Turtle cake

This one is a 2-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate tortoise (okay, I call it a turtle cake because it sounds better than a tortoise cake but wow that’s so unscientific). I used my new icing tips for the flowers, and they worked great! The head and legs are made out of chopped up cupcakes I had leftover from a previous baking session. It was my first time trying a basketweave, and my icing was too thick, so it’s a little jittery. But not too bad!

maya's turtle cake 2017

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My first tiered cake!

Well, this is the first time I’ve put each tier on a platter, doweled everything, and then put it together. I cut up take-out containers for the cake-bottoms…I think I’ll buy some of the commercial ones next time. These were a bit bumpy, and made it harder to hide the spacing between the layers.

IMG_9100.JPGThe bottom layer is vanilla with cherry icing and filling. I smashed up cherries, since it’s cherry season, boiled them and strained them, and added the juice to my favourite icing (basically a cream cheese icing recipe).

The middle layer is a vegan chocolate cake, but I forgot to make the icing vegan! The icing is that same buttercream, but with butterscotch syrup for flavouring.

The top layer is my favourite pumpkin ginger cupcake recipe baked in half a Wilton ball pan. I tried to make ginger-flavoured icing by adding powdered ginger, but you can’t really taste it. I put just a bit of orange food colouring in to make the peach colour.

I had so much almost-ginger icing left over that I used it for all the decorations.

Oh, I almost forgot! I painted each layer with orange simple syrup, since I thought they were a tad dry, and the syrup helps make them moister (or I could stop over-baking everything, but why make it easy?). The syrup is 1C sugar + 1C water, boiled, plus grated orange peel.

The flowers are white gumpaste (here’s Nicholas Lodge’s recipe) painted with powdered colours & vodka. I made them pretty much like this youtube video, but mine don’t look as nice. Next time, if I want flowers that don’t look antique, I’ll colour the gumpaste instead of just painting the flowers. So I got smart and made the leaves using green gumpaste. To make them shiny, I painted them all over with silver sparkly powder & vodka…I don’t remember what the powder was called. I could probably find out really fast by googling it…

I made the flowers using toothpicks, so then I just poked the toothpick ends into the cake where I wanted the flowers to go. Next time I’ll try using spaghetti noodles, just to make it 100% edible.

Instead of dowels, I just stuck straws through the cakes — four for each layer. They’re easy to cut to the right length. I hope they hold up as I take this cake across the street to our clubhouse, where our party will be. I should’ve waited ’till we got there to put the whole thing together, but I got too overexcited about finishing it.

Paw Patrol cake

Someone wanted a Paw Patrol birthday cake. I made this one using a buttercream transfer technique for the lookout tower, and hooray for figurines!

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I made cupcakes for her class with paw prints on them. I think they turned out pretty cute!

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And with the leftover cake batter, I made a quick-n-dirty Paw Patrol cake.

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The birthday girl helped with placing the pups on the cake, and they ran around a bit as they decided where they were going to sit, so you can see their paw prints all over the frosting.

Parchment paper for bread-making

I spent years with bread sticking to my bread pans. I would poke down the sides with knives to turn out the loaves, and ruin the pans (they were cheap) with knife marks. Finally I realized I could line the pans with parchment paper!

(The bread isn’t that dark – bad exposure.) At first I’d spend awhile folding the parchment paper to exactly the right size. Then I finally realized that I could just smash the paper in to the pan using the other pan, and it worked just fine! It wasn’t as pretty as the neatly folded paper, but the bread turned out fine.

This bread is the Amish White Bread from allrecipes.com, but I used 5c all-purpose flour and 1c whole wheat bread flour instead of 6c bread flour. It’s the perfect size for my kitchen-aid, so I don’t have to knead it by hand!

Bee cupcakes

For  friend’s baby shower, the theme was bees! What fun.

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The bees are chocolate-covered peanuts with yellow-colored white chocolate stripes and white chocolate wings.

For the cupcakes I made lemon cupcakes with lemon filling and lemon buttercream frosting, and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling and ganache icing too. A little rich? Heh heh heh.

Easter Fiascos

Don’t you get tired of pretty pictures of beautiful things other people make? Let me help you. Here’s my list of failures for the Easter weekend. I won’t include the frozen meatballs that no-one likes.

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I boiled eggs in blueberries for the purple splotchy ones, and boiled them in beets for the ancient barely yellow color. Don’t you like the purple egg guts?
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Had to post a picture of eggs boiling in beets
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I tried a new recipe and didn’t cook them long enough. If I put them back in the oven now, they’ll be even more disgusting (heavy and gummy). Luckily we have compost.
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I made these using a donut-shaped cupcake pan. I don’t like this recipe; they taste funny.
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I used chocolate to decorate the hollow eggs this year, and I definitely like the frosting-decorated ones better. Drippy chocolate is hard to pipe.
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And to top it all off, one of my favorite mugs broke. We had too many cups anyway.