Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant- Lesson 3

The day has finally arrived...the final lesson of the final Wilton Course!
With the 4th of July just being a few days away I have decided on a Patriotic themed cake!
I am using a 6" 2-layer lemon cake, covered in white fondant imprinted with the Wilton Star Power Fondant Imprint Mat. There will be red and blue stars all over it, with a star spray coming out of the top of the cake and pearl dust for shimmer.
Before class, I prepared 6 star sprays, using 20 gauge wire. I cut out 6 medium size stars and 12 small stars from a gum paste and fondant 50/50 blend and carefully slid them onto the wires and put them aside to dry for a few days. I also cut out 16 red and 16 blue medium stars to place on the cake after we cover the cake with fondant in class. That will be a total of 50 stars! Well...that is if they all fit!
I used 2 cake boards, one with a hole in it to support a hard plastic straw that is going up through the center of the cake to support the star spray.
For class we need to bring our cake, already iced, whatever size we wish, and enough fondant to cover it. We will be covering our cake in class and making a ruffle that we can use on our cake if we want.
 So that's it! That's my cake!
My first fondant cake EVER!

The classes have been fun and I have learned a lot from a lovely teacher. Evangeline, just like the star in the sky from The Princess and the Frog, thank you for all that you have taught me. I have made some lasting friendships and will see you gals around! It's late so I won't write a book on each of you this time!

Here is what the rest of the class did:

Connie's Cake
Cynthia's Cake
Dana's Cake
Janet's Cake (Leslie's Mom)
Leslie's Cake (She's only 18! Amazing!)

My Previous Classes

  View the Wilton Website for more class information

PS... There is a Cookie Bouquet Class in August...so stay tuned for that!
PPS...I only ended up using 35 of the stars.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

If You Like Pina Coladas

And getting caught in the rain...
If you're not into yoga...
If you have half a brain...

These cupcakes are fun to make, YUMMY, and great for summer!

No, that picture at the top isn't a regular Pina Colada, it is a Strawberry Colada for a little inspiration!
I found the recipe in the Betty Crocker- Big Book of Cupcakes. Yes, I am lovin that book! The recipe however was a bit incomplete I found as it didn't tell how many eggs to use, just to put them in one at a time. Weird, anyways....
 
Ingredients/Directions for Pina Colada Cupcakes
2-1/2 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour*
1 cup sugar
1 stick margarine*
Strawberry Applesauce (one of those single serve cups, about 1/2 cup)*
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tablespoon light rum*
3 eggs*
Half or a little more of a 20oz can of crushed pineapples, drained (save juice), no measurements just eyeball it*
1/4 cup pineapple juice from the can*
1/4 cup milk
 *denotes my changes or more or less me just doing stuff my way as usual, so I changed most everything. I can't remember how many changes it takes before a recipe is considered your own?!
 
In the book it does have you to do things in certain orders, but I just put all the dry stuff in the mixer, followed by all the wet stuff and they turned out fine! I filled my liners between 2/3 and 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. This recipe made 21 cupcakes for me.
   
Cute seashell cupcake liners are Mary Engelbreit from Michaels.
    
Now onto the frosting...
First, let me tell you I have never cooked frosting in my life!
This was fun!
 
Ingredients/Directions for Tropical Frosting
2 egg whites, beat just until stiff peaks form (leave that in your mixer and move on to the stove!)
  
In your 1qt sauce pan...
1 TB water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
 
Mix those 3 ingredients well and then cover and turn burner on medium until reaches a rolling bowl...just keep peeking...about 3 to 5 minutes depending on your stove. No stirring, don't touch it. Remove lid and continue to boil untouched for 4-8 minutes or until candy thermometer reads 240 degrees. This took about 6 minutes for me.
As soon as the sugar mixture reaches proper temperature, SLOWLY pour into your mixer turned on medium, keep it going and add 1 teaspoon coconut extract and 1 teaspoon light rum (I didn't have rum extract, just used rum!)
Keep mixer going for about 3 minutes until stiff peaks reform.
    
For some reason I had a lot of fun making the frosting!
My husband got me the book Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado, she is Sandra Bullock's sister. Anyway, I have yet to make anything in the book, although I do want to one day! It is a great book with some stories in it and I did buy a candy thermometer because of it. I also learned by reading the book that molten hot sugar (what you are making in the pot for that frosting up there) boils hotter than water and it will stick to you and burn you like nothing else, so be careful and this is definitely something you don't to sling in your face when you put it in the mixer and you don't want small children around when you are making it.
   
Back to the Cupcakes
Frost the cupcakes with a spatula, press on some coconut, top with a paper umbrellas and enjoy! I put fresh strawberries on some of them too!
Anyway the cupcakes and frosting are YUM, and if you like Pina Coladas...just make them!
 


These Cupcakes are linked up to:
A Well-Seasoned Life: Sweet Indulgences Sunday

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant- Lesson 2

After a week off from class for graduations, we are on to lesson 2 in Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant. Because of the week off, the next 2 lessons are 3 hours each.
In class we will be using the flower bases that we made in Lesson 1 to make the actual flowers. We will be learning to make the Calla Lily, Rosebud, Rose, Carnation, Daisy, Mum, and the calyxes and leaves. Usually the Daisy and Mum would be made in Lesson 3, but with only 3 lessons, we are learning all the flowers in Lesson 2.
For class we need to bring our gum paste, gum paste adhesive, vegetable shortening, yellow colored sugar, fondant mat, and all of the items from our kit. We were also told that it would be a good idea to bring mini cupcake wrappers to hold up the flower petals for the ride home and until they dry.
After a busy day, this class was so EASY! Our instructor made the flowers right along with us as she usually does in class, but no one really needed any additional help other than watching. There are cutters and sculpting tools to use in the kit and easy directions to make all of the flowers in our class book.
All of the flowers turned out beautifully! I can't believe that I made these!
The white flowers from left to right- Calla Lily, Daisy, Calla Lily
The pink flowers from left to right bottom row- Mum, Rosebud, Rose,
and above the Rose is the Carnation
While taking pictures of the flowers, I looked over at my daughter playing with the little tea set from her Great-Grandma and thought the Carnation with it's odd shaped base would fit in the mini tea cup perfect!

Next week- Final Cake!

Flashback to July 4th 2010

It's Flashback Friday!
This is a "now just occasional" segment that I post to show you some of my past adventures...
For this cupcake, I painted the inside of the piping bag, prepared with a 1M tip, with red up one side and blue up the other side and filled with Vanilla Buttercream frosting.
I experimented with a couple different star tips too 
My daughter is the cookie maker in the family and made these stained glass 4th of July cookies!
She started out with our favorite sugar cookie recipe: Martha Stewart Essential Recipe No. 2: Sugar Cookies. She rolled out the dough and cut out with a large star cookie cutter and then cut out the center with a small cookie cutter. She put Jolly Rancher candies in a zipper bag covered with a towel and used a hammer to break it up. Once the cookies were placed on the cookie sheet, she filled the center with the crushed candies. After the cookies baked, she iced them with Vanilla Buttercream icing and this is what they looked like! This was her first cookie project using this technique and I think she did a fabulous job!
Here are all of the different cupcakes and cookies that we made for July 4th, 2010!
Even the inside of the cupcake was Patriotic with Pillsbury Stars & Stripes Funfetti cake mix!


These cupcakes are linked up to:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Margaritas, Flip Flops, & a Pair of Cheap Sunglasses!

Margarita and Flip Flop Cookies are showing up everywhere! I recently saw the Margaritas at Glorious Treats with a fabulous "How To". Then I saw the Summer Cookie Cutters by Wilton at Michael's, so I just have to give them a try!

First the cookie part...
You can view the recipe I like to use and the tutorial for that by visiting my
Rockin' Shamrock Cookies Post
For this batch of cookies I am using Coconut extract to add to that tropical vibe!

On to the decorating part.....
I am not the greatest at decorating cookies at all! I used to use the wrong icing, either store bought or the same buttercream I put on cupcakes. Then when I did learn the right icing, I didn't give it a long enough time to dry. Now knowing my downfalls, can I pull off these great cookies?
After taking Wilton's Course 2 Flowers and Cake Design, I have definitely gotten used to making and using Royal Icing, so that is what I am using for these cookies, straight from the class book.

Icing Ingredients
1 box (1 pound) of confectioners sugar (this way you know you have the right amount)
3 tablespoons meringue powder
5-6 tablespoon warm water

Directions
Put the confectioners sugar and meringue powder in your mixer bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of warm water. Mix on lowest speed for exactly 10 minutes. Divide the icing into glass bowls and color as desired. Cover with plastic wrap and then with the lid. This will keep for a few weeks as long as you keep the air out!

For the outlines of the cookies- add water by the drop to reach toothpaste consistency. THIS IS THE KEY....TOOTHPASTE CONSISTENCY! I learned that from reading the "How to's" at Glorious Treats. Using a tip 3, outline your cookies. I only had one tip 3, somehow they are disappearing, so I used tip 2's on the other 2 colors.

To fill in the cookies- Put the icing back in the bowl and thin it out a little more with water a couple drops at a time to SHAMPOO CONSISTENCY! Again, I learned that from reading the tutorials at Glorious Treats! Once you are at shampoo consistency, you flood in your icing, using the same tip that you used to outline.

To put color on top of color- let dry 6-8 hours or overnight. If not, the second color will bleed right into the first color (Trust me. I know...I've done that before)  I am letting mine dry overnight before adding additional colors to be safe.....

 
The next day....

I added a little pearl dust to give the icing a little shimmer and added the finishing touches.

For the Margarita Glasses- I piped a little of the royal icing on the top of each Margarita rim and dipped in clear/white sparkling sugar and added a royal icing Violet that I have leftover from Wilton Course 2- Flowers and Cake Design.
For the Limes and Pink fictitious Lemons- I darkened some of the pink icing I had left and piped on the peel with size 3 tip, once that was about dry I piped on the white with size 2 tip.
For the straps on the flip flops- I used tip 46 to give them little ridges (although you really can't see the ridges from the pictures) and I added a royal icing Violet to the flip flops too.
The sunglasses- I piped dots and dipped in the clear/white sparkling sugar and added a Violet to each side.
I just love how these cookies turned out!
It's a lot of fun  and really not hard, now that I know what I am doing!


These Cookies are shared at:
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for Saturday
Party Mindie Style

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mint Chocolate Cookies

I have a few extra bags of Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips...now what to do with them?
 Mint Cookies Anyone?
Recipe adapted from Andes Creme de Menthe
(The original recipe is also on the bag)

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar*
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract*
1 tsp mint extract*
2 eggs
1 package Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
2-2/3 cup All Purpose Flour

(*these are my changes from the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together first 8 ingredients, slowing adding flour to mixer. Stir in mint baking chips by hand.  Roll into tablespoon size balls and flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan.

Okay so they aren't that pretty...but they tasted good!

Also check out Mint Dark Chocolate Cupcakes made with Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mint Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Today is Father's Day and I have been thinking for sometime on what cupcake to make.
This is what I came up with!
Ingredients for cake
1 box Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
(eggs, oil, and water according to package directions- I always replace the oil with applesauce)
1 cup Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips

Ingredients for icing
 3 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp mint extract
green food dye
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional, for thickening icing without adding extra sweetness)
1/2 cup Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips (to sprinkle on top)
Fresh Chocolate Mint Leaves (for top of cupcake)

Andes Simple Chocolaty-Mint Sauce (for drizzle)
(recipe adapted from Andes)
1/2 cup Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
1 tablespoons milk

The liners are from the Paula Deen line sold at Michaels.


Directions
For cupcake- Prepare cake as directed on box and add in mint chips. Fill cupcake liner in pan 2/3 full. This recipe made 24. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely. 

For icing- Cream butter, shortening, mint extract in mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of milk. Add green food dye by toothpick until desired color is achieved. Add 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour for thickening (optional, you could also use powdered sugar if needed)Pipe icing onto cupcake (I used 1M tip).

For Mint Sauce- Place chips and milk into microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 25 seconds. Stir. Microwave an additional 15-20 seconds at 50% power. When sauce is ready, drizzle with spoon over iced cupcakes. I used the drizzle on half and left the other half with no drizzle, but there is enough drizzle to use on all 24.

Final Step- Sprinkle cupcakes with leftover mint chips and top with a chocolate mint leaf.


Interesting info: Chocolate Mint does not contain chocolate but takes the name "chocolate mint" because of it's resemblance to Andes Mint Chocolates.


Happy Father's Day!

There are so many great ideas for Father's Day out there, barbecue grills, lawn mowers, golf, sports, and ties to name a few and I do want to make a couple of those designs this summer, just not today. You can view all the ideas I listed and more at Hoosier Homemade Cupcake Tuesdays! That is first blog I began following and truly one of my favorite blogs!


These cupcakes are linked to:
A Well-Seasoned Life: Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Sweetology: Tea Party Tuesday
Cupcake Tuesday
This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked
Alli N Son: Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for Saturday
Bacon Time: Party Mindie Style

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Mousse Parfait

In an instant!

When I saw this Betty Crocker Chocolate Mousse Parfait Mix, I had to try it!
 (Assembly pictured above at each stage)
All you need to add is 1-1/2 cups of milk! I put one Wilton Dark Chocolate Candy Melt disk at the bottom of each up to prevent the mousse from running down the stem of the disposable Martini cups that I had leftover from my New Years Cupcakes made in Martini Cups. Assembly is easy, first add 1/4 cup mousse, then 2 tablespoons of the cookie crumbs, followed by 1/4 cup more mousse, followed by 1 teaspoon cookie crumbs.
These were ready in less than 10 minutes and can be eaten right away!
We did put them in the refrigerator to chill them a little before serving.

My review on this dessert:
YUM!
Quick and easy!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Salty and Sweet, crunchy and colorful, these chocolate covered pretzels are a quick and easy, not to mention an inexpensive treat!
You just need a few items:
Melting Chocolate- I used Candiquik
Pretzel Rods- I got these from the Dollar Tree
Sprinkles- I used Wilton Patriotic Mix
The Candiquik was some that I had leftover from another project, stored in a 1 cup size glass bowl. I started by melting the chocolate in the microwave for about 35 seconds. Once the chocolate was melted, I poured it into a plastic disposable cup. (Not pictured...changed my mind into the process!) The cup made it really easy to dip the pretzel all at once. (I don't have a picture of this step since both my hands were busy!) I then shook the pretzel off until the chocolate was about done dripping and held the pretzel over a plate and sprinkled with the sprinkles.
I placed the pretzels on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and put them in the refrigerator for a couple minutes to speed up the drying. Nothing much to clean up, I only had dish that I melted the chocolate in and the plate that I sprinkled the pretzels over.
One package of pretzel rods, 1 container of sprinkles, and about 1/2 package of Candiquik is enough for about 16 pretzels.
These can be adapted for any occassion or no occassion at all!

I just used a small jar for a display (in the first picture). I really couldn't find anything else that would work. A wide mouthed vase with colorful ribbon tied around it, filled with these chocolate covered pretzels would make a nice table centerpiece! I read from other bloggers that the Dollar Tree is a great place to find great containers for displays! I guess I need to keep my eye open for one when I am out shopping! Wilton also makes Pretzel Bags that can be used to pack these with a pretty ribbon for party favors or even for a school lunch treat!


This treat is linked to:

This treat was featured at:
Annie's Home

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day Cupcakes

Today, June 14th, commemorates the adoption of the US Flag in 1777!
That was 234 years ago!
For the cupcake I used Pillsbury Stars & Stripes Funfetti Cake Mix
Red, White, & Blue Vanilla Buttercream 1M Swirls!
HAPPY FLAG DAY!



These Cupcakes are linked up to:
Cupcake Tuesdays! (Father's Day Post)
Cupcake Tuesdays! (July 4th Post)
Sweet As Sugar Cookies: Sweets For Saturday


  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flower Power Cupcakes

Last month in the Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design, in the end, I made a total of 138 flowers and decided to only use 7 flowers on my cake, leaving me with a lot of flowers! Now I am in the Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant class and learning to work with fondant. Today, I decided to use the flowers and fondant to make cupcakes!
The flowers were made with Royal Icing.
They dry totally hard and can be kept for a very long time.
We used Wilton Ready-to Use- Pastel Pink Fondant. I had heard that fondant taste really bad, then I have also heard Wilton changed there flavors. I think this actually tasted good and the cupcakes have been eaten up pretty quick with no complaints!
We rolled the fondant to 1/16th of an inch using the Wilton 20" Rolling Pin and Rolling Pin Guide Rings. We used rubber stamps with a flower design to imprint the fondant before cutting it with a cookie cutter the same size as the cupcake.
We thinly iced the cupcakes with buttercream icing before applying the imprinted fondant circles.
The flowers were attached with buttercream icing.
We piped some leaves with buttercream icing and a size 352 leaf tip.
I used 30 flowers total on these cupcakes...I still have about 100 left for future projects!
Here they all are...ready to eat!



These cupcakes are linked up to:
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