Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Military Cake

My brother just celebrated his 15th birthday. He is in the JROTC at his high school and really enjoys it, so I decided to make him a military cake. He requested a marble cake for his birthday, so I used half yellow cake and half chocolate cake. I used the Cake Mixes From Scratch and Variations recipe from

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs cocoa powder
Special Buttercream Frosting

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening until fine crumbs are formed. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then high for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl frequently. Pour half of the batter into a smaller bowl and add 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. Blend thoroughly.

Spoon batter randomly into 2 greased and floured 9" round pans. Cut through the batter with a knife, making swirling patters to "marble" the cake. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

CREDIT: Submitted by "Nancy Dorman" on

To decorate the cake, I divided the Special Buttercream Frosting and tinted it using Wilton Gel Icing Color. I used a pair of Hubby's camo pants to try to match the colors for the camo as close as I could.

Using a star tip, I covered the cake with piped stars, much like you would do for a Wilton character shaped pan. This method makes it look like you spent a ton of time on it, but it's actually relatively quick and easy. The most time-consuming part of decorating the cake was tinting the icing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

A friend came over to hang out today and we decided to bake chocolate chip cookies. I decided to try to search for the quintessential "perfect chocolate chip cookie". I found a recipe for "Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" on and it sure does live up to the name! I did tweak it a little bit. The recipe below includes the revisions.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour.

Drop chilled cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe makes approximately 16 cookies.

CREDIT: Submitted by "ELIZABETHBH" on

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anniversary Cake

My mom and dad just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, the family and close friends went out for dinner, then back to the house to renew their vows and eat cake! Of course, my job was to make the cake. I got my inspiration from the front cover of "The Wilton School - Decorating Cakes" book. This was my first attempt at Wilton roses and I studied their book and watched a couple of YouTube videos on demonstrations. I made the roses a few days ahead of time and stored them in an airtight container until I made the rest of the cake on this morning. It was also my first time to make leaves using the leaf tip.

The cake itself is my go-to White Cake recipe.

The frosting is Wilton's Buttercream Icing recipe.


1 cup Crisco
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
2 Tbs milk

In large bowl, cream shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Makes about 3 cups of icing.

The cake consists of 2 layers - a 10" round on the base and a 6" round on top. I tinted the frosting and iced the cake with the buttercream icing. Next, I stenciled the swirls on the side of the cake and piped dots to make the swirls.

I placed the dried roses on top of the cake and used the leaf tip to pipe leaves coming out from underneath the roses. I had made a "25" with my roses and set it up on the cake as a "topper".

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Antarctica Cake

Hubby decided that he wanted a pool party for his 25th birthday this year - problem is, his birthday's in January. I decided to make a cake to go along with his wintry theme and decided to do penguins. This was my first time working with fondant (I used it to mold the penguins). It was surprisingly easy! If you can play with Play-Doh you can use fondant.

For the cake, I used the White Cake recipe that I used for Jeff's Rainbow Cake back in October.

For the icing, I used the Cream Cheese Frosting II recipe from



2 (8-oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

The cake is just a one-layer 12" square. I made the penguin's body parts from store-bought fondant tinted with black and orange gel icing color, using a toothpick to hold the pieces together. The ice block that the fishing penguin is sitting on is actually a block of store-bought fondant.

I tinted a small amount of frosting blue and spread on the cake for the pond, pulling my spatula up while I was spreading it to create the "waves".

Our "igloo tower" was created from sugar cubes, glued together by a paste made from powdered sugar and egg whites (instructions found here).

The fishing rod is a toothpick, the fishing line is thread, and the fish is a Swedish Fish candy (I threaded a needle and poked it through the Swedish Fish).

To assemble the cake, I first placed the igloo tower on the cake. Then we piped a shell border around the top and bottom of the cake and around the base of the igloo tower. Then I placed the ice block and penguins. I finished it off by sprinkling white Wilton Cake Sparkles over the top of the cake.

Oh, yeah, and here's the proof...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stained Glass Cookies

I first discovered this recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies magazine last year around Christmastime and decided that they were something that i had to try. They're actually called "Sugar Cookie Cutouts" in the magazine, but look like pretty stained glass. They looked so gorgeous in the magazine picture, but this recipe was definitely the most problem-recipe I used this Christmas. After making the recipe that came with it though, I think next time I'll use my never-fails-me-sugar-cookie-recipe for the cookie part. This recipe made dough that was way too soft to handle (even after adding extra flour), and the cookies spread to much during baking (even after re-chilling the cutouts right before baking. Oh, and next time I'll use smaller cut-outs too - the large ones were pretty, but there was definitely too much candy in the cookie. These ones were definitely more for decoration than for eating.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
Crushed Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Butterscotch, etc. (I used Jolly Ranchers and some leftover Butterscotch candies I had in the pantry)
Meringue Powder Icing

In a medium mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and a dash of salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover; chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with the foil with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface roll one portion of the dough at a time to a 1/4" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place cutouts on lined cookie sheet. Using small cookie cutters or hors d'eouvre or fondant cutters, cut shapes from the center of the cookie. Fill cutouts with crushed candies (be careful not to get candies onto the cookie where you don't want them or they will bake into it).

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Frost cookies with Meringue Powder Icing.

CREDIT: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication - "100 Best Cookies - Our Most Popular Holiday Recipes", p.106, c. 2007

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

I first made these sugar cookies last year, and they are absolutely delicious! I have since used this recipe a few other times for cut-out cookies and it never fails me. Perfect, soft, easy-to-work-with sugar cookies! The hint of lemon in the cookies keeps them from being too sweet.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
3 1/2 cups flour**
Meringue Powder Icing

**Note that the original recipe only calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour - I find that I need 3 1/2 cups each time I make them.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and dash salt; beat until combined. Beat in sour cream, egg, vanilla, and lemon peel. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. On a well-floured surface roll half of the dough at a time to a 1/8 - 1/4" thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.

Spread cooled cookies with Meringue Powder Icing; let dry completely. Using a small clean paintbrush, paint designs on each cookie with food coloring.

CREDIT: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication - "100 Best Cookies - Our Most Popular Holiday Recipes", p.69, c. 2007