Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Finally! Another cake! :)

Lately I haven't been decorating as much as I'd like. In fact, I hardly did any decorating all summer. I guess I figured that with two in school every day, I would have lots of time come fall to bake and decorate to my heart's content.

You know how when you think you have lots of time, that time suddenly gets eaten up by a huge monster and disappears before you know it? Yeah, that's what happened to me.

I did manage to try a new technique on this little cake last week. I was inspired by a picture of some fabric on some chairs in a magazine. Sadly, I cannot find it now to show you all. Basically, it was a multi-colored background with a white overlay. The white had various geometric shapes cut out of it revealing the colored background in a really cool way. I wanted to try to do that with cake.

Here is what I came up with.

This is a tall 6-inch round cake. I marbled together some fondant in different shades of blue, teal, purple, and pink and used that to cover the cake. Then I measured the circumference and height of the cake. I cut a piece of waxed paper exactly to size, stuck the waxed paper onto the rolled-out white fondant with some shortening, then cut around the edges of the waxed paper so I would have a piece of white fondant big enough to wrap around the cake. I then flipped the whole thing over so the fondant was on top and cut out all the shapes with an exacto knife. Finally, I applied a little bit of water to the fondant with a paint brush, then lifted the waxed paper up and used it to apply the fondant to the cake. Once the fondant was on, I removed the waxed paper.

This technique for applying a complicated fondant design to a cake was actually invented by Jessica of She is an amazing decorator and so innovative! Check out her much better explanation of the technique, along with a very helpful video, on her blog.

There are many things I like about this design - the graphic quality, the colors peaking through, the idea of it all - but I almost didn't show it to you all because I do not think I executed it well. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes too! First, I learned that I need to make the waxed paper and overlay fondant an inch longer than the circumference of the cake. I didn't do this and had a hard time bringing the ends together in the back. With the extra fondant, you can overlap the ends and make a nice cut with minimal interruption to the design.

I also learned that you need to hold that piece of waxed paper holding the fondant by the ends and the ends only when applying it to the cake. If you let go and hold by the middle, or let go to smooth anything out before all of it is applied, the whole thing will collapse and/or peel off of the waxed paper making a huge mess. It is also much easier to get straight lines at the top and the bottom if you just hold by the edges and hold the whole thing taut the whole time. You can see how the top edge of my white fondant is a little wonky because I didn't follow this little tip.

I am anxious to try again. The nice thing about making mistakes is that it is very easy to learn from them! It's more often the mistakes we make that make us better and not necessarily the successes. Am I right or am I right? :)

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Confetti Cookies

I've had this post ready for awhile now, but after I made these cookies I saw an explosion of funfetti/confetti/birthday cake cookies and other treats all over the web. I didn't want to appear to be jumping on the bandwagon, so I didn't post these.

Now maybe enough time as passed. I really was the forerunner in this trend! Ha!

Okay, on to the fun!

I have a confession. I have a weakness for sprinkles. I just love them! They make me smile. And pretty much all children love the colorful little jimmies. It's pure sugar deliciousness and fun all rolled up into one bright little package!

These cookies bring all of that fun to your tastebuds. They are quick, easy, and a fun treat for any time.

When I say these are easy, I really mean it! I just threw a couple of handfuls of rainbow-colored jimmies into some sugar cookie dough before spooning out my cookies and baking them.

A handy tip - if you live anywhere near a Homegoods, try looking there for discounted sprinkles of all shapes, colors and sizes. They almost always have some at the store near me. If you use a lot of sprinkles, you can find them online in bulk for even cheaper!

Just look at all of that sprinkle goodness! Yum!

After they cooled, I topped my cookies with a quick swipe of buttercream and some little ball sprinkles.

One thing that you will notice about this recipe is that it contains shortening. Now, I usually opt for real butter in things like this, but these are soft and fluffy cookies and you just can't get the same rise or fluffiness with all butter. You can certainly sub in real butter, though. The cookies will still be delicious, but they will be noticeably more flat with the butter. Feel free to use whichever you like best!

Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Soft and Fluffy Sugar Cookies with Simple Buttercream Icing

2 cups (9 ounces) self-rising flour*
1/2 cup (3-1/4 ounces) butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup rainbow jimmies or other small sprinkles

*Can substitute 2 cups (7 ounces) cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder, whisked together, for the self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and the sugars. Add extracts and mix well. Add the eggs and mix just enough to blend. Add half of the flour to the shortening mixture and mix just until blended. Add the remaining flour and mix by hand until blended. Stir in the sprinkles. The dough will be thick, so don't strain your mixer.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edges. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Simple Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
Gel color of your choice, if desired

Blend all ingredients together until combined. Spread onto cooled cookies. Decorate with colored sprinkles or colored decorating sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container or freeze.


The Rise

Hello! I am sorry to have been so neglectful of my blog lately! Not sure what happened except just life with two kids and a house to clean.


Here is a nice quick little post to show you something about bread. The last post was about bread baking and explained a little about putting steam in the oven with your bread.

In case there was any doubt, I now have some proof! I didn't intentionally create this and was pretty surprised myself at what happened when I accidentally put in this loaf of bread not quite totally over the pan of steaming water in the bottom of my oven.

Check it out!

Can you tell which side was over the steam and which one wasn't? Pretty remarkable, huh?

Mmmmmm.... makes me want to go bake some bread!

Thanks for stopping by!