Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yummy Snickerdoodle Blondies

I found this recipe online a couple of weeks ago but I hadn't had the time to try it until last night. Oh my, did these blondies turn out yummy.

Here's the recipe (I adapted it a little bit to suit our tastes):


2 2/3 cups All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (although I only used about 1 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
2 eggs room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/of line a 9x13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking poweder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs ones at a time, then the vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting.
I can't express how much these "blondies" taste like a snickerdoodle cookie. When I make these again when I make the topping I'm going to cut the sugar and cinnamon in half. I found that it was a little overpowering for me. I don't know how it will affect the overall taste of the blondies so I'm going to have to tweak it a little bit.
Now run, don't walk to your kitchen and get these blondies in the oven! You'll thank me, I promise.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A tale of the cake with multiple personalities...

This is a cake. However, it's not just any ordinary cake. This cake has a special story to tell. There are multiple sides to this story. Let me share them with you:

This is the other side of the story.

How did this come to pass? Well, it's like this. My younger brother will be getting married in October. His fiance asked if I'd be willing to make their wedding cake. I, of course, said that I'd love to make the cake. I'm honored that they would even consider having me make their cake because I'm certainly not a professional baker. But, on the other hand I'm terrified. It's not like this is a birthday cake that no one will remember in the future. A wedding cake is a very big deal.

I told my sister-in-law-to-be that I'd make a couple of practice cakes, that way she could get a feel for what it will actually look like before hand. Originally she had told me that she wanted a round cake decorated in lavender. Then last week she told me that she had changed her mind and that she wanted it to be white on white. I decided that for the first practice cake I'd decorate the cake both ways so that she could decide which style/color she liked best.

That's the end of the story, folks. In an effort to make life a little easier I combined the two ideas to have a side by side comparison. Now, you know how we came to have the cake with multiple personalities.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another day, another cake.

This weekend we celebrated our daughters 11th birthday. Her only request for her cake was that it be a chocolate cake with vanilla icing. We've had a lot of chocolate cake lately and I think that every one's getting tired of it. After I baked the cake and iced it (I totally cheated and used a store bought icing and a box cake mix) I felt that it looked a little plain and boring. Then I had the brilliant (not!) idea to try my "new to me" design with a couple of different icing colors. Jayna is a very girly-girl and loves all things pink and purple so I figured that I'd use those two colors to decorate the cake. Unfortunately, since I was using a whipped store bought icing it was very thin and didn't want to hold it's shape very well when I was trying to make the loops and squiggles on the side(s) of the cake. When Jayna saw it for the first time she said that it was beautiful and that she loved it, so my mission was accomplished. I personally wasn't happy with it because of the issues with the icing but it still looked presentable.
My latest issue that I'm having with my cakes is that even after I level the tops I still can't get them to stay flat once I start putting icing on them. Any suggestions, tips, etc to prevent having the top and sides be unevenly iced?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sugar cookies are dead to me!

The above picture is photographic evidence that sugar cookies hate me. I think that this will be my last attempt at sugar cookies for a long time.
Don't get me wrong-the cookies themselves were tasty. It's the decorating part that has left me so frustrated. I had this grand idea in my head and for whatever reason I wasn't able to get that to translate on to a cookie.
I made the icing on the 4th because at the last minute I decided that I wanted to bring some cookies to the family barbecue. I ran out of time on the 4th so I just tossed the royal icing in to the fridge thinking that I'd get back to it within a day or two. Here we are now, almost three weeks later.
I didn't follow a specific recipe when I was making the royal icing. I sort of threw the ingredients in to a bowl. For some reason whenever my royal icing dries it dries really, really shiny. It must be the Karo syrup that does that but I'm not certain.
I made about three dozen cookies and only decorated about ten of them. They weren't coming out the way that I wanted and as I messed with them I got more frustrated. So, unfortunately I won't be quitting my day job to decorate cookies full time. It's official-I'm calling it quits with the idea of decorating beautiful cookies for people. I'll leave it to the pros from now on.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bridal Shower Cake

Today I had the pleasure of attending a bridal shower for a lovely young woman from my church. One of my friends was organizing the shower and had asked me several months ago if I would mind making the cake for her. Of course I told her that I'd be happy to do it. I had her give me an idea of what the colors/theme were going to be for the shower so I would know what direction to start thinking. She sent me a text message with a picture of the plates with the reassurance that I had no creative boundaries and I could make whatever kind of cake I wantedflavor/design-wise.

She was planning on only having around 15-20 women at the shower so I didn't think that making a 8 or 9 inch cake would be enough to feed everyone. (I have serious issues with always thinking that there won't be enough cake for everyone) I decided to do a rectangle shaped cake and then just make three or four layers . Since I don't have professional/industrial size cake pans I used my handy dandy 9x12 glass casserole pan. I made the layers in batches because not all of my 9x12 pans are the exact same shape and I didn't want to have to cut the cake to make it uniform on all the sides. I used a boxed cake mix and made my own icing for in between the layers and on the outside.

We ended up with a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and then a regular white buttercream icing on the outside. To decorate the cake I tried something that I've never done before and I don't even know what the technical term is for what I did. I'll have to let the pictures speak for themselves. Overall I was really pleased with the way that the cake turned out.

The bride to be was very happy with the look/taste of the cake. I was so relieved that she liked it! Everyone else at the shower loved it as well. For some reason I always think the worst about the things that I bake. No one wants their cake to be the one that everyone talks about afterwards because it was so nasty or looked like garbage or whatever. I'm trying to work on that. I think that more experience I get the more confidence I'll have. I think that I'll probably continue decorating cakes this way because it really gives you freedom to use different colors, etc. Plus the style lent itself really well to me being a first timer and worried that I was going to mess it up.

This last picture is of the cake on the table at the shower. To the right are the napkins that I got my inspiration from. It's kind of hard to tell in this picture but I had put black dots all along the bottom of the cake to bring in the black from the napkins.