Saturday, March 30, 2013

Marriage Proposal Cookies

Cut-out cookies are kind of a big deal in my family.  They're not my favorite cookie, but they are my husband's favorite cookie...of all time.  In fact, he told me that my cut-out cookies played a very big role in our relationship.  It was after he tried these that he knew I was "the one."  Yep.  Big deal over here.  And yes, I'm willing to share the "Marriage Proposal Cookies" recipe.  

I usually make these cookies for Christmas and on occasion, I've made them other times throughout the year.  But they ARE work and ARE messy, but I have a 6-year old in the house who absolutely loves to help me in the kitchen.  She was off on Good Friday, so what better activity for us to do together?

Love her.

But things got interesting half-way through decorating the cookie eggs.  My daughter started to sprinkle sugar in stripes onto the eggs and it looked really cool!  So, I poured some sugar out into a striping pattern as seen below.

I took my cookie and...

Dipped it into the sugar and pressed lightly.

And voila!  A sugar striped Easter egg cookie!

SO much color!  But oh so fun!  (And messy.  Don't forget about the mess...)

I wish you all a fabulous Easter!
Ann :)  (AKA - The Cake Mama)

Ann's Marriage Proposal Cut-Out Cookies (wedding proposals not guaranteed...but his/her loss)

1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Add vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out in desired shapes.  Bake for 7-9 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Frost and decorate as desired.  

For THE BEST butter frosting recipe (dries hard, but not too hard), click here.  

Enjoy!!  And congrats on your upcoming nuptials!  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Doc McJillian Is In!!

I can't even tell you how excited I was to make this cake.  I love, love, love kid birthday parties and this was a theme I was so excited for.  Doc McStuffins!!!  She's a relatively new character on the Disney channel (maybe two season along now).  My oldest daughter is a huge fan of the show and it's incredibly cute.  Doc McStuffins is a doctor to toys.  She fixes them up when they get broken and she's a good friend and big sister too.  Cute stuff.  


Anyway, I was very excited to do a cake for Jillian when my good friend Beth requested it.  I made a cake for Jillian a few years ago when she had her Dr. Seuss party.  It's always fun to do another cake for child and see how they grow, because it happens way too fast.  

Well, here's Jillian's Doc McStuffins cake.  

I was beyond ecstatic when I came across this Doc McStuffins doll at Target.  It was the PERFECT cake topper for Jillian!  And then she'll have something to play with AFTER the cake is all gone!

The top tier of the cake was a vanilla cake with Bavarian cream filling (one of Beth's favorite flavor combinations).  

The bottom tier was a chocolate cake with those wonderful Oreos and chocolate fudge filling (MY favorite combination).

Lately, I've been experimenting with different ways to frost a cake using unconventional tips.  The top tier and bottom border of this cake were done using Wilton tip 104 moving up and down in a zig-zag motion.  I really like the ruffly look.

Here's Doc McStuffins' playhouse made out of gum paste.


Jillian's party was so much fun!  I am so happy I got to be a part of her very special day!  Happy 4th Birthday, Doc McJillian!  

Thing Myles and Thing Grayson

When it comes to Dr. Seuss and parties, the sky's the limit.  Not only was Dr. Seuss so very whimsical, he was also incredibly colorful.  I love Dr. Seuss.  My coworker from many years ago, Louise, requested Thing 1 and Thing 2 themed smash cakes and cupcakes for her twin nephew's 1st birthday party.  What fun!  Her sister-in-law is a fan of Pinterest (as am I) and forwarded a few pictures for inspiration.  

She wanted the cupcakes to look like the ones in these pictures on top, and the smash cakes in red and blue as seen in the picture on the bottom. 

So, here's what I made for little Myles (Thing 1) and Grayson (Thing 2):

Their smash cakes are vanilla cakes without filling.  I frosted them with buttercream frosting and decorated them with gum paste accents.  I drew on the gum paste with food safe markers.

I was so excited when I found these boxes at Ben Franklin Crafts!  How perfect were they?!!

And then here are the cupcakes. I LOVE how they turned out.  They are vanilla cupcakes with Bavarian cream filling, topped with buttercream frosting (and a LOT of it!!)

Louise - thanks for thinking of me on such a fun day!  I hope that your nephews had a great birthday party!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dad's Birthday - Finally!

My Dad's birthday was actually a month ago.  Due to colds and the flu and difficult travel schedules, we didn't get to celebrate with him on his actual birthday.  Instead, my whole family headed to Wisconsin Dells for some waterpark fun and we opted to celebrate with my dad this last weekend.  

His birthday cake of choice was a blueberry cheesecake.  I've only made a handful of cheesecakes in my life and I've had good luck with them all, but I wanted this one to be spectacular.  So I did some major Internet searching and discovered Tyler Florence's "Ultimate Cheesecake Recipe."  

I think it turned out beautifully - I followed the directions completely.  The blueberry sauce is made out of a few tablespoons of sugar, fresh blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice.  That's it.  And it's deliciously tart and full of blueberry flavor.  The cheesecake was by far the best cheesecake I've ever had.  It was super creamy and not as firm as most cheesecakes I've had before.  It just melts in your mouth.  

Happy very belated Birthday, Dad!  I'm so happy we were able to celebrate with you during such a fun weekend!

Only For Greg

So, my friend Greg posted this picture on my Facebook page with a caption that said, "If you are really my friend, you'd make these for me.  I know that they aren't cakes but you are the best baker that I know."  After having a good giggle, I was able to locate this picture on Pinterest and the link to the recipe is here.  It's a super simple recipe and all you need on hand are 24 Oreos, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and some brownie mix.  It certainly looked good enough to try.  

I had a book club coming up and his wife, my good friend Mari, would be attending.  I promised him that I would make them for the book club and send some home with Mari for him to try.    And that's just what I did.  These took barely any time to assemble and bake and they turned out just like the picture!  My only suggestion is to pour the brownie batter into a ziploc bag or pastry bag and cut a hole at the bottom.  That's what I did to get the brownie batter evenly spread around the Oreo.  Using a spoon was super messy and difficult.  Here's how mine turned out:

Greg told me that they were very good, but he wished he had a cold glass of milk at the ready.  Note to self...

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Venerable Steve

How lucky am I?  My friend Erin ordered a cake for her husband, Steve's birthday.  She leaves it up to me to come up with ideas, but she surely wanted something "simple".  I've been dying to make Martha Stewart's Chocolate Flecked Cake and asked her if this would be something Steve would want.  I know he's a chocolate lover, but would this be ENOUGH chocolate?  I got the green light and then she asked me to make a Nutella Frosting for the cake.  I thought the combination sounded amazing, but would it taste as good as I thought?!!!

Here's what the cake looked like on the inside.  It was SO moist and beautifully chocolately!

The frosting turned out really creamy as well.  GREAT hazelnut flavor for all of you hazelnut lovers out there!

Now, to decorate the cake.  Erin said she wanted something simple.  I took a look at the decorating tips I had and I pulled out number 21.  And then I just had fun!

Zig-Zag.  Zig-Zag!

A fun, yet simple cake for Steve.

And, by the way, the cake tasted delicious!!!  I mean, the scraps did. You can even ask my husband who said this was his favorite cake combination yet! ;)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEVE!!!!  I hope you had a great day yesterday and enjoy more celebration today!

                   Photo: Ann's cake was delish!