Friday, March 27, 2009

March Birthday Cake Madness!

My husband, and both of my maternal grand parents, all have March birthdays. So seeing as how I have been in a constant time pinch lately with my new job, and family obligations, and life in general, I was barely able to find the time make and decorate their cakes. In other words, I am lacking in my normal amount of photo journaling baking photo's. At least I was able to get some pictures of the finished products prior to them being devoured!

This was my husbands birthday cake. I asked his opinion about what he would like, and he said "I don't know, chocolate?" OK, you want chocolate, you got it! Devils food chocolate cake, with chocolate butter cream filling, coated with chocolate gnash frosting, and decorated with more chocolate butter cream!

My grandparents on the other hand, well I took it a little easier on them. My grandpa is diabetic and he really shouldn't be having cake as it is, but on your birthday your deffinatley entitled to some cake. So I went with a simple french vanilla white cake, and filled, frosted and decorated with vanilla butter cream. And to tell you the truth, were all so chocolated out from my husbands cake the week prior, the vanilla cake was a welcome change!

Bourbon & Sweet Potato Cup Cakes

Bakerella (I just love her) debuted these cupcakes on her blog, quite some time ago, and ever since the first day I read that blog post I knew I had to make them at some point. So I finally decided to give it a whirl, and they were really, really good. These are a very adult cupcake, the cupcake itself isn't super, sugary sweet, and the warmth of the bourbon in the cake and the icing is, well, it's awesome!

I will say no more, and let the photo's speak for themselves!

Getting started, I laid out all of my required ingredients...

Ingredients going into the fabulous Kitchenaid...

The fabulous Kitchenaid at work...

Loading the cupcakes into the oven...

Hmmm, the smell of these cupcakes baking reminded me of the smell of the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning...

After letting the cupcakes cool for a few hours, they took a nice lil' dip into the yummy icing...


Then I let them settle for a about half an hour, and then I dipped them again. That's right, I double dipped, and I'm proud...

Then I placed a pecan on top, and viola! Heaven on a doile!

They didn't last too long in my house. I wasn't really able to get that many photo's due to an eager crowd of cupcake fans.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brimming with Roses Birthday Cake

I have been behind on my blogging recently, due to a job change. So this blog is a little late, as I originally made this cake a few weeks ago for my mother-in-law's birthday. But better late than never!! So my husband has mentioned in the past that his mom never baked that much when he was growing up. The only cake her could ever remember her making, was carrot cake from scratch. So for her birthday, we decided I would search for the best home made carrot cake recipe I could find. So I hit the Internet and I probably read about twenty different recipes before I found what I now know to be the best carrot cake recipe ever! I mean it's been about two weeks since I had a slice of this cake, and I can still recall the wonderfully warm taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and black walnuts combining with the tangy, rich cream cheese frosting. Now that I had my cake recipe pinned down, I wanted to come up with a good design for decoration, so I could show off my new decorating skills to the family. So I flipped through a Wilton Cake Decorating book that I had. I didn't really have to flip too far, as the cake I was inspired by was on the cover of the book. Below are the pictures I took as I assembled and decorated the cake, I hope you enjoy!

Here is the cake, the cream cheese icing and the walnuts used for decoration. The recipe I used made enough batter for a 3 layer cake using 8" round pans.

Hmmm, this looks good!
All three layers stacked high!
I put on a pretty thick crumb coat, as I knew that you wouldn't really see much of the icing once the cake was decorated. After crumb coating, I pressed a mixture of regular walnuts and black walnuts to cover the sides of the cake.

See, TaDa!

And here are my beauties. The stars of the show. My royal icing roses.

Since I work full time, and I knew I had to bake my cake on a Friday night, and assemble and decorate on Saturday morning, I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night making my roses. I worked with one color of icing each night. I just sat in my living room and made roses while I half-watched TV. It was actually quite relaxing.
Once I positioned each of my roses on top of the cake, I piped green royal icing leaves to fill in any gaps.

And here she is, all ready to go and celebrate!

And as I mentioned before, it was DELICIOUS!

Here is a nice shot of the whole cake.
And one more shot from above.
This cake was a lot of work, but totally worth it. It came out beautiful and it really was a (big) slice of heaven, right here on earth!