Friday, June 27, 2014

chevron "beau or bow" cake for baby gender reveal

I was first introduced to Monica a few years ago, when my friend Cindy was hosting a baby shower with Monica and they asked for my help in making red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate tiaras. Since then, I have made goodies for Monica several times! There was the piggy cake and  pool party piggy cookies that I made for her daughter's birthday one year, and also a mini Hello Kitty cake a few years ago (that I haven't yet blogged about). And a couple more goodies that I haven't yet blogged about (posts to come!)

So when she asked me to make a baby gender reveal cake for her friend who was expecting, I was excited to be a part of it! And the funnest part was that only the doctor and I knew the gender of the baby, not even the parents-to-be knew! Monica had to drop off a top-secret reveal envelope at my house, which was sealed by the doctor and never opened ... until I got my hands on it! :)

Monica's friend already knew she wanted a chocolate cake that looked like this one, except with yellow chevron instead of blue. I wasn't sure if I liked that the placement of the mustache and bow and letters were at the top of the cake instead of the middle though, so I sketched it out to help me decide.

I baked up two 8-inch homemade chocolate cakes (recipe in my new book!), and sliced them in half horizontally to give me four cake layers. Then I filled them with freshly whipped cream (tinted blue or pink based on the information in the secret envelope!), and then covered the top and sides with two coats of cream cheese buttercream.

I piped a quick shell border on the top and bottom of the cake, and then got to work piping the mustache, bow, and wording.

The final touch was piping the yellow chevron - I used a Wilton #5 tip, and just kind of did a freehand chevron design.

And then it was done! I had been a little worried about the chevron coming out crooked or uneven, but in the end I thought it looked pretty good!

The only thing I wish I could re-do was the top shell border - it was a super hot day, so my cream cheese buttercream started to melt on me! Needless to say, after a few quick pictures, the cake went back in the fridge to set!

And for the gender reveal on the inside of the cake?

It's a boy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

no churn mint chip ice cream

When making the mint-chocolate Keroppi cake, from my new book "The Hello Kitty Baking Book", you may end up with leftover green minty whipped cream (depends on how thick you layer on the filling and frosting! Plus, I was recipe-testing so I had a bunch left over!). If you do have some left over, here's what you can do with it the leftover whipped cream ... turn it into no-churn mint chip ice cream!

All you need to do is add a few tablespoons of creme de menth liquor (or I suppose you could add any other minty liquor, or even a tasteless one like vodka), and toss in a few handfulls of mini chocolate chips. Then freeze it for a few hours, and you'll get no-churn ice cream!

I'll be the first to admit, the texture of this no-churn ice cream is not quite the same as regular churned ice cream. It's a little harder, and not as creamy, but hey I'm never one to waste leftovers and this is a great way to use them up :) Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2014

mint chocolate keroppi cake

This was the first new recipe not already on the blog that I created for my book, "The Hello Kitty Baking Book", and I while I have made many, many Hello Kitty cakes, this was my first Keroppi themed dessert. And I thought it came out adorable!

As described in the book, I baked two 8-inch chocolate cakes, sliced them in half horizontally, and then used a Keroppi template to cut out the shape of the cakes. (The Keroppi template is included in the book!)

Then I whipped up a batch of minty whipped cream to fill in between each layer of cake.

After frosting the entire cake, I piped on Keroppi's details (details in the book), and piped stars to cover the rest of the cake.

When cut, the striking layers of chocolate cake and green minty filling are revealed.

Moist, refreshingly minty, and delicious, this cake is a keeper! 

To get the recipe (including the template!) and see brand new photos, you can pre-order my book here!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

mother's day brunch - canadian bacon strata, garlic lemon asparagus, fresh pea soup, and mimosas

To go along with the heart surprise-inside Mother's Day cake that I made this year, my husband and I also cooked up a lovely brunch for my Mom. The night before the brunch, I assembled my Canadian bacon strata (it's basically like a savory bread pudding). I have made this strata many, many times, and I love it each time. I usually make it when we have house guests, because this is the perfect morning breakfast dish that you can prepare the night before, and then pop in the oven first thing in the morning. That way, you can catch up with your house guests over coffee while it bakes, and you won't have to be busy in the kitchen cooking up breakfast!

I saw this recipe on the Everyday Food cooking show several years ago, and have been using the same recipe ever since. First halve and toast your English muffins (I like to do this all at once on a sheet pan in the oven, but you could also use your toaster if you prefer).

Once toasted, slice each English muffin in half to create a half circle. Then get your Canadian bacon and slice those into half circles as well, and then alternate English muffins and Canadian bacon when layering them into your buttered baking dish.

Next, assemble your custard mixture (milk, eggs, mustard, hot sauce, and seasonings) and pour it all over the English muffins and Canadian bacon.

Finally top it with grated cheddar cheese and a little bit of grated parmasan.

And that's it! So simple! Cover it with plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator overnight (or you could just let it set for 2 hours if you are making it the day-of). Then first thing in the morning, remove the plastic wrap and bake it at 350F for a little over an hour (the recipe says one hour and 30 minutes, but I usually don't need to bake it that long).

For our Mother's Day brunch, I set a nice and simple table, with champagne glasses for Mimosas. :)

For the Mimosas I just combined equal parts orange juice with champagne, but you can also add Triple Sec if you like.

To go with the strata, I also made a simple fresh pea soup adapted on this recipe from Sunset Magazine, with a sprig of fresh parsley and drizzled with good olive oil. (I excluded the almonds since my daughter is allergic to all nuts, used parsley instead of mint, and also added a bit of sour cream for richness).

Finally, my husband whipped up my favorite Mario Batali asparagus to go with the brunch. Lightly blanched and then tossed with lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil, this asparagus dish is so fresh and tasty, even the kids like them!

Hope you had a happy Mother's Day, Mom!