Sunday, November 22, 2015

leaf cookies

A few weeks ago, I received an assortment of 3D-printed cookie cutters from Cookie Cutter Kingdom, and one of them was this awesome leaf cookie cutter, which was perfect for fall! So when my two oldest kids told me they were having a Thanksgiving potluck at school, I thought it would be perfect to make leaf cookies in fall colors!

I started by making my favorite sugar cookie dough (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), and using my new leaf cutter to cut out the shapes. The cutter was the perfect size, cut nice sharp edges in my cookie dough, and the smooth plastic prevented the dough from sticking to the cutter, which was great!

After baking and cooling the cookies, I started on the royal icing (recipe also in my book!). After tinting my icing, I used stiff orange icing to outline each leaf, and then running orange icing to fill them in.

Then after they had dried for several hours (overnight), I used stiff orange icing to go back and pipe the leaf details.

I also made them in brown...

... and red!

I love this combo of fall colors!

Thanks again for the cutters, Cookie Cutter Kingdom! They are awesome!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

chocolate haupia pie

Last year for Thanksgiving, I didn't make my usual pumpkin pie. Not even my Hello Kitty pumpkin pie! My in-laws were in town visiting from Hawaii, and I was in the mood for chocolate haupia pie. So I decided to make it for our Thanksgiving dessert!

If you've never had haupia, its a Hawaiian coconut dessert - kind of like a cross between coconut pudding and coconut jello. But it's delicious. And in pie-form, it's even more delicious! Especially when combined with chocolate!

For the pie crust, I made a half batch of my favorite pie crust (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!). I rolled it out, placed it in a 9-inch ceramic pie pan, and let it chill. Then to bake it, I pricked holes all over the bottom of the crust with a fork, covered it with parchment paper, and filled it with pie weights (or in my case, dried beans). Then I baked it at 375F for about 15 minutes. Once the crust was out of the oven I removed the parchement and baking weights, and let it cool. Then I got started on the filling!

The filling consists of two layers - a chocolate coconut layer, and a coconut layer on top. But it's so easy because you basically just make the coconut filling, then divide it in half and mix in melted chocolate with one half of it. (I used the recipe here). Then you pour in the chocolate layer ...

... followed by the coconut layer.

Smooth it out with an offset spatula. Then whip up a batch of freshly whipped cream (I like to flavor mine with confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract), and decorate the top of the pie with the whipped cream. You could just pour it on and smooth it out with an offset spatula, or you could fill a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe decorative stars or shells all over the top. (As you can tell, I chose the piping bag and star tip route, using this large star tip).

Then chill it in the fridge until ready to serve. Isn't it pretty?

And check out the inside!

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

thanksgiving turkey cupcakes - apple cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I made these Thanksgiving turkey cupckes last year, for my son Matthew's class Thanksgiving party. They were very rushed and last minute, but the idea was to pipe frosting in a design to look like the turkey's tail feathers. And I piped the face this time, instead of using an M&M like I did with the Thanksgiving turkey cupcakes I made a few years ago. (Those also used candy corn for the turkey tail feathers and turned out way cuter than these did, in my opinion.) Also I wanted something semi-healthy for the classroom of kids, so I made fresh apple cupcakes (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!).

For the frosting, I used my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe (recipe also in my book!). I divided and tinted the frosting red, orange, yellow, and brown, and then used a pastry bag fitted with a leaf tip to pipe the feathers, starting with the red, then orange, and then yellow. (To see more of this method, check out my Christmas wreath cookies and Christmas wreath cupcakes - I use the same piping technique for the leaves!)

Then for the turkey's face, I piped a little blob of brown frosting in the center of the last row of feathers (you can use a large round tip or even just a coupler for this).

Then for the details on the face, I piped little black eyes, used an orange rainbow chip for the beak, and an upside-down heart sprinkle for the wattle.

If you make these, be sure your frosting is cold when you pipe the tail feathers. Don't be lazy like me and pipe with warm frosting, because then your piped tail feathers will look all sloppy and messy like mine! Whoops!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

ombre watercolor camouflage inspired cake

The past few years, I've always made some sort of camouflage cake for my husband Grant's birthday every year. Such as this camouflage petal cake, or this pom pom camouflage cake, as well as this piped shells camouflage cake (which by the way, was also had a camouflage surprise, inside the cake!). This year I wanted to do something simple, and since I recently fell in love with this watercolor cake by Sweetapolita, I decided to make a camouflage-inspired watercolor cake!

I had also recently made this vanilla cake with fresh blueberries and lemon whipped cream, and decided to make it again for the inside of the cake. So I baked up two 6-inch vanilla cake layers (half batch of the vanilla cake recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), and divided each layer in half horizontally, giving me four layers. Then I whipped up a batch of freshly whipped cream, flavored with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice, and filled each layer with the lemon whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

Next, I made my camouflage colors - I divided the remaining whipped cream into thirds, left one portion white, tinted the second portion green, and the third portion brown. Then using an offset spatula, I covered the top third of my cake with white whipped cream, the middle third with green whipped cream, and the bottom third with brown whipped cream.

Then I smooth it all out (a long metal spatula and a rotating cake stand works great for this!).

I loved it! Simple, rustic, and camouflage-ish.

And the inside! So cute with the dots of fresh blueberries.

Happy Birthday, my Love! Hope you enjoyed yet another camouflage cake on your special day! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

pumpkin spice mini cupcakes with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Okay, wow. I just checked the date on these pictures, and turns out I made these about four years ago, but never had a chance to blog about them. Whoops!

Anyhow, sooooo I made these little mini pumpkin cupcakes four years ago! I had leftover pumpkin puree from something or other (I can't remember at this point!), and so I decided to turn that into mini cupcakes. Just for fun. So for the batter I used Martha Stewart's trusty pumpkin cupcake recipe from her "Cupcakes" book (also used for these Halloween Jack-o-lantern cupcakes, as well as this pumpkin layer cake with piped roses).

For the frosting, I took my basic cream cheese frosting (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), but instead of regular butter, I browned the butter by melting it in a pan over medium heat, waited for it to brown, and then chilled it until it because solid again. Then I let it come to room temperature before incorporating it in my frosting. (Yes, sounds like a lot of additional work, but SO worth it for that brown butter flavor!!!)

To get the cute little dollop-shaped frosting on top, I used a pastry bag fitted with just a coupler (or you could also just use a large round tip). Holding the bag upright above the center of the cupcake, squeeze your frosting out slowly, and use a pumping motion to keep the frosting moving outwards. Once the frosting has spread almost to the diameter of your cupcake, stop squeezing the piping bag and slowly lift the pastry bag up and away from your cupcake, to give you that cute little point on the top.

And there you have it! Super simple yet tasty. And perfect for Halloween, or even Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

tiered peaches and cream layer cake with handmade gold fondant letter toppers

In addition to the blue bunting smash cake and Korean hanbok cookies that I made for baby Aaron's first birthday, I also made this tiered monogrammed cake for the party! Irene had wanted a white tiered cake topped with Aaron's initials in gold letters.

For the fondant letters, I started making them about a week in advance, to give them time to dry in time. I rolled out white fondant to about 1/8 inch thick, and then used a ruler and a pizza cutter to cut out long strips of fondant, with I used to form my letters.

Next I used this gold edible cake paint, or "cake graffiti", to spray my letters a pretty gold color.

I ended up spraying multiple coats, to get a nice deep gold color.

For the cake itself, Irene wanted the same cake that I had made for her baby shower - a fluffy vanilla cake filled with fresh nectarines and homemade whipped cream. So I baked up my favorite vanilla cake (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book) in two 8-inch cake pans, and then doubled the recipe to bake a larger set of layers in two 10-inch cake pans. 

Once cooled, I sliced each cake layer in half horizontally, giving me four 8-inch layers, and four 10-inch layers. Then I filled each layer with freshly whipped cream and fresh sliced nectarines.

Here's the 8-inch cake being assembled, and then frosted with cream cheese buttercream.

And here's the 10-inch cake being assembled.

After chilling both layers, I stacked them (with bamboo skewers inside to hold the top layer in place, see this tiered circus carnival cake for a picture of what I do with the skewers). Then, the final touch was placing the gold fondant letters on top (secured with a bit of frosting on the bottom of each letter).

I loved how the lettering turned out!

At the party, Irene did such a great job on setting up the Korean "dol" table! And look how cute the Korean hanbok cookies that I made look plated on gold trays next to the tiered cake!

Here's a quick photo collage of the party.

And a precious photo of the family :)

Happy Birthday, baby Aaron! Your party was spectacular!