Sunday, October 28, 2018

purple and white floral wreath cake

Every year for my Mom's birthday, I make her some sort of coffee-flavored cake. It started out with tiramisu cakes, mocha cake, and lately it's been coffee chiffon cakes. For her most recent birthday, I made coffee chiffon cake again, but this time covered with Swiss meringue buttercream and topped with purple buttercream flowers! (I've been super into make wreath cakes lately, and this was no exception!)

I started out by making four 6-inch round coffee chiffon cake layers (I forgot to take pictures of the cake layers, but you can get the gist of it here). Normally with coffee chiffon, I like to use a whipped cream frosting because chiffon cake is so light an airy, and American buttercream is usually to heavy for it, but this time I though I'd try a lighter buttercream by using a recipe for Swiss Meringue buttercream (you can find the recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book).

I typically do a quick crumb coat of frosting first, the let the cake chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then do a final coat of frosting, smoothing it all out with a long metal icing spatula.

Then it was time to decorate with my buttercream flowers! I had piped onto small squares of waxed paper ahead of time - using a pastry bag fitted with a petal tip, I piped each flower onto a flower nail (which you can use to easily spin your flower around when piping petals). You can see this post for more details on this technique, but you basically pipe the flowers ahead of time, and then put them in an airtight container in your freezer, so that they can harden and are easier to handle when placing them on your cake.

Before adding the frozen buttercream flowers, I first piped a ring of frosting on the top of the cake, so that you have something to nestle and position the flowers on. Then I started adding my flowers, one by one.

The final step was to use a leaf tip to pipe green leaves all around the flowers - this fills in the gaps in between the flowers (and also hides the ring of frosting that you are placing the flowers on and around).

And then it was done! Don't the flowers look so pretty?

Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

baseball cupcakes

My oldest son Matthew started Little League baseball earlier this year, and it was so much fun! He had a great time making new friends and being part of a team, and we had a great time going to all his games and eating concession stand food! (My new favorite guilty pleasure is chili cheese fries - so good!)

Part of the Little League experience was interacting with the other parents, and taking turns being in charge of "team snack" at the end of each game. When it was our turn, we decided to make baseball cupcakes, along with mini ham and cheese sliders, and goodie bags filled with snacks, fresh fruit, and juice.

For the cupcakes, I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), and topped them with cream cheese frosting. My method for creating uniform domes of frosting is to use a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip, and do kind of an up-and-down pumping motion when piping the frosting from the center of the cupcake. The up motion releases more frosting, while the down motion kind of pushes the frosting outwards, forming a nice round dome. (You can see more of this in my basketball cupcakes post).

Then I used red frosting and a small round piping tip to pipe the lines on each baseball, similar to how I pipe my baseball cookies (see here and here).

Overall, we had a great baseball season, even though we lost more games than were won!

Little League season ended in the beginning of summer, and then when school started my son decided to try out for his middle school baseball team (he started 6th grade this year). To our surprise, he made it! 

Here's to more baseball cupcakes in our future!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

pink and white floral wreath cake

It's been a while since my last post! Things have been super busy with work, and then summer with the kids at home, and then vacation, and then after vacation watching the kids while I worked from home until school started ... and now the kids are back in school! It's an exciting year because my oldest started middle school! And my youngest started Kindergarten! Time sure does fly by fast!

Anyhow, back to this cake! I made this for my friend Kim, for her birthday last March, at at time when I was absolutely obsessed with floral wreath cakes! (You'll see several more in the next few upcoming posts!) This one happened to be a coffee chiffon cake, filled with espresso whipped cream, and covered with vanilla whipped cream.

The coffee chiffon layers were baked in three 6-inch round cake pans. Usually I bake two cakes and then slice the in half horizontally to give me four layers, but since chiffon cake is so delicate, I find that they tend to collapse when sliced in half horizontally, so I do three uncut cake layers instead.

After smoothing out my whipped cream frosting as best as I could, I was ready to decorate with buttercream flowers. Unlike this mother's day floral wreath cake, where I piped rosette flowers directly onto the cake, I used this method instead, where I piped my buttercream flowers in advance using a flower nail and pieces of waxed paper. The buttercream flowers are then frozen until I'm ready to use them!

Rather than just adding my pre-piped buttercream flowers directly onto the top of the cake, I first piped a ring of whipped cream dollops on the top, so that I could nestle my flowers easily and position, also allowing them to stay on better. Then I just peeled each flower off of the waxed paper, and placed them in a wreath around the cake.

Once I was happy with my flower placement, I finished it off by piping green buttercream leaves in between and around the flowers.

I love this technique!

This technique allows you to use the best of all the dozens of piped buttercream flowers, and if you work quickly enough you can even move the flowers around before they start to melt.

I especially love the view from the top of the cake, where you can see the flowers in wreath formation.

Happy Birthday, Kim! Hope you enjoyed your cake!

Stay tuned to see more wreath cakes in the next few posts!