Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!!!!

I have relocated back to b-town for the Christmas break. You might be thinking that must be nice....a whole two weeks to be pampered by your parents, relax, watch TV, and do whatever your little heart desires!

Let me just tell you now...that would be my break in a parallel universe perhaps...but around here? N to the NO.

I still have all my grad apps to get in. My parents' list of chores and cleaning duties is longer than Santa's naughty list. The only way I'm going to get time to watch TV is if they extend the day to 27 hours instead of 24. And all my little heart desires is a bed and a warm shower....I'm low maintenance like that.

So I guess this is just another long wordy poor excuse as to why I won't be baking this Christmas :(

You hate me don't you? I just know it!

Unfortunately, my schedule is pretty much gridlocked until January 22nd 2012, when I can wrap up my last interview and my last app will be stamped, addressed, and in the mail.

After that, I promise to bake up a storm!!! Occasionally I will be doing some reviews so if you're into that kind of stuff, stay tuned :)

Have a great holiday and a happy new year. Eat something sweet, do something nice, and snuggle a lot with loved ones!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Blogging at Frosting for the Cause

I recently had the pleasure of putting together a post for Frosting for the Cause; an inspiring and wonderful online project to raise funds and awareness about breast cancer as well as being a tribute to all the brave women who have fought and are still fighting all forms of cancer. Every day is a new recipe and an inspiring story. Take a look through the blog and maybe you could sign up to be part of it? Pretty please? You won't regret it, I promise :)

I dedicated the post to my grandmother and my music teacher. Both these ladies have been huge influential figures in my life. The life lessons I have learned from them are invaluable. It still feels somewhat surreal that they are not physically here with us anymore but we all know they are still here with us in our thoughts and memories. I often have a hard time expressing myself about certain things because some emotions I like to keep to myself. Frosting for the Cause was a much needed outlet for these feelings and I was able to pour all my love into the making of these cupcakes. This may sound weird, but I guess these cupcakes are an expression of my love and gratitude to my grandma and my teacher.

I had initially wanted to put together a fundraiser as part of my posting responsibility. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and a lot of picky rules about food safety things got pushed back. I am still planning to have a bake sale but as of right now, its in the planning stages.

Take time this holiday to hang out with your family and friends. I know I definitely haven't been spending as much time as I would like to because crazy life gets in the way. Appreciate the people in your life, enjoy the present moment, and laugh as much as you can...everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Monkeying Around

Okay guys its time to get serious. Theres no time for monkeying around and tomfoolery (where the hell did I hear that word and why am I using it?)

I recently received a request for some cute little monkey toppers for 2 year old baby twins. These were a complete joy to work on because they totally distracted me from the rest of the cray cray that is my life. I'm going to start using more hip words like cray cray and oh em gee because apparently I'm getting old and thus feel the need to connect with the inner youth in me. BOO YEAH! Wait do they still say that?

I used chocolate fondant for the bodies and skin coloured fondant for the rest of the bodily features.

I followed this tutorial and I think they came out cute as a button. I absolutely hated the skin colour fondant I was using. It smelled gross and was so much harder to work with than the fondant I use regularly. It was also overpriced and came with very little in the packaging. Overall, a very bad product.

But this post is about monkeys and not fondant.

I wanted the girl monkey to be wearing a tutu but when I tried to wrap it around her, since she was sitting down, it just ended up looking like a frilly weird skirt. So nixed that idea and gave her a blanket instead.

I wish I could have made the whole cake so that I could tie in the theme of the cake to these monkeys. I also made a few letter blocks out of fondant but didn't manage to get a good picture other than with my phone and lets face it, with my crackberry, it may as well not be a picture at all.

I hope the twin babies and their mommy liked them!!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


You know that couple who just got engaged and incessantly talk about nothing but wedding plans?

And your best girlfriend who just found out she's pregnant and has started talking about nothing but babies?

Well guess what students who are applying to graduate programs talk about?

That's right....grad applications....that, and working at McDonald's should they not get least...thats what my plans are.

Grad apps have consumed me. Its all I think about day and night and night and day....which have now just blended together because I never sleep anyway....sleep is for the weak. You think lions and tigers sleep?


You know who else doesn't sleep? The girl down the street who is applying to the SAME program you are. Sleep isn't holding her down and it shouldn't hold you down either!

I now find myself giving up on sleep and just call them naps. Sleeping from 6am to 8:30am when you have to wake up for class isn't sleep. Its a nap.

You know what else I can't do anymore? Make decisions.

My typical evening will go like this:

Sit down to fill out my prerequisite sheet for UfT
Realize I can put down 1 of 2 courses
Wonder which would look better
Look at my transcript to see which I did better in
Pick a course and write it down
Scratch it out and write another
Wonder what the person who will read it will think of me for taking that course
Wonder if I should have even taken that course
Wonder if I should have made it to post-secondary at all
Wonder if I am using the right colour pen
Wonder if I am writing neat enough
Wonder if the person reading will laugh at my writing
Wonder if I should hire a calligrapher to fill out my sheet
Wonder if it is to be or not to be
Stare at the paper in morbid fear for 10 minutes
Stare at the part that says name wondering whose name that is
Have an identity crisis
Rip the paper up and watch an episode of Modern Family

I also can no longer hold a conversation with someone without going to a very anxious place.

Typical conversation

Friend: Want to go out for sushi tomorrow night?
Me: Sure...what time should I get my personal submission into you by? *twitchy face*
Friend: *backs away slowly*

As you probably guessed, this post has nothing to do with baking. It's just an insight in to the brilliant mind of me...and my fellow peers who are in the same position I am.

Just remember this; if you lose sight of why you're doing need to take a break....go eat a cupcake...then come back to your desk or wherever you work...BREATHE...and keep going

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Happy Baking!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hockey Jersey Cake

My boyfriend is a huge Leafs fan. He has stuck with them through the good and the bad and has made me a default leafs fan.

So naturally for his birthday I was going to make him a hockey themed cake. I initially thought of making a hockey rink (arena?) but decided that there wouldn't be enough actual cake to eat or too much cake. Still want to try that sometime though.

This cake was relatively simple to make. I had originally planned on adding a buttercream border at the bottom to hide the imperfections of fondant but I didn't have enough time.

It is also much harder to cover a square or rectangle cake in fondant than it is for a round cake.

And it is also much harder to fit a Tamil name onto a tiny little maple leaf.

After I made the cake, I realized I should have done the BACK of the jersey with his name as the players name rather than the front.

I then smashed the cake into a wall and started all over again.


I brushed my shoulders off and put it in the books for next time.

I also just realized that this is the first 'boy' cake I've made. It kind of killed me that I couldn't put anything pink or pretty on it :(

I guess what matters in the end is that he loved it, even though he doesn't really eat cake....weirdo.

On a different note, I know I kind of fell off the face of the blogworld this past week. Its only because I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I will be back to some much needed baking soon with more pics and funnier posts than this one....I hope.

Till then...Happy Baking!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Alive!!

If you're wondering where I am....I'm right here!

I have been ridonculously busy this past week. I haven't been baking :( but I have been stalking goodies that other people have baked!

I promise that I will be doing a post soon. Don't leaaaavvveee meeeee.

Okay my attachment issues have surfaced.

The biggest problem with being a full time student and a part time baker/blogger is that you wish you were a full time baker/blogger and only part time student....quarter time student.

So don't worry, I haven't spontaneously combusted or been silenced by the FBI. I'm here and well and pulling out my hair with no time to do anything.

I'll be back soon enough! I promise with something yummy...I think.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas Came Early!!

This past weekend, I came into possession of something that I have been coveting from the moment I laid my eyes on it.

It is magnificent. I can't think of a word for it other than magnificent.

And its all thanks to one of my besties who knows how crazy I am and feeds my addiction :)

In fact, she was just as excited as I was was to watch me open it! If anyone is wondering how I have the motivation and determination to keep up with school AND fulfill my baking dreams, you should know by now that I'm obviously not doing it alone. I would be doing nothing without my friends and family who support me and keep me going when I feel like I have absolutely no energy left.

Okay put the tissue box more sentimentally stuff.

My friend, T managed to hook me up with this beautiful beast sent down from the cake heavens:

I'm gonna give you a moment to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of everything that comes in this box.

I know most people who read my blog probably don't know what this is or the significance of it.

But to those who are staring at the computer with a glow across your is every bit as good as the picture.... and better.

I will be doing a comprehensive post on the Ultimate Decorating Set soon including a comparison of the price of the set to buying each item individually. I can't promise that it will come soon but it will happen one day.

The retail value of the set is $470 but if you thought for even a second that I would fork that over, then we need to go on a few more dates because you don't know how cheap I am. Rest assured....I got this baby for a HUGE steal.

I'm getting flustered all over again... I think I need a paper bag.

Needless to say, I remain indebted for life to my friend T for hooking me up.

The next few weeks will be a bit packed as I get ready for finals and finish up assignments and have multiple crises over grad school applications where I drown my sorrows in junk food and try to convince myself that my life won't be over if it doesn't work out. I will try to squeeze in as much baking as I can.

Happy Baking!

PS: I'm wondering if I should cancel Multicultural Monday altogether. I'm always missing it and I never end up trying the recipes anyway. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: Wilton Global Fondant and Gum Paste Mold

Since I have a bit of time (a reallllyyyy tinnnnnyyyyy bit) between cakes and school work I thought I would do a quick product review on the impression mold I used for the bharathanatyam (dance) cake.

The Global mold is one of 3 or 4 I believe. It is made of silicone and comes with a bunch of designs on one sheet all relating to a certain theme. I received it as a birthday gift (ironically from the same friend that I used the mold to make a cake for) and was super excited to use it. I think its the most 'ethnic' looking one of the molds.

The instructions to use it were fairly simple. Wash the mold carefully before the first use. Obviously...this goes for any kind of tool you buy...if you even think about skipping this step, just picture a giant warehouse with rats running around on top of your products boxes...ya that's right...get scrubbing.

To use, you basically push in the fondant on top of the design you want and roll a rolling pin over it to make sure you fill every crevice. Make sure you sprinkled cornstarch onto the mold beforehand so that the fondant doesn't stick. Then just lift the fondant or gum paste out and TADAAAA.

Pshhh, who am I kidding...we all know things don't work that way in real life...

The biggest problem I had was that I had to make sure the impression wasn't overfilled or else I would have to trim the excess fondant off by hand which resulted in extra work...and we all know how much I hate extra work.

Eventually I got the hang of it and was able to fill each impression with just the right amount of fondant so that there was no excess.

I also found that I didn't need to use cornstarch! My fondant didn't stick to the silicone at all. I don't know if this was because my fondant was just the right amount of stickiness OR because the heavens were smiling down at me because I'm special....personally I think its the latter.

What I like MOST about this mold is that once you pop the shape out, you can manipulate it to form other shapes. I used the 4 petal flower impression and then cut them in half to make my own border. Winning!

What I didn't like was that the borders that came with the mold didn't look good when I made them. They were hard to fill without showing breaks or folds. When I did manage to fill it properly, there was always excess fondant that I had to then trim off. I also think it would be a hassle if you have a larger cake. The borders are not that long. I'm not too sure because I didn't use the border design and I decorated an 8 inch cake but I would imagine that you have to do a few borders and join them together resulting in more divides in your border. Again, not a big deal but since I'm a perfectionist and get crazy twitchy eyes when things I make have tiny flaws, I consider it a minus.

I think the mold would be better if they changed out the border designs and added some other impression designs and also if there was some way to fill the design and cut away excess fondant before popping the fondant out. Not sure how they would do that and make it convenient but I'll let the creative design engineers over at Wilton work on that one. The cavities were also quite deep and I think I would like it better if they were a bit thinner so that the work doesn't stick out of the cake oddly.

Regardless, I would give this product 7 out of 10. I think the mold is a great tool to give your cakes that extra flair if you are pressed for time. The intricate designs are great and you have an option among a few patterns to choose from. The product is very durable and seems like it will last a long time. I'm not sure about the price since I received it as a gift. But again, if you get it, make sure to check at Michael's first because they have those blessed coupons that make it easier on our wallets.

Next time for product reviews I think I should take some pictures of me actually using the product. All this text on the page is just boring...except for those few people who read my blog just for the writing...anybody? Ya didn't think so.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rose Cake

Today is a milestone! I know I say that a lot, but this one is for realz!!!

And technically it wasn't today, it was last weekend....but the excitement carries!

I officially had my first client/customer/person-who-I-didn't-just-give-cake-to.

Go ahead and scream and do a little victory dance for know you want to...go ahead I'll wait.

I don't think I can explain the feeling of PROFESSIONALLY baking someone a cake for the first time...ever. I think its right up there with having your first kid and getting married....okay maybe not THAT far up...

It's not the getting paid part that is exciting (but it definitely don't hurt!!) but rather the feeling that someone considers your work serious and professional and GOOD enough to pay you hard earned money for it.

I think I need a tissue.

I was talking to my friend yesterday about being a cake 'artist'. I didn't consider myself to be creative or an artist because I can't draw to save my life. Then she mentioned that baking is my 'medium' just like photography is hers.

Meeedddiiiuummmm. I rolled that around in my head for a while and came to the conclusion that I am a kid with crayons. I want to do great things. Paint Mona Lisa's and be a Van Gogh in my own right (but I'm keeping both my ears). Often times though, I am my own worst critic. So for now I'm going to focus on colouring in the lines and learning bit by bit.

And today I feel like I've graduated kindergarten! Yay me!

Inspiration for this cake (and by inspiration I mean totally plagiarized) came from I am Bakers beautiful Rose Cake. I dressed it up pink and added a few nonpareils. Inside is a lemon cake and its covered in vanilla buttercream.

Credits to my super photographer Emily.



Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bharathanatyam Cake

I am super excited about this cake.

My friend recently had her 21st birthday. As many of you may remember from my previous post, 21 is a big deal in my culture...well for girls at least.

But I did not make her a key cake...I was planning to do a change up on the traditional key cake but then things got expensive and it just wasn't going to happen.

INSTEAD...I made something better! Well at least I think so :)

My friend loves to dance. She's an amazing classical Indian dancer and is most passionate about it.

I looked high and low on the internets for a beautiful "Bharathanatyam" inspired cake...and found nothing.

So I took some inspiration from other dance themed cakes and came up with the sketch for my cake. I wanted it to look like the silhouettes of dancers on stage.

I traced the dancers out from black fondant and let them dry out. I also got to use an impression mold from Wilton which I will be doing a review on soon. The inside was a marble cake and covered in vanilla buttercream.

The hardest part of this cake was obviously the dancers. I wanted them to actually look like dancers and include all the little details like the pleated fan skirt and the graceful arms. Initially I had wanted them to have even more detail like bangles and the bells on the feet but since they were small, the details didn't come through. But they look like dancers to me so s'all good!

Every time I look at this cake, or pictures of this cake, my stomach jumps a little and I get excited all over again.

All in all, a very successful personalization of the cake :)

And thanks to Emily again for the amazing pictures. She has her own blog now too! Check it out here 

Happy Baking!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Some Things Need to be on Paper and Not in My Head

Another post about a lesson learned, although this one not as harsh and ugly as the previous one :)

I recently made a bunch of cupcakes and a small cake for a friend's birthday. I used my usual chocolate cake recipe but for some reason, it didn't turn out the way it usually does. It was good...but just not as chocolatey.

I also made a small 6 inch cake because a birthday is not complete without cutting into a cake while everyone sings a very off key but loving rendition of Happy fact the only part of that song that everyone sings in sync is the very first Happy...if your lucky, it might be Happy Birthday toooooo.....

But I digress.

Initially I had wanted to design the cake to look like a falling spatter of tiny little flowers. Kind of like this.

And that's how the cake looked in my head.

However, since I was pressed for time and ASSUMED that it seemed like a simple design, I didn't draw a sketch or look up tutorials or helpful hints like I usually do.

The look I was going for didn't really translate onto the end cake I made. It doesn't look just wasn't the look I was going for. I guess I overestimated my tends to happen. I also think the design would work better for a multi-tier cake.

Anyway...the cake still looked cute...the cupcakes also looked cute. And I loved the teal colour of the buttercream.

And I haven't given up on the splatter design...I will recreate it one day.

Moral of the story: plan, research, plan, sketch, and plan!

And thank you to my friend Emily for the pictures!!! You give my cupcakes a touch of magic :)

Happy Baking!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Do Not Resuscitate Cake

Readers of my blog...I come to you today from a place of failure and embarrassment.

Often times, I am so caught up in doing new things and succeeding that when something like this happens, I am shaken to the core...THE CORE.

I call it, the Do Not Resuscitate cake.

It started off like any normal cake would have. I lovingly measured out the ingredients...gently combined them in the bowl...carefully added the water...cautiously mixed it all up.

Then I poured it into my 8 inch pan and popped it in the oven with dreams of a happy healthy brown chocolate baby....I mean cake.

10 minutes later, I was opening the oven door to what appeared to be the purple thing from ghostbusters and an exploding volcano....TWO exploding volcanoes. I didn't even bother to take a was that depressing.

It was overflowing and there was a gigantic solid thing protruding out of the middle which looked very much like a certain body part but I'm going to keep this space I'll leave it to your imagination.

I didn't even fill it that was just a TAD over the mark I usually fill at.

So roommate and I made the executive decision to take it out, empty some of the batter and pop it back in.

20 mins later I opened the oven door to find what appeared to be a landslide in my cake. It had completely sunk in the absolutely completely. I didn't even know what to do so I just sat down and did some heavy breathing exercises while my roommate tried to convince me that it wasn't that bad...yeah right! Who was she kidding!?

That's why its called the Do Not Resuscitate cake...we should have let it go the first time.

Have you guys seen the video of the bride having a crisis and cutting her hair while her friends convince her that it doesn't look that bad. It was like that....exactly like that..

I've gone through little problems through my various baking projects but a complete failure like this hasn't happened in a long while.

Had I lost it? Was this baking thing a momentary, temporary phase of my life that is now dead and gone?

But even though it looked terrible and horrible, it still tasted amazing...gooey and moist and rich and chocolatey. So we sat there and ate this failed cake out of the pan while bringing my baking self esteem back up.

Nevertheless, I am back on my baking tip and made some of my best creations yet!

Moral of the story; sometimes, no matter how right you do things, the result is a complete mess and you find yourself just shit outta luck. Don't give up. Find a lesson in the experience and if not...have a good laugh and move on.

Happy Baking!

Monday, October 31, 2011

MM: Mille-Feuille

My first French class was in grade 3. I still remember how excited I was to learn an exotic language...never mind that technically I was learning the second official language of the country...not very 'exotic' but OH WELL.

Sadly, I did not become as fluent in French as I hoped to. I just couldn't wrap my head around some adjectives being masculine and some feminine....among other things....*sigh*
The French seem to be a classy group of, wine, hot men with sexy accents...they seem to have it all down. They also seem to be quite experienced in desserts.

So last week as I was diligently studying stalking people on Facebook, a friend of mine put up a status that said; I have fallen in love...with Mille-feuille. Obviously I jumped to the conclusion that this was either
a) a movie...b) a woman...or c) food...

Upon conducting an extensive literary search (i.e Google) as well as trying to figure out how to pronounce the darn thing, (Meee-fee? Mil Fooill? Milly Fooly?...apparently its [mil fœj] which is not any more helpful -_-) I learned that Mille-Feuille (which translates to 'thousand sheets') is a French pastry. According to Wikipedia, it is traditionally made up of 3 layers of puff pastry alternating with layers of pastry cream or other fillings. They are usually topped with icing, or fondant, or various other sweet stuff.

Now if you've been reading MM religiously (you have right? RIGHT?!) you probably know by now that I haven't attempted these desserts in the kitchen...yet...ONE OF THESE DAYS....I might....but until then you'll just have to put up with mouthwatering pictures and a few recipes and my hysterical jokes...okay maybe not the last one : )

Alright so to attempt your own mille-feuille at home there are some recipes here, here, and one more yummy variation here .
Hope it works out! Come back and let me know how awesome it was and that I can't have some because I couldn't pick myself up and make it myself : (

In other news...I have a few cake projects lined up...and a few product reviews I'm excited for. So check in and if you're tired of checking every 5 minutes to see if I've posted, SUBSCRIBE either with email or through GFC and you'll be the first to know...well...okay maybe the second...

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes

Since I am still in the early stages of my baking obsessions/passion/hobby/career/learning process, one of my goals is to test out recipes until I have a couple of tried and true go-to recipes.

I seem to have landed on a good foolproof chocolate cake recipe that works great in both cupcake and cake form. 

Vanilla is a bit more of a problem. I've tried out a few but have never been completely satisfied. 

Until I ordered this book. There are some mouthwatering recipes in that book as well as a whole lot of drool-worthy pictures. But more on that later in a review post.

I tried out a basic vanilla cupcake recipe in one of the first few pages. The first time I tried it, I added MnM's into the mix because my roommates are children and want candy and chocolate in everything. I didn't bother to dress them up too fancy because I was just testing them out. 

They came out really good. Soft and fluffy on the inside and just a tad crispy on the outside. They also rose very nicely. However the batter was not very was more doughy and thick...which isn't really a negative point, just an observation. Anyway, the trial went with no major catastrophes and the result was more than satisfactory.

The second time I decided to make them a little fancier. I had some frozen buttercream left over from the last birthday cake I made and it was already coloured purple. 

This time, the cupcakes rose TREMENDOUSLY...they could have passed for muffins. They also rose lopsided which probably has to do with how I filled the liners. Since the batter isn't as liquidy, I guess it didn't even out in the oven while baking like I expected it to....go figure -_-

I think what I did differently was mix it for longer in my mixer. This is the only thing I can think of that I did differently. 

They still tasted fine though which is a relief. 

I learned from this experience that having a ice cream scoop or some kind of device to distribute batter evenly would make the cupcakes more even and consistent. I used a measuring cup (I think it was a 1/4 cup scoop) and then used a spoon to help it into the liner....not very efficient and took 5 million times longer. 

All in all a good stepping stone. I will post the recipe soon....if I don't forget....what? I'm only human!

Oh and also I didn't do an MM post this week...midterm and no time....c'est la vie!

Happy Baking!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Wilton Ultimate Cake Leveler

My birthday has come and gone and my friends knew exactly what to get me as gifts; the entire Michael's baking aisle.

Okay I'm exaggerating....a little.

The first one in the line up for review is the Wilton Ultimate Cake Leveler. My roommate got this for me after watching me struggle to level an 8 inch round cake to be perfectly even and smooth.

Ain't she a beauty? Or maybe its a he...I haven't checked
It is a fold up cake leveler with a thin but sharp serrated stainless steel blade...try saying that 5 times fast! The height is adjustable to 8 height positions and it has a sliding lock handle. It folds into a snap and comes with a sleeve for the folded blade.

This product is a definite time and mess saver. There are fewer crumbs when levelling your cake just as the box says. When I tried to do this with a serrated knife, I could never get it at that perfectly even height and always ended up taking off more cake than I wanted. With this leveler, it was just click click click and saw away.

The instructions that came in the box were....satisfactory I guess. But then again, I did kind of lift the leveler out of the box and say "I don't need instructions, I'm a born natural!"

That lasted about 5 minutes and then I fished the instructions out of the box and read them.

What I like most about the leveler is that you place the legs on top of the table and saw away so that you are not depending on your eyeballing skills to get an even cut...and we all know my eyeball has no skills whatsoever.

It worked great on round cakes as well as odd shaped cakes.

What I didn't like so much?...well nothing really. I guess it could come in a different variety of colours since they only have white and red right now...but in the big scheme of things, I don't think it really matters.

Wilton also has a less expensive leveller called the...Cake Leveler. It is smaller (for a 10 in. wide 2 in. high cake) and is made of metal. The blade is a wire. I imagine that it would work just as well depending on your purposes.

If your planing on investing in the Ultimate Cake Leveler, it can be found at Michael's Craft Store and they ALWAYS have coupons for 20-40% off. Check the weekly ad on their website. I think this is the cheapest you can get the leveller for ifs you have coupons. If anyone knows better, let me know!

Happy Baking!

Monday, October 17, 2011

MM: Tiramisu

This week is the week from the underworld. No literally. I don't know how I'm going to survive. Everything possible is going to be happening right smack dab in the middle of this week.

So obviously this post is going to be super short and to the point.

My roommate came back from Thanksgiving weekend with a tupperware full of tiramisu. Her mom is an amazing baker and likes to create fancy desserts like I one day hope to. This is the first tiramisu I have ever tried and it was pretty darn good. I asked my roommate to share her mother's recipe and she has kindly obliged. I guess that makes this a guest post.

The best kinds of recipes are those that you've tasted and know you can trust.

Before I continue on with the recipe, I'm going to go adjust my caffeine IV drip. I think it's getting low because the words on the page are swimming.

Okay back. So Tiramisu is a dessert of Italian origin. It literally means 'pick me up'. That's all I had the energy to research. I'm sure you'll find more info on Wikipedia.

On to the recipe.

You will need:

- 1 package of lady fingers...not real fingers...the cookies
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 lb of Marscapone cheese
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly made expresso coffee
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder

You will have to:

1. Beat the egg yolks with sugar until mixture is thick and a light lemony colour.
2. Add the Marscapone cheese and mix thoroughly.
3. In another bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
4. Fold the cream into the cheese mixture.
5. Dip the lady finger cookies in the expresso and line them in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
6. Pour in half of the cheese mixture.
7. Add another layer of lady fingers dipped in expresso.
8. Pour remaining cheese mixture on top and smooth.
9. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

The end product was absolutely delicious. The cheese was a little tart and a whole lotta sweet. The lady fingers softened up and had the perfect coffee taste. The layers came together nicely into a mouth watering bite.

I wish I had some pictures of it but...

This is all I have. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

A huge thank you to my roommate's mom for sharing the recipe with me. One of these days I will post a recipe and review of something I actually of these days.

Happy Baking!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baking Tools and The Start of a New Series

One of the most exciting parts of cake decorating and baking for me is the variety of tools and the various functions they serve. For those of you who wonder how many possible tools would you need to bake a cake....I have one thing to say to you....

Okay so I can't think of a witty response because you honestly don't need a whole lot. It really depends on your goal. If you want to make a pretty cake but aren't too concerned with things like how even the cake is or how spot on certain icing colours are or how realistic the icing/fondant flowers look, then you really don't need many tools.

When I first started baking (before I even considered it a hobby) I would make my own piping bags out of  ziploc bags and didn't have fancy boards or anything. They weren't as easy to use but worked just as well.

And then I laid eyes on my first piping bag. I'm not going to describe the moment in detail but I'll leave you with this: the clouds parted and harp music was heard. Nuff said

But there is huge problem stopping me from rushing out and buying every cake decorating tool I can get my hands on. I refer to this problem as "I ain't got no money" My wonderful student budget doesn't allow for frivolities like baking supplies...butter....sugar....running get the idea.

But obviously this is a minor technicality in the grand scheme of things which is why I clenched my fist, squinted my eyes, and threw a tantrum.

When that failed much to my surprise, I sat on my computer and searched through Amazon, eBay, cake supplies warehouses, and Michael's Craft Store. I compared prices, searched for coupons, and cringed at shipping rates. Surprisingly, (or maybe not so much) there are many more business that cater to bakers and cake decorators in the good ol' US of A. Canadians do have some good resources, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, but at a higher price and with less variety.

Over the past few months, I have visited many stores and websites as well as investing in some products and figuring out what works and what doesn't. I thought it would be a good idea to do a few posts on these products and stores and talk about the greats and not so greats.

Hopefully it will help those of you who, like me, have an "I ain't got no money" problem narrow down what you should invest in and what you could probably live without.

And just because its Friday, (or is it Monday? What comes after Thursday? Where is Rebecca Black when you need her?!) find some awesome Michael's coupons here and here. Don't forget to use them before they expire!

Have a yummy weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

21st Key Birthday Cake

My personal preference when it comes to cake decorating is usually fondant. Even though it's expensive and super annoying to colour, it gives a much cleaner appearance in my very amateur opinion. Maybe this is because most of the cake blogs and sites that I stalk usually focus on fondant art and modern, minimalist design cakes. One of these days I should do a post on all the pictures I have saved as inspirations for future cakes.

That being said, there is something truly awe-inspiring about a cake that has been fully piped. However, It seems that piping is an art that is soon going to be lost in a sea of fondant. I personally am way too intimidated to even begin learning to pipe....or so I thought.

For my friend's 21st birthday, I stuck true to the Tamil/South Indian tradition of a cake in the shape of a old key decked out with roses. This was a milestone cake for me for many reasons.

Firstly, and what I'm probably most proud of, was that it was my first time making buttercream roses. If you ask my mother though, she would point out about 5 things wrong with my roses. But I think they're pretty good for a first time.

Secondly, the entire cake was piped. Not a bit of fondant in sight. Everything from the little stars on the body of the key, to the shell border, and the lettering were all piped. Maybe I was a bit naive in that I practiced about one row on a piece of parchment and then just jumped on to the cake. I guess luck was on my side because it worked out well.

Thirdly....well there is no thirdly : )

This cake was definitely time consuming but it was pretty relaxing piping all those stars and watching TV.

I'm not too happy with the lettering though. I think I should use a template or something for those.

I also didn't start with a drawn out plan, so the positioning of the flowers was a little awkward. And finally, I think I piped the cake backwards. I first did all the stars, and then the mound of roses working bottom up. I think I should have done the roses mound top down and then piped the whole thing. Maybe next time...

And that concludes the three cake line up for the October birthdays.

Now I have some time to brush up on some cupcake skills. And plan my next cake for November :)

Finally, if you have an event coming up and would like a custom cake, do contact me. A few people have asked me if I only make these as a hobby and whether or not they could order from me. I would definitely be interested in taking orders so email me if you have a request.

I am also going to be doing some product reviews of baking equipment and tools that I have used so stay tuned!!

Now I have to get back to assignments and reading...*sigh*

Monday, October 10, 2011

MM: Apple Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!!

In the spirit of thanksgiving traditions, I was going to do a post on pumpkin pie. It seems to be a staple along with turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes.

I thought back to the last time I had pumpkin pie and realized it was back in grade 4...or 5...

And I also remember not being a fan. I was a fan of the whipped cream on top though.

So instead, I'm going to be doing a post on apple pie. Since apples are plentiful right about now, it wouldn't hurt to have a simple and handy apple pie recipe around.

I've always thought apple pie to be part of the Canadian culture...or American culture. Actually, initially I always thought it was part of the McDonald's culture. I tried to Wikipedia what the origin is but just found out that it is 'English'. So we'll just stick with American.

We sprinkled cinnamon on top too. Don't you love the designs?

This recipe is from my sister's high school when she took hospitality and tourism. Nothing says hospitality like a warm piece of pie....and clean towels...and fluffy pillows with a chocolate on top.

I've made this recipe twice. Each time I used a different kind of apple. Unfortunately, I didn't bother to note the names of the apples so I'm going to do my best to describe them. The first apples were much sweeter and more red. The second batch were more tart, crispy, and were red and green in colour.

Personally, I prefer the second kind. The pie wasn't too sweet and mushy. It was amazing!

Okay enough wait one more thing. I used store bought Pillsbury pie crust. I could I?! But I do have a recipe for a pie crust which I will include but I haven't tried it yet so your on your own there.



12 oz pastry flour
3 oz margarine
4 oz vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold water
1/2 AP flour for dusting

1. Make sure to measure ingredients carefully
2. Add salt to pastry flour
3. Blend the shortening and margarine into the pastry flour. Don't mix. Instead, make cutting motions until the shortening/margarine are pea sized but still visible
4. Add cold water and mix until just blended. Do not over mix as this will activate the gluten in the flour and the pie crust will not be fluffy and light but rather tough.
5. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten with hands
6. Dust your work surface and flattened dough balls
7. Roll each ball into circles just larger than your pie plate
8. Line pie plate with one of the circles, pressing it lightly into place
9. Add filling (recipe below), egg wash rim, place top crust, and flute crimp edges
10. Brush top with egg wash and cut steam vents
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Pie Filling
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I didn't use any because I didn't have on tasted fine)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 peeled, thinly sliced apples (cut slices in half so you don't have giant pieces of apple)
1 tbsp margarine (for dotting)

1. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl
2. Gently stir in the apple slices...go ahead and taste a few of the tastes amazing!
3. Place apple mixture into pie crust
4. Dot with margarine
5. Egg wash rim of pie crust and position top crust
6. Crimp or flute the edges. Make sure not to leave gaps or else pie filling will spill out. Not pretty. Cut away excess crust
7. Brush top with egg wash and cut a few steam vents. You can add designs with left over pie crust too
8. Back in convection oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes
9. Cool and cut. Serve with ice cream or just stick your face in and eat it as is.

Gooey and delicious!!! We didn't wait for it to cool completely which is why it's falling out...oops.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Featured Blogs List!!!

I am super thrilled because I am on my way to going public...well...more public.

I recently entered my blog to be put up on the blogs directory over at the Cake Decorating Classes Directoy and I have recently been listed!! Yayy

No I am not teaching classes...I am not even close to being that good.

I am listed in the Cake Decorating Enthusiasts section.

This directory is a really good resource if your looking for blogs that teach techniques, post recipes, have tutorials, or just blog about experience (like me!)

I used this directory many many times when I was in the research phase of my baking. Some of my favourite blogs which I have bookmarked and visit on a regular basis come from this directory.

I am also super excited to have made it into the featured blogs section. I also teared up a little reading Lindsay's description of my blog. I hardly ever get any feedback on here and I appreciate every bit I get : )

Here is my listing. Do check out all the other blogs too. Tonnes of pretty pictures and tasty recipes.

Hope everyone is having an awesome Thanksgiving weekend. Eat lots of turkey covered in gravy and appreciate it because some of us are vegetarian this month and don't get no turkey (more on that later).

Check back on Monday for MM!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Camera Cake

I am so damn tired right now. Like tired and cranky and snappy. But I am so excited about this cake that I just had to do a quick post on it.

Disclaimer: If you are a photographer or a camera geek and are cringing at all the ways this cake is not super detailed like a real camera is, you should leave now....

Still here? Okay good : )

My goal for this cake was to get the basic structure of an SLR (or DSLR?) camera down and add a few of the obvious features the camera has. My roommate is an amazing photographer and has an awesome Nikon. So I added that signature red Nikon thingy. And also tried to pipe on the Nikon logo as best as I could.

It was also a new experience trying to cover a non-round cake in fondant. It wasn't as hard as I was anticipating but still not the most perfect job.

I kind of cheated. The lens part isn't cake. Its actually a bunch of rice cakes glued together with peanut butter and covered in fondant....OH WELL :)

And finally, a note to myself for next not attempt carving a cake if its super moist. I used chocolate cake and it fell away at the touch. The structure would have been much cleaner and less lumpy if I had used a different recipe I think.

Next time I attempt a camera cake, I'm going to try to add more detail and also get the size proportion a tiny more accurate. But at the end of the day, I was super proud of my first structure cake.

Now on to an upside down topsy turvy circus cake....KIDDING!

I also find it ironic that my roommate took pictures OF the Nikon WITH her Nikon...bahaha!

2 down...1 more to go!!!