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Cake Decorating Class: Week 5

This week we were asked to come to class with an un-iced character cake.  Jill to the rescue! She happened to have a 3-D rubber duck mould, so she made hers first and then passed the pan over to me.  I was also aware that I could have rented the pan from the Bulk Barn, which is cheaper than buying a lot of pans, and cuts down on storing issues.

I once again used a Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake mix, this time in chocolate.  Unfortunately it filled the bottom pan as per the directions, and rose, but not enough to make the duck 3-D.  Tasting some of what I took off for levelling, I prefer this cake over the GF golden.  It was a much more ‘normal’ cake taste, not as gritty as the golden.

Our whole class was dedicated to decorating the cake.  Everyone had a different cake; there were baby strollers, Hello Kitty, Cookie Monster and sunflowers.  As Jill and I did the same cake, and it was all one colour, we were done early.  The hardest part were the tight curve of the duck’s neck and keeping the stars tights.  The table height meant we were on our knees at points trying to keep the tip at a 90° angle. What do you think?

Please note: There will be no cakes for the next three weeks.  We will be learning fondant, gum paste and making flowers for our final cake in week 9, so I will still keep you updated with my progress on how the flower making goes.

 

Cake Decorating Class: Week 3

This week we were asked to bring 6 cupcakes.  Umm, not enough to share with my office 🙂  I brought 12 normal and 12 mini.  I also used a Gluten-Free Betty Crocker mix for the first time so that all of my colleagues can partake in this adventure.

This class started wrong right from the start.  I was not paying attention and drove past the turn, making us late.  This meant we had to sit separated from the class at the back.  Then, the practice sheet we needed, I seemed to be missing, so I shared with Jill.  I could not seem to get my flowers to come out right (there are no pictures) or my shells. My leaves were not bad, but I had learned them at Le Dolci.  Also my icing seemed to not be the right consistency either.  A very frustrating night overall for me.

Again, we did not get around to actually decorating until 20 minutes left in the class.  The teacher seems to be overwhelmed by the number of students in the class and we skip over items in the lesson book. Like how to make the toppings for the cupcakes. Maybe next week, we are told…

Here are my finished cupcakes.  We used the filling tip, so mine have Nutella in them.  We were practicing the swirl as a base for decorations, but did not really get to the learning what to put on top.  I did leaves (we practiced these during class) and then used the rest of the blue icing to do randomness.

As an aside, I found the gluten-free mix to work well, not very different in consistency and they baked up nicely.  The taste is a little grainy, but good!

Christmas Baking

I love gingerbread.  I think it is the one item that I truly associate with Christmas, even though I do not really remember making it growing up.  My grandmother would spend a day baking multiple cookies and squares with my cousin, who now does it with my mother.  My mother traditionally makes fruitcake among other things, so that there has always been a plate of goodies around during the holidays.

This year I wanted to make some cookies and then be able to share them at work as part of the holiday cards, and to say thanks to the secretaries.  I have been intrigued by the recipes people are sharing and bookmarked a few to try.  I did make gingerbread cupcakes for my students last week (sorry no pics, they ate them too quickly!) from The Cupcake Project, and will be definitely be adding this to next year’s baking list.  But to me, the holiday season is not complete without some gingerbread people.

Image from the Cupcake Project

My mom and I used her 1977 Becky Crocker Cooky Book ‘Gingerbread Boy’ recipe.  Their idea of volume is way off though, as we had 10 dozen cookies without changing the recipe!  They note it should make 2 1/2 dozen 2 1/2″ cookies. Nope!  We tried to balance the men with stars, trees, candy canes and angels, doing a simple white glaze and festive sprinkles.  They were at hit at @WineGuyTO’s office today.

Next up was peanut butter cookies with a twist: they look like Rudolph!  I found this post at Haute Apple Pie and knew that would be a hit. Unfortunately we could not find chocolate covered pretzels in the store, so we made our own!

Rudolph!

Thanks to my mom and @WineGuyTO for helping and being indulgent of my #occupymomskitchen!

Betty Crocker Gingerbread Boys

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cup dark molasses

2/3 cup cold water

7 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp each: salt, allspice, ginger, cloves, cinnamon (I also added in nutmeg)

Mix shortening, sugar and molassess thoroughly.  Stir in water.  Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting.  Blend all dry ingredients; stir in (**I did this mainly by hand and then by hand mixer when it was mostly combined).  Chill (we did almost 2 hours).

Heat oven to 350 F.  Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured board.  Cut with cookie cookies. Place  at least a 1/2 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 mins or until no imprint remains when touched lightly.

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