Vanilla Almond Buttercream Frosting

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Vanilla Almond Buttercream

This weekend I wanted to play a little with baking a cake and decorating it since it has been a while since I’ve made and decorated one. I decided upon a vanilla cake, baked it, then the big decision was what kind of frosting I would use. I prefer buttercream, but it doesn’t set up as well as the frostings I’ve made with shortening. I really don’t like the frostings made with just shortenings, so I decided to do a mixture. The recipe was inspired by the recipe I found on I Am Baker‘s website.

To make the buttercream, you will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening (I realized I put in a whole stick when I only needed half, but it still turned out pretty well with the whole stick)
1 two pound bag of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup milk (I used Vanilla Silk Milk)

Directions:
1. Put the butter, shortening, vanilla extract, and almond extract in the mixer and cream together about 30 seconds.
2. Dump the entire bag of powdered sugar in, along with the milk. Mix until creamy and desired texture. You can add more milk if you’d like your frosting to be thinner.
3. Enjoy!

I kept my frosting a bit stiffer since I knew I’d be decorating the cake using rosettes.

Vanilla Almond

Baking love,
Heather

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Valentine and Housewarming Cake Pops!

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Valentines Day and Housewarming Cake Pops

I was asked to make some cake pops by an acquaintance, and I happily said yes! She was looking for me to make her ones for Valentine’s Day and for some to give as a housewarming gift. We both looked online to see what might be best and she chose owl and cupcake Valentine cake pops and a mix of houses and purple ball cake pops for the housewarming gift. I set to work and this is what I came up with! These were so fun to make, I really just want to make more cake pops!! Unfortunately, I did not take pictures through my cake pop making process, but I’ll include a list of items needed for each type. I made a mix of vanilla cake pops and cookies and cream cake pops, using a box mix and store bought icing to mix it with. If you’d like to see how I make the cake for the cake pops, take a look here! For all of the cake pops I used my Oxo small cookie scoop to make sure they all used about the same amount of the cake/icing mixture. You will also need the sticks, bags, and ribbon to package all of the pops.

Owl Cake Pops
Owls

For the owls you will need:
*Red, white, and pink candy melts
*Chocolate chips to make the ears
*White sprinkles and a food writer to make the eyes (or the eye sprinkles that they sell)
*Orange sprinkles for the nose
*Pink and white hearts for the wings
*Star sprinkles for the feet
*Flower sprinkles for the bow

Cupcake Cake Pops
Cupcakes

For the cupcakes you will need:
*Red, white, and pink candy melts
*Valentine colored sprinkles
*Small hearts and round red balls to put on top

Housewarming Cake Pops
Houses

For the houses you will need:
*White and black candy melts
*Food writer for the windows, door, and grass (I like the Americolor writers)
*Flower sprinkles

Purple Cake Pops
Purple ball

For the cake pops you will need:
*Purple candy melts
*White sprinkles

I now have cake pop fever and am pinning tons of cake pop creations that I want to try!

Happy cake pop making!
Heather

Cake Decorating Week 4

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Week 4 Cake

This week was my final week in the first course of cake decorating and we were able to decorate one last cake. I made the vanilla cake recipe I found at Sweetapolita, but, unfortunately, mine didn’t turn out quite right because I did not have any whole milk on hand. I’ll be trying this recipe again when I do have whole milk! After the cake was baked, I cut it into two tiers and put pudding in the middle.

On to the cake decorating…

We started class by making ribbon roses, which actually turned out to be pretty easy to make. Mine were kind of melty though, because my frosting was to loose. When I make these again I’m going to make sure to have stiff frosting- the people who had used stiffer frosting had much better results!

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to decorate my cake, but I decided to put all of my roses on (the instructor told me after-the-fact that I should put a clump of frosting down on the cake where the roses were going to go to give them more height and dimension). I wrote “Congratulations” on it only because it was one of the things we practiced…I didn’t really have anyone to give the cake to and since I wasn’t completely happy with how the actual cake tasted, I decided I wouldn’t be sharing this cake with others! Decorating the cake was still fun and I’m looking forward to starting the second course next week!

Week 4 Cake 2

Baking love,
Heather

Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Finished Cake

Since I made the cake pops for Beryl’s Momtographie class, I had to get them to her and she invited us over for dinner. I, of course, offered to make dessert! I found a recipe on About.com for an Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake with Silky Glaze and decided this may be the perfect dessert.

To make the cake…
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop up 6 ounces of chocolate (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate).
Chopped Chocolate

3. Melt the chopped chocolate and 1 stick of unsalted butter (I recommend chopping up the butter into smaller pieces as well) over medium low heat, stirring frequently.
Chocolate and Butter

4. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly for about 1 minute until the sugar starts to dissolve.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 3 eggs one at a time.
All Mixed

6. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa into the mix. Whisk until the batter is smooth.

7. Pour the batter into a 7-inch tart pan or into a 6-7 inch pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray in the bottom.
Before Oven

8. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, but check at about 22 minutes. You will know the cake is done when the center is just firm to the touch. Do not over bake or the cake will become dry!
Out of Oven

9. Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

10. Melt 2 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same pan used for the cake. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey. Stir until smooth and glossy and let sit for 3 minutes.

11. When the cake is cooled, flip it onto a plate or cake board (mine broke a bit when I flipped it so be careful). Pour the glaze right in the middle, then use a spatula to move the glaze so it is evenly spread over the cake and running slightly over the edges.
Finished Cake

12. Enjoy!

Everyone seemed to like the cake and my husband, who does not like chocolate that much, had TWO slices! The cake was super moist and seemed almost like a brownie. If you are looking for a delicious flourless cake, this one is a great choice!!

Baking love,
Heather