Thursday, March 25, 2010

Carnation Flower Cake

Like most of you know I haven't taken any formal pastry classes, but I do love to bake. I believe that the key to delivering beautiful cakes is passion for what you do, and lots of practice. When I want to try something new I use the internet, my favorite search method is goggle. This flower I made out a cookie cutter I had in-hand and my idea was to make a carnation. It might not look much like professional flower (well is not, at least not yet), but I really like the way it turned out.

What's a great way to start Spring Time? Making sugar flowers (this one made out of fondant with yellow food coloring). Plus I brushed it with some canary yellow luster dust and spice pumpkin luster dust for the borders, all edible.

One of the things I enjoy the most after baking and discovering my creativity level is meeting new people. A friend of mine that has tasted my cakes introduced me to this nice couple that I got quickly very fond of (plus I need to mention that the lady and I share the same first name), like her even more! Just kidding.... not really, I do like her.

This nice lady is celebrating her birthday today (March, 25) and she wanted a special cake. Simply, chic, pretty to the eye and delicious of taste and I think I nailed it! Take a look and judge for yourself.

The cake is what we call a "Puerto Rican Cake", is a moist cake with a nice rum and almond flavor. It's a sponge cake with simple syrup topped with Vanilla Buttercream. I use Madagascar Vanilla, because I consider it's flavor high quality and my friends and family deserves only the best quality cakes.

A little closer!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February's Review

Now lets see, February is a very special month for me. Not only is the shortest month of the year, but it represents all love and hearts. Most people go all the way out during this month just to let that special someone know how much they are loved. Cute ha!

In this post I want to review this heart warming month with things I have baked and special events.

Here you have a picture of the Maple Scones I made not long ago, delicious! Plus, by going back in time and taking a pick at that post you can also find other shapes I made.

My special Valentines are my husband (Alex) and my daughters (Paloma & Kyra). So my girls and I decided to go ahead and make pretty some vanilla cupcakes I had made days before the 14th.

Here is one with Red Sanding Sugar from CK Products.

This pink cupcake is also Pink Sanding Sugar topped with hard candies in heart shapes. This product is from Wilton.

Having a very talented and creative daughter isn't a surprise to me that she brings lots of arts from school to share with the family. But this very special cookie was decorated by her for none other that me (mommy dearest). She is my For Ever Valentine!

You will never imagine what happened to me!... Ok, ...I'll give it up, no need on delaying the news anyways! I won a Cupcake Apron from Carolyns Kitchen a giveaway sponsored by Cake Journal. Thanks Louise for the great idea of giving away cupcake related things, I sure love it. When I found out I was sooooo happy, let's just say that it was a jumping around the house event! Promise to take a picture with it and post about it soon.

Last but not least, during this very special month of February (Feb. 28) is my dearest first daughter (Paloma's) 8th birthday. I did bake her some cupcakes. I'll post the pictures and details later on.

Mostly what we did for her day was after church (and giving God thanks for all our blessings) we went and had some breakfast, went to Toys R Us so she could choose a present (with a budget set up, to keep it real), then we went to a Mini Golf near our house (it was so much fun, we are so short of being golfers). After that we drove to the movies and saw Princess and the Frog and finally had some dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Wow! I am tired by even writing it, yes... by the end of the day I was exhausted... Ok! by the middle of the day I was tired already. But, it was all so worth it.

The night before her birthday I was a little emotional, because she is my first born and was only 2 years old when I was diagnosed with Cancer and now (today) she is 8 years old. God has given me the best gift ever... to get to meet my daughter and grow up with her. It feels like it's my birthday too!

Note: March 1st was my husbands birthday. Happy Birthday honey!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Maple Scones

It is actually Maple-Oatmeal Scones made from a recipe gotten from Food Network Magazine. The recipe is from Ina Garten, I absolutely love her dishes. Both sweet and savory.

For this particular recipe I did make some changes that worked for my pallet, with what I like and what my family loves as well. The reason being is that I make all of this for my family, hey, I need to take care of my loved ones. Plus someone has to take care of all the tastings that goes around here! Don't judge, I know you have done it too... or maybe still do.
You can enjoy some of the pictures I took and taking advantage of the holiday (Valentine's Day) I gave a special shape to my scones. Hearts and XOX's. Hope you like and enjoy some scones!

Here goes the recipe:
Maple Scones (Maple-Oatmeal Scones)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into rounds or triangles (or any other shape you like) then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes, and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of glaze. Ina recommends to sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish.

Note: When putting on the glaze make sure the scone is not too warm or the glaze will melt.
Another good recommendation I can give you is that whenever you are making a recipe read the reviews (if they are available). It always help to know what others found that works better for you in the chosen recipe. It always helps me!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cornbread Muffins

My family loves cornbread muffins or cornbread, it goes so well for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. It's a versatile bread. It's moist, fluffy, bready, cakie, sweet and buttery all together with a corn texture from it's flour, it's divine.

My dad and sister are masters in baking this yummy fluffy and delicious bread. The thing is that they bake by eyeballing and by memory. No measurements and no recipes, not good for someone like me that cooks it all by measurements. I can eyeballing a savory meal, but no way can I ever do that in pasty.

It has taking me for ever to come down with a recipe on paper that I enjoy, it is still not my father's or my sister's version, but close. I came across a recipe from King Arthur Flour, I made some changes to satisfy more of my taste and here is the recipe I came up with.

Cornbread Muffins

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup sugar (more sugar from original recipe)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (my addition, it can be nutmeg)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large egg (added one more egg from original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Lightly grease a 9-inch square or round pan or 12 muffin cups.

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
3) In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and egg.
4) Pour the liquid all at once into the flour mixture, stirring quickly and gently until just combined.
5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, or scoop into the muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and a cake tester or paring knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before cutting.

Note: You can stir in any desired herbs, cheese, corn kernels, or other flavorings. A tip from King Arthur's bakers is that if you decide to add creamed corn, decrease the milk in the recipe by 1/3 cup. You can also substitute the butter for corn oil.

Make this recipe, leave a comment about it and remember to enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Butterfly Cake + Cupcakes

A birthday in the family was coming up and that means time for cake. Family members are the best, because they serve as double duty by giving me (or anyone wanting to make cakes) an opportunity to make cakes and/or cupcakes and they also serve as the guinea pigs by testing them and giving feedback. Awesome, right? That's what family is for; helping and helping and helping... well, you get it!

I was told that the colors were to be purple, pink and green and the decor had butterflies included. With this in mind I came up with this simple, but so pretty cake. As clean as I could. Almond Sour Cream cake with Choco-Coco Filling and covered with Vanilla Buttercream. I also made Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting colored in purple.

Everything had butterflies, the cake and each one of the cupcakes. The butterflies were made out of fondant in the colors requested by the birthday girl. Plus I added small silly flowers and smaller butterflies around the bottom of the cake to make it more girly and whimsical. Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bridal Show 2010

Guess who? Yes, me!
I went to my first Bridal Show... ever! My sister-in-law is getting married and she has turned to me to make her wedding cake. One of two things or they have a tight budget or they truly trust me.... or maybe is both of them.

This great Bridal Show was taking place in Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fl. It was so much fun, I had never ever been to a bridal show and it was over whelming. Didn't expect to see so many brides, because it was pretty cold outside (below the 40's and that is a cold and not expected weather in Florida). A couple of the grooms were there too.

We managed to get our hands into some magazines like The Knot and Brides Florida, we did see more magazines but couldn't get to them soon enough. It was a little difficult to stand in front of any both in the place, specially the ones with cake displays and cake tastings (plus there were those booths that had cupcakes just to catch the brides attention, smart).

Here are some pictures so you can see some of the talented people that loves what I love... cupcakes, cakes and everything sweet. The truth is that my camera is very old (it's a 3.2 mega pixels) so please bear with me. I want to think that I managed to take some pictures to share with all of you sweet readers and to look at and remember the making of my sister-in-law's wedding.

Enjoy and if you ever get a chance do go to a Bridal Show, they are lots of fun!

Some of the vendors:
Crazy Cupcakes
Sprinkles Custom Cakes
Muse Gelato
Events of Elegance
and many, many more...
Plus I added a picture of an arrangement that caught my eyes attention.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Caramel Brownie Bars

Last month, which in fact was last year too, was the last Ladies Breakfast at my church. I wanted to bring something along for the ladies to win and enjoy. I had to come up with something sweet and nice for the holidays, but I didn't want it to be cupcakes. That was a challenge, because cupcakes is mostly what I do. Well, I guess this new year more sweet treats are coming my way. Let it come to me, cause I am more than ready to take on new challenges. I can do it!

Anyways, let me focus on the subject, going back to the treats for the beautiful ladies at my church and the last breakfast of the year. Everything you read or see on TV is about cookie swaps, but I didn't want to get them cookies (a good reason being is that I still haven't mastered the art of decorated sugar cookies). Being a big fan and lover of chocolate and brownies, and the fact that my husband came home a nice gift, the Perfect Brownie Pan. And that is when it finally clicked, bars was the magic word for me.

After making a search in the internet and reviewing lots of recipes I picked two. One had to had chocolate in it and for the other something fruity was ideal to contrast and complement each other. Get it?

Oatmeal Berry Bar
Caramel Brownie Bar (I added walnuts, which is optional)

Found nice tins in a craft store and brought some tins full of delicious sweet bars. Just what the holidays ordered and a special Happy Holidays to all the great ladies (friends) that gets together to share and have fun!