Mmm...pumpkin. It cannot officially be Fall until I see a few of these lovelies out and about on steps (or at least in your local grocery store which can happen as early as July) but even more than the pumkin itself...when I hear that long awaited confirmation, "Yes! We'll have the Pumpkin Spice Latte starting next week! (so stop asking, pesky coffee junkie)" at my local Starbucks! Yay, Fall!! When blogger Annie's Eats posted this recipe - it was ON. The only thing that held me back - the making of the vanilla bean caramel sauce. And I'm not talking about the can in a slow-cooker method. I'm talking melting down white sugar. In a pot. Without BURNING IT. Yikes. After hemming and hawing for a few weeks, desire got the best of me and I had to at least try. And you know what? It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it'd be - turned out beautifully in fact! The most heavenly treat of a caramel sauce I have ever tasted! Let's pretend the neighbors didn't see me dancing around my kitchen along to shouts of, "I am woman! I have made caramel sauce - like a GROWNUP! A real chef even! HA!" Ahem. The cupcakes - were spectacular! A coffee-infused pumpkin cupcake brushed with coffee before topping with fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of the MOST FABULOUS vanilla bean caramel sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon - bellissima! Please check out Annie's Eats for even more wonderful pumpkin recipes too! http://annies-eats.net/2011/09/06/pumpkin-spice-latte-cupcakes/
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
So, here it is! My completed entry for the "Decorated for Wedding" decorated cakes competition using "Fondant/Gum Paste" for the 2011 North Carolina State Fair :) I cannot claim inspiration on this design - I used a lovely design by "Sweet Pudgy Panda" and built on it! She had posted a photo of a breathtaking two-tier design using the fondant ruffles, sequins and ruffled flower and I just thought it would make such a lovely four-tiered wedding cake (not to mention I was dying to give it a try!!) so I went for it! Have to be honest, not sure how practical it would be to cover an actual four-tier cake using this method, as my cake used styrofoam cake dummy layers and was still so heavy!! Just can't imagine how much heavier it would be adding in the weight of real cake and filling...yikes!! Still, an all together lovely image :) Very happy with how it turned out! Now I just have to deal with the ordeal of getting it to the Fairgrounds...
Can't say how much I enjoyed this project - for so many reasons! It was a challenge to sculpt all the elements - loved that part, but even more than that was the meaning behind the cake. This cake and the individual elements on it meant so much to the Groom-to-be that it was truly touching - I so enjoyed meeting with both he and his fiance when discussing their ideas for this cake - what a wonderful couple! :) This cake was made to honor the Groom's Father who passed away several years ago - in addition to selling Massey Ferguson tractors, Dad loved farming and the two of them spent lots of time out in the fields working together. This cake was meant to be a "snapshot" of time spent together and a way for the Grooms' Father to be a visual presence at their rehearsal dinner. They requested red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream icing, the road and field were chocolate buttercream with oreo cookie crumbles to resemble dirt. I hand formed all the figures, the GMC truck and the Massey Ferguson tractor using fondant/gum paste using photos supplied by the Groom.
Monday, September 19, 2011
As seems to be the case with me...I did not know quite what a Kawasaki 100 was before making this cake :) Kawasaki, yes...the 100 part, no! Cake was vanilla buttermilk with a chocolate buttercream crumb coat covered with varying shades of fondant to replicate the Birthday Boy's beloved dirt bike! Was this a challenge? Oh, yes - but quite a fun one!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
These cupcakes were made for the Kids EveryWear Consignment Sale's special "First Time Moms" shopping event! Mini vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream frosting and vanilla candy button toppers! Loved how sweet the little buttons looked on the minis! :) If you'd like more info on the sale, you can find their site here: http://www.KidsEveryWear.com
Saturday, September 10, 2011
How much do I love sweet potatoes? Hmm...about as much as I used to hate them when I was a little girl (and that was quite a bit - trust me!) I already had a pumpkin cupcake that I Love for Fall, but had been trying to think of another flavor that would work with cupcakes and embrace the season and I thought of one of my favorite recipes, Sweet Potato Crunch - hence, these wonderful cupcakes were born! Sweet potato cupcakes with browned-butter cinnamon cream cheese frosting and pecan praline topping...the entire experience of these cupcakes says, "Fall"! :o) Mission accomplished!
These cakes were such a pleasure to work on - such a wonderful occasion to help celebrate as well! Two sheet cakes celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department here in Durham County, North Carolina! One cake was chocolate, the other vanilla buttermilk - both with vanilla buttercream icing and fondant detailing. They requested one cake with a fire truck and the other I did my best to recreate their fire department's patch.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
So, I admit it - I had to put personal allegiances aside for this project, being the (HUGE!!!) UNC fan that I am! (Which I'll admit is laughable since I actually work at the darker blue institution). These cupcakes were requested to celebrate a huge Duke fan's Birthday :) Vanilla cupcakes with blue vanilla buttercream icing swirls - half topped with hand cut gum paste "D" toppers, the other half with simple white sprinkles to carry on the blue/white theme! Even though I prefer the lighter blue, I loved how these turned out and I'll admit - wouldn't mind doing more of these ;)
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Another Lego Star Wars Birthday cake - slightly different design than I used before :) Rich chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream filling covered by blue fondant. I then made fondant "legos" and used them to edge the base of the cake and attempted to make a lego jedi that looked like the Birthday boy! Finished it off with some fondant lightsabers and the Birthday boy's name on top of the cake (loved making the lightsabers!!)
Thursday, September 1, 2011
So I've been wanting to try these out for forever - partly due to my Hubby (a.k.a. - the Oreo junkie) and finally did! Rich chocolate cupcakes with Oreo buttercream icing swirls topped off with mini Oreos! Two very enthusiastic thumbs up from the cookie-junkie himself! :)