Sunday, July 27, 2008

Golden Anniversary German Chocolate Cake

50th Anniversary Cake for Gene & Lois Hebert
Our friends were celebrating their parents' 50th wedding anniversary. They had already ordered a small scale replica of the original wedding cake, but when additional guests were added to the party at the last minute, they felt more cake was needed. So they asked me to bake a German chocolate "groom's cake". They provided me with an edible image and left the design up to me.

I had a general idea of what I wanted to do and I knew that the top would have to be iced with buttercream in order to apply the image. I baked two 9" x 13" German chocolate cakes and torted into four layers. I actually only used three layers, and it's a good thing because I cooked a single batch of coconut and pecan filling and had to scrape the bowl. Anyway, I layered the cakes and filling then iced the top of the cake with a vanilla/coconut buttercream, smoothed the top with a Viva paper towel and applied the image before it crusted. Then I applied the filling to the sides of the cake. It wasn't a thick filling so I had to add additional coconut flakes to get it to stick and not slide down.

Then, I mixed a batch of regular Hershey's Unsweetened cocoa frosting and used it to pipe the border around the image and the trim around the top and bottom of the cake. Then I piped their names and wedding date, but the cake was still too plain. So I decided to try my hand at roses. I don't think I've made roses since taking a Wilton class months ago. So I added more powdered sugar and some meringue powder to the frosting to stiffen it up and used a flower nail to make some roses. The frosting was still kind of soft so the petals kind of melted into each other, but they dried rather quickly, which minimized the problem. My friends had provided the gold 50 Years plaque, which I mounted in a rose cluster.

Once the chocolate frosting had crusted somewhat, I used a dry brush to apply gold luster dust to the rose petals and the piping that framed the image.

Although I'm never truly satisfied with anything I create, I thought it turned out quite nice. And they were pleased, so I guess it was a Mission Accomplished!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Grandmommy's Carrot Cake Meets the 21st Century

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Frosting Bright Flowers Basketweave (9)
My friend, Toni, loves carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, especially when I make the cake and frosting from scratch using a recipe from my maternal grandmother, Edwina Crowder Hebert. Toni's birthday is July 8th so I decided to bake a cake for her. I usually decorate carrot cakes with, you guessed it, CARROTS! So today I thought I'd try something different. I mixed up some bright, cheery colors and made it up as I went.

The result was a basketweave-trimmed cake with bright, happy flowers. I had also baked some carrot cake cupcakes, so I decorated them to match.

My grandmother passed away in 1976 when I was only eight years old, but her recipes and my memories of her live on. Here are some pictures of Grandmommy, along with some pics of my cake and cupcakes. You can view more pics of my grandmother and several others of my ancestors on Flickr! as well as many more pics of these cakes and others.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Sugar Cookie and Rolled Chocolate Cookie Recipes

I tried two new recipes. I wanted a tastier sugar cookie so I tried the recipe found in The Flour Pot Cookie Book by Margie Greenberg. And, oh my goodness! They are delicious. I rolled them 1/8 inch thick (used paint stirrers for my levelers). Iced them with the Antonia 74 royal icing recipe posted on Cake Central. This is definitely the royal icing recipe I will use until someone can convince me otherwise!

I also wanted a chocolate cookie for a dark background. I used the dark chocolate rolled sugar cookie recipe, also found on Cake Central. I didn't have any espresso powder. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. They tasted AWESOME! I also rolled these 1/8 inch thick. They baked up nice and firm on the outside, but slightly soft on the inside.
I found the Cherry Blossom tree cookie on Flickr! posted by Nancy's Fancy. These were simple and fun to do, but no where nearly as perfect as Nancy's!

The birthday cookies were for my 8-year-old neighbor, Emma, whose favorite colors are purple and blue. I hand cut the cake cookie. It measures 7 1/2" x 5 1/2".

The round cookies were just for fun!

You can view more shots of these cookies and others in my C is for Cookie! set on Flickr!