Monday, March 29, 2010

Double Chocolate Hazelnut

An old friend of mine asked if I had a recipe for a hazelnut cake with hazelnut icing... I did not, but it made me determined to find one... I didnt... haha... not one that sounded like something I would like, so I made my own. Instead of a cake, I made cupcakes (as I explained yesterday works better for taste testing and keeping away loads of calories).

Here is the result... I made the icing a double whipped buttercream.  Its hazelnut and chocolate.  The chocolate cake has hazelnut flavor in it as well... not a lot ut enough to get the flavor.  These puppies are the full fat variety, so I made John be the taste tester. He was full, so he only had a bite, but he said they were yummy... he was slightly worried, not being a huge hazelnut fan, but he said it wasnt overwhelming and had the perfect texture.  I brought them to work today as I had promised my project team that I would be delivering these to them... my boss had icing all over his face, and one of my co-workers inhaled the thing so fast that no one even saw him take a bite.  I take that as a very good sign!

Normally I would have filled the cupcake with the icing as well.. but I was being cheap and didnt feel like making more!  But you can see how fluffy the cake is! :-)

All in all, I think it was a great success and will be added to my flavor list.

I have a client next month who wants a chocolate cake with a cookies and cream buttercream, which i am REALLY excited to make.  Those cupcake testers will be on display next week.  She also asked if I do favors... like cookies... soooooo... I am going to try that out now... we'll see how that goes... if I find I dont have all the ingredients, I will do them tomorrow night! (i have to get her an answer, but I want to make sure I CAN do them before I commit to it!)

Have a Sweet Night!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The best low-calorie snack EVER!!!

The weekend is over and I baked!! So here I am... I figure while I wait for John's fantasy baseball draft to conclude so we can watch The Pacific, I will blog about all the cupcakes I made this weekend... No crazy, fun, fondant creations... just cupcakes!!

I had a Lia Sophia jewelry party Saturday night and tried to make the treats all "low-cal" friendly so that as I nibbled I wouldn't have to feel too guilty.  So naturally on the menu I would have to include those super low calorie cupcakes I have told you all about.  Now here is one of my recipes I will gladly share... mainly because I learned it from Weight Watchers, so I am sure A LOT of people already know about it.  Its simply, a box of cake mix, and a 12 ounce can of diet soda... I use diet 7-up... it smells lemony, but the lemon does not over-power... I want to try other flavors too... in fact, next weekend I might try chocolate with a can of diet Dr. Pepper!!! YUMMM... Now some of them I put normal "high test" all fat and full of calories vanilla buttercream... I know some of my guests are very fond of my buttercream, so I did not want to disappoint when they found out there were cupcakes!!!  However, the way that I eat them, to keep them "healthier" is by spraying on some Reddi Whip... Its way low in calories, super light, and definitely yummy!!

MMM... cupcakes are the best!! and these totally hit the spot!  Less than 200 calories to eat all the cupcakes that the recipe makes!! hahaha... so depending how many cupcakes you get out of the batch, you're looking at less than 20 calories a cupcake... how amazing is that... talk about guilt free cupcakes for dinner night!!

I hope you make them, and I hope that you love them as much as I do!!  You might see cupcakes a lot on here... they are not only a personal favorite... but its easier to share and taste this way.  I tend to bring these treats into work so that I don't end up eating endless calories and can continue to watch my weight, so this way I can have a taste to make sure I don't poison anyone, and it doesn't look like I am bringing in a half eaten cake!

Next up... Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes... ;-) I made them tonight, but will get the review from the co-workers tomorrow and will share all!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gabriel's First St. Patricks Day B-Day

Last weekend's cancelled cake was on for this weekend and I knocked it out of the park if I do say so myself... I might be biased because the first "Irish" cake I made last year was a big favorite of mine... Thats this one above.  It was an "adult" cake made with alcoholic irish cream filling... which was super yummy! I hand painted the little shamrocks on the balls on the bottom, and shaded the shamrock on the top with food coloring.  It was definitely fun to make, but I am very partial to anything Irish and/or green in general!

SO... I was at a birthday party for a very special little 4 year old (she had a Kai Lan themed party... one day I will post those too), and one of her guests really enjoyed the cake.  I just so happened to have my camera on me, so I showed her some other cakes on the camera and she instantly fell in love with the one above.  Her son Gabriel was born on St. Patty's and she wanted it for his 1st birthday.  And here is the result!

She wanted it slightly different... obviously not alcoholic... and with a leprechaun instead of the big clover... The leprechaun is definitely my favorite part.  Its 3 layers of chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.  All decorations are in fondant, so it is completely edible.  Even the gold accents are made from edible gold dust.

The little leprechaun was made last week... and he was so much fun... I found his design here... DDpiesSlice and tried my best to follow along... again, I made it slightly different so I didnt totally "plagiarize" but I was so pleased with it.  The face is my favorite, especially the beard... but there is a lot of detail in the face with shading and slicing and texture.  It took a good amount of time, but to be honest... I could spend hours on those little details and it would feel like minutes.  His hands were tough, but I think in the end they came out pretty decent too.

Edible Markers are my new favorite thing... you can write all over things and its ok! haha... I get so nervous writing for cakes... always afraid of misspelling or my horrendous handwriting in general. But being able to use markers over icing is definitely a plus.  I like this pic because you also get to see the back of the leprechauns head with his puff of red hair!

More detail on the hair and a close up of the pot of gold... again, all fondant... the little gold pieces are flecked with the gold dust and I made the shamrock fairly easily.

All in all I was pretty pleased with how the cake turned out, and my new client was thrilled... baby Gabriel didnt seem to even know the day was for him, but we can cut him some slack... he's only one! Cute baby though... and hopefully she'll remember me when his second birthday comes along next year!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Goodness!

WOW... I have followers... THANK YOU!!! :-) This is so exciting... I really hope I dont disappoint! 

I have a cake to make tomorrow night for a St. Patricks Day themed birthday cake.  It was supposed to be for last week, but got cancelled. So tomorrow night I will bake the cake and saturday morning decorate it before it needs to be delivered around 12:30. I'm really excited about it and cant wait to display photos of it.

Due to the cancellation of the cake last weekend, I had three layers of chocolate cake that needed to be used in some way.  I luckily had a birthday party to go to myself that night, and figured why not bring a cake along with the BBQ Pulled Pork sliders and cracker toffee's I was making.  I've been wanting to try out a peanut butter icing for quite some time and after confirming that the birthday boy liked that combination (actually its his favorite), I found a super easy recipe online and tinkered slightly to make it my own. The result was this beautiful creation that I actually referenced from another blogger Edible Moments.  Of course I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product... so you get a photo of it half eaten!  Its better than nothing. And if you jump over to the link, you will see I made it quite similar... the way I look at it, if it looks good, go with it... just give credit where credit is due... so Thank You Zahra for the inspiration!!

It was a big hit, but boy was it rich and sweet!! My only problem now is that I have a bunch of icing left.  I'll have to make some cupcakes tomorrow or something to along those lines... though if I make cupcakes, I always want to eat them, and that icing is not low fat!!! haha

I will have to share with everyone the next time I make my low-fat cupcakes... TO DIE FOR!!! :-) But I will leave that to another post!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

While speaking with a friend and trying to convince her that she should write a blog, she ended up convincing me that I should.  My dream is to own a bakery/cafe where I sell cupcakes and cappucinos and tarts and teas, while providing WiFi and a comfy place to meet with friends.  My custom cakes can be ordered for all occassions and people will go to great lengths just to have one of my cakes, and walk out with a signature cupcake as well.

Unfortunately, the key in that paragraph is "dream"... I do hope that someday I will make that dream a reality, and not only hope, but when I can will actively persue... until then... I will blog!  I will blog about the cakes I make.. I will try to bake something new once a week (whether commissioned or not)... and I will blog about baked goods that I love and designs that I envy... I will blog!

So what better day to start this new adventure than on one of my favorite holidays... St. Patty's Day!!  When I was in Ireland in 2003, one of my favorite things to eat was Brown Bread... OH MY!!! So yummy!  In an attempt to not let this blog make me gain ridiculous amounts of weight, I will find some low-fat recipes as well.  Most breads do not scream low fat, but I lucked out and found a Brown Soda Bread recipe in Cooking Light Magazine.  Only 160 calories, less than 2 grams of fat, and if you follow Weight Watchers, only 3 points per slice! Which is good for this kind of bread.

It accompanied a crock pot Corned Beef complete with Potatoes, cabbage and a nice cold bottle of Guinness.  An Irish feast fit for a Gaelic queen.

Well, if anyone even reads this, I hope you enjoyed my first post... and SlĂ inte!