Sunday, September 18, 2016

banana cream birthday cake with handmade fondant monkey topper

The first time I made something for Julieta, I made various Hello Kitty desserts for the dessert table at her bridal shower. I had never met her before, and she had found me through the blog. I was delighted to be making Hello Kitty dessert for a fellow Hello Kitty lover!

Before I knew it, Julieta was contacting me about making baseball cookies, this time for her baby shower! And then this past year, she asked me to make a monkey cake, this time for her son's first birthday party! How time flies! And how exciting it is to me that I got to make goodies for her for such major milestones!

A few weeks before the party, I started on making the fondant monkey, as it would need time to dry completely. I used Wilton fondant for this, tinted chocolate brown with a tiny bit of black to give it a deeper brown. I rolled out and shaped all the parts I would need, and used a bit of water to attach them together.

For the monkey's face, I tinted the fondant with ivory, rolled out a snout, and used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create the part of the face around the eyes.

After adding an ivory tummy and feet, I used an edible marker to draw on the eyes and the nose.

Hey little guy, you're cute!

For the cake, Julieta wanted a bananas and cream cake. So when it was time to make the cake, I baked up two 10-inch round vanilla cakes (recipe from my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), and sliced each cake in half horizontally to give me four cake layers. Then I filled each layer with freshly whipped cream and sliced bananas.

I ended up not using the fourth cake layer, as it would have ended up too tall of a cake! So I stopped at three layers.

The party colors would be yellow and light green, so I made bright yellow buttercream, and added a light green beaded border. Then I used a small round tip with chocolate brown frosting to pipe the baby's name.

And the final touch - the fondant monkey topper!

Hope the little guy enjoyed his monkey cake! Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

mini apple pies

My favorite part about pie is the crust. Buttery, flakey, deliciously luscious pie crust. That said, my favorite thing about mini pies is that you get a) you get one all to yourself, and b) you get to eat more pie crust than you would with a regular slice of pie!

These mini pies use the same recipe as my regular apple pie, except you make half the recipe and end up with six individual pies instead of one big one. (Or, I suppose you could keep the recipe the same and end up with twelve individual pies, but I only have six mini tart tins so I went with half the recipe). 

Once your dough is made, formed into a disc, and has chilled in the fridge for at least half an hour, divide the disc into six equal pieces. Then roll out each one and carefully fit them into six individual mini tart tins.

Once the edges are trimmed, place your tart tins on a baking sheet. Be sure to keep the excess dough that was trimmed - form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap again, and put it back in the fridge.

Then assemble your fresh apple filling and divide it evenly into each dough-lined tart tin.

Note that I have diced the apples for the mini pies, but you could also keep the apples in slices as you would for a single pie.

Now you can bring out that disc of excess dough that you put in the fridge earlier. Roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick, and use a knife or a pizza cutter (I used a fluted pastry wheel) to cut out your lattice strips.

Arrange your strips (I like to use four on each mini pie) onto each pie in a decorative way, trimming any excess, and make sure to press the ends into the edges of the tart tins.

Then brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle on some sanding sugar, and bake them at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.


These mini pies are perfect to bring to picnics and BBQs because they are easy to transport, don't require plates and forks (you can pick them up with your hands and eat them!), and can be made the morning of! You could also make them the night before, but the crust won't be quite as crisp.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

hello kitty floral wreath cake

Every year for my birthday, I make myself a Hello Kitty cake of some shape or form. And this past year was no exception! At the time (this was back in April), I was so inspired by I Am Baker's wreath cake, that I knew I wanted to make it, but with little piped Hello Kitty's added to the mix!

I was in a strawberries and cream mood, but I wanted it to be really light, so I made a chiffon cake instead of my regular vanilla cake. Since I've found chiffon cake to be tricky to slice, I divided the batter into three 8-inch round pans to give me three layers of cake (instead of baking up one big cake and then slicing it into three layers).

Once the cake was baked and cooled, I filled each layer with freshly whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

With a bit more whipped cream on top of the strawberries, to seal them in.

After the last cake layer was stacked, I covered the top and sides of the cake with more freshly whipped cream, and smoothed it with an offset spatula.

As I Am Baker mentions in her wreath cake tutorial, you can pipe a ring of frosting on top of the cake to give the wreath a bit of a "lift" above the rest of the top of the cake. So I dutifully followed her instructions!

Then I began to pipe my "flowers", using colored buttercream and various sizes of open star tips. (Note that I whipped up a separate batch of buttercream, just for the flowers!)

I added more and more piping in other colors using other star tips...

... until I was happy with my wreath.

I could have left it just like this, because it was already so cute! But, I needed me some Hello Kitty!!!

So I piped my Hello Kitty faces with whipped cream, using a large round tip for the face, and a leaf tip for the ears. (See more on how I pipe my Hello Kitty faces! There is also a quick tutorial in my book!)

I used a small round tip to pipe black eyes and whiskers, and a little yellow nose. And for the final touch, I added heart confetti sprinkles to form the bow.

Wheeeee!!! Happy Birthday to me!!! :)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

umbrella cookies

I'm back! We were away for summer break, visiting hubby's family in Hawaii - and now that we're back, it's back to reality! School for the kids, work for the adults, and of course, baking for me!

In addition to the diamond engagement ring cookies that I made for Diane in my last post, I also made umbrella cookies, in pink and sage green to match the bridal shower colors.

I searched online everywhere but couldn't find an umbrella cookie cutter that I liked, so I used Cookie Cutter Kingdom's custom cutter tool to design my own! All I had to do was draw the umbrella shape that I wanted, upload it, and voila, the perfect umbrella cookie cutter!

After the cookies were baked and cooled, I whipped up a batch of royal icing (cookie and icing recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), and got to work on mixing my sage green color. I ended up using two parts leaf green gel-based food coloring, with one part brown, to get the perfect color green. Then I used the green stiff icing to outline each umbrella, and then watered it down to get runny icing for filling them in.

After I let the icing dry for several hours, the final touch was using stiff white icing to pipe the umbrella details!

I also did the same for the peachy/pink umbrellas, except I used two 2 parts soft pink with 1 part orange to get the perfect shade.

Happy Bridal Shower!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

diamond engagement ring cookies

A few months ago, my instagram friend Rachel asked me to make cookies for her family friend Diane. Diane was hosting a bridal shower and she wanted engagement ring cookies, which sounded like so much fun to make, so I said yes right away!

For the ring cookie cutter, my friends at Cookie Cutter Kingdom sent me a special cutter! They normally only make the ring cutter in 3" or 4" sizes, but I asked for 3.5" and they were so nice that they obliged and made me a special one! Thanks guys!

Armed with my new cookie cutter, I baked up my favorite sugar cookie recipe (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), rolled the dough to about 1/8" thick, and cut out my cookies. (For the hole in the middle, I used the backside of a piping tip!). Then I baked them at 350F for 10-12 minutes until they were golden brown.

Once all the cookies were baked and cooled, I whipped up a batch of royal icing (recipe also in my book!) and used stiff icing to outline the diamond part of the engagement ring. Then I filled it in with runny icing.

For the band part of the ring, I did the same thing with gray icing (outline with stiff icing, and fill with runny icing).

Then once the icing was dry (I like to let it dry overnight), I used more stiff white icing to pipe the details onto the diamond.

I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Happy Bridal Shower!!!