Saturday, April 19, 2014

easter egg rainbow jello

I made these rainbow jello Easter eggs for Melodie's class party this year, and they were definitely an improvement from the last time I made them two years ago! (Last trime I tried to make pastel colors, but they didn't turn out so great! I much prefer standard rainbow colors like with this seven-layer jello).

Last time I scored this egg-shaped jello mold for free with the purchase of three boxes of jello, and while I scoured my grocery store for the same deal this time, I could not even find any molds for sale at all! Bummer, this meant that I could only make six jello eggs at a time, and I needed to make enough for 18 kids!

By 4am, I was done. But I had only made 12 eggs, so I chose to make the rest of the jello in a 9x9 inch pan.

Next time I'll remember to start earlier! Either that, or order another couple of egg-shaped jello molds in advance!

They were worth it though; the teachers and kids (especially Melodie) loved them!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

matcha green tea rose cake with whipped cream frosting

Two years ago I made my coworker Kim this matcha green tea Hello Kitty tiramisu cake (I didn't have a chance to make her a cake last year, since I was on maternity leave with my third baby at the time!), and since I know she loves anything green tea, I decided to make her another green tea cake this year!

This time I decided on a green tea chiffon cake that I've made in the past (see here and here), except that I wanted to decorate it with piped roses. This is one of my favorite ways to frost cakes, and I've done it many times (purple, purple ombre, white red velvet cheesecake, orange pumpkin spice, pink ombre), but the orirginal tutorial can be found here at I Am Baker. :)

For the chiffon cake, I began by separating my eggs and whipping the egg whites until stiff peaks formed.

Then in a separate bowl, I mixed the egg yolks, oil, and sugar, before adding cake flour, matcha green tea powder, baking powder, and salt.

Finally I gently folded in my whipped egg whites, for a fluffy green tea batter. Then I divided the batter between two 8-inch pans (ungreased, and simply lined with parchment paper).

I baked them at 350F for 20 minutes, and let them cool (with the pans upside down, in order to help keep the volume of the chiffon cake).

While they were cooling, I made a batch of freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened with confectioner's sugar, and then added a paste of green tea powder mixed with hot water. I used this to fill and frost my cooled cake layers.

After smoothing out the top and sides of the cake with an offset spatula, I was ready to pipe my roses using a Wilton 1M tip.

I had intended on piping roses on the top of the cake as well, but I ran out of the whipped cream mixture! So roses on only the sides would have to do!

I brought the cake to work the next day, and we scheduled a "fake meeting" so that we could surprise Kim with the birthday cake!

Happy Birthday, Kim! Hope you enjoyed the cake!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

hello kitty matcha green tea tiramisu cake

My coworker Kim loves anything green tea, and while I wasn't able to make her a cake last year (since I was on maternity leave from work), I made her this Hello Kitty shaped green tea cake the year before. (Yes, this post is two years late!)

I made pretty much the same components that I had made for this Hello Kitty tiramisu cake, such as the same vanilla cake, and the same method of cutting out the Hello Kitty shape and layering the components.

Except that I made a matcha green tea syrup of the espresso syrup.

Which also meant making the green tea mascarpone filling instead of an espresso mascarpone filling.

After adding a second set of vanilla cake, green tea syrup, and mascarpone layers, I dusted the top with green tea powder (instead of cocoa powder).

Then I let it set overnight before unmolding it.

While the cake had great green tea flavor, I think it would have been better had I used the green tea chiffon cake that I made here and here. The more green tea flavor, the better!

Stay tuned to see the cake that I made for Kim this year!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

individual mini blackberry mousse cakes

I made a blackberry mousse cake for my brother's birthday this year, and I happened to have enough components left over to make a couple of individual mousse cakes as well! I just used my 3-inch cake rings (similar to these) to assemble them. (I've also used these rings to make these individual triple chocolate mousse cakes, and they're great for making tuna tartare as well!)

I divided the chocolate crust mixture between the cake rings, and then used a shot glass to pack the mixture down before baking them at 350F for about 7 minutes. Then when the crust had cooled, I just poured on the middle cheesecake layer, let it set in the fridge for an hour, and then poured on the blackberry mousse layer on top of that. (See here for more on the layers.)

I let the cakes set overnight, and then carefully unmolded them before topping them with a few fresh blackberries.

And there you have it - a simple. delicious, and (mostly) no-bake dessert!

Friday, March 28, 2014

blackberry mousse cake

My mom's company threw her a retirement party last fall, and when she brought home the leftovers of her retirement cake, which was a blackberry mousse cake, my brother texted me a picture of his slice and told me that I needed to recreate it because he liked it so much. So naturally, I attempted to recreate the cake for his birthday dinner last week!

I started with the chocolate crust. The retirement cake had a crunchy, chocolately crust, and the crunch reminded me a lot of these European wafer cookies that you see a lot during the holidays. So to make my crust, I used a food processor to grind up enough Oreos (with the filling removed) to make about a cup of crumbs, as well as a cup of crumbs from those European wafer cookies (good thing we still had an unopened box in our pantry from the holidays!)

Then I added a few tablespoons of sugar, and half stick of melted butter. I pressed the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and baked it at 350F for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, I removed the springform sides of the pan, to reveal a crust which looked like this!

I put the springform sides back on the pan, and then got started on my filling. I decided to make a no-bake cheesecake filling for the middle layer, based on this recipe at Barbara Bakes. I let a packet of gelatin bloom in 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, then added it to a whipped mixture of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream. Once everything was mixed and fluffy, I poured it into my springform pan on top of my chocolate crust, and smoothed it out with an offset spatula. Then I let it set in the fridge while I made my blackberry mousse layer.

First I pureed my blackberries in my food processor, and then strained out and discarded the seeds. I was left with a tart and luscious blackberry puree.

To that I added more gelatin bloomed in water, and then folded in a couple cups of freshly whipped cream.

Then I poured the blackberry mousse layer on top of my cheesecake layer, which by now had already set. After smoothing the top with an offset spatula, I placed it back in the fridge to set overnight.

When it was time to bring it to the party, I carefully unmolded it and decorated the top with fresh blackberries.

The combination of the lemony cheesecake with the tangy blackberry mousse turned out great, and the crust added just the right amount of chocolatey crunch. Although, I think next time I would use a higher ratio of European wafer cookies to Oreo cookies, just to up the crunch factor. :)

Happy 30th Birthday, Michael!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting

In all the excitement of posting the funfetti cake, ice cream, and cupcakes that I made for Micah's first birthday celebration this past February, I almost forgot to post what I made for dinner! We wanted to make a simple dinner to celebrate with family - I decided to make my favorite macaroni and cheese (from America's Test Kitchen) since the kids love it, along with meatloaf and tossed salad.

As I was preparing the components for the meatloaf, I suddenly remembered a show on Food Network I had seen a long time ago, where they featured a restaurant in Chicago that made meatloaf cupcakes topped with mashed potatoes as frosting. (I specifically remember it was in Chicago because I had immediately texted my cousin in Chicago to ask if she knew of the place!) And so I decided to turn my meatloaf into cupcakes as well!

After forming my meatloaf into giant meatballs, I patted them into a cupcake tin, and then brushed on a mixture of brown sugar, ketchup and ground mustard.

I baked them at 350F for about 25 minutes, until the meat was cooked through and the glaze had become dark and sticky.

My husband whipped up a quick batch of mashed potatoes, deliciously flavored with butter, heavy cream, and salt. Then I filled a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, and got to work piping my mashed potato "frosting"!

The final touch was a sprinking of chopped green onions. Aren't they cute?!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

funfetti birthday cupcakes with whipped cream frosting

In addition to the funfetti birthday cake and funfetti ice cream that I made for Micah's first birthday celebration, I also made these funfetti cupcakes for him to celebrate at school (well, daycare!). I used the same recipe as I did for the cake, and instead baked them in cupcake tins at 350F for 20 minutes.

For the frosting, I made the same blue-tinted whipped cream frosting as I did for the cake, and used a Wilton 1M open-star tip to pipe rosettes on top of each cupcake.

Then, to match the cake, I sprinkled the same multicolored round confetti sprinkles all over the top!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this boy loves cake! He wolfed his cupcake down in a matter of minutes, as he did his slice of birthday cake the day before!

I also had enough batter leftover to make a few mini cupcakes as well! They were small enough to eat in just one bite - Yum!