How to Gain the Baking Tools You Need

I am one that is a total nerd about sprinkles and cookie cutters and cupcakes liners. Every time I walk into a craft store I want to buy every single cute thing that pops out at me. The reality of it is that I can’t buy every little cute sprinkle or cookie cutter that I see just because I like it. What if I never get the chance to use it? What if I buy 30 cute cookie cutters that I never get orders for? It’s a waste. So I talk myself out of buying every cute baking tool that I see to save myself money and I use a different technique in collecting the things that I need. 

What I’ve learned to do when buying tools, cutters, liners, sprinkles, molds, etc is to only go searching for the tools that I actually NEED, WHEN I actually need them. Using this technique, I get an order for some type of shaped cookie or fondant mold and I go out and I buy it. Then, once I have made that order for someone using that tool, I take photos of my work and advertise it for others to see. Now I am advertising designs that I have the tools already to create.

For example, last week I came across an order for mermaid cupcakes with a mermaid tail as a cupcake topper. I accepted the order and then went on Amazon (I order almost everything on Amazon Prime) and ordered a mermaid tail fondant mold. I made the cupcakes using my new mold and posted pictures of them. Now that others can see the cupcakes that I am advertising with the mermaid design, I can now hopefully acquire orders that are similar in which I can use the mermaid mold that I already have. 

I have found that this is not only saving me money, as I am only buying tools as I need them and not collecting unnecessary things, but I am also only acquiring things that people want me to use, I’m not buying tools that people are not even interested in. 

As time goes on and I get more orders, I am finding that I am collecting necessary baking and decorating tools pretty quickly and my range of different things is starting to expand (which makes me very excited). The only problem now is that my baking closet and drawers and becoming a little full.. hehe ūü§ó. 

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Mermaid Cupcakes

I have recently seen a trend in themes such as mermaids, unicorns, seashells, and ice cream cone, especially for girls’ birthdays and events. I came across these adorable mermaid cupcakes and I thought they’d fit the new trend.

I chose this color scheme of purples and teals to match a majestic mermaid look. I began with dark purple colored cupcakes liners. I then made a sprinkle assortment with teal and purple colored sugar sprinkles and white purples.

Prior to making the actual cupcakes, I used my mermaid tail mold to create fondant ‚Äčtails for the toppers. I colored my white Satin Ice fondant a light teal color using a small amount of Wilton’s teal gel food coloring. I placed small amounts of the teal fondant into my mold and then removed them to let them dry overnight.

After the fondant mermaid tails were dry and hardened the next day, I used an airbrush to color the tips of the tails a purple color.

After my cupcakes were baked and cooled, I decorated them beginning with a single ring of buttercream to cover the outside edge of the cupcake. I then sprinkled my sprinkle assortment onto the wet buttercream. Once the sprinkles were set on my cupcakes, I iced the teal cupcake top. When the buttercream was still soft, I placed the dried fondant mermaid tails on top of the cupcakes in an upward position.

And that’s it! How’s easy and adorable for a little girls birthday party, right?!

Thanks for looking!

Check out my new ‘About Me’ video that was uploaded this week on the About Me page of my website.

Cake Pops

Cake pops are the perfect little bite size dessert. They are also so simple to make and they look beautiful. Today I’m going to teach all of you little bakers how to make cake pops for your next special occasion.

1. Bake your cake.

Bake any flavor cake you want as you normally would. The bigger the cake you choose to cook, the more cake pops will come out of it. Let your cake cool and remove it from the pan.

2. Crumble your cake.

Take your cooled cake and crumble it into the bowl of your mixer. If there are any rough and hard edges/tops to your cake, it is recommended to trim those edge off and only be left with the moist, crumbly inside of your cake.

3. Mix your cake and buttercream.

Add about 1/2 cup of buttercream to your crumbled cake for each 10″ cake you have crumbled in your bowl. You can add or substract buttercream depending on how thick/soft your buttercream is. Mix your cake and buttercream well, until it is completely combined. You want your cake pop dough to be doughy and able to be formed into a ball.

4. Make the ball of your cake pop.

Take a 1″ scoop and scoop out your dough. After you have the correct amount scooped, form the dough into a ball using your hands. Place each of your new cake pop balls on a baking sheet with marchment paper. When finished making the cake pop balls, wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet into the freezer for at least 20 minutes. (The cake pops do not need to be completely frozen, but need to be slightly firm before removing them from the freezer.)

5. Melt your chocolate.

Using a microwave safe bowl, place your candy melt or chocolate into the bowl and in the microwave. Microwave the candy in intervals and do not overheat it. Continue to mirvowave until the candy is completely melted and smooth, but not too hot.

6. Make the cake pops.

Remove your cake pops from the freezer and unwrap them. Take a cake pop ball and place a treat stick into the center of the ball. Then, dip your cake pop into your candy melt until it it completely covered. Let any excess candy drip and then place the cake pop onto parchment paper. If adding sprinkles or anything to your cake pops, make sure you do so while the chocolate is still melted and has not harden yet.

7. Decorate!

Once your cake pops are hardened, decorate them as you wish. I like to tie ribbon the the candy sticks or drizzle more candy melt or chocolate on top of the cake pops. Decorate them to match your occasion!

8. Eat them all!!!

Thanks for reading. Comment below about how your cake pop experience goes. Happy baking!

My Go-To Baking Products & Brands

There are countless brands and products when it comes to cooking, baking, decorating, and delivering.  Although there are so many different things to choose from, not all tools and fancy gadgets are always necessary, especially when just starting out.  As some brands are obviously better than others, I want to share with you some of my favorite products that I use most often.

As I have mentioned in my previous post¬†Fondant, I talked about how Satin Ice is my favorite brand of fondant. ¬†When I buy Satin Ice, I generally order it from my Amazon Prime account and have it shipped for free with two-day shipping. ¬†On Amazon, I pay around $22 for a 5lb tub of fondant. ¬†I choose to use Satin Ice because of its thick and soft texture, which makes it easy to work with, form and mold, and it doesn’t tear as easily as some other brands.

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As some bakers like to wash and reuse their pastry bags after decorating, I find it to be a hassle that I don’t want to deal with. ¬†I love using DayMark pastry bags as they come in bulk sizes and the bags are absolutely amazing! I usually buy the 18″ bags, which are fairly large, and I use them for everything when it comes to decorating. ¬†The bags are thick and I have never had an issue with them tearing while I decorate. ¬†I 100% recommend these pastry bags for all of your decorating needs.

None of us like when our cakes stick the pan, right? ¬†It’s probably one of the most frustrating things in baking. ¬†When baking cakes I always use Baker’s Joy when spraying my pans. ¬†This product is amazing and works every single time I’ve ever used it. ¬†The spray is flour and oil based and allows your cake to pop out easily every time you use it.

When it comes to cake and cupcakes boxes, things can get a little bit tricky.  I always find that boxes are much more inexpensive when purchased online, but you run into the issue of shipping.  Cake boxes are large, heavy, and expensive to ship.  I found that ordering boxes with Amazon Prime is the way to go (Can you tell how much I love Amazon?!) because I can find them for a pretty inexpensive price and I get them shipped for free (which is the great part because paying for shipping of something that big and heavy ends up being more expensive than the actual product).  Southern Champion Tray is favorite brand when it comes to boxes and I especially like the kraft colored ones that I can purchase from them.  Their boxes are thick and sturdy and always come in all of the colors and sizes I need.

Although there are obviously many more products that I use often and love, you have to just simply find what works best for you.  Everyone has different techniques and products that work well for them, so try things out and find what works for you.

Recommend my blog to a baker friend and enjoy sweet creations together!

My Kitchen Is For Dancing

I truly think that one of the most important things that you can do is to find what you love and to pursue it. ¬†Now, I understand that not all passions can be careers and not everything you love will earn you money, but that should not stop you from still doing what you love on the side, as a hobby, or for yourself. ¬†In my case, I got lucky because what I love to do is something that I can and hope to make a career out of. ¬†I’m lucky to love what I do and to succeed at what I do as well.

I enjoyed reading an article called¬†Do What You Love! How to Identify & Pursue Your Passions¬†and how it talked about finding what you love and also something that you’re good at, eliminating money from your passion and equation, and to find a hero involved in the same passion as you. ¬†Someone who I love to keep up with is¬†The Frosted Cookiery¬†¬†and I enjoy watching the amazing sweets she creates.

I have realized that through watching others who I look up to, constantly practicing and improving, and finally feeling comfortable in actually showing people my work and what I can do, baking and decorating really is what I truly love to do and that is why I intend to make it a career.  It is encouraging to get feedback from others about what I do, watch people read my blogs and look at my pages, and to have people ask me to create something for them.  This is absolutely what I want to do.  Baking makes me happy, and it makes me especially happy seeing the reactions of people after I have created a sweet for their special occasion.

Something that I always keep in the back of my mind, though, is that I can be serious about baking and I can be serious about wanting to create a business out of my passion, but I cannot be too serious in that I lose the love that I have for what I do.  You have to be serious and hard on yourself to succeed and to push yourself to your limits, but I strive to never be too hard on myself where my passion becomes a chore or where creating desserts becomes something that I dread doing.

This is why I dance in my kitchen.  This is why I put flour on my nose and leave powdered sugar hand prints on the people who walk by.  This is why I simply laugh when I make a mess or a mistake.  Your passion is supposed to be fun and you are supposed to enjoy it and that is what I always intend to do.

Always remember to follow your passions, but always keep the love you have for your passion above anything else. ¬†Don’t forget why you love what you love to do.

Comment below and tell me about what you are passionate about and what you love to do.

Fondant

Fondant, fondant, fondant. For those of you who are not familiar with what fondant exactly is, it is a sugar dough that you use in decorating cakes. The most common way to use fondant is to roll it out and lay it smooth over the buttercream layer of your cake. The fondant gives the cake a smooth, nice finish.

You can get fondant in two different ways.  One way is to buy it already made.  My favorite type of fondant to use is Satin Ice because of its soft texture, but its firm hold.  You can also make fondant with marshmallows, powdered sugar, water, and shortening.  Here is a marshmallow fondant recipe that I have used in the past that has worked well for me.  When decorating with fondant, I prepare to buy my fondant instead of making it as making marshmallow fondant is time consuming and also very messy.  The only downside to buying your fondant as opposed to making it is that fondant can get a little pricey.

Using a fondant mold. Photo credit

As using fondant to cover a cake is a common use for it, there are other ways in which you can use fondant to decorate any type of dessert.  Fondant is often used to make decorations for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.  Fondant can be easily shaped and can be left to dry for cute, edible decorations.  You can work with fondant yourself and shape it or you can find cute molds to use to shape your fondant.

Sometimes, especially when using fondant for the first few times, it can be different to work with and get used to.  It often tears easily, forms air bubbles, or creases in areas that you may not want, ruining your intended design.  Although working with fondant may seem frustrating at first, I promise you that the more you use it and the more you practice, you will become more comfortable with the product.  At the beginning of my journey, I hated fondant, but the more I pushed through the struggles with it and was patient with myself, the better and more comfortable I became.

As fondant looks beautiful on a cake, many people do not particularity like the taste of fondant, so beware of this issue as you may come across it.  Many people prefer buttercream, taste wise, as opposed to eating fondant, but they both have different looks and can do different things, so it depends on the style of decorations that you are going for.

You can create so many beautiful designs using fondant, just remember to practice and you will be an expert in no time!

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Moms Are Sweeter Than Cupcakes

Today I am going to write about something slightly different… I’m going to talk about my mama. This woman is the most supportive, loving, and caring person that I have in my life. She does so many different things for my family and me in so many different ways, so let me just share a few of them with you.

My mama is the heart of our family.  She’s there to give anyone a hug when they need it, always gives a shoulder to cry on, and always has something heartwarming to say.  She makes you feel proud of the person you are and the person you have become.

I am sure that everyone in my family can back me up on my feelings for this wonderful lady.  Someone who is especially thankful for her, as I am, is my little brother who is also pursuing his dreams through her support.  My 19 year old brother has a passion for baseball and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in this year’s 2017 draft.  My mom 100% pushed this boy to pursue his dream and to follow through with his work and her inspiration has paid off to him.

I created this fresh floral cake for my mom’s 49th surprise birthday party.
I have dreams of opening a bakery and creating a business and there is not a single person that stands behind me more in that dream than my mom. Every sweet treat I create, she is there to tell me how wonderful things look, taste, or gives me critiques that make me better and better each time.

I can’t even count the times that my mom has been there to deliver cakes, be at a certain place at a certain time for desserts to be picked up, or recommended my work to people she knows and even people she doesn’t know. She’s there by my side while I decorate, helping me however she can, even while I am destroying her kitchen in the process. I definitely do not think I could be on this journey without her.

This woman is my rock, she’s our rock, and I look up to her and her inspirational attitude more than anyone else in my life.  I forever owe her my life.

Give your mama a hug today and let her know how much she means to you.

Fresh Florals

Happy August!

Summer is a great time to put the fresh florals to use and decorate your cakes and sweets.  Using real, fresh flowers on desserts makes them that much more beautiful and creative.  There are many styles in using flowers on desserts and many sweets that you can add flowers to.  The most common would be to use them to decorate a cake, but we will go into some more ways to bring that extra little something to many of your desserts.

Let’s begin with the basics of the cake. ¬†When adding fresh flowers to an already iced cake, you will follow a few steps. ¬†First of all, always make sure that you are using flowers that are non-toxic because they are obviously going onto something that is going to be eaten. ¬†Here is a list of flowers that are safe to use while cake decorating.¬†¬†Next, you’re going to want to wash off your flowers with cold water, getting all things you wouldn’t want on them to go down the drain. ¬†Cut the stems off of your flowers so there is about 1″-3″ left, depending on how you want to place them. ¬†Now you’re ready to decorate!

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Before you put any flowers on your cake, figure out how you want to arrange them and how you¬†want your final product to look. ¬†For example, if you want a bundled floral arrangement, you may want to tie your bundle of flowers together as seen in the photo to the right. ¬†This will help keep your flowers together and from falling away from one another. ¬†If you want to use single flowers, you can also stick the stems into the actual cake with a floral that has a longer (3″) stem. ¬†There are many ways to arrange flowers, find what works for you.

When I use fresh flowers to decorate, I place them directly on the icing that is on my cake. ¬†Others, although, do not do this. ¬†Some do not feel comfortable placing a flower directly onto something that is going to be eaten. ¬†Although I don’t find placing a non-toxic flower directly on a cake to be harmful, there is a way to use flowers without them directly touching your cake if you wish to do so. ¬†You can either cut a piece of parchment paper to be placed onto your icing and underneath your flowers or you can add a toothpick into the stem of your flower as shown here.

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Lastly, another brilliant way to decorate with florals is to make your flowers candied.  You do this by filling a spray bottle with egg whites and water and then spraying your flowers with the solution.  Once the flowers are wet, sprinkle them with sugar and set them aside to dry.

Try adding fresh or candied flowers to cupcakes or other sweets as well.

Follow my blog and share it with your sweet friends!

The Richer the Better: Chocolate Cake

Who doesn’t absolutely LOVE chocolate cake?! ¬†One that is rich, moist, soft, dark, and melts with every single bite that you take…. Are you hungry yet? ¬†Chocolate cake is my personal favorite and I swear on the chocolate cake recipe that I use.

Something that makes this rich chocolate cake better than any other ordinary chocolate recipe is a couple of the ingredients that are used.  These two ingredients that you add to a chocolate cake recipe to make it better than ant other are black cocoa powder and coffee.

Using black coffee, or even instant coffee, in your recipe will enhance the flavor of the cocoa and really bring out that rich chocolate taste. ¬†Don’t worry, coffee in a chocolate cake recipe isn’t necessarily going to bring any sort of mocha flavor to your cake, but simply just bring out the richness of all your flavors. ¬†Using hot black coffee is also going to make your batter into a hot liquid consistency, which will develop a moister and softer cake after it is baked.

Using black cocoa powder is the other chocolate cake secret. ¬†Black cocoa is a little bit bitter and obviously dark, similar to how dark chocolate tastes. ¬†Using about 1/3 amount of black cocoa powder and 2/3 amount of regular, unsweetened cocoa powder is the way that I always go with my recipes. ¬†Mixing both of the cocoas gives my cakes a rich flavor, but doesn’t give it too much of the dark, bitter flavor, making it the perfect combination.

Now that I have made your mouth water with all of this chocolate cake talk, here is a recipe you can use.


Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup black cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

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Heat oven to 350¬įF. Grease baking pans. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoas, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minute. Remove cakes from pans to wire racks and allow them to cool completely.


Make some rich chocolate buttercream to ice your cake after they have completely cooled.

Even add some little extras to your rich chocolate cake by using a filling (raspberry, strawberry, coconut, caramel, etc.).

Use this recipe or try something of your own and comment below about how rich, delicious, and mouth-watering your chocolate cake turned out to be!

Happy baking!

How Do You Choose a Wedding Cake?

How on earth will you pick a cake flavor for an ordinary occasion dessert?  If that seems difficult, think about how much more challenging it will be to choose a wedding cake flavor!  At your wedding you not only have to enjoy your cake, but you have to ensure that every single one of your guests will also fall in love with the flavor of cake that you chose.

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So where do you start?  There are so many different flavors to choose from: chocolate, red velvet, champagne, pumpkin, strawberry, vanilla, lemon, lime… the list goes on and on.  Pick a flavor that is not too obscure that people will shy away from even trying it.  Most will find a licorice or a mango flavored cake to be strange.  Try to pick a common and recognizable cake flavor.  For example, choose red velvet, champagne, or vanilla to start and you can always make your cake unique from here.

You can also think of a flavor as being seasonal and correspond your cake to the time of year that your wedding is being held.  Wedding Wire writes about considering a pumpkin cake for a fall wedding or a strawberry cake for summer.  Your guests may enjoy some flavor of the particular season in their dessert.

Choose a unique filling to make your common cake flavor stand out and taste delicious!  Add a caramel filling to your pumpkin spice cake or a raspberry filling to your almond cake.  The filling can make the cake that much better.  Be sure not to get too carried away… don’t combine fillings and cake flavors that are too out of the ordinary.

Also consider adding some little extras to your cake.  Add nuts as a filling or as an addition into your actual cake.  You can add liquor to your frosting or your filling to add a little extra flavor for your guests.  Put some tasty and fresh fruit on or in your cake during the spring and summer to add flavor and a seasonal feel to your dessert.

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How about considering something completely different than cake?!  Use the same suggestions to choose a flavor, but instead of cake, decide on cupcakes, cake pops, macarons, cookies, or even doughnuts.  Wow your guests with something that is out of the ordinary.  How about even something as different as doughnut cake pops.  You don’t just have to stick with the ordinary idea of a cake.

Whatever your wedding may provide as a dessert, make it yours and make it align with you and your event.  Customize your details and decorations to match your style and your desires.  Impress your guests and enjoy your cake!

Leave me with your comments about the dessert you served at your wedding.