I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last update. I was so excited when I started, but lately I haven’t had any motivation to do anything. I’ve just been tired and blah. I’ve still been baking, but I’ve even lost the motivation to take pictures. I do most of my baking at night after work and it’s hard for me to get pictures I’m happy with, especially now that it’s getting dark so early. Oh, and of course I can’t forget the fact that my camera has slowly started going haywire and is now highlighting my pictures purple. I was really bummed at first, but now I have an excuse to get a new one :). I’m hoping not to stay in this unmotivated rut for much longer. In the meantime, here’s a short summary of what I’ve been up to.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
I think I made these blueberry crumb bars in August. They were delicious. Trader Joe’s was having an amazing sale on fresh blueberries – cheaper than the frozen ones. Of course I took advantage of it and ended up buying several packages. I tried to make these crumb bars a second time, using some frozen raspberries and blueberries. I wasn’t happy with the result at all – the frozen fruit made the bars too wet and soggy and I realized that I didn’t like the taste of the raspberries so much. The bad texture was most lkely my fault, for wanting to add extra fruit at the last minute in an attempt to make the center a little thicker. I probably didn’t add enough cornstarch and sugar to balance out the extra frozen berries.
My husband and I went on a mini vacation in Monterey/Carmel for our 2nd anniversary. We stopped by a coffee shop in Santa Cruz and I was tempted by this chocolate peanut butter cupcake. We did not enjoy it – the cupcake was dry and the frosting was chewy and oily (see the oil on the frosting?). It was the first time I’d ever had frosting that was chewy and oily. What made the experience even less enjoyable was the hefty price tag on the cupcake – $4 if I remember correctly!
On the way home from Carmel we stopped in Cambria, the little town where we had our wedding. It would’ve been nice to walk around a little, but we were tired from our mini trip and only stopped to pick up a slice of this delicious Olallieberry Cream Cake from Linn’s. It is my absolute favorite cake. It was the cake we served at our wedding – where I had hoped that the small top tier would be leftover for me to eat all by myself :). Well, that didn’t happen, but I told H that as long as we live on the Central Coast, I want to get this cake at least once a year on our anniversary.
Labor Day Weekend
For Labor Day Weekend, H and I took a day trip down to Santa Barbara. We mostly window shopped and of course I had my “kid in a candy store” experience at Sur La Table. I just get so mesmerized at everything in there. Before we left we stopped at Crushcakes Cupcakery. They were closing in less than an hour so there weren’t too many cupcakes to choose from. We got peanut butter and coconut and I also tried a mini lemon. The cupcakes were a little dry, but I figured it was because it was the end of the day. The frosting on both cupcakes was awesome. They had a very light and fluffy texture that H and I both enjoyed. Next time we should each get our own instead of trying to split. 🙂
The following weekend, I made a cake for my pastor’s birthday. I tried to make something that wasn’t too sweet or rich and ended up altering a recipe to make a chocolate chiffon cake. It was the first time I’d made a chiffon cake and was surprised about how many eggs I needed to make a cake this size. I was a little nervous because I had never even tried the original recipe and here I was modifying it. The cake was delicious; it was moist and spongy and had a nice chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to finish it that I didn’t do a very good job with the frosting/decorating and then forgot to take a picture of the final product before H and I had to run out the door.
Royal Icing Cookies
A few weeks ago, there was a baby shower for one of my co-workers. I made some cute baby themed cookies (bib, onesie, bottle, pacifier, carriage), but was so upset because my royal icing didn’t set properly. I’m pretty sure I had added too much water to the icing and overmixed it in an attempt to get the right consistency. Afer a full day of drying, the icing was bubbly and soft, almost like marshmallow. The night before the shower, I ruined all but 2 of the cookies I had made for her just by accidentally touching the not-so-set icing. From all the cookies I had been decorating, all I was left with was 1 bib and 1 bottle. I was devastated, but there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t even get a picture of the 2 cookies that turned out ok.
Anyway, everyone at the shower thought that the bib cookie was really cute so I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. A different co-worker asked me if I would be interested in making 24 soccer cookies for her daughter’s birthday. I jumped at the opportunity just so I could practice with royal icing. Now, I don’t really watch sports and I don’t think I had ever REALLY looked at what a soccer ball looked like. I searched the web and found a picture I was happy with. I printed it out and traced it onto a piece of waxpaper using an edible ink marker. After I had all my circles cut, I TRACED the soccer ball design on each cookie TWICE – first with a blunt fondant tool so as not to rip through my template and then with a toothpick so I’d be able to see the line after it baked. I baked them on Saturday night and on Sunday night I piped the black outlines and filled in the black sections. I also needed to fill in the white sections that same night so I could package them on Monday night since she needed them on Tuesday. It was a very time consuming process and H ended up having to help me fill in the white sections b/c it was getting so late and I was exhausted. I hadn’t realized just how long this would all take me. It was a painstaking, yet fun, experience and I learned so much about royal icing, process, and time management. I was so happy with the results; the soccer cookies turned out really good and the icing set beautifully.
End of Summer Cupcakes
Some of our friends hosted an end of summer bbq for which I volunteered to make a dessert. I decided to do 3 types of cupcakes and be extra organized to increase my efficiency since I planned to make all 3 the night before. What a difference it makes to have a plan and be organized! I made hummingbird cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and coconut cupcakes with 7 minute frosting. They were a hit!
I was excited to use my cupcake courier and have it be filled to full capacity. I love this thing!
Ok, so I think that ended up being a little longer than a short summary, but I think I’m caught up now. Recalling all the events and seeing the pictures made me excited about posting again. I should be updating sooner than later. It was H’s birthday on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to posting his german chocolate cupcakes.