“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.

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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.

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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.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Well, the beginning of an extreme baking weekend!

My company has summer hours, and that means that the Friday before this holiday weekend was a full day off – a complete welcome surprise!  My dad’s birthday is always over Memorial Day weekend, so I knew I would be going home for the weekend, and decided to surprise my parents with a little baked treat to get the weekend started. Continue reading

Champagne & Strawberry Cupcakes

I have to admit, I’m in love with Cupcake Wars.  I am fascinated watching shows like that and Chopped on Food Network, because I think it’s so neat watching people come up with recipes on the fly, with all these interesting flavor combinations!  This past week I was watching with my parents while home for Easter, and the episode had several people using red wine in cupcakes.  This, of course, intrigued me, and I immediately starting looking up wine cake recipes.  Unfortunately, it seems that the chocolate-red wine combinations has the chance to make a dry, very dense cake, and all the white wine cake recipes I found started with boxed mix (um, no – to me, that’s not really a recipe!).

 

After searching around for a bit, I randomly found a champagne cake recipe, and decided to give it a whirl.  For these cupcakes, I made a champagne cupcake batter, a very light strawberry and champagne cream filling, and a champagne buttercream. Continue reading

Cakes From the Past

Gallery

This gallery contains 45 photos.

Even though these aren’t cakes that I’ve baked recently, I thought it would be fun to include them here – these are all the cakes I’ve made in the past couple quarters at school. Strawberry Bavarian Cream Dobos Torte Tiramisu – … Continue reading

Sunrise Cake – Orange Chiffon Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream

As part of my new goal to start baking once a week for this blog (since my baking classes are officially over), I decided to try making a cake that fits with one of my favorite flavor combinations – orange and strawberry.  I love making orange and strawberry smoothies, I love eating the orange and strawberry Skittles together, and now I’m trying to make it work with a cake!

For this cake, it’s not really orange and strawberry cake per se, but an orange cake with strawberry whipped cream.  Sitting here writing this while the cake is baking, I really hope that the flavors compliment each other, and that one doesn’t overpower the other.  The components both smell absolutely delicious, so here’s hoping! Continue reading