Sunday, July 16, 2017

hello kitty unicorn cake

For the past several years, when it's my birthday I make myself a cake! And it's always a Hello Kitty cake of some shape or form! This year I was inspired by unicorns, thanks to my daughter Melodie. :) She has a fascination and love of unicorns, and it has rekindled my childhood love of unicorns as well! For her birthday last year I made her a unicorn cake, complete with handmade fondant unicorn horn, and so when my birthday came around I thought it would be fun to give Hello Kitty with a unicorn horn too!

This year I wanted something light and fruity, so I settled vanilla chiffon cake, filled with lemon whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

Once all four 6-inch cake layers were filled and assembled, I covered the top and sides with freshly whipped cream, and smoothed it out with an offset spatula.

After adding a beaded border around the bottom of the cake, I simply added black eyes and whiskers and a yellow nose.

For Hello Kitty's ears I used fondant, which I rolled out to 1/8 inch thick and then used a paring knife to cut out triangles for her ears. Then I tinted a bit of fondant with red food coloring, and rolled it out as well, using a bow-shaped cookie cutter to get the perfect bow shape. Finally I finished it off by using an edible food marker to outline and add details to the bow.

And finally, the unicorn horn! (You can click here to see how I made this).

Gah!!! It makes me so happy!!! In my world, you can't go wrong with Hello Kitty and unicorns! :)

My mom invited us over and cooked up an amazing birthday meal for me! (My favorite was the chinese stuffed jalapeno peppers in the middle picture!)

And here's the inside of the cake!

Thanks to my family for celebrating with me!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

camouflage rose birthday cake - vanilla cake filled with lilikoi cream

For my husband's birthday this year, I made another camouflage inspired cake (surprise surprise!), as I typically do every year. I had recently been experimenting with multi-colored piped roses while making a unicorn cake for my daughter's birthday, so I thought for hubby's birthday it would be fun to do multi-colored piped roses in camouflage colors!

My husband is from Hawaii, so lilikoi (passionfruit) is a favorite flavor of his. On my mother-in-law's last visit, she had brought fresh lilikoi pulp, which she had frozen, seeds and all. So I decided to use a bit of this in his birthday cake!

After baking up two 6-inch round vanilla cakes (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), I let them cool and then sliced them in half horizontally, giving me four cake layers. Then I made a small batch of fresh whipped cream, sweetened with powdered sugar and a bit of vanilla extract, and added several tablespoons of the strained lilikoi pulp (seeds discarded). I also brushed each cake layer with a bit of lilikoi juice, just to amp up the lilikoi flavor, before filling it with the lilikoi whipped cream.

Once the cake was filled and assembled, I used whipped up a batch of buttercream frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. (Just a quick crumb coat - at this point it didn't have to be perfect, since I would be covering it with piped roses later on.)

Then I tinted a third of the remaining frosting brown, a third green, and left the final third white. I used a bit of each color to fill my piping bag, which was already fitted with a large star tip.

Then I proceeded to pipe rosettes along the sides of the cake.

I finished by piping rosettes to fill the top of the cake as well, and filled in the gap with little swoops and curls.

I thought it turned out pretty cute!

And I could definitely see myself doing the multi-colored rosettes in a variety of colors!

Happy Birthday, my love! Hope you enjoyed your cake! :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

herringbone lattice apple pie

When I first saw this herringbone lattice pie on Hummingbird High's Instagram feed, I was smitten. It was SO BEAUTIFUL!!! And I wanted to make it! And after reading her blog post, I found the tutorial at Serious Eats. She even has a video that is super helpful in learning how to "weave" the herringbone design! 

For the pie crust, she used a pasta machine to get perfectly sized strips of pie crust dough, but I just rolled it out with a rolling pin until it was about 1/8 inch thick, and then used two chopsticks (that I taped together) as a guide for my pastry wheel to cut the strips. (You could also use a pizza cutter, or even a knife!).

Also, I used my favorite pie crust recipe (which you can find in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), but you could use her recipe as well, as it is pretty close to the recipe in the book anyway!

The first time that I attempted this, I found the first half of the "weaving" of the pie crust strips pretty easy, but then got super confused on the second half (it probably didn't help that I was drinking wine while making my pie!), but I thought it still turned out pretty cool anyway. :)

It also helps to chill the strips when they start to get soft, but we were having a BBQ and I was in a rush so I was being impatient and only chilled them before starting.

For the filling I also used my apple pie recipe from the book. Before baking, I brushed the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkled on some sanding sugar.

(Just so you know, the whole house will smell delicious while this pie is baking in the oven.)

I attempted to make this pie again a few weeks later, and this time I was more diligent about chilling the strips when they started to become soft.

Again, the first half of the weaving went great! But I got confused again during the second half. (I need more practice!)

The chilling seemed to help a lot this time, as the finished lattice crust looked much more evenly woven. (And it even seemed puffier this time!)

I also made this pie a third time, but forgot to take pictures of it so I can't say if it came out better or not. But I will say that practicing helps, although I think I'll still need to make this a few more times before I feel like I can make it without the tutorial! :)

Happy Baking!