Earlier this week, I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was not too sweet. Thanks to Martha, I found the perfect balance. I cut her recipe since I needed only one cup. The ratio of 4 onces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of unsalted butter and half a cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar works for me. Then, add half of teaspoon of the best vanilla extract for the ultimate taste.
For the right texture, don’t use bar cream cheese at room temperature. Continue Reading
For the hostess, serving individual cakes reduces the amount of work during a party. Plus, I feel that there is an elegance to miniature cakes that is hard to beat. Apparently, there is a tin that can help you with these creations. The key factor are the straight edges of a loose base mini sandwich cake tin. It is designed to create perfectly-formed miniature Victoria sponge cakes.
A baker shared a simple trick to avoid the mushroom effect. She suggests that you make a slight dent in the centre of each mixture with a teaspoon. I’m curious to see it in action.
Whether it is for a tea party or for your holiday baking, you will find many miniature sandwich cake recipes at Lakeland.co.uk.
photo credits: Lakeland
photo: Duo Colour Icing Kit £4.99 at Lakeland
Decorating your cakes and cupcakes with two tone icing is made easy with this kit. Double pastry bags are attached to a specially designed coupler to deliver a control flow of two tone icing. The set comes with 6 nozzles. When you are selecting your flavours, simply remember that both icings should have the same consistency. At first, I advice that you fill the bag by alternating between the two sides to get a feel of how much icing can go into each compartment.
photo: Reusable double pastry bag set $14 USD at Bakedeco.com
This would be a great cake decorating tool to have around Halloween and Christmas. Since the Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit is only available in UK, I found an option in the United States. You will only need to add more piping tips to the double pastry bag set at Kerekes Bakery & Restaurant Equipment in Brooklyn, which also operates bakedeco.com. Their set only comes with a star pastry tube.
Asplund Cookie Tray $185 USD at Huset
With the big Holiday season that is only a few months away, it’s best to start sooner than later. This unique design cookie tray designed by Stina Sandwall would be perfect to serve your Holiday treats. The Asplund Cookie Tray comes in red and in white. I would like both on my Christmas table, except that at that price, it would become an indulgence.
Angry Birds continue to be a popular theme with grade school kids. Elena and Sandy from Style Me Sweet styled a beautiful sweet table for a 6 years old birthday boy.
Kids were presented with an assortment of Angry Birds lollipop cookies, cupcakes and a stunning birthday cake. See more pictures at Amy Butler’s blog.
I am surprised that it took me so long to discover this fabulous ready to bake cake by chocolatier Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes. She started making them in 2008. Since then, the dessert served in a Mason jar has exploded. If a molten chocolate cake is not a novelty, why do I write about it? In a word: convenience!
What I like most about her product is that you buy it ready to bake. Others will appreciate that it is organic. Personally, I simply imagine the smell in my house before serving dessert to my guests. Many people prefer to buy desserts when they have friends for dinner. I do! The reason that I buy the dessert is to have more time to cook the rest of the meal. Once in a while, I will make my own dessert.
Until now, Hot Cakes did not have a brick and mortar shop. They sold at farmers’ markets, at their online store and through indie shops in the state of Washington. Last weekend, they opened their first brick and mortar shop called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery with a partial funding round on Kickstarter.
Since I doubt that Hot Cakes are shipping to Montreal, I will have to experience with my own molten chocolate recipe. Did you ever bake your own molten chocolate cake in a Mason jar? Do you have any advice for beginner bakers?
+ Dark Decadence Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar $8 USD at Hot Cakes
Time flies. Easter is one month away. Looking at this cute Easter Cake made by Tina, a baker at Mara-Mi Store + Cafe + Studio made me in the mood. I look forward to Spring and warmer weather.
The cake looks cheerful, juvenile and sophisticated at the same time. I like how it was decorated from the egg nest to the adorable chick, up to the interesting mix of rounds and flowers.
While I researched this story, I found out that there is a link between this cake and Duff Goldman of Charms City Cakes. I recalled the pleasures I had when I watched Duff and his baking team on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. In fact, talking about Ace of Cakes was the third post I published in At Home with Kim Vallee.
Duff partnered with Gartner Studios to bring to the consumer market awesome cake mixes and cake decorating products under the label Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. It turned out that Gartner Studios acquired Mara Mi. Finally, another brand that I love, russell + hazel is part of the Gartner family of brands. I guess that Gartner Studios and I have similar taste.
+ photos: Duff’s Easter Cake on Facebook
If spring is all about colour, winter is a study in white. Or at least it should be. Thanks to mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, for many of us this winter has been anything a white wonderland.
Looking for a little frosty inspiration? Check out the Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings magazine – the “white” issue. Gatherings is a newish digital magazine created by interior designer and blogger Heather Spriggs.
We fell for the Snowy Sweet Sensations white dessert party – with its refined palette of white, cream and cocoa-coloured neutrals, and pretty vintage touches, it’s sophisticated enough for a winter bridal shower or an evening with your most stylish girlfriends, and yet homey and kid-friendly enough for a relaxed Sunday afternoon gathering with family.
The creamy white serving pieces look glamorous next to glass-domed cake stands, and we love how simple mugs of hot chocolate get dressed up with the addition of beribboned marshmallow stir sticks. The display could have fallen flat with such a limited palette, but contributor and food stylist Jessie Senese smartly used dark chocolate brown for contrast and tone-on-tone textured food items – a cake with white chocolate shavings, powdered sugar donuts, white-chocolate dipped pretzels – to add visual interest to the display.
Other must-read sections in this issue include tips on how to pick the perfect white paint (it can be more challenging than you think) and a collection of yummy white winter side dishes.
+ Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings Magazine
Trying to stick to your new year’s resolutions, but haven’t quite kicked your cupcake habit?
Author, blogger, crafter and designer Brett Bara shared the perfect solution to keep your sweet tooth in check: a small batch recipe that creates two – and only two – chocolate cupcakes, complete with homemade frosting. This idea is perfect for baking enthusiasts who live solo, as a mid-week dessert option for couples, or when you’re just craving something sweet after-hours.
Get the full recipe with step-by-step photo instructions on Brett’s blog, Manhattan Craft Room.
+ Recipe for Two Chocolate Cupcakes by Brett Bara
I love the tradition of making your own Christmas cookies and bring to as hostess gifts. With a little imagination, some practice and the right supplies, you could arrive with the best decorated cookies this Christmas. I visited The Decorated Cookie blog in search of tutorials and inspirations. What I found was several Wow! factors on the blog of Meaghan Mountford.
Melting Snowman cookies
Look at her Melting Snowman cookies. Meaghan even depicted emotions when she drew the snowman’s faces. I love the various ways she decorated them.
If you are new to cookie decoration, you may wish to read Meaghan’s tutorial on how to write on food. Her preferred tools are edible markers, which are different from candy markers. The ones she uses the most are the Americolor Gourmet Writers. They deliver a fine line, which is what you would need most of the time. The FoodWriter collection by Wilton is a good option to write bold characters or to draw thicker lines.
Awesome, Yet Simple Christmas Cookies
You can also find on her blog simpler cookie version. Have a look at her Christmas tree cookie pops or her simple Christmas wreath cookies. Both are super cute.
+ Melting snowman cookies by The Decorated Cookies
+ More versions of the melting snowman cookies
+ Christmas tree cookie pops
Galettes, which are freeform rustic pies, are not meant to look perfect. This makes galettes the ideal tarts to bake with your kids. I even prefer their rustic look to the more polished pies; this is probably due to the cozy warm feeling that I get at their sight.
The best thing about the Pear Galette of Lisa Homa is that you won’t need pie plates, just parchment paper. Once it is cooked, serve the galette on a wooden cutting. Depending on how it looks when it is out of oven, you may wish to replace the parchment paper with a fresher sheet. No one can refuse a stylish food presentation that cut on cleaning at a party.
Why not introduce your kids to the joy of baking while you are cooking for your Thanksgiving or Christmas party? They will be proud to share that they did the fruit or savory galettes themselves.
You will find Lisa Homa’s Pear Galette in the Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine on pages 40 and 41.
+ photos: Alexandra Grablewski – Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine