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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sari's Kiwi Cake with Lemon Curd, Chocolate Ganache and Strawberries

Sari, Ela, and I found each other on craigslist. We were all in need of roommates and wanted a home, not just a place to store our things. After meeting once to look at places, we signed a lease moved in shortly after, essentially strangers. A few months later, we've discovered countless similarities. Our fridge and pantry are stacked with three of the same products and foods - one for each of us. Currently, our common obsession is with dates.

With our similarities in mind, it wasn't hard for me and Ela to come up with a cake that we'd all love. Our initial priority was to use fruit, and we easily achieved that. Ela is a sale-finding-coupon-clipper, so when she saw kiwis and strawberries were on sale at Stop & Shop, we knew that was the way to go!

For the cake, we added pureed kiwi to the batter as a replacement for water. We made lemon curd for the filling and added sliced strawberries. Sari had been raving about the Ghirardelli chocolate chips on sale at Shaws, so we went with a chocolate ganache for the icing.

Stawberries and Kiwis!

Delicious bittersweet chocolate

Kiwi cake

Cut in half, ready for filling

Making the lemon curd
Curd filling
We had to add stawberries

Making chocolate ganache for the first time
Looking good already
Ela did all the decorating
A tropical-looking cake just in time for spring

Adding the candles

And the final result!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monster Cupcakes for Halloween

For Halloween, I made the 6.5 hour drive back to Rochester, my second home. My mom and I made these monster cupcakes for me to take with to share with my friends. They're simple, fun, and a blast to make.

I wasn't feeling too ambitious, so I did the classic box mix for the cake and buttercream for the frosting. Decorations used for the faces included licorice sticks, candy coated licorice, marshmallows, gummy fruit slices, and candy eyes.

Chocolate & orange colored white cake

Mixed to make a cool design

Swirled with a toothpick & baked

The inside

The icing and decorating station

We got pretty creative

Maybe too creative

Some more monsters

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mom's Dark Chocolate Cherry Birthday Cake

I won't tell you what year it was for her, but I made her a cake using her favorite flavors- cherry and dark chocolate. It was harder than I thought to find a good recipe or inspiration for this cake, so I was kind of on my own. Luckily it was a combo that would be hard to mess up.

I got a box mix of dark chocolate cake, maraschino cherries, dark chocolate, and buttercream frosting ingredients. Baked the cake as usual, made the buttercream with cherry extract and LOTS of juice from the maraschino cherry jar for flavoring. That gave the icing a pretty light pink tint and lots of cherry flavor, better than the extract!

Chopped maraschino cherries

THE best product on the market.

See what I mean? They weren't even 100% cool

Another product sent from the heavens

First layer of buttercream

Add chopped maraschino cherries

Add second layer and ice
Smoothed out to look like fondant but tasty

Super dark (maybe too dark) chocolate

Fancy pants

Some decoration

My freestyle icing is wicked good sometimes

Chocolate shavings on top

Mom with her cake (& in her pjs.. sorry for putting this online, Mom!) :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tori's Pina Colada Beach Cake

The slightly disappointing melting end result
My friend Tori's birthday is so close to Christmas that she never got one of my cakes even though we've known each other for years, so her graduation party was a perfect excuse to make her one. Unfortunate for the cake and her, it was somewhere in the 90's (degrees, not decade) when I was baking her cake. In my little kitchen, having the oven on meant it was at least 100 degrees in there, so everything was melting, including the icing and decorations I had planned for the cake.

Tori said she liked several flavors when asked, two of which were pineapple and coconut. The answer was pretty obvious to me- Pina Colada cake. And since summer was in full swing, I went with a beach theme.
Cake ingredients (two boxes of cake)

Jell-o water

The teddy grahams are all suited up!

Make-shift cake platter from foam core board and parchment paper

Icing ingredients (minus the egg whites)

All baked!

Cute, but melting
Sunbathing teddy grahams

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Adam's Pistachio Poker Cake

We threw Adam a surprise Las Vegas birthday party this year. Everyone dressed up like they were in Vegas and there were themed games and decorations all around.

Last year, I made Adam a Pistachio Mudkip cake, but no one could tell the cake was pistachio because the buttercream icing was overpowering. This year, I was determined to make sure everyone knew it was pistachio flavored. I learned from Amy's Lemon-Blueberry cake that the filling is the key to getting a specific flavor across.

  • Cake: I used the same recipe that I did last year. It was so simple and actually tasted very good.
  • Icing: I sort of made this up. Using this recipe as inspiration, I combined a package of pistachio pudding mix with a container of vanilla Cool-Whip (it was a seasonal thing, so it was on sale) and some (maybe a half a cup? I don't usually measure.) confectioner's sugar to thicken it up.
  • Filling: For the pistachio filling, I simply made a packet of instant pudding mix. Easy peasy.

Now for the fun part! How the heck do you make cards and poker chips? I used white chocolate, a little bit of icing and, of course, food coloring. Melting chips are the best for this. They melt smoothly. I used a double boiler, wax paper, cookie sheets, a rolling pin, and a sharp knife. I poured the melted chocolate on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. I put another sheet of wax paper on top and then used a rolling pin to flatten the top. Once they were cooled, I cut rectangles for the cards and cleaned up the edges of the chips.

My helper

Making the chips

Making the cards

The cards look like American cheese!

Pudding for the filling

Layer one


Layer two

All iced! This spread surprising well for an easy icing

I made some colored chips
Decorating the cards (while sitting on the kitchen floor and watching The Office)
The cards

I added some chips underneath the cards for support. You can kind of see it under the Ace here

The birthday boy got a highly unlikely hand
Me with the cake

A collaboration :)
Birthday boy looking sharp with his cake

Justin enjoying the cards
I think Tim liked it...

Happy birthday, Adam!