Archive for the 'Wilton' Category

Wilton Course II – check

Last week, I finished Wilton Course II.  I really liked this course.  I liked working with royal icing and learning all of the flowers.  I also adore the basketweave technique.  Here’s the grand finale cake…

I’m really looking forward to Course III!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Here’s to the unofficial start of summer.  I’ve been wanting to try these cupcakes I saw at Good Things Catered.  I figured a Memorial Day BBQ would be the perfect opportunity.  They were a hit at my friend’s party!

Angie’s Famous Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar (or a little less)
2 eggs
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c. chopped strawberries

1/4 c. strawberries
1 Tbsp. strawberry liquor
1/2 tsp lemon juice
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cupcake pans.
-Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.
-In bowl of mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
-Add eggs one at a time until combined.
-Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla until combined.
-Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
-Fold in berries.
-Fill cupcake pans 3/4 way.
-Bake for 20 minutes.
-For frosting, put berries, liquor, and juice in saucepan.
-Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer for 5 mins.
-Let cool then blend until smooth.
-In bowl of mixer mix cream cheese and butter until creamy.
-Add sugar, then vanilla.
-Add berry puree until smooth.
-Frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

NOTE:  I used vanilla buttercream instead of the strawberry icing.  I made the stars out of Wilton colorflow icing. 

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I knew as soon as I found out I was hosting my family for Mother’s Day, that I had to make my mom’s favorite – chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  Chocolate cake is something I usually don’t like.  However, this recipe was different.  The cake is just chocolatey – not sweet.  The flavor was delicious and the cake was so moist!  I had to get rid of the rest after two consecutive days of coming home from work and having a slice of the left-overs!  I will DEFINITELY make this one again!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

Cake
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very soft, plus extra for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate , coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (3/4 ounce)
1/2 cup hot water 
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 teaspoon table salt 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
4 large eggs 
2 large egg yolks

Frosting
I used vanilla buttercream instead of ATK’s chocolate (recipe below)

Directions

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pans with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pan with spatula.

3. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.

TO FROST CAKE: Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across top of cake with spatula. Place second cake layer on top, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Cut into slices and serve.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.

DB Challenge #2 – Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake

I was so excited to see the challenge this month was a recipe from Dorie Greenspan.  Her cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours has so many great recipes.  This was a double bonus for me because I could jazz it up with my newly honed Wilton decorating skills AND it would fulfill my aunt’s request for me to bring dessert to Easter dinner at her house.  I absolutely LOVED this cake.  The flavors (two favorites of mine, lemon and raspberry) were fresh and clean.  The cake had a great texture.  I loved the meringue butterceam and will definitely use it on more cakes.  I was a little disappointed that my cakes didn’t rise as much as I thought they would and I kind of missed the boat on the torting (my aunt said she liked the difference in the widths of the layers..) *I just realized as I was cutting and pasting the recipe from the DB site that this wasn’t my fault.  The measurements were incorrect on the original post, which is why my cake didnt’ rise and torting the layers was difficult… oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make it again… but all in all I think this was a sucessful cake.  Thanks to Movern for a “Perfect Party” challenge.  Be sure to check out the rest of the perfection on the Daring Baker’s Blogroll.

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (Iused buttermilk)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extractFor the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut (I omitted)

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.

Serving
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

(ugly pic from hub’s crackberry)

I am a Wilton Graduate!

Here’s my final cake with the roses and leaves.  I didn’t finish it because hubs could not wait to have a bite.  He was really excited about that lemon curd.  I can’t wait to take course II!

Wilton I – Cupcakes (Class 3)

Today at my Wilton class, I learned how to make figures, shell borders and drop flowers.  The cupcakes I made for the class were dreadful…they were chocolate sponge and just were NOT good (Wilton recipe…blech).  The dark chocolate buttercream, however…yum.
I made…
this radical clown:

this happy little smiley face:

and these cute little flowers:

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Wilton

 Ingredients
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk

Directions
-Cream shortening and butter.
-Add cocoa and vanilla.
-Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time on low to medium speed and mix until combined.
-Add milk and beat until fluffy.

 

 

 

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

That’s right boys and girls… SPONGEBOB SQUARE PANTS!!  As some of you may know, in addition to being a chef extrordinaire I am also a second grade teacher.  Tomorrow is our class play and my students have worked so hard to memorize their lines and songs.  I figured I’d reward them with a little treat.  The play has nothing to do with SBSP, but making a coyote folktale cake would be bo-ring!