Sunday, February 24, 2013

Staycation means a CAKE fiesta!

Turns out I had lots of vacation time left over from 2012. Which means a few things: (a) clearly I didn't travel enough in 2012, (b) since I had to use all my time before the end of this month, I decided to take off a good chunk of February (c) it's staycation time!

What to do with all my newfound free time? Well last week I wasted a lot of it watching all 3 seasons of Downton Abbey. But this week I want to be more productive, which includes catching up on old blog posts and recipes. And when I say old, I mean oooooooooold. I literally have some recipes from 2009! There's about 20 or so of them, so obviously I won't be able to do them all in 5 days (or will I?!?). But by mid March I want my head and computer cleared of these back-logged recipes once and for all.

 I found more pictures of a cake I'd made a while back!

What does this mean for you? Well, it means you'll be getting more recipes from me. But there will be a bit of a "downside" to the whole thing. I will be knocking out posts a lot faster, which means less writing in some posts. Or crappier photos (or final dishes missing altogether). Or I'll combine a few recipes into a single post.

All I know if that I want a record of these recipes on my blog for myself (which serves as my personal living recipe book)- so I apologize if the quality of a few posts is lacking. What I can guarantee is that the quality of the recipes is not!

What's on the docket for today? Cake decorating and recipe bonanza, that's what!!
  1. A butt cake I made for my uncle (it's a great story...) 
  2. A flower birthday cake made back in 2009
  3. A recipe for a super easy and delicious chocolate cake. It's light, fluffy, and quick. It resembles a box-mix chocolate cake in texture, but definitely not in flavor!
  4. A recipe for a Bailey's frosting, which goes great with my Guinness chocolate cake
1. Butt cake for a 60th birthday celebration
Background information to fully appreciate the story below: the word "ishty" in Assyrian means both "my ass" and the number "60." No joke.

Imagine having the following conversation with your uncle, as I did a while back...
(Translated from Assyrian) Jacqueline, I need you to make a cake for me for my good friend. He is turning 60 and I want to make him a funny cake for his birthday. I want the cake to be of someone's backside, who is bent over with his pants around his legs and his butt showing. And I want a tongue licking the butthole, because we're going to put a picture of his face by the tongue. Then I want it to say "59 going into ishty." Can you do that for me?
Ummmmmmmm, sure?!?

Yea, I can honestly say I never thought the day would come when my uncle (let alone anyone for that matter) would be asking me to make a cake with a butthole. Well, you know what they say: never say never!

I don't have a picture of the final cake, but apparently they taped 
a photo of the birthday boy's face by the tongue making it look like he was licking

I was traveling that week so I couldn't make an actual cake. Instead I made a fondant-covered rice crispy treat ass, complete with butthole, which I gave to my uncle a week before the party. (For decorative and not eating purposes.) It was a fabulous surprise, and everyone got a HUGE kick out of the birthday cake. And I was pretty proud of how the butt and pants turned out, if I do say so myself...


2. Birthday cake for a fellow cake decorator (2009)

This is a cake I made years ago, when I was still relatively new to the cake decorating world.

I was inspired by a Peggy Porschen cake to create a 2-tiered cake that resembled a bouquet of flowers.
Step by step cake assembly

The cake wasn't too hard to make, but it did require preparing quite a bit of strips and flowers...
In the end though it turned out pretty well. And I loved the flowers!


3. Super easy, moist chocolate cupcakes, from Simply Recipes

So light and fluffy, like a box mix cupcake-- but one that actually tastes like chocolate!


If you want to make a cake instead of cupcakes, double the recipe and use two 8-inch round cake pans and cook for 35-40 minutes. The cupcakes don't really taste much like coffee, but the coffee and salt work to enhance the chocolate flavor

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee granules; or water if you don't want to use coffee)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 Tbsp (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) olive oil

Frosting
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Note: for most frosting recipes I like to decrease the amount of liquid (eg, milk) and use about half as much powdered sugar. Use as much/little sugar as you want to your liking.

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Prepare a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Prepare the cake batter:
  2. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy.
  5. Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle or coat with frosting.
  7. While the cupcakes are cooking, make the frosting. Melt butter in a small saucepan and remove from heat. Stir in the cocoa until smooth. Sprinkle in about a third of the powdered sugar, stir, then sprinkle in about a half of the milk. Keep alternating with the powdered sugar and either milk or vanilla, stirring after each addition, until the frosting is the consistency you want, and smooth. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If too stiff, add a little more milk or vanilla extract.
4. Baily's frosting

A while back I made liquor inspired cupcakes, which included a batch of my Guinness chocolate cake in cupcake form. I didn't particularly love the recipe for the Bailey's cupcakes, but I realized that Bailey's frosting + Guinness chocolate cake = deliciousness!

Simply add a few TBSP of Bailey's to your favorite vanilla frosting recipe 
for a subtle creamy flavor. Or try the recipe below!

Baileys Frosting

8 oz cold cream cheese
5 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP Baileys Irish Cream
2 tsp brewed coffee, cooled
1/2 tsp cocoa powder, optional
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I use about 1/2 to 2/3 of a given amount for any frosting recipe. The frosting is softer that way, but it's less cloyingly sweet like most buttercream recipes.)

Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Once combined add vanilla, cocoa, Baileys, coffee, and powdered sugar. 

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