Sunday, June 25, 2017

red white and blue star pie for july fourth

Last year for Fourth of July, my youngest son Micah made this adorable art project at preschool. It was so simple, just a white paper plate with blue and red stars pasted on it, but I just loved his arrangement of the stars and it inspired me to make a pie that looked just like it!

I started by making my all-butter pie crust (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), which I divided in half, shaped into discs, wrapped in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge. After about 30 minutes, I rolled out my first disk (to about 1/8 inch thick) and fitted it into my pie plate. Then I mixed my filling (frozen mixed berries, sugar, flour, and salt) and added it on top of the bottom crust.

With the second disk of pie dough, I also rolled it out to 1/8 inch thick, but this time used various sized star cookie cutters to cut out shapes, which I then arranged on the top of the pie (I actually tried to match Micah's placement of stars for this!)

Then I brushed it with egg wash, sprinkled on some sanding sugar, and baked it at 425F for 15 minutes, after which I turned it down to 350F and baked it for another 45-50 minutes.

I baked the pie in the afternoon before dinner, and by the time we were done with dinner the pie had cooled enough to be sliced. Even then the filling was a bit too loose, so next time I'd probably add a little more flour to the filling. (Although I can't remember how much flour I used, so next time I'll probably have to actually follow a recipe!)

Here are my three loves all decked out in their Fourth of July clothes (purchased by Grandma!)

And here they are with Grandma and Grandpa, who were visiting us all the way from Hawaii.

On a side note, we also had red white and blue toast for breakfast! Cream cheese toasts (I also tried using fresh ricotta, but we all preferred the cream cheese), decorated with raspberry jam, blueberries, and sliced bananas. Delicious!

Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

fondant fan birthday cake

Sometime last fall, my friend Joanne asked me to make a smash cake for her daughter's first birthday. She was going to make a wall of multicolored DIY paper fans for the backdrop of the photo booth, and she wanted the cake to match it! And since her daughter loves strawberry banana, it would be a strawberry banana cake on the inside!

I made a quick sketch of what the cake could look like, and after getting a thumbs up from Joanne, I got to work with making the fan toppers out of fondant. I saw many examples online - some of them were actually folded accordian-style as you would with a real paper fan, but I decided to simplify them by cutting out various sizes and colors of fondant with a round cookie cutter, and then using a toothpick to make the "folds" of the fans. Then I let them dry for several days so that they could harden.

When it was time to make the cake, I baked up two 6-inch rounds of my favorite vanilla cake (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), and after letting them cool I sliced each cake in half horizontally, giving me four cake layers. Then I filled each layer with freshly whipped cream, sliced bananas, and strawberries.

Once all of the layers were filled and stacked, I covered the top and sides of the cake with fresh buttercream (recipe also in my book!). For this I typically do a quick crumb coat of frosting, let chill for 30 minutes in the fridge, and then I do a finally smooth coat of frosting.

After the smoothing out the frosting with an offset spatula, I piped a beaded border on the top and bottom of the cake, and piped her daughter's name on the side of the cake.

Then it was time to attach the fondant fans! They had hardened nicely by now, and all I needed was a bit of buttercream on the back of each fan to hold them in place.

I loved the look of the multicolored fans! And the bright colors made it look so festive!


Hope you had a happy happy birthday, baby Presley!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

pink flower cupcakes for baby's first birthday

Sometime last summer, I made these pink flower cupcakes for my husband's friend, who was having a party for his daughter's first birthday. The theme was pink and gold, so we decided on pink flower cupcakes accented with gold sugar pearls!

For the cupcake batter, I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe (which you can find in my book The Hello Kitty Baking Book). After baking them at 350F for 18-20 minutes, I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting (also in the book!) while I waited for them to cool.

Once cooled, I was ready to pipe my flower petals. Using this petal tip in a disposable pastry bag, I turned the cupcake with my left hand, while piping the petals with my right hand. (You can find a tutorial for a similar flower on the Wilton website here).

After my first row of petals, I piped a second row of smaller petals on top, and then decorated the center with gold sugar pearls.


I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Since we would be attending the birthday party, I offered to come a bit early with the cupcakes and help set up. So I loaded them into two cupcake couriers (which I love because the cupcakes stay put and I don't have to worry about them shifting or getting messed up during the drive) and we were set to go! (Each cupcake courier holds 36 cupcakes, and you can buy them here).

Half the cupcakes were decorated with a large star tip rosettes (which you can also use to decorate gorgeous rosette cakes!), and the other half were the petal cupcakes which I described above.

I also brought along my convenient cupcake tower to display the cupcakes! This cupcake tower is awesome because each tier comes apart and can be nested and stacked inside each other, plus it's made of a sturdy plastic so it won't break during the drive, yet it still looks nice!

Hope you had a happy first birthday, baby Winta!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

father's day fruit tart with oreo cookie crust

Usually by the time Father's Day comes around, we have had a ton of cake. In between multiple birthdays (including my own) and Mother's Day, we always have cake. So lately I have been making pie for Father's Day!

This time I decided to go with a simple yet refreshing no-bake cheesecake pie, decorated with fresh fruit. So I used this Martha Stewart recipe, except I decided to go with an Oreo cookie crust instead of the graham cracker crust. (This recipe at Crazy for Crust makes the perfect chocolate cookie crust, in my opinion!)

After letting the pie chill in the fridge overnight, I was ready to decorate with fresh raspberries the next morning. I wanted my raspberries to spell out the word "DAD", so I used cookie cutters to make marks in the pie as a guide.

And then I just fit my raspberries inside the outlines!

So simple! And tasty! The creamy pie filling, with chocolatey cookie crust, and fresh tart raspberries - the pefect combination!

Stay tuned to see what I make for Father's Day this year!

Happy Father's Day!