Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cake and Corruption

So I've had this absolutely horrible problem. My computer got a virus....yes....just as I was about to put my pretty new pictures on my blog of my recent creations. But of course, I would get a virus, I mean I'm a bit blonde when it come to computers-but that's beside the fact..The point is..I can finally get back on track with my sweet schedule...Lets get to the sugary part of this!
So, heres the story. Boy wants cake. It's his birthday. I obviously volunteer. Lauren bakes cake. (This is actually usually how the story goes) But I will get to the nitty gritty details.
I made two cakes, why you ask?'s me. But one was for his actual birthday, and the other one was for his party. This pink one (as everyone called it-DAD!) was actually orange. That was just a normal white cake with white icing. Pretty standard. I'm not going to lie about this (even though it pains me)-two words-Pillsbury and Pillsbury. End of story.

Now...for the good part. Big cake. Very big cake. Eighty five servings....and four batches of cake. Four...yes four. Wait till you hear whats in the might shock you into never eating a piece of cake again. It didn't work for me....haha...I ate cake.

The cake is one layer of chocolate and one layer of vanilla. Two huuuugggeeee cakes, and yes....I did use cake mix (pillsbury) because you can't mess with something thats so good. I'd rather put my effort into the icing muahahaahhh! Just wait till I tell you about the icing! The footbal is a white cake that I baked in a dome sort of pan. I covered it in fondant that I dyed brown. Yes, I did develop muscles in the process.
Then, it happened. The worst thing that could absolutely ever happen to me, due to the fact that I'm a perfectionist. My beautiful and lovely cake broke. I put soooo much icing on the poor cake and my kitchen was warm, that it broke right in half. I'll admit it-I cried, screamed, yelled mean things, and then called my mom. She helped me fix it, and tried to explain to me that it wasn't the end of the world, although it clearly was. So...I tried to fix the cake the best I could, and to be honest...wasn't unhappy about the finished product. This really doesn't happen very often. So let me know what you think!
Let me just tell you about this icing. It's the recipie from Magnolia Bakery, which happens to be my favorite bakery ever...located right in NYC. I once went there and bought four cupcakes and they looked so good that I ate half of one in the dressing room at a store in NYC. That's how good they were. Oh and PS...the cupcakes were gone by that next morning....guilty!
But this icing is vanilla buttercream...heaven on earth. I'll even be a sweetie and share the recipie. (By the way....three batches of this went into the cake!!)
Magnolia's TO DIE FOR Buttercream Frosting
  • One cup (two sticks) of unsalted butter, softened (the real stuff)
  • 6 to 8 cups of 10x sugar
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk (this is actually just to pretend thats it's a little healthy!)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Directions: Whip butter in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the sugar, milk, and the vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat the ingredients together for 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar a cup at a time, beating a minute in between each addition. Do not refrigerate whatever icing you do not use. Cover and store for up to three days.

So, in conclusion, there were six sticks of butter in the icing for that cake. Think of the lovely fat cells that were gained on my body. all was worth it. Actually I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Last but not least, I made cute little mini cupcakes for the birthday boy, just becauase I wanted to! It's you can go make that six stick of butter icing! GO!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dinner Date Deceivers

So....out dinner guest did finally retrieve their health. was a go. Except I was in a slight jam. It was 10:00, I had to work at 10:30-4, the guest was arriving around 5pm, and I had finished off (not single-handedly) the first fruit tart. Loved ever 13,560 calories of it. Would do it again in a heart beat actually.

Anyway...I was in a tight pinch. So, thankfully Ard's Farm Market Spurred one idea, and my love for fruit tart and fruit tart "look-alikes" help me with the other. Here's what I did:

I went completely "Sandra Lee" with semi-homeade cooking.

I call the first easy peasy dessert: Yummy looking, completely easy, everyone will be amazed, little bites of heaven. (that's my original name too.)

The process to making these is really quite delightful and easy:

Recipe for Lauren's Yummy Looking, Completely Easy, Everyone will be AMazes, Little Bites of Heaven.

  • One package of Athens brand (or any brand) phyllo shells (prebaked). You can find them in the freezer aisle next to the pastries.
  • Mixed fruit, such as fresh rasperries, blueberries, and strawberries.

  • One "can" or "packet" of strawberry pie glaze (usually found in the fresh fruit, close to the strawberries)

  • splenda

  • dark, white, or milk chocolate (optional)

Steps to success:

1. Cut and wash fresh fruit. Cover with glaze (to taste), sprinkle with splenda. Place in Phyllo shells.

2. On wax paper, pipe chocolate "circles" or "designs." Wait until hardened. Peel off, and place on tarts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Serve within one hour or phyllo will get to soggy.) (Easy chocolate melting steps: PLace a few chips or wafers in a plastic bag, microwave on 20 second increments, mashing in between. Snip off end of bag and pipe away!)

3. Pretend that you are a master pastry chef. hehe I did. They were quite impressed! You will be amazed!

Easy Peasy Dessert #2: I call this Banana Trifle (the cheating version)

Recipe for the Cheating Banana Trifle

  • One loaf of pre-made Banana Break (at least I know who made it! Thank you Ard's Farm Market). Am I proud? No, but no one at dinner knew it wasn't mine! Muahaha!

  • One box ofsugar-free banana pudding mix (plus the two cups of milk it calls for)

  • Two-Three bananas (sliced)

1. Cut up the banana bread into small cubes. Place in bottom of clear trifle dish.

2. Prepare pudding as directed on the box. Leaving enough for two more layers, spoon the pudding overtop of the bread cubes.

3. Place one sliced banana on top of the pudding.

4. Repeat steps one-three once more. Finish with a top layer of banana pudding. Top with fresh fruit of your choice. I chose blueberries, but if you wish to be more daring, please be my guest.

5. Pretend that you made that pretty little thing. That you've slaaavved hours making that moist and delectable banana bread and homeade pudding. You can do it! You've earned it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What a Fruit (Tart!)

Lets get a few things strait. No, I don't hoverin the kitchen all day thinking of the next thing I can bake (Yes, I do that....but not in the kitchen) I'm actually quite a busy person. I also don't create fabulous desserts for no reason at all. I always have a legitamite excuse to create something yummy. Today for example. Fruit Tart Fabulous! We had a "dinner guest" coming over, but unfortunately our guest was stricken with sickness. However, before I was aware of this I had created a Fruit tart. What is better for a dinner party then a fruit tart? We will have to savor this dessert ourselves....ohh no!
I had never before created a fruit tart. Whenever I have attemped to researching always looked so labor intensive. I'm not about that. So I decided to myself last night that I was going to "revamp" a fruit tart with my own special touches! I'll even be a sweetie and share my newfound, homemade recipie (maybe I'll write a book one day!)

Lauren's What a Fruit (Tart!) Tart
For the "tart" shell: one pillsbury sugar cookie roll

For the "cream": one box of sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
two cups of milk
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened)

For the Fruit topping: One small package of red raspberries, One small package of blueberries, Two kiwis, One package of strawberries (but don't limit yourselves to just these, use your imagination with fruit!)

For the glaze: 1/2 cup of apricot preserves
2 Tablespoons of honey
1 Tablespoon of water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenhite for a dark coated "torte" pan (350-for normal pan).
2. Tart: Make sure cookie dough is chilled. Take it out of the package and (with floured table-top and hands) roll out cookie dough so it fits in a "tart" pan (like one below). You can also make this on a pizza pan and just push it so it fits. Next: push the dough into the pan to fit, and trim off any excess edges. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool. Flip onto pretty serving dish(because you use the underside of a torte pan to make a tart-leave it "upside-down")
3. Cream: Make the pudding with the milk with the instruction on the box. Beat in the softened cream cheese. Place cream into cooled tart shell.
4. Top with fruit-in whatever beautiful pattern you so choose.
5. Honey-Apricot Glaze: On low heat in a small saucepan, combine honey, preserves, and water in until preserves are may need to boil a bit. As soon as it has cooled just a bit, brush the preserves onto the fruit with a pastry brush. Try not to get it on the shell, or it will get soggy. Also, be very light about the glaze (you will not use all of it.) Just make that fruit shiny!
6. Put that tart into the frigidare for about 1 hour or until set! Enjoy! with cool whip or vanilla ice cream! Yummy! See pictures below!

The last picture has the "shiny fruit" shown. Don't goop on the glaze or it will make your beautiful work...not so beautiful!

So.....pretend your having a dinner guest over and treat yourself! It's practically healthy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Party

Yes, a party of peanut butter. I pray that heaven will be filled with the thick brown peanut paste. It aids in so many wonderful things from cakes to cookies. It's traditional in sandwiches, and is even found in sauces and soups. What a lovely, lovely thing.

I'll help you realize how divine this is.....I'll even share the fabulous recipie with you (don't mention it!) And the best part is.....all these ober fabulash cookies come from one single peanut butter cookie dough.

Lauren's Peanut Butter Party Cookie Recipie: (Middle picture above)

  • 1/2 cup of "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" Baking butter
  • 1/2 cup of Crisco shortening
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of creamy "Jif" peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Cream butter, shortening, and sugars. Add eggs and blend with mixer. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended.

2. Roll into "small" golf ball size balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets two inches apart.

3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes or until just about set. Do not overbake! Leave on sheet for two minutes, sprinkle with sugar crystals, then transfer to rack or paper towel to cool. Store in covered contained. (Voolah! A peanut butter party-watch yourself though-the party is hard to stop!!) Above picture-Peanut Butter Cup Tarts

1. prepare peanut butter party cookie recipie as follows. Roll into small balls- and place into ungreased mini muffin pan. Press slightly to make the slightest indent. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes or until set. As soon as they come out of the oven. Presh one mini Reeses cup into the cookie. Sprinkle with festive sprinkles (if desired!-I sure did!!). Let cool. Remove from pan. Let set for about one hour for the chocolate to set. Store in covered container.

Peanut Butter Zebras (Right)

Prepare cookies exactly like Peanut Butter Party Cookies. They only difference is when the cookies are cool. Drizzle melted milk and white chocolate on the cookies. A little chocolate tip (place chocolate wafers in a ziploc bag, and place in the microwave for 15 sec. intervals, smoosh until melted. Snip the edge and drizzle chocolate on cookies. Let chocolate set, and enjoy! They might make you go wild! Ok, they WILL make you go wild!

Peanut Butter is a party. Dare you to come!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oh the Possibilities (of Cake Mix)

Yes, possibilities. I said it. Oh, and let me tell you why. Well....right now I'll just show you why.

Cake Mix Facts:

#1 Cake mix is fabulous.

#2 You can look like a crazy master baking with one single cake mix!

#3 You should really go buy some cake mix.

I have finally realized the full potential of cake mix. I only devoted a teeny smeany amount of time to this venture as it's worth the tiny bit of trouble.

Well...I shall start at the beginning. Pillsbury's moist deluxe chocolate cake mix makes (truly) the BEST chocolate cake I've ever tasted. Really people. I'm not lying here. If you have 18-22 minutes and two cupcake pans-I dare you to try!

But...the possibilities of such cake mix. Here are a few easy and very simple "gourmet" cupcake ideas that I decided to put about an ounce of effort into.

Front Left-Chocolate Coconut Snowballs. Reserve a small portion of the chocolate cake mix batter and stir in a "favorable" amount of coconut. Bake for the normal time on the cake mix. Frost with your favorite vanilla frosting (I'm not going to lie-I used Pillsbury Creamy Supremevanilla-it's truly everyone's favorite) Then roll in coconut on top.

Front Right- Choco-covered Peanut Butter Pretzel. Could this combo sound any better? First you reserve a small amount of chocolate cake mix batter and add one spoonful of peanut butter. If it gets super thick-just add water until it's a bit more smooth. Bake as normal. Take vanilla frosting and add peanut butter to taste. Pipe frosting on cupcakes. Top with a pretzel, and drizzle melting chocolate on top. !!Chocolate trick!!-put a few choco chips in a plastic baggie and put it into the microwave for 15 sec. intervals until melting. Snip the the corner and pipe chocolate onto the cupcake!

Middle Left-Marsh Bee Cupcake. Intrigued? Crush up Honey Bees...add to a reserved amount of chocolate cake batter. Bake as normal. Add marshmallow cream to vanilla frosting. Pipe onto cupcake. Sprinkle onto cupcake, then top with a Honey Bee.

Middle Right- Regular Choco. cupcake with vanilla frosting piped only onto the center. Press into mini nonparells. Press until sprinkles are flat.

Top Left-Chocolate "pumpkin" Cupcakes. Regular chocolate cupcake frosted with vanilla frosting. Press in orange sanding sugar until flat. Attach a rounded green candy dot with a small bit of frosting.

Top Right- Choco-PB Filled Cupcake. Same cupcake recipie as Choco-peanut butter pretzel cupcake. Put peanut butter icing into ziploc bag or piping bag. Push tip into cupcake and fill-just about it's ready to burst everywhere. Then drizzle melted chocolate, top with chocolate swirls.

Look at them! They are all ready to go and be eaten! Goodbye Cupcake! Can't wait until the leftover return to me (if there are any!) Go ahead!! Be creative! Get your hands on a cake mix!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For the Love of Candy

This, is the ultimate "sweet." What a great way to start a blog. Thanks to snippy.snippy.crab.kristi for providing this wonderful masterpiece. It brightens us all!

Friday, October 2, 2009

the "Miss Cupcake" Project

Just what I need. One extra thing in my life to keep me busy, because we all know how much time we have on our hands to do things like this. Absolutely zero. But you know, there are times when some things you know you just got to go for. This is my "got to go" project.

Let me start at the very beginning (which is a very good place to start-according to Julie Andrews). I love to bake. I love to make anything and everything sweet. It's a rather small obsession that has enveloped into this large obsession. I have been dreaming about writing a blog ever since "Bakerella" and the movie Julie and Julia! ps if you haven't seen the movie-it's a super must.

What is this "Miss Cupcake" project might you ask? Well, it's my goal to bake everything under the sun. All things cute and cuddly that is. Cupcakes, cake balls, fabulous layer cakes, chocolate covered cuties-you name it. But all with my own little twist. I love creating new and fabulous things for people to eat and rave over. You too can share with me in this once a week blog of my "weekly" task to be crowned Miss Cupcake. It's going to be fun-except I'm a perfectionist-which you soon will find to be true. Get ready for my first baking post and I bet you'll be hooked! Also, if there is something that you have allllwwaayss wanted to try, but didn't have the guts to bake, I'm your "cupcake!" Let me have those requests. I love to be innovative.

Get ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and anytime treats and concoctions. I'm a holiday-maniac. I can't wait! Can you?

Did I mention I'm a full time college freshman. Doesn't that make everything more fun!? I have a passion for culinary and this is what I need to fufill my culinary passions while I get through business school!

Please join me in my quest to bake it all, try it all, and create it all! and it helps that my favorite food is cake-Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes with buttercream icing (in case you were wondering!)

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