One Direction Cake

Apparently 1D is all the rage with tween and teen girls these days.

This really is such a basic cake.  The reason I'm posting it is the logo.  Have you ever tried to make a cake and realized the logo was a bit to hard to freehand in butter cream frosting?  Well, the answer is chocolate!  Yes, the chocolate wafers used for candy making.

Print out the logo or picture you'd like on your cake.. but print it out in mirror image (backwards).  Tape it to the table or counter you are working on.  Place waxed paper over the top and tape it as well.  Melt your chocolate and add the candy color of your choice. (Be sure to use candy color.  It's oil based.  Regular gel colors will make your chocolate all lumpy and basically gross!)  Ready a frosting bag with the tip of your choice.  I use a #5 tip.  Then it's as simple as outlining the logo or picture.  Fill them in like you would if you were coloring.  Let it set until hard.  Sometimes I carefully remove the wax paper with chocolate and place it in the fridge if I'm in a hurry.

When the chocolate is set and hard carefully peel off the wax paper.  When you turn the chocolate logo or picture around you will find that what you colored is perfectly smooth and shiny!  This method worked great for the 1D logo with all of the strange jig jags and open areas.  For the smaller letters I used my "decorating" tweezers to lift an place so my fingers didn't melt the delicate pieces. 

I didn't smooth the frosting on this cake because I wanted it to fit in with the logo.

So now you know the trick to making the perfect logo.  You'll find it's quite fun and addicting.

Happy chocolate coloring!!!


Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

For many years I searched for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.  My idea of perfect?  Thick, soft and tasty too.  I thought I'd never find it - to crunchy, too thin, too floury tasting, all disappointing.  The cookie recipe I craved just didn't seem to exist and frustration set in.  Then one day it just happened I stumbled across one that almost met my desires.  With a little tweaking of measurements I finally perfected it and now I proudly offer it to you with all of my little secrets.

Jenn's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Cups       Margarine (Softened)
2 Cups       Sugar
2 Cups       Brown Sugar
3                Eggs
2 tsp           Vanilla
2 tsp           Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp     Salt
1 1/2 tsp     Baking Soda
5-6 Cups    Flour
2 Bags        Milk Chocolate Chips

Mix margarine, sugar and brown sugar until it's creamy.  Mix in remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) adding the flour slowly until the dough is firm.  Add chocolate chips.  Shape into small balls or use a #40 scoop.  Place in oven preheated to 325 for about 11 minutes. 

*I like to cook a dozen, make the rest into balls and put them in an air tight container in the fridge to use when I want fresh cookies

So there is the recipe - now let me go into the whys and secrets of why it works.

First lets start with the mixer.  I am fortunate enough to have a kitchenaid  mixer.  If you have one use it.  If not a hand mixer will do, but do not add the chocolate chips with the mixer on.  You will need to mix the chips in by hand.

Now the margarine.  Anyone that knows me knows I'm a butter fanatic!  Butter just makes everything better from frosting to sauteed mushrooms. There is no substitute ever... until now.  You MUST use margarine.  Why?  Because margarine will keep your cookie soft and butter will make it crisp. Simple as that.

Cream your sugars and margarine together first.  It's a simple step, but will make a big difference.  With the sugars and margarine creamed you will have a good base and be assured the rest of the ingredients will be incorporated evenly.

The flour - I'm sure your confused as to the 5-6 cups.  It's really quite simple.  Your recipe will need to be adjusted depending on humidity, elevation and weather.  I will add less flour on a hot dry day and more on a rainy day.  If you add to little your cookies will come out flat, too much and they will stay in a ball and not flatten out and possibly taste dry.  What you want is a stiff dough that is slightly sticky, but not to sticky to handle.  If you are worried about it cook one and if it becomes too flat add more flour. Me personally, I usually use 5 1/2 cups to 6 cups of flour.

Please do not use semi-sweet chocolate chips.... milk chocolate only.  They have a sweeter taste and isn't that what you want in a cookie? 

I love my #40 scoop, it makes my cookies uniform and pretty, not to mention so much easier than rolling balls.  They aren't much.  If you don't have one you should think about getting one.  You'll be surprised how handy it is. 

The temperature.  Normally you bake cookies at 350.  If you bake them at 350 your more likely to get a darker crunchier cookie.  I have adjusted the temp to 325 to maintain the softness of the cookie.  This is a rule I use with sugar cookies, snicker doodles and just about any other cookie I put in the oven.

Baking time will change with the adjustment of the oven temperature.  If you are someone that needs a timer, as most people do, you will need to time it the first time you put the cookies in the oven.  I have found around 11 minutes works for me.  Watch your first batch carefully.  Once you can smell the aroma you know your cookies are moments away from being done.  This next part is very important to the softness of your cookie.  When you see the edges of your cookies turning a tan color, but your cookie just doesn't look done take the cookies out.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet to cool.   Cookies will continue to cook after being pulled from the oven.

Now you know the why's and the how's. Hopefully your cookies will turn out as amazing as mine!


Baseball Cap Cake & Cupcakes

This cake is obviously for a Brave's fan.
The cupcakes were bonus cuz I had left over cake batter.  They turned out cute didn't they?

Of all the cakes we make, baseball caps just happen to be one of our all time faves!

A half round pan... a little fondant with some drying time and tah-da! a baseball hat!

The cupcakes were dipped in melted frosting for a smooth look and the stitches were added with a little bit of red frosting.  The birthday boy loved it and we loved that look of awe when he asked which part was cake!


Volcano Dinosaur Cake

A rice krispie volcano covered in butter cream with spurting chocolate lava... what's not to love!!!

Seriously though, this cake even impressed me when it was finished.

The cute little palm trees are made of pretzel sticks and frosting.  The dino is a toy the birthday boys mom gave me to incorporate into the cake.

Amazing what one can create with a few pounds of frosting and a couple of cake mixes!

Blown Sugar Bubble Cake

My little man was completely obsessed with bubbles, so naturally his 3rd birthday had to be a bubble party with a cake to match the theme.

Each blue bubble is made of sugar. I was determined to learn sugar blowing just for this cake and learned much on my journey. I'll share with you my findings so your experience can go smoother than mine.

To begin you will want to have a football helmet air pump, like the one pictured to the right. Sounds crazy I know, but it works I promise. You'll need the needle at the end as well. Vegetable oil spray and gloves. I use the heavier surgical gloves... these just help protect your fingers from being burned. This is the frugal way to blow sugar, kits are available all over the web, but seem to be a little pricey.

32 oz (2 pounds granulated sugar)
16 oz (2 Cups water)
8 oz (1 Cup glucose or light corn syrup)
2 Level Teaspoons Cream of Tartar

Mix it all together in a pan on the stove and stir constantly until it reaches the soft ball stage on a candy making thermometer.  Pour it out on a splat mat - or in my case I used a greased cookie sheet.  Let it cool enough to be handled with gloves on and carefully pull the sugar for a minute.  I added candy coloring at this stage to make my bubbles blue.  Place it back on the cookie sheet

I do not own a heat lamp so in order to keep my sugar pliable I turned my toaster oven on the lowest setting and placed the melted sugar on a cookie sheet inside leaving the oven door open just a bit. I'm guessing this would also work with your regular oven.

Take a smallish piece and form a ball.  Grease the needle on the end of the pump and push it into the formed ball.  Hold onto it with one hand while pumping air into it with the other.  It will form a glass looking ball. Take a pair of open kitchen scissors and close them on the bottom portion of the bubble.  twist the bubble (not the scissor) around until the bubble is free of the left over melted sugar.  Carefully pull the bubble off of the needle.  If the hole from the needle closes use a pin and re-poke the opening.  If you skip this step your bubble will pop as the inside air cools to the rooms temperature.  Carefully lay your bubble on a tray and let it cool.

They are a bit time consuming to make - but the awe factor is so well worth the effort!

Little Giant Ladder Cake

A great big happy birthday to Little Giant Ladder's VP of Sales!

See that smile?  That's why we make cakes!
We really thought outside the "box" for this one.

It's no secret we avoid the nastiness of fondant at all cost.  We pride ourselves on staying away from it!  A cake that doesn't taste good? Seriously, what's the point of that?  Taste should never, ever be compromised for appearance - we just find another way! 

So... Rice Krispies to the rescue!  Who doesn't love a good Rice Krispie treat - and covered in butter cream frosting? Please!

A complete hit with the office!... More importantly the boss!


Berry 4th of July Trifle

 What better way to celebrate the 4th than with a patriotic trifle!

This impressive and beautiful dessert is surprisingly easy to create.
Layers of shortcake, blueberries, a mixture of whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk and strawberries.

  • 10 oz angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2lbs strawberries, sliced
  • 2 pints blueberries
For the cream filling:
  • 7 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 package white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 12 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix the condensed milk and water in a bowl.  Add the pudding mix and whisk for 2 minutes. Let stand for for about 2 minutes until soft-set.  Fold in the whipped topping.

Arrange half of the cake cubs in the bottom of a 14-cup trifle dish. Add an even layer of blueberries on top. Carefully spoon half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Add a layer of strawberries.  Repeat with cake cubes, blueberries and cream mixture. Carefully arrange the remaining strawberries and blueberries in a pretty pattern.  Refrigerate at least one 1 hour.