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Cake Decorating Class: Final Class

Please excuse the tardiness, because if you have been following, class ended 3 weeks ago.  I did not attend the final class as I was able to snag some Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leaf tickets with friends, and the way class was going, it was the better option.  So please find a guest post from my friend Jill who was taking the class with me.  At the end, I will have the breakdown of costs.

From Jill:

Without my partner in crime this week I sat with some of the other ladies taking the class. I quickly learned that there were far worse people in the class than us.

We were required to bring on pre iced cake. My cake did not turn out so well, infact it was a disaster. I decided to bring it to class anyways  and also bring along another store bought mini cake with just some basic icing on it. My theory was that I could practice my homemade disaster of a cake and then do a better job on my store bought mini cake. The teacher thought I was being quite resourceful, I feared she would have thought I was cheating by bringing a store bought cake.

This week’s class was the final class, so we were to learn how to make basket weaves using buttercream followed by applying this technique to our cakes and topping them off with out flowers from the previous classes.

We had to use our practice boards to learn how to make the weaves and then once we got the hang of it, we used the stands to prop up the boards.

After weeks of having horrible luck with my royal icing and techniques I was pleased by the fact I was actually quite good at the weaves even at the a 90 degree angle.

We were told to use quite a large star tip to create the design, this resulted in a very thick icing layer onto of the already iced cakes. We then were  told that the thinner tip is made for basket weaves, but it was not in our kits, but could also be used when one does not want such a thick layer.

For my mini store bought cake I used a smaller star tip as the large just would not work.

Since most of my flowers from the course were not up to par I used our fondant flowers to top off the cake.

The teacher also took this time to show use how to make a flower from the first course we did not learn. This time we had buttercream icing with us so it was much more feasible for us to try it out.

We then got our certificates and said our goodbyes.

Overall this was actually a productive class and I was happy to not have to fuss around with the royal icing and get back to working with buttercream with I seem much more talented with.

Thanks Jill! I think your cake looks great 🙂

Costs

So when Jill and I signed up for the course, the description stated $90 (approximately) in extra costs.  After the first 2 weeks, we were well above that and I tried to keep track so that people who were interested, would have a better idea.  I made a spreadsheet (which I won’t bore you with here) and divided my costs into mandatory and optional.  For the mandatory I spent approximately $275 (i.e. cake mixes, the instructional books/kits, icing, etc).  For the optional, I spent about $53.  This is $185 over the estimated $90.  I also think that they need to correct the course description to include the fact that you need to bring your own cakes and materials.  On top of the $120 course fee, this means that I spent almost $400 on a 9 week (18 hour) course, or $22 an hour.  Considering that I have taken some post-graduate university courses at $600-900, this is insane!  I don’t think I will be continuing to level 2 in a class environment.  It will be cheaper to buy the book and try on my own.  The other option is more Le Dolci classes, which are more cost-effective.

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Frosting for the Cause: Pinch Hitting

Luck O’ the Irish Cupcakes

I am happy to help Paula out and  “pinch-hit”.  I didn’t know when, so I waited to put up the post.  I also want to acknowledge my mom and her fight with skin cancer.  She has had lots of moles taken unfortunately off her face, but never complains.

These cupcakes are again in honour of my Grandma as I associate St. Patrick’s Day with her because of her birthday, and thanks to my mom for helping me to make a first batch over March Break!

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I looove cupcakes.  I am always trying out new shops, watching TLC for DC Cupcakes, just to get my fix in.  So I was excited to make these in time for St Patrick’s Day.  I will send a batch with the ganache over to Sunnybrook Hospital’s Oncology Floor (now that my post is up, coming this week!).

 

The finished product

Recipe from Bonita (@Boneats) from Boneats.ca -Chocolate Guinness and Irish Cream Cupcakes (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 20-24

Cake:

1 cup Guinness, foam removed

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup sour cream

 

For the ganache filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cacao)

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced

2 teaspoons Bailey’s Irish cream

 

For the Bailey’s buttercream:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish cream

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large, separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.With your mixer on low, slowly add in the Guinness. Don’t panic when it curdles. It will all come together again when you add in the flour and sour cream.

Now slowly add in a third of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Mix in half of the sour cream. Repeat again by alternating between the dry ingredients and the sour cream, finishing with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined; do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the lined cupcake tins, about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes and allow to cool in their tins on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from their tins and cool completely on the racks.

To the make the ganache filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream on medium-low until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. Add the butter and Irish cream and stir until combined.

Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to spoon into the cupcakes, about the consistency of pudding. Meanwhile, use a small teaspoon to scoop out the centres of the cooled cupcakes—aim for about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way in depth. Reserve the scooped out cake (so you can munch on it yourself!). Spoon the ganache into each cupcake and set aside until ready to frost.

To make the buttercream: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Slowly drizzle in the Irish cream and mix until the buttercream starts to come together and look thick. If it looks too thick, add a bit of milk or cream.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes (if you want to pipe the buttercream, I’d suggest doubling the recipe of the buttercream). Enjoy!

 

 

Making Whoopie….pies that is.

I have really felt like baking lately.  My problem is that there is only two of us in the house and we really don’t need to have of lot of dessert.  Problem solved: bake at my parent’s and share with them.  Today is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, so we are visiting for the weekend and what would be better than making whoopie….pies?

I had found a promising recipe and then someone neither bookmarked it or could find it in my browser history again, so a-searching I went.  I settled on this one by Erin Cooks.  Hers looked good, had good comments and wasn’t complicated.  The only change I made to the instructions was to use my Silpats.

Here is my batter (please excuse the pics, first time doing food and not my camera), looked good.

I thought I was portioning out the batter in 1 tbsp like instructed but my first ones were huge!  They really flattened out though still cakey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the rest I made much smaller.  I let them cool on racks for about 2 hours before icing with Martha Stewart Buttercream.

In between, I switched over to making Lemon Whoopies (because my mom is allergic to chocolate so this way she can have some too!).  I used a recipe originally attributed to Joy the Baker and found here.  These turned out just like the photos, though I am still not happy about the flatness.

I will definitely make these again, but would love some feedback on how to make them more cookie shape (i.e. rounder on top and not so flat).  I want to experiment with flavours too, peanut butter, berries and maybe Nutella in time for Nutella Day on Feb. 5th.

 

 

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