Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Melt in your mouth "Chocolate Cake"

I consider myself a chocolate lover. When I think of sweet, dessert, melt in my mouth indulgent I think of chocolate. After trying several cake recipes I came across this one from Ina Garten and it's by far my favorite. And of course, I have to share it with all of you sweet readers.

Before you ask yourself why the pictures of my cake don't look like it is a tiered cake; well, it's because there is only four of us in my household and I didn't wanted to bake a big cake just for us and so I baked half this recipe. It might not have been a big of a deal, because we did ate this cake and ended wanting more. Try it and let me know what your thoughts are!

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pan options: Butter 1 (4 by 3-inch) cake pan, 1 (6 by 3-inch) cake pan and 1 (8 by 3-inch) cake pan. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pans.
(This pan sizes are an option you can use the ones you have in hand or the ones that best fits the reason why you are baking this cake for)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups good cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows

Directions:

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended.

Divide the batter between the 3 pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven as follows: for the 4-inch pan 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; for the 6-inch pan 70 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; and for the 8-inch pan 85 to 90 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes each on a cooling rack, carefully remove from the pans and allow to finish cooling.

Place the 8-inch cake on a serving plate, flat side up. Frost the top of that layer with buttercream. Place the 6-inch cake in the center of the top of the 8-inch cake, flat-side up, and frost the top and sides. Place the 4-inch cake in the center of the top of the 6-inch cake, flat side down. Frost the top and sides of that layer with buttercream. Spread any remaining buttercream over the cake evenly.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

1 pound bittersweet chocolate
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup egg whites (4 to 5 extra-large eggs), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons dark rum, optional

Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.
Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.

Enjoy!














Thursday, December 10, 2009

Julie and Julia

Hello everyone, guess who is the proud owner of Julie and Julia's DVD + a bonus gift?....yeap... ME and I also got the book. My sweet husband went to the store on release day December 8th and got me a nice present. I have been talking about it (ok, asking , ok nagging about it) ever since I found out the release date. Yeah, I have been a pain in the behind, very annoying, but I really wanted to own it.

Why? you may ask, well not only it's about Julia Child, and I totally think she was the pioneer women that opened the way for lots of creative people in TV. She did not only followed her passion for food, but she also inspired many and got people that felt incompetent in the kitchen to feel comfortable and to trust themselves. Many can relate to that, I know I can.

My husband watched the movie with me and his expression was, "was someone filming us?", at times it really felt like that. The pep talks both Julia and Julie's husbands gave them, felt like what my husband tells me. Plus the scene when Julie's husband sets up the blog for her was hilarious, my husband designed mine. He is still the one that fixes it when I want something done and I am stuck (lets be honest that happens often). He's always telling me that he is the "Icing on my cupcake", and he truly is. So imagine our reaction when we heard Paul Child refer to himself as "the butter on her bread". It was just spooky. Don't you think so? Crazy, ha!

Family is my priority and if you know me you would also know that. But I also love sweets and not being in the workforce for years now has left me with lots of time in my hands. Something that I felt related to Julia Child, I wanted to do something and wanted to do it right. I do bake with love, with passion for my family and friends. Someday, not far away, I will own my own bakeshop and you will be the first to know about that very expected event. Until that day comes by lets enjoy baking together and have fun along the way.

You did guessed it, I loved the movie and felt related, inspired, pumped up with more energy on keeping up with what I love and live up my dreams to the fullest. If you haven't seen it, please do go and see it asap, it's worth it, trust me! But for now, everyone out there keep on blogging and Bon App├ętit!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Nuts for Bananas (Banana Bread)

When ever my husband wanted to eat Banana Bread we would go to the store and buy it. For some reason even if there were lots of ripe bananas laying around the house I never had the courage to make a banana bread on my own. Maybe the reason that my husband loves it so much made me skeptical on trying it out.

Until one day when I got into my hands a recipe that seemed easy enough to make, even for me. If you know me, you know that I changed it a bit and added my touch to it. It's a fantasy way of changing things around. I want to share the recipe with you so you can all make this bread at home. Hey, this can very nicely make a great homemade Christmas gift. Homemade gifts are always in style and the presentation can go miles. Give to those you love a Banana Bread freshly baked by you.

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 to 4 bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Note: I added to this recipe 1/2 tsp nutmeg (it made all the difference in the world, it tasted insanely delicious).

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease bottoms of 2 loaf pans. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture just until moistened. Finally add the nuts. Pour into pan and bake for about an hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen sides of pan, remove and place top sided up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours before slicing (I added a sugar glaze after completely cool and before slicing).

Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or refrigerate for up to 10 days. If it lasts that long, not in my house!

Holiday Note: Mini Banana Breads make great gifts. With this recipe you can easily make 10 miniature loaf pans (4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.). About 1/2 cup each loaf. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
















Monday, November 9, 2009

Mini Desserts

Last month my friend/sister (meaning that she is not only a friend, but more as a sister to me) had a party at her house to celebrate a couple of events; her birthday, her 25th wedding anniversary and the decoration of the family Christmas Tree. That I may add is about 15 feet tall. Yearly she has a dinner party with the family to help her decorate for Christmas and a great excuse to get together. Plus everyone gets in the holiday mood. Not a bad idea, right?

It was something like a potluck kinda party, everyone was taking something. I, of course, offered to take some dessert. Being a big family and having so much fun around, mini desserts was the best bet. So I got to work and came up with Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with walnuts and Cream Cheese Frosting and to challenge myself I offered mini pies, because I had laying around a Pumpkin Pie recipe that I was wanting to make for a while now.
Take a look and see for yourself the final result and let me know what you think.

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes
(make them at home: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes)

















Mini Pumpkin Pies
















To make a delicious Pumpkin Pie follow the recipe below courtesy of How To Eat A Cupcake, and if you thought that this recipe couldn't get any better take a look at her blog and browse around you'll love it as much as I do. Blogs are a great way to rich out to others and teach them great and delicious recipes.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (from The Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook; 1985)

Ingredients:

Take your pie dough and make circles out of it, bake in a mini cupcake pan

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites
1 cup chilled heavy cream, stiffly beaten (Like Cassie did in her recipe, I only used 3/4 cup of cream and added 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)

Directions:
Soften gelatin in the cold water and set aside. Combine pumpkin, sugar, milk, egg yolks, spices, and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Stir in softened gelatin and cook 5 minutes more. Cool. Beat the egg whites (I added 3 tablespoons of sugar to the egg whites) until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into thoroughly cooled pumpkin filling. Pour mixture into pie shell. Chill until set. Top with whipped cream. Now enjoy, but remember to share!

Want a closer look? Well, here you go!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Decorating Cookies (Cook with your kid)

Being so close to the holidays like Thanks Giving and Christmas it is not a wonder why people are so busy baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes and mini desserts. Be it for house parties or business events there has to always be a dessert involved somewhere. I know that I have mentioned this before, but it is this time of year that I enjoy the most, maybe because there is always something baking and that sweet smell makes in the kitchen makes everyone smile. This might even bring you back to childhood memories. It does to me.

I have seen a lot around about cookie swaps and was so intrigued by the idea that it hit me that I had never made sugar cookies to decorate. And wow have I seen some great web sites out there with beautiful decorated cookies. It's truly a work of art.

After getting my hands into a sugar cookie recipe I needed cookie cutters, well, about that... I went cookie cutter crazy and my dear husband gave me his card, Am I a lucky gal or what?

My daughter and I started the task of decorating with some frosting and candies (they were everywhere), we had a sugar rush and the best time ever. I sometimes wonder why don't we parents do more things with our kids, it connects us so much to them and by the time they are growing up (which we can't stop from happening) this are the moments that they will cherish for the long run.

But let me say that decorating a cookie is harder than it looks. I take my hat off to all of those creative artists out there that make fantastic decorated cookies, oh boy are you all talented or what! That's why there is this saying "practice, practice, practice" and "Practice makes perfection", decorating a cookie with frosting or icing is all about creativity and a steady hand (patience might be a good word too).
Since our cookies where for us and to spend some time together while talking about her day at school, well, let just say that anything and everything could be used to decorate those yummy tasting cookies. And so it did, take a look at some pictures.






As I mentioned my daughter and I where both 1st timers decorating cookies, but we couldn't let you all think that everything was all running smoothly, here look for yourself:

Somehow the cookies managed to fall and all the frosting and decorations had a party on there own. They tasted good anyways, accidents do happen. To all of you out here that buy decorated cookies, take all of this things in consideration:

1. A great recipe is needed to make the cookies stay in the shape you want the to.

2. Decorating them with frosting or icing isn't an easy taste, you need a great creativity and steady hands.

3. The cookies can all fall down and the baker must start all over again.

Please do appreciate the hard work that is put into the labor of desserts making, specially if they taste as great as they look. But above all enjoy your cookies!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cinnamon Chips

They are here...they are finally here!!!

Found the most desirable Cinnamon Chips, online in Kings Arthur Flour and I just got them yesterday. This are not your regular chips, normally we would buy chocolate chips and often find butterscotch chips in the supermarket and bakery supply stores. But this cinnamon chips really puts its own stamp in desserts like scones, muffins, cookies, cakes and even breads. If you can think about it, you can definitely bake it!

Having the cinnamon coming in the form of chips makes it pop (break up) with the heat of the oven and gives that distinctive taste that is more concentrated than when you add certain amount of cinnamon powder to a recipe. Plus it looks beautiful when you break into it (or bite into the scones, yummy!).

Here are the new pictures of the scones I made just today. This scones are a little different from the ones I made earlier this month. They don't have the sugar glaze, but they are definitely different inside. The cinnamon chips makes all the difference in the world, design wise and taste wise. It looks like dots of cinnamon inside. Make them for yourself and loved ones, enjoy!

For the recipe look at: Cinnamon Scones




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cinnamon Scone

Who doesn't have a favorite coffee shop around the neighborhood that is there ultimately favorite? Well I do and this is the best time of the year to go and visit, because there is just something whimsical about the smell there. It must be the cinnamon with nutmeg and of course the great coffee smell.

My husband and I am addicted to scones, but not just any scone, the cinnamon scone we buy at Panera Bread here in Florida. I had to make them at home, after searching on every book and magazine I could get my hands on I came to the idea of searching online (which by the way I can't believe this wasn't my first choice, it would had cut my time in half). After reading a couple of recipes I came across one found in Group Recipes.


Cinnamon Chip Scones
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter (cold)
1/3 cup cream (whipping cream)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
sugar and cinnamon for topping
(large sugar crystals can also be used)

Directions:
1. Mix together the flour, sugars (brown and white), baking powder and salt.
2. Cut up butter into cubes.
3. Mix butter into flour mixture until blended. Should have pea size chunks of butter.
4. Beat the eggs and cream lightly together. Then add to the dry ingredients.
5. Add cinnamon chips and oatmeal to mixture.
6. Put dough into circle, roll out.
7. Cut into triangles, number depends on size of triangles (I made eight).
8. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
9. Put on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
10. Finally, cook for 15-20 minutes or until slightly brown.

Note: I couldn't find cinnamon chips anywhere (I didn't even know such thing existed) so I had to improvise, but I am waiting for some that I ordered online at King Arthur Flour. Can't wait to get the to try the recipe the way it is meant to be made.

I also personalized it a bit by adding a glaze. I saw some recipes with this idea and thought it couldn't damage it if I added some to my scones. By the way they are delicious with or without the glaze.

Follow me on Twitter and be the first to see my new scones made with the cinnamon chips.


Now for the picture you have been waiting for:









Friday, September 11, 2009

Spice is in the air!

I truly enjoy holidays, but Christmas is my absolute favorite. It's all about the weather, the atmosphere in the stores and seeing the houses so pretty decorated. This time of year is also special in my heart, because it represents the birth of God and it's like his big birthday party. A special time of year that almost everyone enjoy and celebrates with family get-together and presents exchange and lots of food and desserts.

After window shopping and seeing some Christmas items in the stores I got some holiday jitters. Nothing says Christmas more to me than Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and that's exactly what I have been up to this past week.

Everyone is getting a cupcake to say til later to Summer and welcome the Fall (even though Fall is not officially here).

Now for the exciting part, the recipe:



Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 can (15 oz.) solid-packed pumpkin

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs


For the frosting:
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1 stick (80z.) cream cheese (room temperature)
4 cups of powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (great quality)




Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line three 12-cup muffin tins with decorative cupcake papers.

To make the cupcakes, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Toss the walnuts and raisins with the flour mixture. (This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin tins.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, stirring with a large wooden spoon until just combined. Don't over mix.

Tip: I add a small amount of cream cheese (about 1/2 tsp.) in the center of the cupcakes before baking for extra flavor.

Now, do you want to see what happened to the cupcake above? I had it cut in the middle so you could enjoy the inside. Yeah it tastes as good as it looks... Yummy!!!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get Well Soon Dear Doggy

This weekend my family and I went to a dear friends house, her dog was ill and they were very sad. You see this dog is very well part of the family, he has been with them for over 14 years or so. His name is Lucky and he sure is "lucky" to be a part of that great family.

I wanted to give them some comfort and what better way than with cake, right? I molded a round cake in form of a doggy plate, covered it in white fondant, then decorated with dog paws made out of blue fondant (because our doggy friend is a boy) and finally got a batch of shortbread cookie dough and made some doggy biscuit (in form of a bone).

I had no bone shape cookie cutter so I molded them by hand, they look great and taste delicious. We don't have pets neither so there where no doggy treats in the house at the time and since it was an emergency I had to improvise, hope you all like the final result. My friends loved it and that made me happy.

Here it is: Doggy Plate with Treats Cake



What did we do with the rest of the cookie dough?

Well, see for yourself....


Cookies with a big size chocolate chips, they are as delicious as they look.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mix cake and candy and you get?

This post is dedicated to all the chocolate and cake lovers outhere. I absolutely love chocolate and when I saw in Flickr a cake covered with Kit Kat I had to try to make one myself. It's a smaller version than the one I saw, but I bet it's as delicious as this one.

Strawberry cake with Chocolate Buttercream covered with Kit Kats and topped with .... guess what?.... Starbucks. Having a sugar rush... jajaja... I bet you are!

Front Side & Back Side

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coffee Glazed Doughnuts

Ok, I know that I haven't been around for a long time. But in my defence I've been going through Radio Therapy. Yeah! it's a lame excuse, but it's a true one too. Have baked some cookies and some cupcakes just for us in the house though.

But, attention my dear testers (a.k.a -family and friends) I have been researching some recipes to play around with, make some changes and add to my list of must haves. So, be alert to new flavors and a lot of eating. I'll be posting those recipes too.

I caught my eye on a recipe the other day watching Food Network. It's from Giada De Laurentiis, a great chef in my opinion.

Enjoy a:

Coffee Glazed Doughnuts

To make the doughnut dough:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 10 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooded spoon, quickly stir the mixture until all the flour is fully incorporated and forms a thick dough. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously for 2 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment. With the machine running on medium speed, add the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Beat the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until thick and glossy. Add the lemon zest and beat until smooth.

Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

For the glaze:

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 cups powdered sugar
Water, as needed

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, coffee liqueur, and espresso powder until smooth. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the powdered sugar until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, stir in the water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time.

Now, it's time to fry them up:

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat.

Drop scoops (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough into the oil. Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, turning occasionally, until the doughnuts are golden and puffed. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the dough has been used.

When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, dip the top halves in the glaze.

Serve immediately and enjoy each and everyone of them, I bet you can't just have one.

Note: For another twist to this recipe you can change the glaze with any flavor you like or to keep the citrus flavor going you can try substituting the coffee with some lemon juice. I'm sure you'll come up with a great glaze of your own.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Perfect Apple Pie



As I had mentioned on past posts I had a surgery in schedule, well it happened about a month ago and I am feeling much better now. And to celebrate my recovery we had some friends over for brunch and for dessert I made an apple pie.

The recipe is from a Pillsbury book that my husband got me from Target (yeah... you guessed it from the dollar section of the store), hey you guys Target has great dollar items!

Now I want to share this recipe with all of you and enjoy with great friends like fines.

Perfect Apple Pie

Crust: Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pieces., very cold
1/4-1/2 cup cold water

Filling
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Directions for the Crust:
1. Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse once or twice.
2. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks grainy.
3. Then slowly, while pulsing, add the water until you can form the dough by pressing it between your fingers.
4. Decant the loose dough onto a piece of plastic wrap.
5. Using the wrap, fold the loose dough towards the middle and press with the back of your hands to form dough.
6. Split into two pieces and wrap each and chill for at least 4 hours before using.
7. Dough can be made ahead for up to one week.

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.
2. In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.
3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Personal Note

Hi! Blogger Friends:
This is a very personal note that I feel like sharing with you all. I have been absent for a while from my blog and from flicker too.
Ever since January I have been dialoging with my doctors at MD Anderson in Orlando, Fl. As some of you may know in 2004 I was diagnosed with cancer, it was all under control, until the begging of this year when another "tumor" appeared. At the moment we discussing the options, and surgery seems like the way to go. Quimo might or might not be involved, we can't say at the moment.
Now, I am letting you all know, because I am asking that for those of you outhere that want to join me and my family in prayer, you are all welcome to do so.
Plus, I am not going to take a break from baking, well not until I just have to be in the hospital or in total rest!
My next yummy dessert will be a Sticky Bun so stay tune and see how it turns out. Keep on sharing your thoughts with me and lets all enjoy great moments baking and sharing with friends!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What a gift!

Ok, maybe most of you already have one, but I didn't and I am in love with it. And yes, I got it for Christmas and I am soooo late with this news... come on is the end of January... am I late or what?

Well here is a picture of my beauty...


Here is another picture...


Yeah, it's a Kitchen Aid Artisan 5-qt

Isn't it beautiful, jajaja. Some people splurge in big things, expensive things and sometimes in meaningful things... but for me this is a great gift. Not only because it was in my "wanted" list for a while now, but it is a gift I can put to good use for a very long time.

In my early days of baking I used to mix with a whisk or wooden spoon, then upgraded to an electric hand mixer, but this is another league. It makes me feel like if I was cheating to my beloved hand mixer.

The Artisan makes baking feel like a smooth ride in the park. I recommend it to all of you out there that have been wanted to invest in a stand mixer and have no idea where to go to... this is a very good option and it comes in several colors... hey it's a great machine and you can find one in you favorite color too, you can't beat that!

I wanted mines in red, because it's a great color to make someone feel alive. Go for it and choose your color!

Here is a link to JcPenny, where my stand mixer was purchased at: JcPenny Artisan Stand Mixer

Monday, January 12, 2009

How Everything Started

While growing up I remember my moms baking. She would do cakes and cupcakes, but I also remember my dads confections. He loved to bake corn bread and also made other sweets like coconut candy (with different techniques to make it more interesting every time).

But, during some time, they baked less often and it wasn't until I had my girls that I went back to the recipes and made some of my own.

Fantasy Cupcakes was born with an event I was asked to participate in, made truffles, cookies and other sweets to sponsor a group of girls in our local church, they are called the "Princesitas del Rey"; which means ("Gods Princesses"). It's a group of little girls that receive a christian education.

This are some of the cookies I made for that event:


That's when I was challenged to make some of my creations for others to see and taste. Have to admit I got very excited. Normally only the family and friends are the ones to taste peoples food, this time I was taking a new step that could change my life, and it did, it still does. I am more inspired, more creative, and love it all the way.

While searching for a name to be known by I found flickr and got so inspired by all the artists and professionals. After seeing all that great work I noticed how much could be done with cupcakes, cakes, cookies and other pastries... I was so fascinated and hungry to learn more that I went right ahead and took some decorating classes. Still have lots to learn, and that's why I am here to learn and share with all of you out there. That the sky is the limit.

It doesn't end there, because a while after all these events I saw Martha Stewart in her week of cupcakes and was happy to know Bakerella, she is truly a teacher. It was great for me to see that some people are inspired to teach others and she also has a blog of her own.

(Some of my creations inspired by Bakerella)




Friday, January 9, 2009

Introducing myself!

Hi there, a little about me!

My name is Wanda Santiago and I live in Florida. This is the best time of the year to say that I love the weather, since it's so cold almost everywhere else.

I am a cancer survivor, was diagnosed in 2004 and have two little girls plus my loving husband. Have to say that these have been the best years of my life, I have learned how to live and enjoy life. Trully enjoy life. And this is some proof of that!

After starting to bake with my kids I have fallen in love with cupcakes, cakes, pastries and everythig sweet. Having my family and friends do the tasting for me they convinced me to try and move forward, so I went on and took some decorating classes and well they still gain weight by doing the tasting jajaja, clever ha!

During the decorating classes I noticed how creative people really are (me too) and wish to improve my skills. Wish you can stay tune and join the jorney with me. I'll keep you posted along the way of all the sweets and decorations I come up with. Thanks for joining me and keep blogging.