Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recent Cake Creations

Just wanted to share some of my recent cake creations.

I try to do something a little different everytime I make a cake.

This first one was for Ms. Pants' 1st birthday cake in February. It was a vanilla cake with strawberry and whipped cream filling.

I had a little trouble with the frosting color - I wanted purple, so I bought purple gel coloring but it turned out blue! After much frustration and finally giving up trying to make it purple, I took the blue frosting and started frosting the extra cupcakes which I had filled through the tops with whipped cream. The residual whipped cream mixed with the frosting and it turned purple! There was much rejoicing.

This next one I made for our ward's annual spaghetti dinner and cake auction (to raise money for youth summer camps) in April.

I called it the If you don't like chocolate, then this cake is not for you chocolate cake.

It's triple chocolate cake with chocolate cream and ganache filling. The frosting is chocolate (naturally) and the sides are covered in chocolate ganache. The chocolate lattice on the top I'd never tried before. I used ganache as well and it turned out very nice.

This last cake I made for an Activity Days event in May.

It was vanilla cake with lemon marscapone cream (my recipe can be found HERE) and ladyfinger filling with lemon buttercream frosting.

I had never made leaves before so I went crazy on this one. I thought they were so cute. And the flowers turned out nice as well. I changed colors midway through decorating but I used the same bag so some of the flowers are orange and yellow - it makes for a pretty effect.

My oldest child is already making outrageous demands for her birthday cake so stayed tuned for that in September! Until then, happy baking!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gryffindor Baby Beanie

In honor of the imminent release of the last Harry Potter movie:

Here's a sweet little hat pattern to keep your witch, wizard, squib, or muggle warm on a cold day at the quidditch pitch (well, I guess not if you're a muggle), or perhaps a stroll into Hogsmeade.

Size: 0-3 months
Knit in the round, size 5 dpns; Burgundy and Yellow yarn

Cast on 60 stitches (with Burgundy color) and join in the round.
Row 1-8 (approximately 3/4 inch) *k2, p2* rib, repeat around.
The rest of the hat will be knit in Garter stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row).
Row 9-14, garter stitch 6 rows (ending with a purl row).
Row 15-16, Switch to Yellow color, garter stitch 2 rows.
Row 17-20, Switch to Burgundy color, garter stitch 4 rows (ending with a purl row).
Row 21-22, Switch to Yellow color (I carried the yellow yarn up the inside of the work, so that there were less ends to weave in), garter stitch 2 rows.
Row 23, Switch to Burgundy color (I carried it up the inside), garter stitch until piece measures 4 1/2 inches from cast-on edge (end with a purl row).
*k8, k2tog* repeat around.
Purl 1 row (to keep the garter stitch pattern).
*k7, k2tog* repeat around.
Purl 1 Row.
*k6, k2tog* repeat around.
*p5, p2tog* repeat around.
*k4, k2tog* repeat around.
*p3, p2tog* repeat around.
*k2, k2tog* repeat around.
*p1, p2tog* repeat around.
*k2tog* repeat around.
You should have 6 stitches left. Run the yarn through the remaining stitches and gather together. Weave in all ends.

Obviously, you can substitute in the colors for the other houses, if you wish. I'll be making a larger version soon (which hopefully will fit my son, not that he needs a hat in the middle of summer), and I'll update the pattern with the directions for it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cashew Chicken Firecrackers

Here's a fun recipe from eatbetteramerica.com - Cashew Chicken Firecrackers.

I've made these for dinner and as an appetizer and they're pretty tasty. I did tweak the recipe slightly here and there. For example, I only use one sheet of fillo at a time and the sauce they suggest....wasn't very good. So I just use some Orange Marmalade as a sauce, straight up.

1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrots (2 small)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
4 medium green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
4 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
1/2 package (8 oz) frozen fillo dough sheets, thawed
Olive oil cooking spray or 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix chicken, bell pepper, carrots, cashews, onions, marmalade and garlic-pepper blend; set aside.
2. Work with 1 fillo sheet at a time. On work surface, spray with cooking spray (2 seconds). Cut in half lengthwise, forming 2 rectangles.
3. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon chicken mixture on short end of each rectangle. Roll up; twist about 1 inch from each end, sealing tube and forming firecracker shape. Place seam side down on cookie sheet.
4. Repeat with remaining fillo sheets and chicken mixture. Spray tops of appetizers with cooking spray (1 second for 2 appetizers).
5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until crisp and brown.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Construction Paper Flower Tutorial

For my first official Activity Days activity we made these construction paper flowers.

Here's what you'll need:

A hand (you should have one of those, right?)
Construction paper
Pipe cleaners
Something to trace with and add some color (Crayons, markers, pencils, etc.)

Step 1: Put your hand on the paper and trace around.

Step 2: Cut out your traced hand.

Step 3: Take your pipe cleaner and make a fun design at the end

OR twist several colors together and make your stem colorful!

Step 4: Take your crayon/marker/whatever and roll the fingers around it to give them a curl.

You could also color the petals at this stage if you'd like.

Step 5: Start rolling the pipe cleaner with the paper hand starting at the corner at the wrist.

Step 6: Tape at the base of the flower when finished.

My little helper with the finished product.

I also tried a different flower style by making two lily patterns and layering them:

The only difference in the method is that I attached the the two layers together with tape before I rolled them onto the pipe cleaner.

Enjoy your beautiful bouquet!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Easy Silk Flower Brooch Tutorial

Here's a SUPER EASY project to jazz up your wardrobe....silk flower brooches.

I went to Joann's and got a fake flower for $3. I cut off the stem and a leaf. Then I used a hot glue gun to re-attach any stray petals on the back of the flower and the leaf.

I cut out a small circle of felt and glued that on the back of the flower. And then I glued on the pin back(available at any craft store.)

And voilĂ , you're done and you look fabulous!