Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Overload

Today was family and friends day at our church. Like any good church of Christ, there's a fellowship meal after services. We planned on lots of people so we needed lots of food! Of course, I lean towards sweets (duh). Last year, my sister shared a recipe with me called pumpkin crunch cake. She said it was amazing even if you didn't like pumpkin. I tried it out and it was a hit at my church! I made it several times during the fall last year. Well people have already started asking about it this year so that was a gimme. It's pretty simple:

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

1-15 oz can of pumpkin pie filling
1-12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice mix
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks of butter, sliced (I just used one)

Mix all except cake and butter. Spray 9x13 dish and pour in pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the top with dry cake mix, pecans and top with sliced butter. Bake 50-55 min at 350 degrees. Top with whipped cream or cool whip.

I swore I had pics of it from last year but cannot find them anywhere... not that special to look at anyway, but it is yummy!

Another funny story... I have this adorable cookbook just for sweets
Like several recipe books like this, there are two recipes per page. When I was baking my next recipe, I accidentally looked at this recipe's bake time: 50-55 min. The correct bake time is 25-30. Ha! Fortunately it turned out and I didn't burn the cake :)

Here's the next recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake. I got this recipe from Cup a Dee Cakes. I think this cake is delicious!! And it made a lot of cake. I made three 8" with a really small 4th 8". 

Pumpkin Spice Cake

8 large eggs
4 cups sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
1 - 29 oz can pure pumpkin (I used 2-15 oz cans)
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
(I used 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice mix in lieu of ginger, cloves, and nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cake pans.

Combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin in mixer and beat until smooth.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to pumpkin mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

She suggests a cinnamon buttercream (check out her blog!) which I want to try! But somehow I came across this caramel buttercream recipe from Family Bites. Yes, please! My husband couldn't taste the caramel, but I could and loved it! Just so you know, when I was melting the caramel it took about 15 minutes. Just to give you an idea of how long it'll take. 

I had an adorable idea for decorating this cake. But I was worn out by the time I got to the icing/decorating part. It's really ok because once it got to the church it was going to be cut all up anyway. I went for the messy look. I had the idea of drizzling caramel on top since I didn't get to decorate it. Well apparently the caramel/milk ratio is crucial. I made it before church this morning and it was too thin so no drizzle :(

I had some left over cake and icing so this is what I did with it
That's the pretty one. The rest were in a nice red solo cup, ha! But this did the trick. Made up a few of these and gave them away! 

Alright there's one last recipe! Whoopie Pies from Cookies and Cups

2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup room temp butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
Orange food coloring (gel)

  • Preheat oven to 375

Line you baking sheets with parchment paper. (Do not use wax paper... it is not meant to be exposed in the oven. It will cause smoke:)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined. Mix you dry ingredients together
On low speed add 1/3 of your dry mix, then 1/3 of your buttermilk…continue adding in this order until all your dry ingredients and milk are mixed in and smooth.
Now add you orange food coloring. Mix on low to combine the food coloring, scraping the sides until color is even. Transfer batter into a piping bag or snipped off ziplock. Pipe in the shape of pumpkins (kind of a fat heart shape) about 2 inches apart. Bake for approx 6 minutes until they are set. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Fill each with your cream cheese filling.

  • Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together your butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar on a low speed. Turn it up to medium speed until all is combined.

I forgot to take pictures of mine, which is ok because Shelly's look a lot better. I personally did not like them but my hubby did. Maybe I should try them again sometime. I think I need new brown sugar. Mine is fine, but seems like it got moist or something.

See why I was worn out by the time I got to decorated the cake? And I started out the day with gumpaste flowers and decorated cupcakes. Big day.

I'm glad I finally tried out some new things. I always want to, but don't always follow through with trying new things. So one goal I'm going to work towards is learning gumpaste flowers! I might have mentioned before that I got the Wilton Gumpaste Kit (a few months ago). I was pumped! I opened it up.... and it included a long list of things you also need. Bummer. So I haven't learned any new gumpaste flowers. Well that's just silly. Now, when I have a free weekend I'm going to make a new gumpaste flower. And I plan on slowly obtaining items off that list. I bought two impressions mat this week. Thankfully, Hobby Lobby often has 40% off coupons so I'll use those as much as I can to get what I need. Hopefully next weekend I can show you a new gumpaste flower! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

Oh, I've got a good story to go along with this... At least I think so. I had cupcakes to make for a wedding shower at my church today. Fun fact: the girl (bride) went to high school with me, which was in TN and we're in AL. She's engaged to a guy that goes to our church. Anyway, of course I wanted to make some gorgeous cupcakes. The theme that I knew of was traditional so I was sticking with white. I planned on making some gumpaste roses and flowers and bows. I baked the cupcakes yesterday and planned on decorating today. I had done some gumpaste flowers but still needed to make the roses. I'll throw in some pics now so you don't get bored from my story...
A gumpaste flower is born... Note: using 100% gumpaste is tough. It dries fast!

Anyway. The flowers take a bit longer than planned and I made a few more gumpaste flowers. I make the icing and started piping and realize I've got about 45 minutes before the shower. I wanted to get there early, which is easier said than done for some people. I finish up and quickly get dressed.... no time for a shower so my hair is in a lovely ponytail/bun and pretty obvious that it has not been washed today. But I'm going to make it!! I wrap the present, ever so nicely (haha). I'm getting stuff in the car and ready to go!


  • I have a present. It's wrapped! With a gift receipt.
  • I'm dressed to go to the shower instead of showing up in whatever I've had on while making the cupcakes (aka a slobby look)
  • The cupcakes are decorated and looking good.
  • My fingernails are all the same colors. Back story: I was looking at nail polish yesterday and tried out a couple colors on my thumbs. So all my fingernails are pink except my thumbs which are two different colors, ha!!
  • I'm going to make it before the shower!
Two seconds after I've left, I realize I have forgotten the plates I was supposed to bring for the cupcakes. I go back to my house and set off our alarm. Very smooth so far... I make it to the church without destroying any of the cupcakes. Cupcakes are worse travelling with than cakes, for sure. I rush in and set up the cupcakes. No one seemed to really be worried about timing but I'm still proud that I made it there early even if it was only 2 minutes. I get the cupcakes set up, the arranged, the gift inside and take a seat....

Now if this has not been an entertaining story so far, here's a pretty awful part: My dress is unzipped. It zips up on the side and it's open. No clue how long it's been like that... I did zip it up when I got dressed, don't get me wrong. But something is wrong with the zipper. You know when a zipper separates, it can come unzipped even if the pull zipper is up (I don't know all the correct zipper terminology). So I was able to get the zipper back down and it zip up correctly. By the way, I did have an undershirt on so I wasn't showing off half my body :) Well that was fun... Pretty sure I'll be paranoid whenever I wear that dress now.

So on to the cupcakes :)

To prove I was in a hurry, check out the 2 cupcakes I managed to take a picture of that have no decorations at all. I didn't even realize till I got to the shower.
I took some pictures at the shower too. I like to have staged pictures but I didn't have time so I figured at the shower would be better than on my kitchen counter (above). 
I'm still a little embarrassed to pull out my camera at an event to take pictures so here are the few I clicked really fast.

Alright well I need to get to work... tomorrow is family and friends day at church and I have LOTS of sweets planned for the fellowship. Hopefully I can bake all I have planned. There are 3 desserts and 2 are new recipes I've recently found. I'm excited and hopefully will share it all with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dumb Cake

Look yummy?? Well it's not real. At least the cake part. The icing is real. (Notice the cute cake stand I have and have yet to use:) I've used cake dummies before:

There is a fake layer in each of these cakes.... hopefully you can't tell which layers are which; although, if you've read other posts, I might have given it away.

Anyway, what do all of these have in common?? They're covered in fondant. So I was out to find out if I could use a cake dummy only covered in buttercream. That might seem like it'd be an obvious answer, but I'd rather try it first to make sure. Result: it can be done. It's not as easy as it seems. Not that it's really difficult, but the cake moved around a lot while trying to ice it because the styrofoam didn't stick to the cake board like cake would. I'm sure there's a way to fix this... And since I used non-colored buttercream (only slightly yellow because of the butter) it was tricky to tell if it was covered completely or not. Surpass-able issues, for sure.

Cake dummy: check (I did have to wait for them to finally arrive)
Iced: check

As I mentioned in my last post, I am incredibly indecisive. I could decorate it however I wanted, but only to decide. I iced the cake Saturday. I finally decorated today (Wednesday). I still hadn't really decided but I wanted to do something.

This is what one side of the cake looks like

Again, as I mentioned in my last blog, swirls are my "go-to" decoration. I can't help it. I love them. But these are a different take on them. Not like others I have done. But the look wasn't the elegant look I really wanted. So I kept trying.
 Again, kind of a "swirl" theme, but more intricate.
 Couldn't get a good picture, but wanted to post instead of wait till sunlight tomorrow, ha
My inspiration: my china (another thing I love -- isn't it gorgeous!?)
Another not-good-lighting pic. Maybe I'll take some more tomorrow. But I'm happy with how it turned out. It was fun too. I enjoy piping. 

There's a bridal shower this weekend and our family and friends day at church Sunday. I'll be making cupcakes for the shower and I've got several ideas for the fellowship on Sunday! Saturday = Baking :)

Now I need to hit the hay! No longer working nights (hooray!) but my hubs fell asleep at 8ish and I just wasn't ready to sleep. The downfall of being productive at night: I have this energy and then end up going to bed too late. I'll be feeling it when my alarm goes off... night!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lack of Creativity

I haven't had many cakes recently... which is ok. I'm still enjoying a break and have been finding other things to do such as a trip to my hometown :) Anyway, here's one I did this week

I got to decide how to decorate this one. I was excited about it but of course with my indecision (it's a serious problem) and lack of creativity (what I'm focusing on today) it's not that easy. I search ideas, pictures, etc. I had a few ideas, then ended up doing this because pretty much I was running out of time. I'm not that impressed. And I don't think the squares/rectangles go with the curly hand writing. But I was determined not to do the scrolls

Some people did ask me to do those on those specific cakes, but scroll decor is my "go to" decoration. I really like scrolls. Maybe that's why I had them on my wedding cake
Love it

Anyway, I'm just not creative. I'm not complaining. I'm stating a fact about myself. I remember in the 3rd grade (or sometime in elementary school) we had to write a story. Make one up on our own.... I was reading a book about a mean substitute teacher. I totally ended up writing pretty much the same story. I tried to change some stuff so I wasn't copying but I probably didn't do a good job. I was young... Point: No creativity. Haha! 

And I just received 6 cake dummies that I ordered! I can make cakes that look like whatever I want to... Ha, not sure how I'll decide. If you have any suggestions, please share :)