Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Classic, The Pound Cake

Had an itch to try something new this week, pound cake.
I wasn't sure why they called it "pound cake" so I did a little (very little) research and here it is,

your "fun fact" of the day:

It seems that the original recipe from the early 1700's used a pound of every ingredient
(butter, sugar, eggs and flour)
and not because you gain pounds for eating it.

Hope you feel as enlightened as I do :)

They turned out nicely and the recipe I used actually made 5 mini loaves so I gave some away to some friends. I noticed something though, the mini loaves get eaten faster.

Dense and moist with a buttery almond flavor, it's easy to see why they went so fast. The recipe was actually one from Better Homes and Gardens magazine for Vanilla Sparkling Wine Pound Cake but I substituted milk for wine because I didn't have any. I also like to take a recipe down to it's bare-bones to sort of test it so I was OK with leaving the wine out this time. The basic recipe was delicious and I'm interested to know what difference the wine will make.

Until next post, happy baking!

Monday, January 25, 2010

All Hail The Birthday Girl, The Maker of Wishes, The Opener of Presents...

And here is the Birthday Girl, I bet you couldn't tell that from the picture.
This is from her 3rd birthday. It's funny, every past picture you look at of your kids you say,

"They were so little back then!"

You can't help yourself, it just comes out!

So let me get to the point of this post...drum roll please!
Here is the princess crown birthday cake I made for her last year,

and when I say "I", of course I mean "my husband and I".
I saw it in the Family Fun Magazine and knew I had to do it for her. What I didn't know was the amount of work that it was going to take. They make it sound so easy, "just do this and that, use this and that...blah, blah, blah", and I admit, the concept is "easy", reality is a little different.

It's a simple, two layer cake from a box (don't judge me, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible) frosted with canned frosting, that was the easy part. Then you take a roll of sugar cookie dough and using a template from their website you cut out the pieces of the crown. Here is where I spent hours trying to get the perfect cookies. They spread and I had to re-cut the hearts out of the middle AGAIN and trim the sides so they would be straight. Some of them weren't hard enough to stand up, some ended up crumbling, I was getting frustrated. But eventually, after the help of my wonderful husband, I had enough cookies to finish the cake and I could calm down. It turned out cute but boy, was it a pain! At least we have some good pictures of it and more importantly, my daughter LOVED it.

And one more picture, I just had to throw it in, my husband Jason and my son.
Thanks honey, couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

At the End of My Rainbow There Are Cupcakes!

We just celebrated my daughter's 4th birthday. As usual, I asked her what kind of party and cake she wanted to have. Her answer was, "Pink, purple, green,...", just a bunch of colors. So, I thought "why not?" and gave her the rainbow she asked for. She was specific about having cupcakes, and also about having the party at Jungle Bounce, an inflatable party place, but that's about it. I let her pick the colors of food dye at Michael's, the cupcake liners and the sprinkles and I think she had fun doing that. She took it very seriously, feeling very grown up with the responsibility of these decisions and after she had made her choice there was no changing her mind. Is she like me or you Jason?

So I just made a yellow cake from the box, Duncan Hines, and colored it with the chosen Wilton gel colorings. The colors are so vibrant and it didn't change the taste of the cake at all.

You can see how they show through the liners.

I borrowed the cupcake stand from my sister-in-law, Kathan, because for some reason I don't have one. I'll have to find one on sale or something because after this I don't know how I've lived so long without one! By the way, I didn't edit the color on these pictures, just the exposure, the colors were really this vibrant. I made a simple but yummy buttercream frosting (oh how I love buttercream frosting!) However, I could have used less purple and rose in the frosting because there was a bitter taste, for some reason that didn't happen with the green. I used about a 1/4 tsp in each and I think I could have used less without compromising on color.

Here's the close up, yum!

And the cut-in-two shot.
Look at how the batter spread, very cool. All I did was spoon each color into the center and the rest happened on its own. There was a birthday candle in this one that's why the center has that line in it, but it was the only one left in the house before I thought to take a picture of it like this.

These were very fun and very easy, unlike the cake I did last year for her 3rd, but that will be another post for another day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'll get it going again, I promise.

I'm sorry to all (two of you) who are trying to follow my blog, I have been very lazy lately and not posted anything. It's not like I haven't been baking but I haven't had the time to sit down and write about it. I will try to get things going again soon so please check back periodically. I'm sorry, hope everyone's holidays were enjoyable.