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Baking, Baking - Desserts, Decorating

Hoops, Anyone?

We celebrated my sisters’ birthdays over the weekend. They’re both part of an intramural basketball team and were spending the weekend following the NCAA’s March Madness. I immediately knew I wanted to make them a basketball cake!

This was my first attempt at a sphere shaped cake. I suppose I could have just decorated a flat round cake, but where’s the fun in that?! It went pretty well, but the fondant around a sphere was quite challenging.

I baked four 8″ round cakes, two chocolate, two vanilla, and layered them with ermine frosting. Then I froze them in the stack. Once they were well frozen I started trimming and shaping with a knife. It became clear pretty quickly that it was going to be very hard to shape a round top and have enough cake left to make a good sized basketball. So I mixed the trimmings with some frosting and molded it onto the top to get the round shape (T-Rex style, see here). Once the sphere was shaped I did a crumb coat all over and put it in the fridge to chill.

I took it out shortly before putting on the fondant, so it would still be cool enough to hold its shape, but not so cold that it would sweat and make the fondant droopy. This batch of fondant was a little dryer than usual, and as a result it made the difficult sphere shape even harder because it all started cracking as I rounded it down to the bottom. It looked great until I got about halfway down the sides. I tried to smooth the cracks, but I couldn’t get it smooth enough without squishing dents into the cake. So, because it was for family, I opted to leave the cracks knowing that they would probably be okay with it. Once the lines of the ball were marked, I rolled out the black fondant and attached thin strips with meringue powder glue.

Overall I was quite happy with how it turned out. It was a fun challenge to do a sphere, and now I just need to practice keeping it smooth around the bottom!

Baking, Baking - Desserts, Decorating

T-Rex Leftovers

I had some cake pieces, frosting and fondant leftover after the T-Rex cake last week. We ate some of them just on their own, but the rest I decided to make into little treats to celebrate a couple birthdays in the daycare.

I crumbled what cake was left, mixed it with what frosting was left, and shaped them into bite sized cubes – about the size of a two-bite brownie. Then I rolled out some fondant and wrapped each one, hoping to make them look like little presents. The fondant was a bit bulky on the side folds, but I wasn’t going for perfection here, I mostly just wanted to use everything up.

I cut out some flower shapes for a decorative topper and stuck them on with some ‘meringue powder glue.’ They remind me of a less refined petit four – a cute little bite of dense cake with a yummy, decorative coating. A new variation of the popular cake-pop, perhaps?

 

Baking, Baking - Desserts, Decorating

T-Rex Cake

Well, here it is, as promised. There was great excitement at the birthday party over the weekend as the much-anticipated T-Rex was unveiled. It took awhile to think through just how I was going to do it, but as the brainwaves circulated, one idea led to another, and I think what I ended up doing worked really well.

After doing some image searches for T-Rex cakes I was originally going to try making a head and claws coming out of the top of a cake, but as I narrowed down my method I decided to do a whole dino.

After considering a few options, I went for a cake pop style. You remember cake pops? (click here for a refresher) Crumbled cake mixed with frosting, shaped into balls and dipped in candy coating. But instead of shaping it into balls, I molded it into a T-Rex; and instead of candy coating, I made fondant. I formed the dino on top of parchment paper so that it would be easy to get off when I needed to transfer it onto the cake. I put it in the fridge to chill so that it wouldn’t get squished when I put the fondant overtop. It all worked really well, although the fondant looked a bit rough around the bottom edges where it had to get tucked into tight places (mouth, arms and legs).

 

I made a regular cake for the base, frosted it with chocolate frosting, laid the finished T-Rex on top, and surrounded it with those little chocolate stones. There was A LOT of chocolate in this cake! I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I think the birthday boy was too!

Baking, Baking - General

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

20151230_132333Well, once again I have let things slide with the blog. I do think about it often, but day to day life just gets the better of me. It’s not that I’m not baking, I just don’t get around to posting.

So, instead of one specific item/topic today I have decided to give a photo gallery of some of the things I baked over the last few months.

Gingerbread Cookies – A Seasonal Favourite

 

Empire Cookies – My baked good of choice for this year’s holidays

 

Homemade Hotdog Buns – So much better than store bought

 

Personal Pizzas – The kids love them!

 

Now that I’ve got your attention again, keep an eye out, there will be an exciting cake coming up soon. Remember the blue racecar cake from last year? This year my little buddy wants a T-Rex!

Baking - Cookies, Baking - Desserts, Decorating

Halloween Treats

This year we did quite a few treats in addition to the door-to-door trick-or-treating. I know, why would you intentionally add more treats to an event based around getting treats? But it’s just so fun, and the kids get so excited!

First, with the daycare kids, I made some ghost sugar cookies. I kept it pretty simple, using only ghosts so I could just use white royal icing, and then I got a bunch of Halloween themed sprinkles that they could use for decorating. With this crew I found it easiest to set a little container of sprinkles in front of each of them around the table, then I would ice a cookie and pass it to each child to decorate. It worked out well, and they even did a good job at decorating a few before diving in for the sample! Well, all except my youngest; he ate the cookie without even putting sprinkles on, then proceeded to eat the sprinkles straight from the container!

Our next treat was just for us. My daughter had brought a library book home from school a few weeks ago all about Halloween. One of the pages described the different treats you might find at a Halloween party, which included candy apples. I love candy apples, and I can remember my mom making them with me when i was a kid, so we decided to give it a go this year. I chose to make caramel covered ones rather than the hard candy coating, with the kids being the age they are I thought it would work better. They were very excited, and needed lots patience to wait while the caramel cooked to the right temperature, and also lots of reminders to stay back as it got really hot. They may have been a bit young to help with it this year, but it will get easier as they get older and understand the consequences of heat a little better! And none of it mattered once we got to have them for dessert that night! So yummy!

And although this wasn’t a treat to eat, I have a little tip to pass on that I discovered this year. As I was scooping out the innards for our jack-o-lanterns, I was thinking about what might make it easier. I discovered that my little bowl scraper does an amazing job at scraping out all those straggly bits of pumpkin, so I suggest investing in one for next year’s pumpkins, it made it so much easier!

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