decorating

Since I haven’t worked in a bakery, or have done any cake decorating since I graduated school, I decided it was time to practice my piping skills again. So, I made some cupcakes to give me a nice “canvas” for my decorating skills.

I only had a large pastry bag, so I was only able to use the star tip and the bigger size of the straight tip that I have, but still, some practice is better than none. I used a combination of the “shell” design and the “pearl” design for these cupcakes.

Next time, I will have another bag that I can use with my smaller tips, and I will practice making buttercream roses, and other flowers. I will also get some food coloring, so there will be no boring, really ugly, brownish chocolate frosting.

Also, now that I have a piping bag, I can make other desserts that require piping, such as eclairs, and macaroons. I also just bought some new cake and tart pans that I can’t wait to try!

yellow cake and chocolate: two ways

Since I now have a job (although a temporary one) I am on somewhat of a regular schedule, and I want to blog regularly, so I am going to bake either Mondays or Wednesdays (during the dinner and movie nights that Benjie and I have) or both, if I am feeling up to the challenge, and then blog about what I bake either Monday evening, (before trivia night!) or Thursday during the day. These next couple of weeks will be busy with High Holy Day celebrations (Rosh Hashanah-The Jewish New Year and Yom Kippor-the Day of Atonement), but I think I can still make it work. Today, I made “yellow cake” (known in the professional baking world as sponge cake or vanilla cake) and finished them off with chocolate in two different ways.

1. traditional cake: vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. I don’t have a cake wheel (again, something to add to the birthday wish list) so I didn’t cut the cake in half and fill it with frosting, but I did the Suzie-homemaker version, and just iced the top and sides of the cake. so, nothing that special to blog about.

2. non-traditional: cake balls. I used the crumbs of the second cake (or, rather, made cake crumbs with the second cake) and leftover frosting from the first cake to make the balls. Then I made chocolate powdered sugar with unsweetened baker’s chocolate and powdered sugar. I rolled the cake balls in this mix. a very rich, moist, way to eat cake.
not goin’ to lie, I did use a cake mix, and pre-made frosting, because I was feeling kinda lazy, and didn’t feel like going shopping for all of the ingredients for making cake from scratch. but, of course, all of this can be done from scratch, and will be just as tasty.  therefore, I feel like it is unnecessary to explain the first cake much further, because I just followed the directions on the box. However, I will share with you the steps I took to make the cake balls in a little more detail.
Cake Balls: 
1. Create cake crumbs from any kind of cake you want to make (I suggest a moist cake, such as sponge cake) this should be fairly easy, especially if you start with a warm cake. You can get all fancy and technical with a food processor, and make really nice cake crumbs, but I just used my hands.
2. I put the rest of the frosting in the bowl with the cake crumbs and mixed them together, again, by hand. (of course, you can use any frosting flavor that matches the flavor of the cake that is being used)
3. Roll the mixture into balls. (Again, you can get fancy and make all of your cake balls the same size by using a scoop.)

4. Make the chocolate powdered sugar. I used unsweetened baker’s chocolate, that I melted and added powdered sugar to it. (2 ounces of chocolate, and about 3/4 cups of sugar) To make things easier, I added the sugar 1/4 cup at a time. The result that I got, since, again, I just mixed by hand, (and when I say “by hand” I really mean with a spoon or spatula, or whatever is appropriate in the situation, rather than something electrical.) was a bowl of small chocolatey-sugary balls. (see picture)

5. Roll the cake balls in the chocolate powdered sugar.

6. Have your “non-traditional” cake. (and share it, too!-ah ha!-a reference to the blog title!)