Pinteresting Tuesday

Just sharing some of my favorite recent pins…check out Amber’s Pinteresting Tuesday post, too.

(remember, if you click on the picture, it will take you to the accompanying post/website)

1. This icing technique is one that I’ve never done – I really like how it looks like a flower.  I’m going to try that on my next batch of cupcakes.  Also, I think the ombre look of the cakes is really cool.

 

2. I adore this little hat-headband-thing on this baby!  My future little girl(s) must have one!

Source: etsy.com via Caitlin on Pinterest

 

3.I do not like cats (or really any animal for that matter) but this cat is hilariously cute!

 

4.  I’ve got some ripe bananas hanging out in my freezer and some Greek yogurt chillin’ in the fridge (pun intended…) – I think I was just waiting for this perfect recipe to come around.  Can’t wait to give it a try!

 

5. I am ultra-intruiged by this post about how to clean your bathroom completely with just lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.  She shows before and after pictures and boy can you tell a difference!

 

Happy Tuesday everyone.  I’m spending my Tuesday enjoying the mountains in Gatlinburg :)

Oh and by the way, you can get the book I was featured in (That Works for Me!) for 50% off May 8 and May 9 only (in honor of Mother’s Day).  So if you want one, now is a good chance to grab a copy!  Just use the code “works4mom” and go here to purchase.  You can also head over to Kristen’s blog and get some great Mother’s Day coupons.

cake decorating class – week 4

Last night was the final class for Course 1 of the Wilton cake decorating classes.  I feel like I’ve learned so much in the four weeks of classes!  I’m also excited because I signed up to take Course 2 in April – it starts next Tuesday…so a whole ‘nother  month of cakes (exciting for my tummy, not exciting for my 2012 goal to lose weight…oh well).  In case you missed the first three weeks check them out here: week 1, week 2, and week 3; also cake decorating related: an amazing icing tip, low(er) calorie cupcakes, and a Fly Guy cake.

So on to this week…this week we learned how to write on cakes and how to make roses.  Compared to the past classes when we’ve learned tons of new techniques each class, learning only two things didn’t sound like a lot.  However, these were both pretty hard to master so I’m glad we didn’t have to rush.

first we traced on our practice board to learn how to hold the bag and how much pressure to use

then we practice free-handing (no, it’s not my birthday – she told us to write “Happy Birthday” and our name)…it turned out a lot better than I thought it would for my first time!

then we learned how to do roses which look complicated, and admittedly they are harder than some of the other stuff we’ve learned, but they weren’t as hard as I thought they would be – this was a particularly pretty one I made while practicing

After we learned those two new things, we spent the rest of class decorating our cake (we had to bring a cake already filled and iced to class) using some of the techniques we’ve learned

I couldn’t really think of any big events coming up to write about on the cake so I just chose “Hooray for Spring”.

The number one lesson I learned this week…spell check before you start writing on your cake…

I’ve told you before I’m not a good speller.  Apparently I forgot that hooray was spelled hooray and instead spelled it horray.  Fail.  We’ll just call that a learning experience…

You need pretty stiff icing to make pretty roses like my white one in the picture above; unfortunately my purple icing ended up being more of a medium consistency so they were harder to make and didn’t turn out quite as pretty.  And that one on the far left got squished when my bag fell over on it.  Bummer.  I liked my leaves, though!

I piped a shell border and put some dots on the sides.  The shell has been the hardest thing for me to get right but I got better with practice.  You can sort of see in this picture that i had started on the right (they are pretty big and uneven) and went around the cake so that the ones on the left were done towards the end and they look much better.

I have really, really enjoyed this class.  I highly recommend taking the Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 (it’s usually offered at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn’s).  Just learning the basic cake decorating skills that we’ve learned during these four weeks had made such difference in my cake decorating and I know will be so helpful in the years to come.  I’m looking forward to course 2!

mess free icing bags {Works for Me Wednesday}

Remember how I told you I was going to share an icing trick that would rock your world?  Well, here it is.

The backstory (because y’all know I’m wordy and have lots to say before I actually get to my tip…): I told you last week how one of the biggest downsides to the cake decorating classes that I’m taking is the insane amount of clean up involved.  The worst part is cleaning the icing bags because they get all greasy and gross and take forever to wash them out.  Last week I had six different icing bags to clean, plus couplers and tips…yuck!  My sweet husband has helped me wash them several times and we both agree that cleaning those bags is for the birds, but we’re also too cheap to buy tons of disposable ones.  Well, this weekend I found this pin on Pinterest, one that I had pinned back before I ever started my cake decorating classes and had forgotten about.

The pin was labeled “Mind Blowing Cake Decorating Tip” and that is the truth!  This is the video that was so fantastic:

Isn’t that amazing?  I was so super excited to try this method out when I made my cupcakes Sunday afternoon.  I tried not to get too excited in case it didn’t work out, but guess what?  It worked perfectly!

I made my icing

and tinted it the color I wanted

I laid a piece of Saran wrap on the table and blobbed my icing on it

I spun the Saran wrap and rolled it up like in the video

Put it into my bag

pulled the Saran wrap through the tip

cut it off and rubber banded the end

and iced my cupcakes

When I was finished with the blue I just un-rubberbanded the end, pulled the Saran wrapped icing tube out, and threw it away.  The tip had a little icing in it so I rinsed that off, but the bag had NO ICING on it!  I was able to then make a little Saran wrap package of the next color, slide it in, and I was good to go.  I used four different colors of icing in that one bag using that same method, and all I had to wash at the end was my tip – the bag was still clean!  Amazing!

It was a little hard (but definitely not harder than washing all those bags at the end!) to get the Saran wrapped end through the tip, but this tip is too big for a coupler so I had to drop it down in the bag first then put the icing in.  This would be even easier if you use a coupler (like she did in the video) then just pull the Saran wrap end through the coupler, clip it, and screw the tip on.

Also, twisted end of the Saran wrap plus the rubberband on the end prevented any icing from spouting out the top, which was another messy problem I had.

Using this method of icing my cupcakes/cakes definitely works for me!

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

cake decorating class – week 3

This week in my Wilton cake decorating class we learned how fill and ice cupcakes and how to make several types of flowers.  Our “homework” was to make cupcakes, filling, and icing.  We only had to bring six but a box of cake mix makes 24, so I had a bunch to practice on!  I just used a box of Pillsbury chocolate devil’s food cake mix and altered it like I told you last week (one extra egg, 1/2 cup extra oil, etc.) and made a batch of the basic Wilton icing.  The filling was what I was most excited about.  You know how I have a massive blog crush on Amanda from Kevin & Amanda…well, I’ve been drooling over these Snickers cupcakes she made and so I decided to use her chocolate mousse filling for my cupcakes.

Shut. The. Front. Door.

The filling was incredible.  It exceeded anything I could have ever imagined.  I wanted to stick my head in the bowl and eat it all.  If you learn nothing else from my blog, you must make this mousse!  And the best part, it’s super super easy.

All you do is take 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, pour it in your mixer (I’m sure you could do this with a hand mixer or even by hand, but I used my KitchenAid and it was a breeze), use the whisk/beater attachment and turn it on.  Let it do its thing until the the whipping cream turns into whipped cream and starts forming stiff peaks.  I didn’t time this, sorry.  Meanwhile, melt two cups chocolate chips in the microwave.  When the whipping cream turns into whipped cream, pour in the melted chocolate and mix gently.

Then try not to eat the whole bowl.

It was amazing.  So amazing that I almost just left it the way it was, but I had already planned a different idea so I went ahead and tried it out.  After I made the mousse I divided it into three containers: in one I added a little instant coffee to make a mocha filling, in one I added a little peanut butter to make a peanut butter chocolate filling, and in one I added some orange extract to make an orange chocolate filling.  They were fantastic, too!  So many choices…The mocha was my favorite of the three flavors that I added.  Michael loved the orange, you couldn’t really taste the peanut butter – I think if I really wanted a peanut butter filling it would be better to go with making a peanut butter mousse using whipping cream and peanut butter chips rather than adding it in later to the chocolate.  Just my opinion though.

But the plain chocolate and the mocha…yes, please.  I have found a new love!

Just a note, though.  If you are going to use this mousse to fill cupcakes (which we learned this week where you put the long tip down in the cupcake and push the filling in), fill the cupcakes right after you make the mousse.  I made my mousse the night before and refrigerated it (since it contained cream) and the next day, even though I let it sit out for an hour before I tried to fill the cupcakes, it was too hard and wasn’t as fluffy.  It was so hard to pipe the filling through the bag into the cupcakes – it was an absolute mess and some of them didn’t get hardly any filling because I was squeezing so hard but couldn’t get the filling to come out.  Later, I microwaved some of it for just a few seconds and that made filling them so much easier, but I’d recommend just waiting to make the mousse until you need it.

Ok, enough about filling…on to the point of this post – decorating! (but seriously, go make this mousse – you will thank me later)

Here’s part of my work station before class started (there’s a lot more behind me on the counter): paper towels (you use lots!), wet washcloths (icing is sticky!), the three fillings, icing tinted six colors, icing bags, tips, practice board, cupcakes (that carrier is fantastic – it has slots to nest each cupcake in so they don’t tip over, or you can flip the white trays over and use it for two sheet cakes or cookies…here it is if you want one)

Two bad things about this class (that are still worth it to put up with) is 1) how much stuff you have to haul from your house to the class (my largest 31 bag is full each time plus I have a cake or cupcake carrier in addition to that)  and 2) the cleanup afterward.  Oh my stars, the cleanup….Michael and I spent forever last night washing all the containers, icing bags, and tips, and we didn’t even finish – we ran out of hot water!  But it’s still worth it because I’ve learned so much in just three weeks.

We moved fast this week in order to get everything in, so I didn’t have time to take pictures during class (nor did I want to get sticking icing all over my camera) – here are my finished cupcakes:

We learned how to do drop flowers (the pink flowers with the orange center on the top left cupcake), a basic icing technique for cupcakes (the plain purple and pink cupcakes), leaves (they’re in green on some of the cupcakes), shaggy mums (the orange hairy looking ones, rosettes (the light blue cupcake on the bottom row is covered in rosettes), and pom pom flowers (I don’t have one here so point out).  Some of these (like the crazy green one at the bottom right) weren’t done using a technique we had learned, I was just experimenting with the different tips and colors.  The orange one in the top right corner was decorating in the stars that we learned our first week.

We learned how to do shells tonight but I didn’t put them on my cupcakes because that would look weird and because they were pretty hard for me to do and I didn’t think they looked very good.

I also made little flags to indicate which cupcakes had which fillings since I had three.

Here’s part of my second tray (I waited until I got home to fill and ice the last 8).  The top left corner (the light and dark blue one) is the pom pom flower that we learned.

As soon as I got home we had to eat one, of course.  This was Michael’s.

and this was mine (I like a lot of icing!)

This was one of my favorites – love those little flowers!

close ups

Even with all that clean up we had to do, I would still go right now and make a whole ‘nother round of these!  I have so much fun making them and I think it will be even more fun when I’m at home in my own kitchen and not rushed.  If you know me in real life, expect to see some of these at any event that I can justify bringing cupcakes to…

Stay tuned for next week: we’ll learn how to make roses and write on cakes

weddings and cupcakes

Today we went back to Lexington to attend our friend’s wedding today and another friend’s baby shower tomorrow.

Congratulations, Steve and Noelle!

Me, Erin, Jonie, and Amanda at the reception

with Noelle – a beautiful bride!

Tonight Erin and I worked on some of the food for Julie’s baby shower tomorrow.  Erin made cupcakes last night and tonight we iced them.  We tried to ice them with the fancy tips which neither of us have used before.

pink and brown icing to match the shower colors

our icing bags

Erin’s cupcakes

Erin used one tip for the pink icing and I used a different one for the brown icing

with sprinkles

They weren’t awful (especially for our first try) but they definitely didn’t turn out quite like I expected.  Our attempts tonight reminded me of this:

[via Pinterest]

Hilarious.

More shower pictures to come tomorrow!