Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

This is a story about a pumpkin cake.  A cake that was born in the mind of a busy mama months ago.  This week she finally sat down and made the cake.  All went as planned until she decided to leave it overnight instead of taking pictures right away.  Later she would find out that that was a bad idea because the cake would fall overnight.

She, well, I tried to salvage the best pictures I could the next day but it wasn’t quite as cute as the day of.  Above is a crummy picture I took from my iPad that evening when I finished the cake.  I sent it to a few blogging friends to get their feedback on it before I left it alone for the night.  I had no idea it would be the best picture I would get of it.  *sigh*  The next morning I wanted to cry.

You see, the cake I made wasn’t any old cake, it was a cake with a mound of whipped cream icing on top of it.  The directions say to serve right away or up to eight hours later.  I knew better than to leave it for 12 hours.  I knew better!  I guess baking and decorating a cake with a three year old didn’t leave me in the best state of mind for logical thinking.

Despite the sad outcome of the cake I put enough effort into it that I wanted to show it to you anyway.  Plus, it’s a great reminder that bloggers aren’t perfect!  Sometimes it’s okay to reveal that, right? :)

Miette Cookbook

My idea for the cake cake from the Miette cookbook, which I have to stop and say is absolutely adorable and full of useful tips for creating gorgeous cakes!

Fall Pumpkin Cake

Here’s a picture of it after it slumped a bit.  It’s the best picture I could get considering the circumstances.

Here’s the whole process of the cake in case you’d like to make one yourself.  Don’t forget to serve right away or within 8 hours! :)

Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

You can see here how the icing slumped along the sides.  All in all, it was still a really delicious cake that made my daughter and I made together.  I guess that’s not too bad.

Are there any baking projects that you would like to complete this fall?

King Cake History and Recipe

King Cake History and Recipe!

Friends of ours brought us this King Cake {also sometimes referred to as a King’s Cake, Kings’ Cake, or Three Kings’ Cake} along with some delicious chicken pie to help us out while we’re surviving our first few weeks with a newborn.  {If you want to see my super cute son you can here.  I think he’s adorable!  I know I’m biased but that’s allowed, right?}  This yummy treat started a discussion today with my blogging friends who had never heard of King Cake or the history behind it.  In case some of you are unfamiliar with the story I want to tell you about it.  Well, not in my words exactly but the following is from the info sheet our friends gave us with the King Cake.  {I’m not sure who’s the author of this info so if you know please share it with me.}

One of the many attractive customs surrounding the Christmas Season is the King’s Cake.  It has grown in popularity along with Christmas Carols, Christmas Trees, and Lights.  While these decorations are meant to be seen and admired, the Cake is a gift to be shared by family and friends at mealtime or during a party on or after “Little Christmas,” an expression used for the feast of Epiphany, observed for centuries on January 6.

In the Middle Ages, popular devotion during Christmastide turned to the Magi or Wise Men or Kings who had followed a star and paid homage to the baby Jesus.  By the twelfth century, veneration of the Magi or Kings themselves spread all over Europe.  In time, Epiphany (from the Greek work meaning ‘manifestation’ in most countries, became the feast of The Holy Kings.  The Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) do not mention the number of the Magi.  In the western church a slowly spreading legend put their number at three.  Perhaps this limitation was based on the three gifts mentioned in the Gospels: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Another reason may have been the early concept that the Magi represented all humanity in its three main races.  All through the Middle Ages Epiphany was the final day of the Christmas celebration.  It came to be known as the “Twelfth Night.”  Pageants included men riding horseback representing the Three Kings, crowned and richly clad, bearing cups filled with myrrh, incense, and the precious metal gold.  They rode through the streets of a city to the main church or cathedral where they offered their gifts.

In Hispanic, Italian, and other Mediterranean countries, January 6 is the day for giving presents to children.  In Rome, the “Lady Befana” (derived from the word Epiphany) distributes gifts among the little ones.  In Spain and South America gift giving is done not only at Christmas but also by the Magi.  During the night of January 6, small presents are placed in the children’s shoes by the Three Wise Men.

Connected with all of these customs is the King’s Cake.  Baked on the eve of January 6, it is prepared in honor of the Magi.  For long it was eaten on the afternoon of the Epiphany in connection with either the main meal or party for family, friends, and neighbors.

A feature of the King’s Cake is placing a coin in the dough before baking.  The person who has the piece with the coin is declared “king.”  More recently, the cake sometimes has had in it both a bean and a pea, making the respective finders “king” and “queen” of the party.  It is not unusual for bakers to put a plastic infant instead of a bean, pea, or even a pecan.

In medieval France, the coin finder was expected to make a donation to a worthy cause, usually the education of a youngster who otherwise might have been deprived of schooling.

In the New Orleans area, the King’s Cake is prepared and eaten during the Epiphany season, which according to liturgy of former times, extended from January 6 to the third Sunday before Mardi Gras or, more accurately, Ash Wednesday.  Nowadays, with the season of Epiphany no longer observed (although the feast is still prominent on the church calendar), the King’s Cakes are nevertheless prepared and consumed all the way to Mardi Gras.

And who knows but that Mardi Gras is nothing else but a throw back to the Epiphany pageantry of the medieval times, besides being a last “fling” before the penitential season of Lent and the King’s Cake as a delicacy, is an appetizing introduction to the carnival activities!

Isn’t that interesting?  It wasn’t until my husband and I met {around the time of Epiphany} that I learned about all of this.  Mike is great at trivia, he’s always teaching me something new!

This King’s Cake was made with individual cinnamon rolls instead of one large circle like the traditional cake.  Fun fact: “The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ Child, which was taken to confuse King Herod who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child” {according to KingCake.com}.

For a great recipe try Emeril’s King Cake recipe.  If this is the first time you’ve made a King’s Cake I’ll warn you that, from my experience, they’re a bit dry if you don’t include a filling.  Still yummy but a little dry.  You could fill them with cream, fruit, or a combination of both.

Has your family ever celebrated with a King’s Cake?



Baby Shower Cake for Girls or Boys

Baby Shower Cake for Girls or Boys

This is a baby shower cake I made to celebrate my friend’s new bundle of joy.  I think this cake is perfect for a either a boy or a girl {just leave out the pink hair bow if it’s for a boy}.

This is a white cake with lemon curd filling, topped with butter cream, and then covered with fondant.  Everything is edible.  The spilled shampoo bottle was made from piping gel and the bubbles were made sparkly with edible shimmer powder.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Ombre Rose Cake Tutorial

Ombre Rose Cake

I’m a huge fan of roses and cakes so of course I love a cake covered in roses!  I did a similar style rose for my daughter’s first birthday cake that had very tight roses (see Pink Lemonade cake).  This cake, however, was made by my talented sister in law for one of her darling daughters.  Isn’t it lovely?

Here’s a little tutorial on how to achieve this look…and one slightly different rose technique.

Basic Steps to Rose Building:

– Start with your cake and put a good crumb coat on.  For those new to baking it’s just a coat of icing that conceals the cake underneath.  This can be uneven and sloppy as long as you can’t see what color the cake is underneath.
– Add a M1 tip to your piping bag and fill with buttercream.  If you don’t have an M1 tip any large star tip will do.
– My sister in law started on the outside of the flower and worked her way in so that the flowers popped out a little in the middle.  This is a very cute look but if you’re going for a more authentic looking rose start in the center of the flower and slowly work your way around and around until you reach your desired size.  Try to end your rose at the same place every time.
– If you used large roses (as I tend to do) you’ll be left with a few gaps inbetween your roses.  That’s okay!  I have a simple solution for them.  Go in and add an extra swoop along side one of the roses.  Simply follow the shape of the rose and release pressure before lifting the bag.  Voila!

Simple tips to achieving beautiful rose success:

– Use a buttercream recipe that “crusts” well.
– Make sure you have a lot of icing on hand because these roses use a lot.
– Place your finished creation in the fridge to help the icing set and the roses hold their shape.
– If you want to make an ombre cake simply add a darker icing to your piping bag each row (or two) of roses.
– Don’t be so serious!  Honestly, these roses are very forgiving so just have fun with them!  Plus, if you mess them up you can just scrape them off and add them back to your piping bag and start again.  See, that crumb coating does have a purpose!

If you have any questions please let me know and if you try out this technique yourself I would love to see pictures!!

Wheel of Fortune Birthday Cake

Wheel of Fortune Birthday Cake

This is the Wheel of Fortune birthday cake I made for my husband‘s birthday.  He loves Wheel of Fortune {he watches it every night!} so I thought this would be the perfect cake for him!  I even kept the cake on the Wilton decorating turntable so he could spin the wheel.  Notice that there isn’t a “Bankrupt” tile, only good things!

Wheel of Fortune Spinning Cake

Here he is blowing out the candles…lots of candles. Just kidding, Honey!  The candles turned out to be “trick” candles but I promise it didn’t say that on the package!

Slice of Wheel of Fortune Birthday Cake

The party is finished now and only one piece of cake remains.

It was an incredibly busy day, a BIG surprise, and a fun evening with friends!

Thank you for allowing me to share my Wheel of Fortune birthday cake with you!  What creative cakes have you made lately?