September 5, 2012

Easy Cupcake Buttercream Rose Tutorial

Hi friends!  Thank you so much for being patient with me while I took a break from blogging!  I recently took a quick poll on my Facebook page if you would rather have a cupcake or pirate ship tutorial.  So, to please both sides, I have a sneak peek of the pirate ship, and here is the tutorial for the cupcake!

Pretty right?  Just wait until you see how easy it is!  
You'll want some cupcakes.  and some buttercream.  and a size 1M wilton decorating tip, with a bag.

I'll describe it first, then there is a video! 
Put frosting in the decorating bag with tip.  Hold the tip perpendicular to the cupcake in the middle.  With even pressure, start piping, and swirl in a circle (I go counter clock-wise), until the whole cupcake is covered.  Got it? yeah, I like videos too :)

and there ya go!  Good Luck!

November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Roll

Oh pumpkin roll.  I love you.  Might just be my favorite pumpkin treats yet. 


The morning after my friend and I made these, I had full intentions of eating a healthy breakfast.  Until I was completely distracted by this pumpkin roll, so I ate some of it instead.  Let me tell you, that was one delicious breakfast!! 

Looking at recipes online, I found that for the most part, they all seemed pretty similar.  So, we tried 2 different recipes:  same ingredients, 2 preparations.  One where you just mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and where where you don’t. 

Believe me when I say that it is TOTALLY worth it to spend the extra time to prepare this recipe.  So, that’s the recipe that I’m including.  You won’t be sorry.  This pumpkin roll is seriously good!! 

Pumpkin Roll from Taste of Home

3 eggs, separated

1 C sugar, divided

2/3 C canned pumpkin

3/4 C flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt


8 oz cream cheese, softened (1 package)

2 Tlbsp butter, softened

1 C powdered sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Line a jelly roll pan (15”x10”x1”) with parchment paper.  Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 F
  • In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick.  Gradually add 1/2 C sugar and beat until lemony colored. 
  • Add pumpkin and beat on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl, then gently fold into the pumpkin/egg mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes.
  • While cake is cooling, get another piece of parchment paper bigger than the cake, and dust it with powdered sugar. 
  • Flip the cake onto the powdered sugar parchment paper, and peel off the parchment paper that the cake was baked in. 
  • Roll up the cake, starting with the short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Once cake is cool, unroll the cake and spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to eat.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.


I want to add this to the list of required Thanksgiving dishes this year!

p.s. Can you believe it’s only a week away?? Yeah, me either.

November 8, 2011

Harry Potter Treats

This summer, I was out of town basically the entire month before the final Harry Potter movie released to theatres.  So, I didn’t make any totally awesome treats to put on the blog.  However, that didn’t stop me from making some butterbeer cookies the night of release, and going to the see the movie with my sister that weekend. 

Pretty sure I cried like 6 times during the movie.  It brought back everything that I loved about the book to the front of my memory.  I love the Harry Potter books.  I have fond memories reading/listening to them with my whole family growing up.  We always pronounced Hermione Herm-ee-own.  And then some of the siblings started sneaking the books to read ahead, so it would become a battle over who’s turn it was to use the book.  Let me tell you, my mom’s hardback copies of those books are seriously loved. 

I even wrote a paper about the series in college (I think there were only 4 books out at that time).  Good vs. Evil.  I remember there being lots of controversy over the books, so I addressed that.  I was really happy with the end result.  My vote is definitely “good."  I think the series teaches a lot about strength, standing for what you believe, friendship, family, loyalty, etc.  I’d have to get the paper to remember all the details. 

Anyway…….  I can’t lie.  I’m sad there are not more books or movies to look forward to.  I hope that it’s still cool to have Harry Potter birthday parties when my kids grow up a bit and start reading them.  I even kind of wish I was having a HP party this weekend for myself and lots of friends and family!  and of course buying the final movie and having a marathon! 

I’m sure someone is having a party, right??  well if you are, I have gathered some ideas for you!  There are so many, but I’m putting together some of my favorites, that just look awesome.

First off, is a whole Harry Potter spread from just Sweet and Simple.  It even has links to printables and recipes.  Doesn’t it look great?

Harry potter party 1a

Butterbeer Cupcakes from Sweet Tooth.  I think these look uh-Mazing!butter1

Butterbeer from Dine & Dishbutterbeer-2

Pumpkin Pasties from Britta.compasties

Butterbeer Sugar Cookies from Bake at 350.  (these are the ones I made.  SO good!!)HPbutterbeerglazestackclose

Golden Snitch Butterbeer cake pops from amybites.DSC_0725

And I think my most favorite one of all:

Harry Potter Vertical Layer Spice Cake from Bakingdom.Hogwarts-House-Pride-Cake

Please note that none of these pictures are my own, but from the website that I linked up.  Aren’t those just some great ideas?  I think I’m in love with butterbeer so much because butterscotch and cream soda?  I don’t know, just sounds delicious.  Someday I will make it to the Harry Potter amusement park and try the ‘real’ stuff!

November 6, 2011

Slanted Stripe Cake Tutorial

I’ve gotten lots of great feedback for my construction site cake.  Thank you so much for the nice things you’ve had to say!!  I’ve also had some more questions on how exactly I cut those slanted layers.  So, I’m doing a tutorial.  I hope it helps!!

I decided not to do the black and yellow again, because I wanted to see what it would look like in other colors!  But it is perfect with black and yellow stripes for a construction cake.


First things first, we gotta start with the recipe.  When I made the construction cake, I had 4 layers total (2 chocolate, 2 vanilla), enough to make 2 double layer cakes.  I cut slanted layers in them all, and picked which ones I thought would look best.  If you don’t want 2 full cakes, either cut both recipes in half, or just make this white cake recipe, and dye it 2 different colors.

White Cake (makes 2 8” layers)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated recipe I found at Crumbly Cookies

1 C milk, room temperature

3/4 C eggs whites (about 4), room temperature

1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 C cake flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1 3/4 C sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

12 T (1 1/2 cubes butter), softened

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare 2 8” pans with spray and wax paper.
  • In a bowl, combine milk, egg whites and extracts and whisk together with a fork.  Set aside.
  • Sift both flours together, and add sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix together on low speed with a standing or hand mixer.
  • Add the butter a little bit at a time, and mix together until it’s all moist crumbs*
  • Reserve 1/2 C of the egg/milk mixture, and add the rest to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix on medium speed with a standing mixer, using a paddle (or high speed with a hand mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Scrape sides of bowl, then add the rest of the milk mixture, and mix to combine, for at least 30 seconds.

**if you are adding color, be sure to add it before you start baking.  I use gel colorings

  • Divide evenly into 2 prepared pans, and cook for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cakes sit in pans for about 3 minutes, then invert onto wire racks, remove wax paper, then invert again to let cool completely.

*I don’t really understand what ‘moist crumbs’ are, but this is what mine looked like:


Now that your layers are cooled all the way, they need to get frozen. 


Loosely wrap each layer individually with plastic wrap, then place in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.  I think mine were in the freezer for 4-5 hours before I took them out.

*I made this tutorial at night, so I apologize for all the harsh flash lighting*

The first step is to level the cakes, for 2 reasons: 1. so the cake is flat* across the top 2. so both layers are equal in height.


I have a cake leveler, but if you don’t, you can definitely use a serrated knife. Just be careful to hold the knife level.

*I didn’t make my cake exactly flat across the top.  Because they sunk a bit in the middle, I decided I would rather have a small dip in the middle than taking more cake off:


Now we can start making those slanted cuts!

I used our bread knife, because it is serrated, and I seem to have better luck cutting cakes with a bread knife.

I put my cakes on plates, because the plate turns easily on my counter.

Place the tip of your knife about this far away from the edge of your cake: (don’t start cutting yet, just get the distance)


now, tilt your knife to your desired angle, I believe mine was about 45 degrees, and then stick the knife into the cake at your angle, getting all the way through the cake


Cut the cake in a circle: staying as equal distance to the edge of the cake, and keeping the angle the same as best as you can around the whole cake.  I do a couple of saw motions, then rotate the plate, saw, rotate etc. until you’ve gone all the way around.

Once you make it all the way around the cake, lift up and edge of the cake from the plate:


Then slip the inside circle out:


It should come easily since the cakes are frozen, and they should be sturdy enough to not break.  But be careful anyway.

the inside ring should look like this:


and the outside ring should look like this:


**wow, I REALLY need to get some white plates….  I hope you can see it ok**

After I cut them, I move the outside ring to another plate off to the side.

Repeat the outer cut with the other color layer


Now onto the smaller circles.  For measuring, the first time around I used cardboard, but I don’t think that’s necessary.  This time I just used parchment paper.  I used my 6” pan to trace a circle on the parchment paper, cut it out just inside the line (so it was a little smaller than 6”), then placed it on top of the cake:


then I took a small knife, traced around the parchment paper making a shallow line, so that I knew where I should be cutting:


I tried to take a picture to show you the traced line, but it wasn’t showing up in the pictures.  as long as you can see it, and know where you should cut, then you’re good to go.

and then you cut again, this time following the line you just traced, holding the knife at an angle just like last time:


When you make the full circle, it should come out easily:


move the outside circle to another plate:


then cut the other colored layer the same way, with the same 6” parchment paper circle, and move the outside ring to another plate.

After that, we need 1 smaller circle.  I decided to eye ball cutting the circle to be about 4”, and placed it on top of the cake:


trace around it with a knife, to make a shallow line to follow, and then cut with the bread knife just as on the others

so after this cut, the outside circle should look like this:


and the very inside should look like this:


Now cut the other color layer the same way! then you will have 2 insides:


Now we’re going to put it all together!!




See the little gaps?  It will be ok.  Since we’re just judging the angles, I think that it would seriously be impossible to make this cake perfect. So, we’ll just run with imperfect!

At this tutorial where I got my idea from, she pours a simple syrup on top of the cake, wraps wax paper around it to get it to stick, and puts it back into the freezer.  I don’t think this is a bad idea, but I didn’t do it.  I just wrapped mine fairly tightly (not enough to distort the cake shape) in plastic wrap and threw it back into the freezer.  This way the layers start to freeze together.

Once they’re frozen again (a couple hours) you can start to decorate!

(for this tutorial, I decided not to frost it, sorry! But you’ll get the idea how awesome it would look frosted, right??)

Place the bottom layer on your serving platter and cover with frosting


Place the next layer on top:


frost entire cake how desired!!

Then….  when you cut into it, it will look like this:


(with frosting, it will look even better! and stay together better too)


cut in half:


and believe me when I say that no one is going to notice gaps, or that the lines aren’t perfectly matched, or any imperfection when they see a piece of cake that looks like this sitting on their plate!!


So, was this helpful? I’d love feedback!  and, if you make a slanted stripes cake, I would LOVE to see it!!  post a picture on my Facebook wall, or email me a picture!

November 4, 2011

Orange Ombre Butterfly Cake

October 30th is my daughter’s birthday.  Let me tell you, it made for a pretty crazy Halloween weekend.  (Did I mention we also had a church activity and family in town) It was totally crazy but so fun!!

Both my older kids talk about what kind of theme/cake they want for their birthdays months before it actually happens.  So, I usually wait until fairly last minute to be SURE that they won’t change their minds. 

My daughter picked a butterfly theme probably 4 weeks ago, and has stuck with it since.  She also has told me several times that her favorite color is orange.  Not pink.  Orange.  So, that’s what I ran with. 


I know that I had this awesome cake in the back of my head somewhere, giving me a jumping off point.  Isn’t it cool?

I didn’t frost the cake perfectly for 2 reasons: 1) I thought it was more whimsical and fun for the butterflies 2) hello, insanely easier to frost non-perfectly :)


You can’t really tell from the above picture, but the frosting wasn’t super thick, so you could kind of see the tint of orange from underneath, because the inside looked like this:


Love me some ombre!  I wish I had kept the top layer white then graduated more, but oh well.  I still think it looks so cool!



Orange Ombre Butterfly Cake makes a 6 layer 8” cake

I used this tried and true white cake recipe.  Love it.  Then divided it evenly into 6 different bowls.  I believe it was approximately 1 C and 2 Tbsp in each bowl. 

Then I started adding color.  At first I did just one drop in the first bowl, 2 drops in the 2nd etc, but it wasn’t near as vibrant enough as I wanted.  So, then I decided to get the darkest color right first.  I even added 1 drop of red to the darkest layer.  and it turned way more red then I was thinking, so I adding probably 10 more drops of orange (remember it already had 6) to finally get the color I liked.  A lot.  Wow, I’m totally rambling.  Basically, add colors to all of your bowls, until you get the colors that you like! Best part is, the cake cooks up the same color as the batter, so you don’t have to guess.  Whatever color it is as batter, that’s how the cake will look.

These layers are not very thick, so it only took about 15-18 minutes to cook. 

After I baked the layers, and they cooled completely, I wrapped each one individually with plastic wrap and then put them in the freezer.   This is a perfect trick so that you can make your cakes ahead of time.  I made them Wednesday, and they stayed in the freezer until I frosted the cake on Sunday!  Not having to worry about making the layers Saturday or Sunday was a huge stress relief. 

For the frosting, I wanted to continue the orange theme, so I used some orange emulsion.  Seriously, this stuff is delicious.  Delicious. The smell is so good, and added to the frosting, just made it taste like some fresh orange zesty goodness.  Loved it. 

Orange Flavored Butter Cream

1 lb butter, room temp  (yes, that is 4 cubes……)

6 cups powdered sugar

2-3 tsp Orange Bakery Emulsion, or to taste (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)

3 Tbsp cream or milk

  • Beat butter, and then add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing to combine before adding more, scraping sides as needed.
  • Add flavoring, and if needed the milk 1 T at a time, to get the desired consistency.

To assemble cake:

Remove layers from freezer, unwrap from plastic, and place bottom layer on desired serving platter.

Spread a thin amount of frosting on layer.  Because the layers are frozen, it makes it really easy to spread the frosting thin, without the cake falling apart.

Continue building the cake, alternating between cake and thin frosting layers.  After you put the top layer on, use remainder of frosting to frost the rest of the cake!

Even though it might seem like a decent amount frosting, I *barely* had enough frosting to cover the cake.  If you plan on decorating the cake with frosting, you’ll need to make more.

Fondant butterflies

To make the butterflies, I rolled out fondant, and used a little fondant cutter that I found at Michael’s.  After that, I used a piece of foil to help them get their shape:



I had 3 rows, and I used some orange Wilton Color Mist to get them 3 different shades of orange. *makes these ahead of time so that they have enough time to dry before you use them.   Probably around 2-3 days at least.


Thanks for stopping by! have a great day!