Archive for April, 2009

10
Apr
09

Thomas the Tank Engine Cake

H and I made a Thomas the Tank Engine (aka Thomas the Train) cake for a 1st birthday last Saturday.  The Monday before the party I tried to get everything organized so we could work on it in stages.  I printed out a calendar for the week and listed all the tasks we would need to get done each day: make fondant, color fondant, make decorations, make buttercream, etc.  Well, last week work was just as crazy as this week; we weren’t getting home until around 7 and I just felt drained so I had no motivation to do anything.

I showed H how to make fondant on Tuesday so he made 4 total batches on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Each batch weighs about 2.5 lbs. and takes forever to make.  My poor little 5 quart KitchenAid doesn’t have enough power (or space) to mix up a batch so it has to be done by hand.  He was really good at working on the train for a few hours each night whereas I waited until Friday night to make the cake and buttercream.   I didn’t even start until 10 pm!  Needless to say, we stayed up almost all night working on the cake and didn’t finish until right before we needed to leave for the party on Saturday (which has become a typical schedule for us whenever we make these types of cakes).  This was our 3rd 1st birthday cake – I think 1st birthdays are becoming our specialty.

the making of a trainThe cake was a vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry puree and strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.  It was really good –  I liked it more than the perfect party cake I had made the week before.

the cake

The finished cake was adorable.  I loved all the colors.  My favorite part about the cake was the railroad tracks.  At first I wasn’t sure about the color H had made, but I should’ve known better than to second guess him.  The shade of brown went well with the other pastel colors and the tracks were cartoony and perfect.

the details

Even though I was kind of stressing out until the last minute, I had fun making this cake.  I think H enjoyed it too and I know he likes the challenge of trying to create something new.

Thomas the Tank Engine

10
Apr
09

perfect party cake

I’m so glad it’s Friday!  I meant to update earlier in the week, but I was too lazy.  It’s been a long week and I’m super tired but I feel more freedom to keep going because it’s Friday. I’ve already been sitting in front of a computer all day but I really wanted to try to catch up before the weekend.

Two weekends ago H and I hosted a good-bye party for friends who were moving out of state.  I really wanted to make a cool cake for them, but in the end I ran out of time and had to settle on just making a regular cake (delicious but kind of plain in decor).  I made the Perfect Party Cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours.  I’ve been wanting to make this cake for a long time because I had a feeling it would be similar to my favorite cake from Linn’s.

perfect-party-cake

It was a white cake filled with strawberry jam and swiss meringue buttercream.  The cake texture was pretty close to the Linn’s cake but I think I need to work on it a little more.  I think the Linns cake is a little more tender.  I had wanted to at least pipe on the cake but I ended up just having enough time to put some strawberries on it.

perfect party cake

It wasn’t what I had planned, but it was still good.  I also made a filipino leche flan for the first time.  I’ve made flan before but I don’t remember where I got the recipe from; it wasn’t a filipino flan though.  This was so easy to make, but a little too rich.  I’m going to cut down on the egg yolks next time and add vanilla bean and some rum (one of my friends said that his sister puts rum in her flan so I want to try it).

leche flan

It was a fun get together and probably our wildest party yet – we had people over and rocking out with Rock Band until after 11 pm on a Sunday night – that is crazy for us.  🙂

05
Apr
09

brown butter cookies

I experimented with the brown butter cookies 2 more times last month. The second time I made them, I modified the recipe and added some cornstarch. I figured it would make the cookie more tender and also prevent it from spreading out and flattening. The shape of the cookie came out perfectly, but the flavor wasn’t there. It was sort of bland and got really dry.

The third attempt turned out much better. I substituted cake flour in place of regular all purpose flour (H’s great idea) and also added a little more than the recipe called for. The flavor and texture were both pretty good.
brown butter cookie dough
brown butter cookies

These are becoming one of my favorite cookies.  They’re so easy to make, too.  I was pretty happy with this last batch, but unfortunately, I don’t remember where I put my modified recipe.  Oh well, I’m still planning on modifying it a bit so I guess it’s ok.

05
Apr
09

blackberry pound cake

I’ve been getting lazy about posting again.  Work has been busy and when I come home I usually don’t want to do anything. I sit in front of a computer all day and when I come home I just watch tv or spend more time in front of my computer, usually just surfing or checking out other blogs.  I’m in catch up mode again because H and I made a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for a 1st birthday.  It’s so cute; I can’t wait for you to see it!

A few weeks ago, I made a blackberry pound cake.  Blackberries were a good price at Costco so I bought some, but then kept forgetting to eat them.  I decided it was time to make something with them before they started to go bad.  I found a recipe for blackberry pound cake on Baking Bites.  It was perfect because I was able to use all the blackberries and a good amount of butter (I’m still trying to use all the butter I stocked up on during Christmas!).

blackberries

The pound cake was good – I wish I had time to make a blackberry sauce to drizzle on top.

blackberry pound cake