Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I decided to alternate chocolate cake layers with a vanilla layer, and used a chocolate pudding filling.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
One song he particularly enjoys is "Old MacDonald". He loves mimicking the animal sounds and the simple "E-I-E-I-O" refrain. Consequently, we decided to go with a barnyard/farm theme for his party. While I have no problems eating meat, I prefer to think of farms as places where animals LIVE, and we harvest vegetables from... so Danny's cake and accompanying cupcakes focused on veggies.
Now, a while back, I had played with some gumpaste in attempt to practice making fruit/veggie cupcake toppers. as cute as they did turn out.. I was overall left a little disappointed. Gumpaste , while edible, isn't exactly TASTY. and it's HARD. like break a child's tooth HARD. Imagine, then, my delight when I read the book Hello, Cupcake. Not only did it feature a garden-party cupcake for me to replicate.. but the authors suggested taking ready made candies and ingredients to make into the vegetables.
The result? amazing. I used starbursts and m&m candies, licorice, cornflakes and graham crackers in conjunction with some home made cake and frosting, a little melted chocolate and color gels... and I managed to produce the following.
Now, I still wouldn't allow my 2 year old birthday boy (or his 4 year old sister) to eat the starbursts-turned-veggies.... but in a few years I could totally see them eating every little bit of the cupcake, and still having teeth left to brush when they were through.
Lessons Learned: heating the starbursts in the oven worked better than the microwave. Also? best tip EVER??? rolling the 'carrots' in cinnamon after I made the decorative growth lines made the carrots look OH-SO real. and LOVED the idea of coating the cornflakes in green frosting. the 'leaves' looked truly authentic.
I'm not saying I'll never use gumpaste again.. but for basic colors and for items for kids? the reshaping of chewy candies is really the way to go!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Naturally, when I see them at my grocer's, I can't help myself and pick up a bag or two. then I make a beeline for the apples... and get home to start baking.
My girlfriend made a french Cranberry-Apple pie a few years ago, and I have been smitten ever since. between the streusel-crunch topping and the intermitten tart cranberries, I firmly believe I can not make a plain apple pie ever again.
The recipe she passed on to me was a photocopy from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook, but I have found this recipe online to be identical. If I was in the business of sharing my secrets, I'd tell you I ALWAYS double the amount of streusel topping and omit the nuts.... but the best way to bake (at least as far as I have found) is to taste and see and tweak as you like.
Anyway... if you're looking for a sure-fire hit to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner... this is a winner. enjoy... and let's all give thanks for the cranberry!
Lessons Learned: I have been LOVING the little pie tins. Not only do I increase the number of pies I can get out of one batch of filling, but the SIZE!! so nice! Perfect for hitting the spot when you have a sweet tooth, but don't want to be eating the same dessert all week.
These tins can be found in the grocer's under the label of 'pot pie' tins. They're deep dish, so 1/4 of this pie is a generous portion. try them out... they even serve well to bring to a friend's house for coffee or little thank you gifts.