Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Whew! Now I'm feeling inspired!
While the design may not be original,
it at least incorporates the entire cake surface
and doesn't require much frosting expertise
beyond smoothing, blobs, and continuous lines.
Nice 'n easy C:
Thank you, Ladies' Home Journal. You have restored my cake-crafting faith.
And if you want all the crafty kudos for a spider web cake
without resorting to "spider web" lines,
pick yourself up one of these MSC stencils
and just rake in the compliments.
Eerie Eyeball Cookies
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Granulated sugar
* About 1 cup vanilla frosting(homemade or ready-to- spread)
* Red and black decorator frosting in tubes
* WHOPPERS Malted Milk Balls
1. Heat oven to 375° F. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
4. Frost center of cookie with vanilla frosting to form white portion of eye. Decorate with red and black frostings to form outline of eye and bloodshot markings. Press malted milk ball "iris" into center of eye. About 4 dozen cookies.
Made by lunara06. She is a genius!
You can use standard twelve-cup muffin tins instead of mini muffin tins; bake them for about twenty minutes. To frost the ghost cake, cover each of two layers with two-thirds cup Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, and stack the layers; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of assembled cake. To frost the mini cupcakes, use the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (for vanilla frosting, omit the chocolate).
Makes three 6-inch layers or about 6 dozen mini cupcakes
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
- 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for pans
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-inch round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder, and tap out excess; set aside. Alternatively, line six mini muffin tins with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Divide batter evenly among pans (about 2 cups batter per pan) or lined muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon batter per cup).
- Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes for cake layers and 14 to 16 minutes for mini cupcakes. Let cool in pans or muffin tins on a wire rack. Decorate as desired.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Every year we have a huge halloween party (got three firespinners for this year...hubby being one of them). I thought I'd share a party favorite (well, the kids won't eat it).
1 box of spice cake...bake and let cool completely. Make one box of vanilla pudding. Set aside (the pudding will get mixed in to the cake so it isn't so dry). Get one box of vanilla wafers and use a blender to grind them so fine it feels like sand. Take two table spoons of the "sand" and mix it with blue dye. Set the blue sand aside.
Use a powder/chemical/scent free litter liner and a NEW litter box and shovel. I must stress NEW. The above pic was the first year I did this. I didn't use a liner. It looks better with the liner.
Crumble the cake into the box and stir in the pudding. Cover the whole thing with the "sand." Sprinkle the blue "sand" in to make the crystals. Final touch? Tootsie rolls. Warm them for a few seconds in the microwave and shape them into little poops. Bury some of them...leave some on the side of the litter box...use your imagination.
Serve with a NEW (I repeat NEW) litter scoop!
**Warning: I have never found a little kid who was willing to try it. If you find this a problem, serve it onto plates and hand the plates to the kids. You'll get a better response.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Bleeding Chocolate Glaze, recipe below
Espresso Shortbread Headstones, recipe below
1 tablespoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper; butter lining. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set pan aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl; set aside.
- Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low; alternate between adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with f lour. Add pumpkin, and beat until completely combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Unmold; peel off parchment. Let cool completely on rack, top side up.
- Set cake and rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour warm chocolate glaze over cake. Using a small offset spatula, gently smooth glaze over top of cake, letting it drip down sides. Let stand at room temperature, or refrigerate until set. Arrange 6 headstones on top; serve with the remaining.
Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake.
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Stir together cream and honey in a small saucepan; bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Add chocolate; stir until smooth.
Makes 2 cups.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely ground espresso
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, (sifted, then measured)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Whisk together flour, salt, and espresso in a large bowl; set aside.
- Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Transfer dough to plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk; wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a paring knife, cut dough into 12 headstones shapes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Bake cookies until set but not browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
- Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Let stand until cool but not stiff.
- Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain round tip, such as an Ateco #2, or to a parchment-paper cone. Pipe desired design on cookies
Yields approximately 9 dozen bite-sized eyeballs
3 oz (small box) lemon gelatin (can be sugar-free)
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pineapple juice
8 oz cream cheese (can be lowfat/Neufchatel)
Dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup water in double boiler, add marshmallows and stir to melt. Remove from heat. Add pineapple juice and cream cheese. Beat until well blended. Cool slightly. If you have a truffle candy mold or round ice cube trays, spary them with non-stick cooking spray first, then pour the mixture in the molds and leave to set in the fridge. Otherwise pour into a deep ceramic dish and chill until thickened or firm enough for scooping into eyeballs. Using a melonballer, scoop full balls of the mixture and set aside for decoration. To decorate, use liquid food coloring and an old detail paintbrush and get creative. You will need black food coloring for the pupils. Also, if you are in a hurry, instead of painting the colored irises, you can carefully dip the ball in a small pool of food coloring to approximate the iris, but still paint on the pupils. Note: if you are using the melonballer method, you might need to add one package of plain gelatin to your mixture. The molds work fine with just the lemon gelatin to make gently squishy eyeballs.
For 1999, I found rubber ice cube trays that worked beautifully with much less waste than the melonballer technique. I sprayed the rubber trays with non-stick cooking spray beforehand like you would any gelatin mold, let the gelatin mixture sit in the refrigerator to set, then I was able to carefully pop the eyeballs out to paint them. Some of the eyeballs did break, and they do have one flat side, but that actually works, since then they don't roll around while you are trying to paint them. Since 2001 I have found that Wilton truffle candy molds are even better, since the swirl design on the top is the right size for the cornea shape on the eyeball. When using the truffle molds, one recipe makes about 9 dozen eyeballs - plenty for a party crowd!
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
Flavored with warming spices, this cake makes a lovely edible centerpiece for a Halloween gathering. After baking the two halves of the cake, attach them together with cream cheese frosting. Then let your creativity flow and decorate the cake with leaves and tendrils, or transform it into a spooky or funny jack-o'-lantern.
For the cake:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger
For the frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. pumpkin puree (optional)
- Food coloring as desired
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Generously grease and flour the wells of the great pumpkin cake pan; tap out excess flour.
To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts and crystallized ginger until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the wells of the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake half comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake halves cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.
Gently tap the pan on a work surface to loosen the cake halves. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake halves cool completely before decorating.
Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Divide the frosting between two small bowls and stir the pumpkin puree into one bowl. Reserve the remaining frosting for decorating.
Using a bread knife, cut 1/4 inch off the flat side of each cake half. Place one cake half, flat side up, on a cake stand or plate and spread the pumpkin frosting on top. Place the other cake half, flat side down, on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add food coloring as desired to the reserved frosting (green for leaves and tendrils, orange for a jack-o'-lantern). To create leaves and tendrils, using a rubber spatula, transfer the green frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a leaf or medium plain tip. Pipe leaves and tendrils on the top of the cake. To create a jack-o-lantern, using a rubber spatula, transfer the orange frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Pipe an outline of the face on the cake, then fill in the design. Serves 12.
After several days of staring at cereal, I decided to go with Trix.
Trix or Treat Spider Cookies
1 package Betty Crocker Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
1 can of chocolate ready-made frosting
1 can of vanilla ready-made frosting
24-48 Trix orange and green sweetened corn puffs
Re-sealable plastic bags
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix ingredients for cookies as directed on the package.
- Use a small ice cream scoop to get similar sized cookies or just use a spoon and vary the amount for different size cookies.
- Place cookie dough on a parchment covered baking sheet.
- Bake for about 7-8 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Makes about two dozen cookies.
- Spread chocolate frosting on the top of each cookie.
- Fill a re-sealable plastic bag with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of frosting and snip a tiny hole out of the bottom of one corner.
- Pipe on three circles of white frosting for each cookie. Start in the middle with the smallest circle and work your way out.
- Take a toothpick and beginning in the center, drag it lightly through each circle. Repeat all the way around the cookie.
- Take remaining frosting and separate it into two bowls. Tint one frosting with orange icing color and the other with green.
- Fill two re-sealable bags with the orange and green frosting and snip off the corner of each.
- Pipe eight small legs with each color and place a matching orange or green Trix Cereal puff on the top of each pair of legs. Add one or several spiders on each cookie.