Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you like sugar cookies?

I have a friend who recently inquired about whether or not I could make Minnie Mouse sugar cookies. I'm thinking...I've never decorated cookies with royal icing before, but I'm sure I can do it. I have a set of 100 cookie cutters that I've had forever and have never used...might as well bust them out.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not the hugest fan of rolled out sugar cookies. I've always had issues with rolling them out too thin or uneven and they are too hard. I've had frosted cookies before and they just don't taste good to me. They look nice though...I'm sure you've seen the cookie arrangements by some cookie companies out there. But anywho, I'm going to start a search for the recipe that gives me the best cookie. So here's my first attempt.

I browsed around and came upon Martha Stewart's recipe for Ideal Sugar Cookies. You might want to check out the video that she has on there too. It's very informative. I'm a huge fan of video tutorials on stuff. I did the whole bit, even added 2 Tbs of brandy to my dough. The first batch, I rolled it out to slightly less than 1/4 inch thickness, though the recipe calls for 1/8th inch thickness. I figured that I should make it thicker so then the cookie would be more on the chewy side, rather than the hard crunchy side. The second batch I made them 1/8th inch thick. So here's what they should look like before baking:

I'm reading through blogs and websites, and came upon one that I really liked called Sweetopia and the author, Marian, has all sorts of info on how to decorate cookies. I had some rough times with the royal icing at first, trying to get it to the right consistency. I think you'll just have to work it out by trial and error. I had a batch made up and separated it into separate bowls so I could color them. I'll get some shots of what my frosting looks like the next time around. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you keep the main icing covered up so that it doesn't dry out. Otherwise, you'll end up having to add water to thin it out. Be sure to keep the tips of your piping bags covered with a damp cloth to prevent the sugar from crusting up too.

I'm not going to go into all the details of the piping of the outer edge and flooding, but you can check it out on Sweetopia.

And here's the after...

The thinner cookies texture was too hard for me. The thicker ones were perfect. With the icing on top, it's a bit too sweet for me, but they'd go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spring time decor

So I'm itching to bake some more and use of the frosting that I used a couple days ago....what to do? So I whipped up another batch of chocolate cupcakes, but this time with some dark chocolate in it. Using the frosting that I had previously, I took my first attempt at making flowers. I was a bit shaky at first, but I think they came out well despite the fact that it was my first time making these things. I think I'm going to continue practicing making these flowers better looking. I'd have to say I was quite proud of myself for trying something different today!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Springtime is here and Valentines day is on it's way!

The holiday got me so busy with a bunch of STUFF, that I was taken away from all the cupcake baking. Annie used to do a lot of the blogging and since she's moved away it's been tough. I baked some chocolate and pumpkin cupcakes for her going away party in October last year. I had Ji, my boyfriend, help me out with some of the frosting and placement of sprinkles and spiders...LOL!

I lost some motivation to bake, but I started up again because I got an order...and now that the weather is nice and all the craziness with the holidays is over, I'M BACK!!!!!

I got an order from my loan officer to bake some cupcakes for her son's class, and it was chef's choice. Here's what I made: Chocolate with Italian Meringue Butter Cream (IMBC)

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's been a while...

Yes, yes...it's been a very long time since we have written anything at all. Things were put on halt just because. But before we stopped baking for a short while, our latest order was for my (Fran) nephew's 1st birthday on August 21st. We had an order of 9 dozen cupcakes...a variety of red velvet, cookies and cream and strawberry shortcake...regular sized and minis.

To begin, let me tell you that it was a lot of work to get the cupcakes out to Montclaire in Oakland by 11 A.M., but it was so much fun! Annie and I totally planned things out to get all of our ingredients in order, packed our baking supplies and headed out to the kitchen at 6 A.M.

After 4 hours of prepping, baking, frosting and clean up...this is what we got!
I think I much prefer the regular sized ones to the minis, which ones were on the dryer side. We made them because they were requested, but I think we will stick to making only regular sized ones. Stay tuned (it might take us a while) for our website with our menu. But in the meantime, if you have a need for some cupcakes and would like to order, just email us at schweetcake@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gum Paste and Fondant Class Completed!!!

I had taken a Wilton basic cake decorating class at Michael's a couple years back and really wanted to move on to the next class because Annie and I have been baking more and I wanted to learn how to add more flare to our cupcakes. Watching Ace of Cakes really inspired me to take this class too. The class is only 4 sessions long, every Wednesday night for a month. I figured I could squeeze that into my schedule somehow. Shouldn't be hard, right?
At first I thought, this would be easy to go to class from 6:30pm-8:30pm once a week. It turned out to be quite a challenge. Prepping for the class everyday beforehand was what made it hard. To find the time to go to Michael's and use their lovely 40% off coupons for one item, which you could only use once a day, and luckily I live 2 minutes away...and then to have my gum paste and fondant colored in advance so that in class I would have sufficient time to make my flowers. I found myself scrambling every Wednesday after work, right before class putting together all of my materials. I'll spare you the details of my day today, but I honestly thought that my cake would end up looking like crap because it was such a rush job to bake the cake, level it, fill and frost it and get the fondant colored and layed out on the cake. I felt like I was in one of those competitions you see on the Food Network.

Well, in the picture above, it turned out looking better than I thought. Just don't take a really close look because you'll see all the imperfections in the fondant and the flowers. Good for the first time...I will definitely do better on the next one! I'm skipping August for a breather and then in September...Wilton's Flower and Cake Design class! Woohoo!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake - it's a BIG deal

The first time that I made these Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes I called Fran and was telling her how fantastic the final product was. Fran thought I was going crazy over nothing, but today we remade the recipe and now she knows why I was making them a big deal.

Basically, same recipe as already before except this time we put some strawberry puree in the batter as well. We loved the look of the cake with the strawberry puree...a light brownish color. It compliments the pink strawberry frosting.

This time we also added a strawberry garnish fanned out in 3 pieces with a peppermint leaf.

Everything about this recipe was perfect...moist, fluffy, not too sweet, geniune strawberry flavor, and great presentation.

Light and fluffy!

It's been quite some time since I've actually posted something. I finally found time to squeeze in some baking last week, but had no time to actually put up a post.

So I've been trying to get my recipe right for a good and moist red velvet. I think I'm close, sorta. I don't know. This one I made was more moist than my previous ones, but still not quite what I would like. The frosting isn't your traditional cream cheese frosting. Although I like the cream cheese flavor and the fact that the normal frosting crusts up, it's way too sweet. So this time I took a swiss meringue frosting and added cream cheese to it. It came out very yummy and fluffy, but perhaps not enough cream cheese. I'll have to try adding a little more next time. The fluffiness of the frosting goes well with the denseness of the cake though I think. It's a nice balance. Only thing is that it doesn't hold up quite as well as I'd like it to when it's warm outside. Gotta work on that part.

So here we are with my second attempt at a coconut cupcake. The first time I made it, I had used coconut milk and the cake came out way too dense...me no like! So this time around, Annie gave me her coconut extract to try out and it was much better. I had baked this about 3 days prior to actually frosting it with the same cream cheese swiss meringue that I had used for the red velvet. Funny thing is that the cupcake was much more moist on the third day than it was on the first. I didn't like it all the first day...it was too dry. Seems like the sugars started coming out more after a few days. And again...the fluffy frosting went very well with the cake.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cookies and Cream cupcake!

Today I made a Chocolate cupcake with a marshmallow fluff filling with a Cookies and Cream mascarpone frosting.

My goal was to try to make the most moist and fluffy cupcake ever. This is the first time I've incorporated three techniques that should make a moist cake: 1. Used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour
2. Used oil instead of butter
3. Folded in whipped egg whites instead of beating the whole egg in the batter

I have to say the cupcake was super yummy, but I am highly critical of my own creations. The cake portion could be more moist so more oil next time. Also, it could use a bit more cocoa for a stronger chocolate flavor. The marshmellow fluff filling and the frosting were equisite...so light and super yummy. The filling and frosting both had similar tastes, so perhaps next time I can try to make them a different flavor (maybe caramel). When I ate the cake with the filling and the frosting together, it really does melt in your mouth.


1. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
2. 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5. Pinch of salt
6. 2 large eggs, separated
7. 1/3 cup canola oil
8. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
9. 2 tablespoons water

1. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2. 3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff
3. 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon heavy cream

1/4 cup softened butter
1 8 ounce container mascarpone, at room temperature
3 tablespoon of shortening
Fold in 1 crushed oreo cookies

1. MAKE THE CUPCAKES: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with vegetable oil spray. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and cocoa with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the canola oil, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the water. Beat in the dry ingredients at low speed until smooth.
2. In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Beat one-fourth of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them halfway. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy when touched. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
3. MAKE THE FILLING: In a medium bowl, beat the Marshmallow Fluff, butter, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the heavy cream at medium speed until fluffy.
4. Using a pear knife, cut out a scope of the cupcake. Using a spoon, add a small spoonful of filling into the cupcake and then replace the top back on the cake.
5. MAKE THE FROSTING: Beat the mascarpone cheese, shortening, and butter together until creamy. Then fold in the crushed oreo cookies. Do not overbeat as it will make the frosting to look gray.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another Red Velvet...

We're on a mission to create a moist red velvet! Most recipes that you'll find online are very dry, so I decided to create my own, based by taking bits and pieces of recipes and putting it together. This one I made was almost there. It was relatively moist, but just a few more tweaks and I think it'd be perfect! I haven't had the perfect one yet, even from a bakery. Sprinkles is good, but it's a bit too greasy. As you may already know, red velvet is supposed to be dense, but I kind of want mine to be a little bit more fluffy like the Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet. Yes, I like the cake from a box...

I wish I could say that I adapted this recipe from somewhere, but it's kind of hard for me to pin point where I got it. I just made it up...

½ C (1 stick) room temp butter

1 ¼ C vegetable oil

1 C sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ t vanilla extract

3 T cocoa powder

2 Tbsp red food coloring - I use Smart and Final's coloring, so it's a bit more concentrated

15 oz (4 C) cake flour

1 ½ t salt

1 ½ c buttermilk

1 ½ t baking soda

1 ½ t vinegar

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with liners. Sift flour and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until very fluffy and pale. Mix in oil and buttermilk. Add eggs one at a time, scraping often. Scraping is the most important thing you can do to make this came come out right! Mix together vanilla, red, and cocoa and add gradually with the mixer going. Scrape again. On low, add the flour in three additions, scraping after each time. Take the mixture off the machine and mix by hand, making sure the bottom of the bowl has been scraped completely. In a small dish, quickly mix soda and vinegar. Pour into the cake batter and fold in by hand completely. Work quickly but thoroughly. If the soda is not completely incorporated, the cake will not rise evenly. Scoop into cupcake pans (about 2/3 full) and bake immediately. Should take about 15-20 minutes. Cake should spring back when touched and a cake tester should come out clean.

And to top off a red velvet cupcake, you have to have cream cheese frosting! I don't know about you, but most of the recipes out there have way too much powdered sugar in them, making it too sweet. The only thing I like about them is the sugary crust. So to make it less sweet, I was thinking of either a Swiss meringue base, but I decided to try out Annie's mascarpone suggestion this time around. I went searching for a recipe and found one at Epicurious.com and I made a couple minor changes. Oooh it is yum yum!

Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone (Italian cream cheese, available at most grocery stores)

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone on very low speed until just combined. (Be careful; once you've added the mascarpone, excessive beating can make the frosting curdle.) Stir in the vanilla

Chewy and Crispy Oatmeal Toffee Choco Chip Cookie

I needed to break away from the cupcakes...just a short bit...

I started off baking cookies years ago, and I'd have to say my best cookies are oatmeal raisin and oatmeal chocolate chip. Now with the toffee, it's a little bit more exotic! It was several months ago when a friend of mine sent me an oatmeal toffee chocolate chip recipe that he got from someone else. I made it the way the recipe had directed and it was a bit too greasy for me with all the butter. So this time around I reduced the butter a little bit and it was much better. This cookie is soooo good, I couldn't have just one!

They turned out very crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just how I like it. The toffee adds a nice flare to the cookie. The first batch in, I only baked for 10 minutes, the second batch for about 12. You can see the difference in the cookies in the picture here. I like the one that was left in longer. It was a bit more crispy, even the next day. But if you like your cookie a little bit more chewy, take it out at 10.

Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ½ all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. salted butter

½ c plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
½ c plus 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ c. oatmeal

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 c. toffee pieces (5 ½ oz.)

Heat oven at 350 degrees. Sift together flour and baking soda and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice during the mixing.

Add egg and mix on high speed to combine. Add vanilla extract; mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour, a bit at a time, on a low speed until well combined. Add oatmeal, chocolate, and toffee pieces; mix to combine.

Scoop with cookie scoop and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen.