So, if you're one of the 2 people who probably read this blog, you might be asking yourself "What is the deal with Nikki? She NEVER blogs anymore!" I know I'm pretty bad lately. We've had a busy month around here. We found out our little cakelet wasn't hearing very well (only 30%!!) so we had tubes put in to drain fluid and it has been amazing. What a huge difference it has made. I'm so sorry we didn't do it sooner. In addition to the surgery, we also had her first day of Preschool. It has been a little rough on this momma but, like many moms before me, I will make it through!
The good news is I need to keep myself preoccupied during the time I'm home alone so I forsee a serious surge in my baking projects! I've even made some dinners. If you know me, you realize this means it is possible that hell has actually frozen over.
I am working on making an amazing apple cupcake that I will reveal in a later blog. I am also working on a fun craft for the CCM that I will also be showing off. Assuming it all goes as well as I hope of course!
So stay tuned and I promise to do something amazing soon! ;)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
|Isn't it beautiful???|
He also brought me a Cricut Cake tool kit. I wasn't sure how helpful this would be, but I love having extra tools and gadgets so I asked for it. I'm glad I did! If you don't have this for your CC, you should seriously consider it. Before this, I would use a small sharp knife to cut out the smaller pieces. If you know me at all, you know I do NOT need to be playing with knives! Ha ha!
So, to get some good play time in with my new toys, I decided to try something new with my CCM - making cookies! I mixed up a quick and easy recipe from my girl Martha for some sugar cookies and rolled them out before throwing into the freezer. This worked great as they were ready to go as soon as I was! Plus, you don't have to cook them all at once, which is definitely a "good thing" when you have no self control. (like me!)
Important disclaimer - I do not make cookies often. I kind of hate making cookies because of the whole short cooking time thing. I loose interest and burn them usually. Also, I hate rationing out portions. Anyone who has seen me cut a cake will tell you I know nothing about portions!
I was so surprised how easy this was. It's easier than cutting fondant because you don't have the problems with stickiness or being dried out like the fondant. The worst problem I had was with the thickness. I wanted it to be thick so it's not too crispy.
|Feeding into the Cricut|
|Cutting the dough|
Friday, January 7, 2011
If you remember, I said in my previous post that I had 3 days after the CCM arrived to make an amazing wedding style cake. I was pretty excited about it because it was my first attempt at anything like this. So, before I go into the decorations, let me give you a little background on this cake. My cousin called me and basically said that she wanted a cake for her parents surprise 25th anniversary party. It took me a while to figure out what I was going to do exactly because her initial explanation was a cake with the wedding colors "like Cake Boss would make" which (if you've seen the show) could mean anything! The wedding colors were pink and red which was hard for me to imagine looking anything but tacky. Part of the challenge I guess. I told her I was looking for an excuse to try out fancy formal cakes and she agreed. Mostly because I also said I'd make it as a gift to the couple I'm sure!
So, we agreed on one tier vanilla cake with strawberry filling and one tier chocolate cake and chocolate ganache. The biggest challenge I presented myself inside this cake was to make the filling myself! Usually, I'd use preserves but I wanted to see if I could do it myself. So I found a simple syrup recipe and used fresh strawberries. This made for a very stressful baker as I never knew what was happening inside my cake and had severe anxiety as I waited for the couple to cut the cake. But it turned out great! I had read that you need to crumb coat both layers of cake before adding filling to prevent the cake absorbing the filling. This was very necessary as my filling wasn't as thick as I would have liked. It worked out though, as the thinner filling just absorbed into the cake AFTER cutting and had delicious favor.
As I said, I iced the outside with a basic buttercream. I did a crumb coat then refrigerated to harden followed by another thin layer of buttercream. For me, I think this is the easiest way to get a nice, even coat on my cake. I then rolled out white MM fondant to cover each layer. I also colored & rolled out layers in both red and dark pink. I put them in the freezer while I worked on smoothing the cakes. I haven't yet mastered smoothing the base of the cake to perfection, so for this cake, I opted to use a red ribbon to hide my imperfections. This is the best way to solve cake problems! Ha ha!
So the CCM designs were much easier using my freezing technique and it took no time to cut out the decorations. I made two-toned flowers which I let dry on an upside-down egg crate to create a 3D shape. The only problem I had was that I'm used to making the designs a day ahead and then using moist paper towels and Tupperware to store until use. This didn't really work for these because they are more intricate and just got too wet and gooey. Not a big deal, because I just cut more out the day I put the cake together. Another lesson learned, CCM makes things easier so you can just cut, set on cake and go!
The finished product. Side note here: I did not see the topper before I made the cake. If I had, I would definitely have tried to incorporate some silver into the cake itself to help it match better. Still turned out pretty good for my first formal cake. I'm pretty impressed with myself!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
The edges looked a little rough, but I can even them out easily. After working with the machine for a bit, I was able to cut out some more detailed designs, even half of the "Happy Anniversary" I tried before! I guess that means I'm halfway there!
At this point, I have 2 days to finished an amazing Anniversary cake. The pressure is on, but I think I know how to use this thing now. Well, I guess we'll find out for sure soon enough! Stay tuned...