Friday, December 19, 2014

BEST Cut-Out Cookies. Ever.

My daughter received her 1st Reconciliation last weekend.  To celebrate, I made these cross cut-out cookies.  I've shared my cut-out cookie recipe in the past, but this time, I think I made them even BETTER.   I added browned butter to the dough.  It made these cookies melt-in-your mouth delicious.  I can't wait to make them again!!!!  Recipe is below.

Congratulations to my Jo-Jo on her very special day!

Cake Mama Cakes' BEST Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
1 cup browned butter, room temperature (not melted)
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.  

How do you brown butter?  Click here:

Gingerbread Houses - 2014

So I've asked my Cake Mama friends on Facebook what kind of gingerbread house they prefer.  Do they like ones with just piping, one with tons of candy, or ones with a combination of both.  I tried to provide examples of all of these in this blog and I gotta tell you, my favorite one so far is the one with a combination of both.  The touch of whimsy is just want I like about Gingerbread houses, but it's not too much.  

So here's the first example.  JUST PIPING.

This was for my mom.  She wanted a wintery gingerbread house.  One that she could have out for longer than just Christmas.  I think it turned out really cute and was the inspiration for the one I did most recently (coming up...)

I hosted a Gingerbread House workshop and my students made some spectacularly decorated Gingerbread Houses.  Here's Sofia with her masterpiece.

I particularly like her roof with all of the fun colors!  And she made a sleigh out of candy canes. 

My daughter Josie and nephew Connor made theirs with lots of fun details as well.

Here are a few more from class.  Crushed candy canes pressed into extra frosting (on the left) really make for a sweet-smelling abode.    Beautiful!

Here's the one I made for a sample at Ben Franklin Crafts.  Piping and lots of candy.  I had kids from the audience help me with my design.

Then I had my other nephew over.  He's finally at that age (3 years) where making a Gingerbread House was a fun project for the two of us to do.  At least, that's when I started with my daughter an other nephew, Connor.  

I laid out all of the candy and I did the piping, but he directed where everything went.  Check out those fine motor skills!  Not to mention his level of concentration!

 I think he looks pleased!

He wanted the snowman to be falling off the roof.     And when I asked him if he wanted any windows on his house he said, "Yes."  Then I asked, "How many?  One?  Two?"  He held up both of his hands and said, "TEN!!"  So, there are ten windows on one side of his house.  He didn't want any more.  ;)

And here's my latest creation.  This one is a gift for my daughter's teacher at school.  It's a combination of both color and piping.  This one was super fun to make.  The light dusting of powdered sugar on the top of the house really completed the look I was going for.

I think ALL gingerbread houses are pretty darn neat and they're so much fun to put together.  I like that it is a tradition in my family and something the kids really look forward to every year.  Do you have a preference for design?  How do yours look?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gobble Gobble

Erin requested some pumpkin cupcakes for her lovely mother's birthday celebration.  Her birthday falls right around Thanksgiving most years, so she usually gets a delicious fall-themed treat for her special day.  This year, Erin switched it up and ordered pumpkin cupcakes, instead of the usual carrot cake.   I was excited to explore this new arena and couldn't wait to secure a new recipe.

And boy, did I find an AWESOME one.  Here's the link for the delicious Pumpkin Cake and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  I filled the cupcakes with brown sugar whipped cream (2 cups whipping cream + 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 1/2 tsp vanilla - beat until stiff peaks).  DELISH!

I handed over the cupcakes and then Erin added the decor.  I laughed out loud!  There's something about those eyes that I find so comical!

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  And the happiest of birthdays to you, Sheila!
 Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Teresa's Birthday Treat

My sister-in-law was celebrating her birthday and I thought I'd whip up a nice treat for her.  I seem to recall that chocolate cake was among her favorites, and her mother used to make a really wonderful peanut butter frosting; a recipe she shared with me.  

Because it would just be my sister-in-law and my brother celebrating her birthday that night, I made two six-inch cakes and filled them with chocolate frosting and peanut butter frosting and the covered the whole cake with more chocolate frosting.  I made some vanilla buttercream as well and added some ruffles and a cute flower on the top of the cake in one of Teresa's favorite colors.  

Here's the cake in the color-matched kitchen (I think I did pretty well!!!).  

And here's the inside of the cake.  Delish!

There was some extra batter leftover from her cake, so I made some cupcakes as well.  My nephew is not a fan of frosting, so he got some plain chocolate cupcakes to help his mom celebrate.  And here were some extra cupcakes that I decorated with all of the extra frostings and fillings.


I hope you had a great birthday, Teresa!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Isaac's R2D2 Cake

Isaac was having a Star Wars themed birthday party and wanted an R2D2 cake.  I'd done one of these before for my husband and knew I could do it again if I set my mind to it.  No Jedi mind tricks for me.  This WAS the droid I was looking for.

The cake itself is a chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream filling.  It's frosted with buttercream in the form of about 1 zillion stars.  These cakes tend to take so much time, but they really look great when they're done.

Because I had to cut so much away from the cake to make the R2D2 shape, I had a lot of cake scraps left which I then made into some "spacey" cake pops.  Black sugar with a few white sprinkles reminded me of outer space.  I hope that translated well!  

Happy Birthday to you, Isaac!  I'm so honored to have been a part of it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Cookies!

I have to be honest with you.  Cut-out cookies are my least favorite cookies to make.  They take so much time, they take so much work, and they make such a big mess.  But you know what?  My kids and my husband LOVE them and it gives the girls the opportunity to "help" me in the kitchen.  That bonding time is what makes all of the work and mess totally worth it.  

This was Maren's first cut-out cookie experience.  She loved eating the toppings more than decorating, but who cares?  She made some brilliant cookies!

Josie has developed into quite the artist!  She took her time and made some delightful designs.  


I went through and added the green leaves when they were done.  

I've blogged about these cookies before, but if you'd like the recipe, click here.  The blog post also has a link for the most wonderful frosting.  Happy Halloween!!!!

Pumpkins for Amy

Sofia walked over to my house with her dad and placed an order with the Cake Mama for her mom's [Amy's] birthday.  Shh!  This was going to be a surprise!  Sofia wanted a dozen cake pops, but they had to look like pumpkins.  AND!  She wanted "medium-sized" pumpkins for the top of the cake she was going to make for her mom.  I had to clarify what size "medium" was and Sofia held up her hands made a circle, "yay" big.  Got it.  

Sofia said the her mom's favorite cake was a funfetti cake, so that's what I made the cake pops out of.  I rolled them in orange chocolate, covered them in orange sprinkles and used a little green Tic Tac for the stem.

Here are the cake pops and the medium sized pumpkins for the top of Amy's cake.  I made these pumpkins out of Rice Krispie treats and rolled them orange chocolate.  They, too, got the Tic Tac stem. 

Happiest of birthdays to you, Amy!  I hope you were surprised!  

Aaliyah's Design

Aaliyah was so excited to show me the cake that she wanted me to make for her birthday.  She sketched out her design on this paper and was very specific about how she wanted her cake to look.  Isn't she so talented?

She loves to play basketball and volleyball, her favorite colors are orange and purple and she absolutely loves moustaches.   (You read that right.)  It's kind of "her thing."  LOL!

Aaliyah wanted a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting on the inside.  And not just any chocolate frosting, she wanted mini-chocolate chips to be mixed IN with the frosting (indicated in her picture above - all of the dots...).  Here's a picture of that creamy frosting with chocolate chips.  

The end result can be seen here.  Orange and purple are very present, so is the basketball, volleyball and moustache.  She added balloons and so did I.

It was a fun cake to deliver.  I love seeing the look on their faces.  And this was even more special because it was HER design.  

Happy Birthday, Aaliyah!  

Sports-Themed Baby Shower

Jackie requested cupcakes for a sports-themed baby shower she was hosting.  She said that the nursery for this soon-to-arrive little baby boy was to be decorated with different sports balls and I thought that they would be really cute on top of a mound of blue frosting.  

I made the baseballs, basketballs and footballs out of gum paste and used royal icing and edible food marker to make them look just right.  

Jackie requested a batch of chocolate and a batch of vanilla cupcakes, filled with buttercream for the special event.  I hope that they had a wonderful time and congrats to the mom-to-be!!!

Happy Birthday To Me.

So what does the Cake Mama get for her birthday?  A deconstructed chocolate cupcake filled and topped with salted caramel buttercream with a drizzling of homemade caramel.  

Yep.  A happy birthday indeed.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Super Heroes Smash Up

Braden was having a Super Heroes party and wanted a cake to include his favorite Super Heroes. The Hulk is his favorite, but he also loves Batman, Superman and Spiderman.  So how do I make a cake and include all FOUR of those Heroes?   EASY!!!  I break the cake into four quadrants and decorate away!

Here's how it turned out.  Notice, Braden's name is under the Hulk.  I figured that should be the front of the cake.  

Braden wanted a chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream and fudge filling.  DELISH!!!

I hope he had a fantastic birthday celebration!  I had so much fun making his cake!

A Cake Fit For a Stylist

My neighbor stopped by requesting a cake for her daughter, Karissa.   Karissa, I was told, is a hair stylist, her favorite colors were turquoise and orange and she was turning 25.  That's all I knew about Karissa.  That, and she wanted a chocolate cake.  Challenge accepted.  

I actually had a really fun time with this cake.  Sometimes, blank slates can be REALLY fun and do my best work.  No expectations, just surprise.  I love it!

And here's what I came up with for Karissa.  

I hope that Karissa had a wonderful birthday celebration!  (I'm told she enjoyed her cake!  Phew!)