When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

The Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Chocolate Valentino and Vanilla Ice Cream February 28, 2009

img_8075This months challenge was chosen by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.  They chose a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan and then we had the option of making any type of ice cream to accompany the cake.  For the ice cream I decided to go with David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Ice Cream. (more…)


Adventures in Wilton Cake Decorating: Fondant and Gum Paste Class 4 February 26, 2009

When life gives you lemons…

Don’t leave them in the fridge to get all moldy like I did.  Make a lemon cream tart or a cake; then everyone will be happy.

100_1983Yesterday I finished my final Wilton Cake Decorating Class, Fondant and Gum Paste.   Our instructor gave us a choice on which final cake that we wanted to do that was in the book.  At first I was going to do a square cake and make the colors black and white, but then I accidentally made an 8-inch round cake so I ended up picking another cake and decided not to change the colors.  The cake I made was a Red Velvet box cake mix.  I made a cream cheese icing filling and iced the cake in Vanilla Italian Buttercream and covered it with Fondant.

When we started off class, we all rolled out our fondant to cover our cakes.  This weeks I decided that I wasn’t going to make any of my fondant because I didn’t have time so I just used the Wilton pre-made stuff, even though it tastes like crap.  I rolled it out pretty thin because I was starting to see through it and I knew that it shouldn’t get any thinner.  I placed the fondant on my cake and started to work it around the cake and it started to tear.  I didn’t even pull on it or anything.  My instructor came up and told me it was rolled a little too thick.


I keep working with the fondant and it is going pretty well and then another side tears, and the fondant is starting to get hard.

What is going on?

Meanwhile, all the ladies at my table are having tear problems with their fondant, but the other 10 people in the class are doing just fine.  I think our table is cursed because alot of us didn’t have this much trouble covering our wedding cakes.

My instructor comes up in the middle of my disaster and feels the fondant (it started to get hard) and asks what I was using (Wilton).  I also tell her that it is a brand new package and I just opened it at the beginning of class.  She leaves and comes back with a free box of fondant for me because apparently I had a bad batch….grrr.

I finished covering my cake, tears and all.  I wasn’t too worried about all the imperfections because I knew that the handkerchiefs and the band around the bottom would cover most of the crappiness.

Our instructor went over how to make a favor box, inlays, and different borders.  Then we were to finish our cakes.  I actually finished my cake before class was over, but I had one more problem.  The instructions for my cake said that I needed to cut out 8 handkerchiefs .  When I was about to cut them out I realized I forgot my pastry wheel at home so I had to borrow someone elses.  For my entire table, one of us forgot something so we were actually sharing everything 🙂  I cut out the 8 and then start to place them on the cake…..

Well I actually needed 8.75 handkerchiefs.  I told my instructor and she asked if I cut out the right one (yes) and if my cake was the right size (yes).  So I added another one to the back of the cake so  you can’t see the crappiness of it 🙂  From then on it was easy sailing.  I put the favor box on top with the daisy and then I finished off the cake with the bottom border.

While taking pictures of my cake Theoden decided to watch and hope for a piece.


There is a rumor going around that later this year there is going to be 3 more classes added to the Wilton Cake Decorating lineup, but no one knows what they are or when it is going to happen.  When the classes finally get announced, I will take a look at them to see if it is anything worth persuing.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Caramel Crunch Bars February 24, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Cookies,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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tuesdayswithdorieThis weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Whitney of What’s left on the table?.  She chose Dorie’s Caramel Crunch Bars which are located on pages 112-113 in Baking: From My Home to Yours. This recipe always threw me off when I looked at the picture because the picture is one of Dorie’s varations, an ice cream sandwich.


This week I decided that I was going to half the recipe because there is no way that I could keep these in my apartment without eating them.  Why you ask.  Because they have espresso, chocolate, and Heath Toffee Bits.

I LOVE Heath Bars.  LOVE!!!

I knew when I was making them that they were not going to look like the picture because the Heath Toffee Bits that I bought also have bits of milk chocolate in them too.  So I guess mine are extra chocolately from the bittersweet chocolate in the crust to the bittersweet melted chocolate on top and the milk chocolate sprinkled on top.

My bars really didn’t turn out like the picture.  I halved the recipe and baked it in a 8 x 8 baking dish and I think I might have baked it a little too long (12 minutes).  But the bars tasted GREAT.  I cut them into small squares and I have been snacking on the left over bits.  If I had some ice cream I would totally make some mini ice cream sandwich 🙂



Tuesdays with Dorie: Devil’s Food White Out Cake February 17, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:17 pm
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100_1942_00This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater.  She chose Dorie’s Devil’s Food White Out Cake, which happens to be the cake featured on the cover of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. I ended up making this cake in advance for my Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Class.

From the scraps, I also made a mini cake so that it would look similar to Dorie’s 🙂  This was also suppose to be my birthday cake, but I never got around to cutting into it on my birthday.  When it was finally sliced it was crazy because the icing had disintegrated, but the cake was still structurally okay.  Funny thing is that there was a huge empty gap where the icing use to be.  Oh well, I did have a chance to try the cake when I was icing it and it was very tasty and I love the marshmellowiness of the frosting.


To Me… February 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — pastrybrush @ 4:06 pm


Happy Birthday 🙂


Adventures in Wilton Cake Decorating: Fondant and Gum Paste Class 1-2 February 12, 2009

Last week I started my final set of Wilton Cake Decorating Classes.  The first class was pretty short.  We covered out cake boards in fondant and then learned how to cover a cake in fondant.  It was nice to actually see the instructor demonstrate instead of just looking at pictures and being talking through it.  For our second class we had to bring in an 8 x 3 inch cake iced with buttercream that we would be using to learn a handful of different techniques.

The instructor liked to call our cake a sample cake because it just had a bunch if different things all over it.  We made a drap, one handkerchief, a border, and drop stringy things.  I don’t have my book on me currently so I am pretty sure I got the correct names for things wrong 🙂 I knew that I didn’t want my cake to look like a sample cake for its final design.



Initially I decided that I was going to cover the cake in black fondant and put a white bow on top.  That ended up going out the window when my black fondant went to crap and I had to throw it out.  I ended up deciding on a red cake with a black bow.  I used the multi color fondant back in Primary and Neutral.  For the red fondant I combined one 4.4 oz package of red fondant with 24 oz of white.  It ended up turning hot pick and I didn’t feel like adding color to it so I left it the way it was.  For the black fondant, I used the Neutral fondant packet and mixed the black, dark brown, and light brown together.  After that I added enough black gel color to turn the fondant from gray to black.  It actually worked really well, unlike the chocolate fondant incident that ended up in the trash 🙂

In the end I went with a hot pink cake with a black bow, black dots, and a black band on the bottom.  The black band covered my mistake of not paying attention when I am trimming my fondant 🙂  It worked out perfectly.

For the cake base I was initially going to use a box red velvet cake mix, but then realized that I had to make a cake for Tuesdays with Dorie next week.  In the end, I baked up the Red Velvet Cake and froze it for my final cake, and baked up the Tuesdays with Dorie Cake.  The TWD is actually a Devil’s Food White Out Cake.  The cake and the filling was by the recipe and then I iced the cake in Italian Buttercream and then covered it in fondant for class.  I will post more about the cake and its flavors on Tuesday 🙂

But for now my creation, which I call my Birthday cake.  Even though my birthday isn’t for another 2 days.



Wholly Guacamole February 11, 2009

Filed under: Appetizer — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am

The other night I was up late and watching the Food Network.

Yeah that probably isn’t good for anyone, but I was doing it.

I saw a new product that was on the market and was completely intrigued.

1) Because I love guacamole

2) I have never found anything in the grocery store that was prepackaged that taste as good as homemade


I found the mother load.  I was at a locally owned grocery store and found Wholly Guacamole in the refrigerated section next to the produce.  It was a little pricey, but I had to try it.  I decided to pick up a packet of the Spicy, and it was fantastic.  It tasted like homemade.  I just ventured over to their site and saw that they also have Pico De Gallo Style, which is essentially how I make mine.  I need to get my hands on the Pico De Gallo Style because you know I have to taste test it now 🙂

How do I like to eat my guacamole?

  • Straight out of the package or bowl
  • With tortilla chips
  • Wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla with grilled chicken
  • On a hamburger 🙂
  • Anyway because it YUMMY!!!

How do you like to eat your guacamole?