I Spy

I’ve been cooped up this week with a nasty head cold, not to mention my two kiddos were under the weather too. It’s been a rough one. I told my husband he’s lucky he can open the door and walk through the kitchen with how I’ve been feeling. But my energy level is back and I’m ready to bake!

On that note…I spy 2 cakes, milk chocolate mousse filling, 4 sticks of butter and new Americolor color gels. (oh and some chocolate chip cookies my hubby made while I was getting my piggies painted) Oh yeah I’m feeling better! Now, what to do…what to do…

Chocolate Love

One of my very talented cake friends was asking me about cookies the other day and I dumbfoundedly realized I didn’t have a chocolate cookie recipe. Yes, I realize dumbfoundedly is not a real word but I am choosing to use it because that’s just how shocked I was when I realized I hadn’t taken the time to taste test different recipes. Chocolate recipes none the less!

So…I decided it couldn’t wait. The next day I baked up a big batch of LilaLoa’s “The End-All for Chocolate Cookies” recipe. I mean have you seen her cookies? Anything that pretty has to taste scrumptious! Check out her site!

I decided the occasion would be the first book club my friends and I started. Hearts had nothing to do with the book itself (Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay) but it’s Valentine’s week and I gotta say, I love my friends :) They deserve a little spoiling!

So mixed up some pink and red (well I failed again at making red but the color that turned out was pretty cool so I went with it) and went to town.

I have to say…chocolate cookies with royal icing…TO DIE FOR. Still shaking my head that I hadn’t come to this realization sooner. Ok…I’m over it. On to another cookie :)

Chocolate For My Fellow Book Lovers

Sneak peak…

Image

Filling Sent From Heaven

The other day I made a cake which turned out to be a decorating disaster, but the frosting was TO. DIE. FOR. Wow! It was definitely the hit of the dessert. Sort of like a Chanel bag being sold in Walmart…it just didn’t fit and out-shined everything else. It is a definite keeper as I search for better cake recipes. Thought I’d share it as it’s too good to keep a secret :)

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/milk-chocolate-mousse-filling

Took a little bit of effort to make but it was so worth it! I also like there’s three variations to the recipe. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips so it would be somewhere between a milk and a dark chocolate mousse.

Enjoy!

And…Take FOUR!

Yes…sadly four.

This cake started out to be a practice cake, quickly became built up in my head to be a beautiful cake for tonight’s dessert, and then quickly…and I mean quickly…took a turn and bypassed practice going straight for humorous.

Last night I baked the cake and made a delicious chocolate mousse filling. Even my oldest daughter helped mix up the filling!

     

Folding in the cream

Take 1: And so the morning started…assembled the two layers of cake with the filling and frosted the heck out of it. It was a leaning tower of chocolate cake that no amount of frosting could visually correct. Although, attempting to correct the lean did bring quite a few giggles from the peanut gallery. Quite possibly due to the excessive amounts of frosting on the cake (side note that I hate regular frosting like this so I’ll be scraping it off my piece tonight!) the sides and top never quite dried enough to smooth out. Same problem I had in class the other day so I’m thinking it’s more about the consistency of the frosting than the humidity which is what the instructor blamed it on. Clearly I should be teaching the class ;)

Take 2: I decided to stop fixating on the fact that I have yet another cake without smoothness and move on. Downstairs to be precise. I thumbed through some old Wilton templates that were my Mom’s from the 70’s and found one that I thought would look very nice piped on top of the cake, using a technique I learned in class to transfer the design. The technique calls for tracing the template on a piece of wax paper with decorating gel (bought at the local grocery store), flipping it upside down onto the the top of the cake. Unfortunately, I cut too big of a hole on the gel tube for the template I wanted to use.  “So that’s not going to work.”

Take 3: “Let me try and transfer the design using a toothpick.” I traced the design onto wax paper using a black sharpie. Laid the wax paper onto the top of the cake and followed the black lines with a toothpick. Should have known…if the cake wasn’t dry enough to smooth out with parchment paper, it’s not going to be dry enough to lay wax paper onto either. Needless to say, we had a sticky situation, none of which helped get my design onto the cake.

Take 4: For Christmas my husband bought me a bunch of cake decorating paraphernalia. In my bucket o’ goodies was a pattern press set with some pretty fancy looking presses. So I decided to whip those out and give em a try. I pressed ever so gently and began piping. Using a #2 tip I followed the imprint. HELLO WOBBLY HANDS! Yikes…the lines were not smooth. But at this point my husband and I were making way too much fun of the cake to stop. So I put a “J” and a “P” on the top for his parents who were coming for dinner tonight and slapped on some stars and dots. I do have to say my stars are improving!

Despite it taking four attempts to make this cake in the end it’s a cake that will be devoured in 10 minutes. My husband also said it was frosted better than we used to frost our cakes…so I guess that’s a move in the right direction :)

Lessons Learned:

  • Make sure you level your top layer of cake enough so that it sits evenly on the bottom layer.
  • While the instructor says the frosting used to frost your cake should be a thin consistency, I’d stick with medium so it actually dries sometime during the given century.
  • You do not need a 1/2 cup of frosting in each color to do 3 lines and a couple dots

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