look up “Hawaiian Cake” or “Luau Cake” under Google Images, most of them look like the creators took every single piece of Hawaiian plastic/decor the could find and stuck it on a cake (seriously – most of them should be on Cake Wrecks, just for the amount of weird stuff on the cake)

Eventually I started sketching out some ideas, and this is what I came up with:

It’s a little hard to see as I sketched lightly so I could erase easily, but it’s just a simple topsy-turvy cake with some Hawaiian accents.  I figured this would be easy enough for me to do, as it was my first topsy-turvy cake, and still impressive enough for all the non-bakers out there.

The weekend making this cake was unreal.  I only had one of each size cake pan, so I had to waste time baking one layer of each tier at a time (luckily they were only two layers!).  It was a weekend and cake full of new things.  New vanilla bean recipe, new chocolate recipe, new fondant recipe, and new cake construction.  Looking back on it now – I was kind of an idiot for doing this, because had one thing gone horribly wrong, I could’ve lost it (very very easily).  In the midst of fondant that kept tearing, I decided it would be fun to break the faucet head off the sink and spray the entire kitchen (seriously – it was a blast! (pun intended)).  But after all of the work and craziness, the cake finally got finished.  My feet ached from standing, but I was very proud of what I got done:

For this, I made a vanilla bean cake for the bottom tier and the island (courtesy of my friend Paula, aka The Culinary Cheesehead), and found a recipe for a moist chocolate cake for the second tier on Kitchen Addiction (doubling the recipe and switching the milk for buttermilk).  I made my own version of a strawberry mousse filling topped with diced strawberries, coated the cake in Italian Buttercream and Michele Foster’s Fondant.  I purchased some Mercken’s candy melts and made little chocolate seashells (on top of the green layer) and the flip-flops, flowers, and palm-tree are all made of gum paste.

Finals – Cake Decorating & Chocolates

Well… it’s over. I have finished the Baking & Pastry certificate program as of Friday!  I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I’m done… I have such mixed feelings!

On one hand, I’m looking forward to actually coming home from work and going to sleep, relaxing, etc, as opposed to standing on my feet for 4-5 hours and stressing myself out over how a rose looks or whether my chocolate is tempered.

On the other hand… I will miss my friends I’ve made so much, and I really wish I could keep taking classes just so someone will continue to push me out of my comfort zone and make me try baking/decorating new things!

My finals for this quarter consisted of making up a business plan, decorating a 3-tier wedding cake, and putting together a chocolate sculpture/showpiece.

Cake Decorating

I LOVED the way my final cake came out, even though I had some issues along the way.   Continue reading

Double Salted Caramel Cake

Just writing out the headline to this starts to make me drool a little bit.  I feel like every post I write “so this is one of my favorite flavors!”, but honestly… salted caramel?  It’s just amazing.  Put it into cake form?  Even better!

I have to thank the SprinkleBakes website for this – she made a Triple Salted Caramel Cupcake (that, by the way, looks absolutely gorgeous!), and I just converted/adjusted that recipe to make a cake, and oh. my. goodness.  It was delicious.  I was actually told this was the best cake I’ve made so far.  It was gooey and caramely and crumbly and just plain yummy.  I would make this again in a heartbeat if I had more people to eat it!

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Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake

One of my all-time favorite flavors is hazelnut.  I love hazelnut cake, I love hazelnut frosting, I love Ferrero Rocher, I love Nutella… the list goes on and on.

When my dad’s birthday came around, I asked what kind of cake he wanted, to which his reply was “a nut cake”.  I tried my hardest to get him to be a little more specific, but alas, I was left with “a nut cake” and nothing else.  I had seen this recipe for a hazelnut brown butter cake on Smitten Kitchen a while ago, and had been looking for an opportunity to try it out… and since hazelnuts qualify as nuts (I think they’re not one of those seeds-posing-as-nuts), I had my “nut cake”.

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Advanced Cake Decorating so far…

Well I just finished my midterm cake for my cake decorating class last night.  It was interesting – both myself and one of my classmates had one of our layers collapse in the middle, leaving a huge divot to fill.  This, of course, just caused air bubbles galore underneath the fondant no matter what we did – so eventually I just gave up and let it be, because all I was doing was poking holes to pop one air bubble and then finding 10 more.  Regardless, my color scheme worked out well, I loved the roses and my butterfly ended up looking very nice!

Here is my first attempt at a square cake – definitely had some issues, mainly because the kitchen was so hot that the buttercream started melting before I could even put the fondant on, which made for a very messy process.  I did my best to cover up my mistakes with a thick border, as my corners weren’t looking too hot.  I really did like the color scheme, and I loved using the little pink buttons on the border (I used them on all sides).

The last cake is our first cake we made in class, where we were learning about draping.  I had fun cutting out all the circles and attaching them, even though the fondant was way too thick (should’ve been around 1/8″ thick) – but even though the drape/flowers don’t really match with the circles, I still like both aspects (just not together!)

Red Velvet Rose Cake

Well, it was a long and rainy weekend (any of those near the Chicago area know exactly what I’m talking about).  After I had walked to and from the grocery store in the rain and wind, almost losing my footing and my little wheely-cart about three times and turned into a popsicle because of the wind, I decided to hunker down and make it a rose-filled weekend.  I worked on gum paste roses for my cake decorating class, and then on decorating my cake of the week with a rose design that I had seen in passing that thought was beautiful. 

One of my favorite cakes, oddly enough, is Red Velvet.  I think I’m in the minority here, but I just love that it’s not overly sweet, not overly chocolate-y, and of course, I LOVE that it has cream cheese frosting (is there anything better??). 

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Happy Diez de Mayo! Chocolate Chipotle Cake

A little late on the holiday, so I’m celebrating Diez de Mayo today 🙂

After searching around, looking for something to spark my “I must make THAT!” reaction, I found my answer on Epicurious in the form of a Chocolate Chipotle Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce and a Sweet Tomatillo Sauce.  Very different, but sounded delicious (and had wonderful reviews).

I think the most complicated part of this recipe was finding the ingredients – seriously.  Tomatillos are becoming somewhat more common, so that was easier than I expected – but chipotle peppers?  Um… not so much.  Continue reading

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Buttercream

This week I decided to finally take on a classic and make a chocolate cake (although since it is FINALLY sunny in Chicago, I was originally leaning more towards something coconut-limey… but soon, soon).  Personally, chocolate and hazelnut go together like PB&J for me – the flavor combination is absolutely delicious, and all I can think of is Ferrero Rocher (yum).

I had never made a hazelnut buttercream before, so I wasn’t entirely sure on how this was going to go.  I found a basic recipe to get to a hazelnut paste, and then pulled my Italian Buttercream recipe out of my back pocket (from school) and just figured I could combine it all into one frosting.  Continue reading