Posts tagged ‘Tips’

Stressed is “desserts” spelled backwards!

Photo from Chelevision

I think everyone at the University of Michigan is stressed right now.  I find when I am stressed I am too lazy to cook and end up eating whatever I can find.  Unfortunately Big Ten Burrito is right across the street from my apartment, making healthy choices even more difficult.  I’ve found that soup is always a good choice (especially when the wind chill is below zero) and so is salad and fruit.

It’s great to have a sweet treat to keep morale high when studying, but don’t fall for the most common sugar traps: overly processed candy bars near the checkout at stores.  They may look delicious when you’re overcaffeinated and got 4 hours of sleep the night before, but they will NOT make you feel better.

For me, the act of baking is a great stress reliever.  I love to bake and doing something I enjoy automatically makes me feel better about upcoming exams.  Maybe instead of giving in to your candy bar craving you could try and make a simple dessert.  If you make something yourself, it is almost always more natural (who has a jar of trans fat in their kitchen cabinets?!) than a store bought Snickers bar.

Good luck studying (and baking) during finals season!

December 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm 2 comments

Yo quiero taco cake

Last year for Sean’s birthday I made a Taco Cake.  You might be thinking, “uhhh what is that?!?” but it is exactly what it sounds like: a cake that is made to look like tacos.


For the taco shells, I baked yellow cakes in round pans and added some chocolate sprinkles to create the speckled effect.  The ground beef is crumbled chocolate cake.  It looks surprisingly real, doesn’t it?!

The next step is to add the toppings.  I used green food coloring to make the coconut look like shredded lettuce.  Next, I cut up circus peanut candies which are on my list of most bizarre candies.  I want to like them, but the taste is just a little different.  However, I had to sacrifice my own personal tastes here because they look remarkably like shredded cheese.  To top it all off, I used maraschino cherries to look like tomatoes.  And there you have it, last year’s Taco Cake!

You might be wondering if it tasted good.  I was first and foremost trying to make the cake actually resemble tacos, so I wasn’t too concerned with the taste.  However,  it turned out to be quite delicious in an unconventional way.  The circus peanuts weren’t too overpowering and the addition of a little “sour cream” (vanilla ice cream) was yummy as well!

October 25, 2009 at 10:53 pm 9 comments

In Search of Baking Supplies

To get supplies for the Red Stripe cake, I ventured to Barbara of Pauline’s Cake Supplies in San Jose, California.

barbara of paulines

The shop is tiny but filled with any kind of cake decorating tool you could ever need.  I bought three different kinds of fondant there, along with two shades of luster dust (an edible iridescent powder that is used to decorate fondant).  The owner, Barbara (then who is Pauline?!), was very helpful—thankfully because I had no idea what I was supposed to do with luster dust.  All I know is that it sounds really cool and professional.  Turns out you have to mix it (a VERY small amount–a little goes a long way with this stuff) with vodka or gin first, then decorate as needed.  The alcohol will dry clear and leave the sparkly luster dust behind.

I constructed a “bottle cap” with white fondant and then painted it with the silver luster dust/vodka mixture and voila–an edible bottle cap!


October 21, 2009 at 9:16 am 3 comments

Birthday Cake!


I just got back from a great weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I helped Sean celebrate his birthday and enjoyed the amazing weather.  (Remind me again why I chose to go to school in frigid Michigan?!)  As for the birthday cake, drumroll please……… the winner is RED STRIPE CAKE!  Sean’s favorite beer is Red Stripe so the cake decision seemed quite obvious.  The cake itself was yellow cake with chocolate frosting topped with fondant.

First, I allowed the cake to cool completely and then cut it into a bottle shape.  From here, I frosted it with the chocolate frosting.  Generously, I must add.  YUM.  Next is the hard part, the fondant.  Because this was my first time using fondant I decided to buy it pre-made.   I used chocolate fondant to cover the entire cake.  Rolling the fondant was difficult so I enlisted the help of Sean’s roommate, Daniel.  Either I’m really weak or rolling fondant truly is a two-person job.  I bought a “fondant roller” which I would HIGHLY recommend getting.  The fondant must be super thin to spread over the cake so you have to roll it out completely and evenly.

From here, I draped the cake with the fondant and cute the edges around the cake.  The result is a perfectly smooth surface to decorate—just what I needed to make it look like a Red Stripe bottle!  I then cut out a square of the white fondant for the label.  The “red stripes” on the cake are pieces of red fondant.  I used red and white frosting along with silver luster dust to write on the cake.  The bottle cap is white fondant covered with silver luster dust.

All in all, I was really happy with how the cake turned out.  I had never used fondant before and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I will definitely be experimenting more with fondant and luster dust in the future!

Click here for more pictures!

October 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm 17 comments

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