Homemade Conversation Hearts

One of my favourite things about Valentine’s Day has to be conversation hearts! I’ll admit, there’s nothing special about the way that they taste, but there’s always been something about the texture, and of course the little sayings on them that I love!

Conversation Hearts

Conversation hearts were never a candy I thought about making…I never really considered what went into them. However, when searching on Pinterest for Valentine’s Day inspiration, I came across a recipe for the dough and decided to give it a try! I even ordered this amazing stamp kit from Amazon.ca…now I just need to find another use for it!DIY Conversation Hearts

In addition to custom phrases, I also used different flavours for my homemade version of the beauties:
Yellow = vanilla
Pink = cinnamon
White = peppermint
Orange = Bergamot
Blue = Rootbeer

Conversation Hearts

You can find and follow the recipe here. I followed it without any modifications to the ingredients, and the results were lovely!

Conversation Hearts

Conversation Hearts

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Scalloped Lemon Cake

I don’t want to lead anyone on, so allow me to cut to the chase: I realize it is now March 14th, which means that St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 3 days away. I also realize that this is the perfect opportunity to post some sham-rockin’ green goodies, but the long and short of it is, I just don’t have enough time these days to bake the things that I would like to!

The good news is, I have been negligent (as always) with my posting, so I do have loads of recent projects that you may not have seen yet (unless you have started following me on Instagram), which I will try and publish in the next month or so!

Now that you aren’t expecting leprechaun cupcakes, you’re in luck because I am about to make you green with envy over this charming cake! It really is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! (sorry, it was all there, I just had to).Scalloped Lemon Cake

I just  celebrated my birthday last month (woohoo!), and I wanted to make something delicious and beautiful that wouldn’t take up a lot of my time. The result: this 4 layer lemon cake with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream scalloped around the exterior. Scalloped Lemon Cake

If you wish to create this technique but are not sure how, you can view my (brief) tutorial on one of last year’s posts here.

Scalloped Lemon Cake

That’s it! Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

Disclaimer: Many lemons were harmed in the making of this cake

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Valentine’s Day Cookie Boxes

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The past two evenings have been super busy as I’ve been baking up a storm over here!  Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to:

Valentine's Day

 

For the sugar cookie boxes I cut out 5 large hearts, and then used a smaller heart to cut out the middles of three of them. Once baked, I stacked them using royal icing and connected them to a base piece.

Sugar Cookie Treat Boxes

For the chocolates, I made peanut butter filled milk chocolate hearts, and peppermint filled dark chocolate hearts.

Valentine's Chocolates

And finally, my newest creation: cookie confetti! It’s a great way to use up cookie dough, and you only have to bake them for 5 minutes 🙂

Cookie Confetti

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Valentines Day Treat Boxes

Sugar Cookie Confetti

What did the boy octopus say to the girl octopus?
I wanna hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand? 

2013 Holiday Baking

I promise this is the final post in my 3 day posting binge! I had an extremely jam-packed holiday schedule this year (last year..?) and as a result, haven’t had time to write posts until now…as it is already two weeks into 2014 I figured I would just publish them all at once before it is too late! Don’t worry, knowing me, I probably won’t get around to another post for at least 2 months :).

The night that I finished writing my last exam, I started a baking marathon that involved 14 dozen sugar cookies for my Dad’s work. 14 dozen might not sound so bad (or maybe it does), but I can assure you this was a very time-consuming endeavor! Keep in mind I used a standard sized oven, and decorating was a multi-step process. In the end, the effort was worth it, as everything came together on time, and my “clients” were happy with the result!

On a whim I decided to make some last minute mini cupcakes on Christmas Eve. The flavours were chocolate and gingerbread, and the icing was ginger-cinnamon. Delicious! All of the toppers were made out of fondant and decorated with edible markers.

Christmas Mini Cupcakes

I also made 3 different kinds of chocolate bark this year: Peppermint, Dark chocolate with pistachio and cranberry, and milk chocolate with mango, papaya and coconut. I failed to temper the chocolate, so the bark was in perfect condition as long as it was in the fridge, but had some unfortunate blooming if left out at room temperature too long. Lesson learned!

Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year!

I may be nearly 2 weeks late with this post, but here’s a treat worthy of any special celebration: champagne cupcakes!

Champagne Cupcakes

These cupcakes have the most amazing texture! They also have the very distinct taste of champagne. Since I realize that may not appeal to the masses, in the future I am going to try the same recipe using Pellegrino. Wish me luck!

In order to start the new year off on a good note, I feel I must speak the truth here: you can feel free to pop open an actual bottle of Moet & Chandon, OR if you are like me you can just use it for photos (successfully avoiding the wrath of your parents) and “splurge” on a mini bottle of Henkell. The choice is yours! Now you know all of my secrets!

Champagne Cupcakes

I decorated these cupcakes using vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, gold and white sanding sugar, sugar pearls, and pearl jimmies – a lovely combination if I do say so myself!

Champagne Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes

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Celebratory Champagne  CupcakesChampagne Cupcakes

Source: adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup champagne/prosecco/sparkling white wine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare muffin tin with liners
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar high speed until blended and lightened in colour, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk until fully combined.
  4. Measure the champagne and add the yogurt to it. Set aside
  5. Add both egg whites to butter mixture and beat on medium just until combined (about 15-20 seconds)
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on medium speed just until combined (about 15 seconds)
  7. Add the champagne/yogurt mixture and beat on medium speed just until combined (about 15 seconds)
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remainder of the dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined (about 30-60 seconds), scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The batter will be thick.
  9. Scoop batter into muffin tins using an ice cream scoop.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cakes spring back when touched. Cool completely before decorating.

Eggnog Pancakes

The last few days of eggnog are upon us! If your family is like mine, you can’t get enough of this stuff and are sad to see it go at the end of the Holidays. I know that you can make this stuff yourself, but the whole concept of the raw eggs creeps me out, so there I go feigning ignorance and picking up a carton or two (or three).Eggnog Pancakes

So here’s a funny story for you. I was intending to make vegan pancakes the other day as I got a new book for Christmas that I wanted to try out; but when I went to the fridge to grab soy milk, the eggnog was pretty much screaming at me. So my pancakes went from being vegan to non-vegan in the span of seconds.

Eggnog Pancakes

I stuck with the vegan baking method, using eggnog and vinegar as an egg substitute (yes, i realize that there are eggs in eggnog, just work with me here), but other than that, I ended up improvising the rest of the recipe. The best part about this is since you don’t have to worry about dividing eggs, you can make this recipe as small (or as large) as you want.Eggnog Pancakes

In the end these were delicious and had an unmistakable eggnog flavour! So now you have something to do with those last few drops of eggnog in your fridge before it leaves stores in a few days! Enjoy!

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Eggnog Pancakes 

Makes 6

Source: Cake for Thought

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Method:

  1. Combine eggnog and vinegar in a small mixing bowl and allow to curdle. Stir in yogurt and sugar.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until combined (a few lumps are okay).
  4. Heat a pan or griddle over medium heat. Coat pan in oil, and scoop on 1/3 cup of batter.
  5. When the pancake is bubbling (after 4-5 minutes), flip it over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  6. Serve with icing sugar and maple syrup.

Yam Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving weekend was filled with friends, family and good food! 

My sister and I were on our own this year, so we had a simplified Thanksgiving dinner. CB tackled the entree, which was a delicious curried coconut turkey stew, and I was in charge of dessert. One of my favourite things about turkey dinners is YAMS! Seriously, it feels like you are eating dessert for dinner, which is exactly why I thought it would be a good idea to combine my two favourite things: cake and yams! Alas, the yam spice cake was born!

Yam Spice CakeAcorn cake

 

 

 

This cake is the perfect dessert: egg whites provide a light and delicate texture, and the spices enhance the natural deliciousness of the yam! All in all, it is the perfect combination, and a must-try for the fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The acorn shape was carved out of two 6 inch round cakes, and its “hat” was decorated using chopped pecans. 

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Yam Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Yam Spice Cake

Source: Cake for Thought

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (85 g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional) 
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup roasted and pureed yam (approx. 1 medium yam)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 6-inch round cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar high speed until blended and lightened in colour, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, add the 
  4. dry ingredients and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Measure the milk and add the yam. Set aside
  6. Add both egg whites to butter mixture and beat on medium just until combined (about 15-20 seconds)
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on medium speed just until combined (about 15 seconds)
  8. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium speed just until combined (about 15 seconds)
  9. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remainder of the dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined (about 30-60 seconds), scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The batter will be thick.
  10. Divide cake batter evenly between the two pans. Level off the top using a spatula.
  11. Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until cake tester comes out dry and cake springs back when touched. Cool completely before decorating.

DSCN6996

Cinnamon Buttercream

Source: Cake for Thought

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups of icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • Food colouring (optional)

Method:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth
  2. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Add the milk, and food colouring if desired

Robin Egg Sugar Cookies

Happy Easter everyone!

Unfortunately I have no cake or cupcakes to report following the long weekend, however I did manage to make these cute and easy cookies!

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To make your own Robin Egg Sugar Cookies, here’s what you will need:

  • 1 batch of sugar cookies, baked and cooled
  • 1 batch of royal icing, divided and tinted
  • squeeze bottles (or piping bags)
  • brown food colouring
  • clean paint brush
  • glove (optional, but very helpful!)

After the cookies have baked and cooled, divide and colour your icing. Water the icing down with water, until it is runny, but thick enough to hold its shape when squeezed/piped onto the cookies (this will be pretty obvious…the icing will either maintain a clean edge along the cookie or it will drip off of the side…if it drips, just return it to the bowl and add more icing sugar, until you get the right consistency).

Typical sugar cookie directions online will recommend piping an outline on the cookies first and then flooding with runnier icing…my cookie piping skills are amateur at best, so I just used a squeeze bottle to ice the entire cookie :).

Let the cookies dry for several hours or overnight, and then you can add the speckles! (you probably want to do this next part outside, unless you don’t mind brown speckles all over your kitchen).

Robin Egg Sugar Cookies

Mix a small amount of brown food colouring with a small amount of water. Dip the brush in the diluted food colouring, and flick the brush bristles using your index finger (just like the good old days of Kindergarten splatter painting!), until you are happy with the amount of speckle on your eggs. I used a medical glove for this step, so that I didn’t have one tanned finger :).

Let the speckles dry and you are ready to eat!

anigif1

Happy Easter!

Simple Scalloped Birthday Cake

Scalloped Cake

Happy Friday!

Last night I made a cake for my Dad’s birthday. He’s what you would call a “no-fuss” kind of guy; in other words his birthday cake request is usually nothing more than “vanilla with chocolate icing.” If he had it his way, it would have been a Betty Crocker cake mix with pre-made icing, but that would have been way too easy. However, I decided not to do anything too elaborate with the cake this year since my sister and I have promised to cook and bake our Dad some of his favourite Austrian treats this weekend, so I didn’t feel the need to go overboard…perhaps Father’s Day will be a different story? 🙂

 

I’ve been seeing  a lot of scalloped cakes on Pinterest lately, so I figured this would be the perfect time to try out what seemed like a really easy but attractive technique. I am happy to report that it not only looks good, but is indeed super easy to execute (and has nothing to do with sea creatures or cheesy potatoes ;)). All you will need is:

Once you have a thin base layer of icing on the cake there are only 2 repetitive steps involved in the scalloping technique:

Scalloped cake

 

What you choose to do with the top of the cake is completely up to you…I chose to scallop the design in towards the center, and finished it off with a dot. Scalloped Cake

 

Happy Scalloping!