Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I decided to try my hand at making a real cheesecake and chose a flavor fit for the season - pumpkin!  This one I found while surfing the web at Taste of Home. I have to say it turned out quite tasty.  

I also wanted to try my hand at making real caramel sauce to drizzle on the top. This turned out to be fairly simple but you do have to pay close attention to the recipe and have everything ready as it goes fast.  
For my first attempt this turned out really tasty.  The one thing that I had to change was the baking time.  At my altitude, 7600 ft it took about an hour and 20 minutes to bake. I watched it very carefully and checked every five minutes to make sure I didn't over bake the cake.  Otherwise I didn't change anything else in the recipe.

I used some of the ginger snap cookies to decorate the top and I used real whipped cream whipped to almost butter but not quite so that I could  pipe it in nice swirls around the cake.

Click on any of the highlighted links above for the recipes. Let me know what you think.  Please leave a comment.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rustic Sunflower Wedding Cake

I made this cake for a wedding up in the mountains.  It is the Butter Cake recipe I made for my grandson's birthday.  It has a Chocolate Ganache filling in three layer cakes stacked into three tiers.  I made a small topper on the left for the Bride and Groom to take on their honeymoon. I used Butter Cream Icing.  The bands around the cake are navy blue ribbon with a burlap and lace ribbon on top of that.  The flowers are real.

Corn Cob Cake Design

A friend of mine called me yesterday and asked if I could make a last minute cake for his wife's birthday this Friday.  I usually like at least a weeks notice.  I like to put the cake in the freezer for a day or so before decorating. This makes it easier to work with when covering with fondant. Also if I have to do some carving it is so much easier than trying to work on a crumbly cake. I told him I would give it a try.  He said he wanted a corn on the cob on top because his wife collects Shawnee corn dishes. I had all the ingredients and I forged ahead and this is what eventually emerged.

I made the chocolate cake that I did for my son's wedding and used a raspberry rhubarb jam for the filling.  I made the homemade marshmallow fondant recipe that I usually use when making cakes that I know have to travel some distance. It was an 8" round double layer cake. 

I didn't have a plan in mind I just started with the corn cob.  I think it turned out pretty good.  I make these daisies a lot so it didn't take long to get them done.  I used petal dust to give them character. I also have a leaf form cutter which makes it super quick.  

I will tell you that if I keep making cakes I need to invest in a sheeter for rolling out fondant.  I'm getting to old to roll this stuff out by hand, but I am sure it gives my arms a good work out.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My Son's Wedding Cake

My son, Josh, got married to his Brazilian sweetheart, Taty, a week ago in a small Civil Ceremony on our back deck.  It was a beautiful wedding.  They plan on having a large wedding in a year probably on the west coast.  
I wanted them to have a wedding cake and make the day special.  I made this homemade chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and covered it in white Buttercream frosting.

I used a chocolate cake recipe I found on  I adjusted the recipe for 7,600 ft in altitude.  You can find the recipe below along with the chocolate ganache filling.  Click on Buttercream to get the link to the recipe I used.  

The flowers are real tulips.  I just stuck them in the cake.  They lasted all evening without wilting.  I wish they were more open but I had a hard time getting tulips at the last minute.  Taty's favorite colors are pink and gold. I used gold wired ribbon as the band around the cake.

I used three recipes to make this two tiered, two layers in each tier cake.  One recipe for the top and two recipes for the bottom, one recipe for each layer.

I love how this cake turned out.  It was delicious and moist and looked stunning and classy. I used my Mother's 25th anniversary silver tray to serve the cake.  

Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flower (add 2 Tablespoons more for high altitude adjustment)
2 cups sugar (decrease to 1 1/2 cups for high altitude adjustment)
3/4 cup unsweetened Hershey's or high quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder (reduce to 1 1/2 teaspoons for high altitude adjustment)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (reduce to 1 teaspoon for high altitude adjustment)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (add 2 Tablespoons more for high altitude adjustment)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 cup boiling water


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for high altitude adjustment)

2) Prepare two 9-inch cake pans. Cut out a round circle of parchment paper by placing the cake pan right side up on the paper and drawing a circle around the base with a pencil. Cut it out and place it in the bottom of the cake pan after spraying it with cooking spray This will help hold the paper in place.  Now spray the paper and sides of the cake pan.  Place some flour in the pan and shake and tap it all around the pan until a thin layer of flour dust covers the whole inside of the cake pan. Turn the pan upside down and gently tap getting rid of any excess flour. Set it aside and repeat on the second cake pan. Set aside until batter is ready to divide between the pans.

3) Sift together into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. 
4) In another bowl mix together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until blended. Don't beat it because you don't want the extra air bubbles.  Just mix until blended.

5) Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and beat on medium speed just until blended. 

6) Slowly add the boiling water on low speed until blended and then beat on high speed for 1 minute.
7) Divide batter between the two prepared pans.  Lightly tap the pans on the counter to bring up bubbles in the cake. You don't want big holes when you cut the cake.

8) Place pans on the center rack of the oven and bake for 30 - 35 min., (40-45 minutes for high altitude adjustment). If a knife or toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean the cakes are baked.

9) Prepare cake boards for each pan the same size as the cake.  I buy cake boards at Walmart and if they are too large I cut them to fit. When the cakes are done remove them from the oven.  Run a sharp knife around the edges carefully so you don't cut into the cake.  This is to make sure the sides don't stick. Place the cake board on top of the cake and turn out the cake onto the board.  Yes it is hot so be careful.  Use heavy duty plastic wrap and loosely wrap the cake.  Don't do it tightly because the heat will shrink the plastic wrap and deform your cake.  This will trap the steam from the cake back into the cake to keep it moist.  Allow the cakes to cool and double wrap them and put them in the freezer overnight.

10) Remove the cakes from the freezer after they are fully frozen. Unwrap them from the plastic and with a sharp knife cut off the "dome" of the cake to make it flat.  Place the cake on whatever plate you choose to serve your cake on. I keep the cake board on and place the cake board side down on the serving plate. Using a pastry bag with a round tip or a zip-lock bag with the corner slightly cut off to make an opening to squeeze the frosting through apply a ring of Buttercream frosting around the outer top edge of the cake. This will hold in the chocolate filling and keep it from spilling over the sides. Pour the chocolate ganache in the middle about 1/4" or so thick (deep).  Because the cake is frozen it will harden quickly.  Place the top layer on after removing the cake board from it and frost the cake with Buttercream frosting.

There are many good sites on You Tube that will show you how to put a cake together and frost it. This is how I learned!

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

3 1/2 cups heaving cream
20 ounces of Hershey's semi-sweet or dark chocolate chocolate chips

In a sauce pan heat the heavy cream until it gets ready to boil.  Don't let it boil because it could curdle and ruin the glossiness of the ganache.  Place the chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.  Pour hot cream over the chips and let stand for a couple minutes.  Stir gently until the chips are fully melted and the chocolate is glossy.  (You will have enough ganache in this recipe to do a two tiered cake.) Use as directed above.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Lizzy's First Birthday

My youngest granddaughter, Lizzy, turned one today.  Were did the time go!! 

I don't use molds much but Wilton puts out pretty cool molds so I thought I would try them.  It turned out cute, but I need to be cleaner around the edges when molding.  Other than that I think this cake turned out cute.

I usually make my own fondant, but lately I keep some store bought on hand for small stuff and when I don't really have time to make it.  This was Wilton's.  I am going to try other brands and will let you know what I like best.  However, I think I will always like home made the best!  I make Marshmallow Fondant. I also use Butter Cream Frosting for crumb coating.

I made  cupcakes to go with the cake and they turned out delicious.  I used the Old Fashion Butter Cake Recipe with Butter Cream Frosting and a bit of Chocolate Frosting under that. The Chocolate Frosting recipe is on the same link as the Butter Cake Recipe. Just scroll down a bit.

Lizzy isn't one for liking bread or bread like stuff.  She doesn't like the texture. It has to be in cracker form or toasted.  Once she tasted the cake though she was hooked.  


Friday, March 27, 2015

Making Cupcakes with Abby & Cate

Just thought you would enjoy the results of our "playing" with decorating cupcakes.  Just for fun!  Grandkids always love doing these kinds of things.  Patricia Perry, my dear friend, was helping too.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Abby's 7th Birthday - Ninja Turtle Cake

Okay, okay....this is a cake for my Granddaughter, Abby.  She is unconventional.  She is in Martial Arts and loves Ninga Turtles, however, she likes being a girl so when she told me she wanted a Ninja cake or short notice I did the best I could to make a Ninja cake feminine.

Again, a trip to Walmart produced the Ninja toy atop the cake.  It came out really cute and, of course, she just loves it!

The cake is a chocolate cake (cheated with Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Fudge) with chocolate frosting (homemade) and filling - a chocolate lovers dream.  Don knows it's in the fridge and I think there could be a chunk carved out of the back.  An empty glass of milk with cake crumbs hanging on the rim by the sink is slightly suspicious.

Cate Bug's 5th Birthday - Princess in Pink Cake

My Cate Bug loves, loves, loves pink, princesses, and twirling.  She's in ballet and loves it, of course!

When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday she said she wanted a princess.  Her family went to Disney World and celebrated both her and her sister Abby's birthday.  So princesses were fresh in her mind.

I took her to the store and told her I wanted a princess that was a girl like her, not an adult, because she was only five.  She agreed and picked out this doll.  She does look a lot like Cate.

I didn't use fondant on this cake, just butter cream frosting.  It is the Old Fashion Butter Cake with chocolate filling.  I put that recipe in Davy's 6th Birthday post.  Making this cake was much faster than using fondant.  I can do more things with fondant but I enjoyed doing this cake.  She loves it!

Davy's 6th Birthday - A Toothless Cake

What a cutie!  
My Grandson, Davy, decided that he wanted a "Toothless" cake.  I was bewildered!  "What?"  He explained it was the dragon from "How to Train Your Dragon".  Uhhh.....I need to go to the movies with my Grandkids to keep up with the times!

I didn't have much time to make this cake so it was just going to be simple.  However, Davy wanted trees and a castle too.  I haven't seen the movie so I'm not sure if I got close.  I made the trees from fondant and gum paste mixed together.  I used luster dust to paint them and Royal Frosting for the leaves.

As a gift to each Grandchild I put a toy on their cakes.  In this case I went to Walmart and got "Toothless".  

I made the cake from scratch and this one really worked with the high altitude adjustments I used.  It tasted great.

Davy loved the cake!  "Grandma, this is the coolest cake ever!"  They say that every year. I love it!

The cake is an Old Fashion Butter Cake adjusted for altitude with a chocolate frosting that is super easy to make and way better than any store bought can product!  Here's the recipe:

Old Fashion Butter Cake

2 cups all purpose flour (measure after sifting)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs - room temperature

High Altitude Adjustment: add 2 tablespoons flour to the 2 cups of flour, cut sugar back to 1 cup, cut baking powder to 2 teaspoons, and add 2 tablespoons milk to the 1 cup milk. Follow the directions below.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) or 325 degrees (F) for high altitude.

Grease and flour two 8 inch by 2 inch cake pans and set aside. (I use parchment paper cut the size of the bottom of the pan to help the cake not stick and come out easier.  First spray the cake pan, lay in the parchment, spray again and then flour.  For the right cut of parchment just set the pan on the parchment paper and draw around the base.  Cut it out and it fits perfect.)

In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  (Yes, this makes the second time you sifted the flour. I sift the flour before measuring and again when combining the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.)

Add butter, milk, and vanilla.  With a hand or stand mixer, beat for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add the eggs one at a time until just blended, then beat for 2 minutes more.

Divide batter equally between the two pans. Spread with spatula and then lightly tap the pans on the counter to let up any air bubbles.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for high altitude). If you put a tooth pick or knife in the center it should come out clean. I use a knitting needle.

I use cake boards that I buy at Walmart to fit the size of my cakes.  As soon as I take them out of the oven I carefully run a knife around the edges.  Then I place my cake board over the top and turn out the cake gently banging it on the counter.  I know that sound rough, but it works.  I do this hot because all of the moisture hasn't escaped yet during the cooling process. Then I cover it loosely with commercial grade or heavy plastic wrap.  If you cover it too tightly the heat will cause it to pull in the edges of the cake.  Let it cool that way and than put a second layer of plastic wrap around it and put it in the freezer for a few hours or until you need it.  Using this method keeps the cake moist and it is easier to frost when it is cold. (You can frost it as soon as it cools don't have to wait if you're craving dessert!)

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon good vanilla

Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more half and half if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  Makes about 2 cups.

I let the beater really work on it for at least five minutes.  Makes it really glossy and spreads well.