dude fude, food, mommies, recipes, Uncategorized

The Big Cake

Tiara Cake

I like to use birthdays as an excuse to make a new cake. Or make an tried and true cake that challenges my decorating abilities. Thus, the Tiara Cake came to be. It’s in honor of M’s 5th birthday, which is today.

Having a child turn 5 is one of those milestones, where you say to yourself, “Five years have already passed! I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years.”  And 5 is big, because your child is playing iphone games, has decided to be an astronaut, and uses the word awesome. You may have even seen a glimpse of the teenage years to come and the accompanying fashion and attitude, and yet, you still have a little girl who likes her princesses.

And so, in honor of the occasion (and for the party), we decided that the cake would not be shaped like a tiara itself but have a tiara (image) on it. (I wasn’t about to start drawing Ariel herself, in frosting). A tiara, which M will likely be wearing today, seems a solid symbol of both princesshood and birthdayness, and it’s not too complicated to represent in sugar products. It had to pink, of course, although I started out thinking it would be silver, only to find that frosting doesn’t come in silver, not at any local store anyway. M had also requested that I write, I love you and put some hearts on the cake.

For her party, we are also having a pinata, which has all six princesses (I guess Repunzel hasn’t made it into the hallowed center six for good yet) hanging out at their castle. I am expecting that by next year the princess interest will have waned, and we’ll be onto something else. I think we’ll be ready.

The cake is devil’s food cake with white chocolate chunks (again, for surprise) and a cream cheese lemon frosting.

The frosting is easy and reliable and delicious:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened

8 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 pieces, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

I mix up the first two in the kitchen aid, add the second two, sift in the sugar. Mix but not too much. And it keeps in the fridge for week.

I’ll post the cake recipe if it turns out to be very delicious. Now, I’m just hoping my fairy godmother prevents it from raining…

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dude fude, food, recipes, Uncategorized

Cupcakification–year 5!

I like surprises. I’m not gaga crazy for them, but I do seem to have a thing for a little something something in my cake batter. Today we weren’t making the big birthday cake (more on that later) but just some cupcake bites for the kids at school. M wanted vanilla so we went simple, except for a little chocolate surprise in the center. We added Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips (these are currently my favorite chocolate chips) in the middle of each.

many gotten eaten

Actually, I wanted it to be more like a chocolately pudding bite, so I probably needed a hunk of chocolate for that (or pudding). Chips weren’t really right, but they’ll still be a little surprise for the kids, and that is always fun.

Into cold storage they went until Thursday when they’ll receive their Meyer lemon icing. M seems to be fixated on that flavor … also rainbows. We’re going to add a little candy rainbow. I talked her out of the blue sky, white clouds (that we saw on Martha Stewart’s website–too big for our “bites,” but we’ll approximate. I’ve been looking up candy stores (I may have to go south for this…) and baking stores in SF.

they cooked for 11-12 minutes

Apparently, Sugar and Spice in Daly City is good, but I haven’t been there yet. I’ve been looking for silver frosting (Sur la Table didn’t have it) for the big cake, but I may just give up and go with pink(s). And, yes, that cake will have a little surprise as well…

They look good!

Here’s the cupcake recipe–it’s Amy Sedaris’s recipe:

Yield:

24 cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 2 In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, two teaspoons vanilla, salt and baking powder.  Add flour and milk in batches, starting and ending with flour. Stir until batter is smooth and satiny.
  • 3 Fill paper-lined muffin tins with batter. Bake at 375° for 18- 20 minutes.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/amy-sedaris-vanilla-cupcakes-181181#ixzz1Ft5qshpd

Um … the best part!

yum

Finished product:

We love these little guys...
Getting ready to go to school
dude fude, mommies, Uncategorized

birthday time

It’s coming up on M’s birthday and it’s cake planning time.  As for the party with her school friends, I’m not going to do the gymnastics/jumpy meetup with decent pizza and bad cake (with apologies to the parents who do or, or do it better than pizza and bad cake… I’m still not doing it).  The kids do seem to like it, but I can’t throw a party where I know the food won’t be great.  And since when do kids really prefer decent food?  I’ve read that picky eating is genetic, but I’m not sure I buy it.

M likes decent food but she loves really good food.  She has recently informed me that she likes salmon sushi.

And yes, I am a bit predisposed to birthday parties with more adults than kids at this point, and cupcakes (or cake) that everyone loves, like silences-the-room-loves.  The cupcakes I made last year were like that and their was no cake left behind on plates.  (Here’s that recipe. I didn’t use the marshmallow frosting.) Kids usually just eat off the frosting, even if it’s that horrible sweetened shortening that most grocery stores use.  Last year’s cupcakes had a chocolate layer and graham cracker bottom, so they were worth eating, thoroughly.

I just discovered this cupcake website (with thanks to Naomi Aviv) which looks very interesting.  I want to find that cupcake that hits the sweet spot for kids and adults alike and of course, something for sweet M on her 4th.   I will keep you posted…

food

Cake Time ’09

It’s time again to be thinking about cakes and, specifically, birthday cake number 3 for M’s birthday.

Number 1 was:

My favorite yellow cake (with white wine) from the New Basics.  It had an internal strawberry layer and cream cheese frosting.

M's birthday cake # 1

Number 2 was:

Yellow cake (from Cook’s) with a pastry cream layer (Tartine) and a chocolate cream cheese frosting.  The decorative writing is in plain cream cheese frosting.

M's birthday cake #2

I also made dark chocolate cupcakes for her school (not picutred).  Each had a raspberry cooked into the center and cream cheese frosting and turbano sugar sprinkled on top.

If you’re wondcring about the extra candle on each cake, it’s for luck.

And since you can see, I’m use the cream cheese frosting a lot! I tend to like the taste better than a straight butter cream. Here’s my favorite recipe.   Yes, it has both lemon juice and vanilla.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Mix in a kitchen aid:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.

5 oz. butter, room temp.

Add:

approx 1-1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, pref. sifted (I do sugar to taste)

1/2 ts. vanilla

lemon juice, fresh

1 Tb. sour cream

Addendum:

So despite the fact that M originally said she wanted cherry cake, I made these chocolate graham cracker cupcakes with a milk chocolate frosting.

dscf0436

Someone said, “These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever had in my life.”  And I was very satisfied with that.  Will post the adapted recipe shortly. (It has a graham cracker bottom, a layer of melted chocolate and then the cupcake batter.)  The interior chocolate was Callebaut which I consistently like and the frosting chocolate (mixed into the above cream cheese frosting recipe) was 33 % Valrhona–also excellent.