I’m going to pretend like it hasn’t been a month or so since my last post. Because it’s now May. I feel like May kind of gets screwed because that’s when everyone starts counting down to summer. And by everyone, I mean students and teachers. That’s how I view May…a gateway to summer. I had been baking every weekend since February and thought last weekend would be a little break…until I was approached with a cake request that was different from what I normally do. Of course I couldn’t say no. I was asked to do a CrossFit cake, which I’ve done before, but this one was all fondant. Now I know how to make fondant, and decorate with fondant and gumpaste. It’s just my personal opinion that it doesn’t taste that good and that regular frosting is better. Fondant usually wins in the looks department though (I guess that means buttercream has a great personality.) Anyways, I hadn’t made a fondant cake since I took a cake decorating class four years ago. I will say it is much easier to do fondant than pipe buttercream!
First I made a kettlebell out of rice krispies treats. This was to go on top of the cake. It took me about 20 minutes to shape the rice krispies into a kettlebell, a lot less stressful than trying to make one with cake. I covered the bell and handle in fondant separately, and then attached the handle to the bell with toothpicks. I cut out a 4-0 and glued it to the front (birthday boy was turning 40). Edible glue y’all…basically sugar water. I also made jump rope handles out of gumpaste. I did all of this the day before I made the cake, so it would have time to set.
I baked two 8″ cakes and leveled them off. I placed one cake on the large cake board and covered it in buttercream, then fondant. I put the second layer on an 8″ cake board and covered it in fondant as well. Then I stacked the second layer on the first layer, but slightly off center to represent stacked plates. I cut out “Happy Birthday” in gumpaste and adhered it to the two layers. I also added letters and numbers on top of the cake to add some detail of the plate. I added the kettlebell on top, glued the jump rope handles with frosting, and added a fondant rope to the handles. I left some of powdered sugar on the kettlebell and the cake because it looked like chalk. That’s it! I love how bright this cake is!
I’d say February does a pretty good job at kicking all those January health goals to the curb. First you’re hit with Valentine’s Day, and then Mardi Gras and the rodeo (well, for those of us residing in Texas). Diets don’t stand a chance. However, you can’t help but get caught up in all the festivities. I personally love this time of year. Mardi Gras and the rodeo are both ongoing events and lend themselves for a lot social activities. It’s just fun! With Fat Tuesday coming up I figured King Cake Cupcakes would be the perfect cupcakes to bake!
I found this recipe over at The Virtuous Wife. Best thing about it? You use crescent rolls. Seriously can’t get much easier than that. Delicious treats don’t have to be complicated recipes, most of the time simple is better! The only down side to these is that the recipe only makes eight, although they are large. But MAN are they tasty! I actually preferred the bread flavor as opposed to a sweet cake- I felt like it balanced out with the filling and glaze. My taste testers told me it was even better with a cup of coffee. You could always experiment and try different fillings…so many possibilities.
King Cake Cupcakes (~8 cupcakes)
2 tubes of crescent rolls (seamless dough sheets work best)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamonFilling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extractGlaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 375* and grease your cupcake pan. With a mixer, cream together the ingredients for the filling (cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla). In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Lay out the crescent roll sheets and cut each tube into four squares.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the squares (divide it evenly until there’s no more).
Add about 1-1.5 Tbsp of filling to each square. Try to spread it longways.
Roll up each square longways (hot dog style). Pinch the edges together. Fold the left side over the middle, then fold the right side over the left. You’ll end up with what looks like a cinnamon bun. Place it in the cupcake pan.
When you have all the rolls in the pan, cover the pan with foil. Bake at 375* for ~12 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking another 12 minutes. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing them.
While they are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl. When the cupcakes have cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cupcakes. I put wax paper under the cooling rack they’re on because the glaze drips down. Add sprinkles of your choice!
I feel like watching the Winter Olympics is a little more authentic now that it actually feels like winter here. This whole ending-the-day-at-the-same-cold-temps-we-started-with is a very odd occurrence in Texas. We’re used to it warming up as the day goes on…not be cold and stay cold! I don’t remember ever having an ice day growing up, and we had two in the past two weeks. People even claimed to have seen snow this morning, although I saw nothing. I was also completely bundled up and running to my classroom before the sun was up, so maybe I missed the four flakes that were floating down. This weather tends to make people feel BLAH and being cooped up inside for longer than you’re used to can also lead to more snacking. Well no fear! I have some chocolate chip cookies for you today that aren’t entirely guilt free, but they are gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. I took some to a Super Bowl party and by the time I left they were all gone. Chocolate chip cookies can cheer anyone up, even if it’s cold, rainy, and cloudy outside!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until well combined. Melt the coconut oil and pour it into the batter. Mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Last weekend I ran my third marathon, but the main reason I’m telling you this is because of the name on my bib. I honestly don’t remember giving them this name. The lady handed me my bib and said, “You’re cupcake?!” Why, yes…yes I am, but how do you know that? Apparently I was feeling clever when I registered.
Which brings me to cake. I’ve witnessed my share of baby’s first birthday cake. The idea of a smash cake is pretty ingenius- the baby gets their own cake to dig into, while the other guests can eat their own baby germ free piece. And it makes for cute pictures. However, the majority of the babies I’ve seen do not dig in and make a mess of the cake! They are not taking advantage of this. I know plenty of adults that would love to attack a piece of cake. But anyways. This was a Mickey Mouse smash cake I did recently. Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting- babies don’t have many preferences by one year. Have you ever seen a kid really smash a smash cake?
Let me preface this with the fact that I am a fan of BSpears and Gaga. You can say what you want, but I enjoy singing and dancing around to their songs. It’s Britney, bitch. Until recently I had been of the opinion that Miley should have stopped after Party in the USA (much like Billy Ray should have stopped after Achy Breaky Heart). However I think Miley might have outdone BSpears and Gaga in regards to their latest albums. Yeah, I said it. Although “We Can’t Stop” probably goes in my Top 5 Worst Songs of 2013, the rest of the album is actually pretty catchy. It doesn’t top Circus or Fame…but if we’re going off most recent releases, I think Miley wins.
Now that I have that off my chest, I can share my paleo treats of the week. I had some leftover pumpkin, so I just googled until I found a good pumpkin dessert recipe. My main criteria was that I had all the ingredients because I didn’t feel like going to the store. Lazy? …..or efficient? Definitely efficient. I found this recipe over at Against All Grain. I made a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had and was pretty pleased with the results. I especially liked the frosting- it’s hard to do a good paleo frosting! These cookies are chewy and taste exactly how a spice cookie should. Enjoy!
Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies
2½ cups almond flour
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup honey
½ cup pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla Icing
2 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. coconut butter
4 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Blend the honey, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla in a food processor. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Use a cookie scoop to make small balls and place on your cookie sheet (either line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it). Use a glass with a flat bottom to flatten each cookie. Bake for 15-16 minutes at 350 degrees.
To make the frosting, blend all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor (I used a magic bullet). You can adjust the consistency of the frosting by adding coconut milk.
HELLO January! I don’t know where you are, but given the new reports it sounds like it’s just cold everywhere. Sure does make going back to work/school a little more difficult. I read somewhere that January 6th is the saddest day of the year. I mean, I get it. Cold gray weather, returning to work after the holidays, everyone is trying to stick to new resolutions, yada yada yada. But it’s kind of crazy that they can monitor and “calculate” the saddest day of the year. I wonder what day is the happiest.
Anyways. I enjoy the cooking and baking over the holidays, but back to work means back to meal planning/prepping for me. I know I’m a bit extreme to use a spreadsheet to get meals and a grocery list together and that not everyone may jive with that. However, prepping just one of your meals can save you a lot of time during the week. These waffles are super easy to make and then all you have to do in the morning is pull one out and heat it up! Plus you’re sneaking in some veggies in there. Think of these as zucchini spice bread in waffle form. I found this recipe over at The Saffron Girl, and they turned out really well.
Paleo Zucchini Waffles
1 medium zucchini
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Turn your waffle iron on. Using a food processor, shred the zucchini. Switch the shredding blade to the regular blade (is there a technical name for that? You know what I mean). Add the eggs, coconut oil, and milk to the zucchini and blend. Add the dry ingredients and blend until completely mixed together. If you’re using honey, add that in now. Pour into the waffle iron and bake accordingly!
Word Press just informed me that this was my 2 year anniversary of my blog- I figured that deserved a post if anything. Two whole years. This time of year lends itself to reflection and there is so much that I’ve done and still have yet to do. I’ve done 7 weddings in that time span, and have 2 more coming up in the spring. Not shabby considering this is my side job. Or is teaching my side job? It’s hard to keep straight. I never dreamed of baking on this scale and sometimes it still surprises me how much it’s grown.
Posts about goals and bucket lists have been floating around the interwebs…I find most of them annoying. And I’m very much a goal-oriented person. I’m constantly writing goals, rewriting them, and figuring out what I need to do to get there. I’m in the middle of that process right now. But the thing is, my goals don’t apply to anyone but myself. You don’t know need to know them. Not one of these lists going viral will apply to your life 100%. I hope you do make goals for the new year- and if you achieve them before the year is out, write some more. You don’t need a new year to dictate when you set goals. Figure out what you want, write goals (physically write them out), and go after it. Cover all areas of your life- health, spiritual, relationships, career, and financial. That’s only slightly overwhelming. Bottom line…where are you now, and where do you want to be?
Now, let’s get down to the baking. One of my recent projects was a smash cake and cupcakes for a sweet boy’s 2nd birthday. His party had a barnyard theme, which I thought was adorable. I decided to create cow and pig toppers with gum paste for the cupcakes. I drew the eyes and cow print on with a cake pen. These things are amazing. I originally ordered mine online, but I’m starting to see them in stores now.
I did the cupcakes first, and when I started the smash cake I decided to use the same gum paste decos. Continuity, folks.
I’m looking forward 2014 and everything it will bring! I hope you all get to ring in the new year with loved ones and with new goals. And of course, some delicious treats!