Category Archives: Dessert

Baby shower cake and Craftsy class review

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Who is crazy enough to make their own baby shower cake? This gal. I refuse to make my own birthday cake, but I needed to make this.

I wanted an ombre cake in varying shades of purple ruffles, but ended up changing things on the fly. I changed the ruffles to rosettes to make things easier. I used a Wilton 1M tip and you can see a tutorial here on how to make rosettes. It’s really simple and looks fancy. I don’t have much piping experience so this was my first real decorating job. I ran into a problem trying to achieve a purple colour. You’ll want to make sure your purple food colouring isn’t too old as the red dye will fade and you’ll end up with blue. Mixing red and blue together turned everything kind of muddy. I needed to choose a different colour so I chose yellow instead.

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I was inspired by the elephant cake by Hello Naomi and had R create the elephant topper and banner. I didn’t want to buy a styrofoam ball, so I made the balloon out of fondant. This barely held up during the shower, but it’s heavy and was supported by a thin wire. If I were to make this again, I would use the styrofoam to make it lightweight. The fondant toppers were made the day before and weren’t dry by the baby shower happened. I think it takes a week or two to dry out so it’s best to do toppers way in advance.

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I relied heavily on Craftsy for the buttercream techniques. Craftsy is an online learning platform where you learn via high quality videos. You can also ask the instructor questions throughout the video. There’s a free class called Modern Buttercream by Joshua John Russell and he goes through how to cut a cake into layers, crumb coat and decorative techniques. Because this is a free class, the instructors aren’t required to respond, but the community is so big that other students will help answer questions. There are other free classes available that you can take to see what it’s all about. I loved the free pizza class with Peter Reinhart and his pizza dough is now my go to recipe.

I’ve also purchased some of their classes and have found that the instructors respond pretty quickly. If you wait long enough, usually you’ll see that class on sale. Note: I wasn’t paid by Craftsy to do this review, I just really like the site. The only drawbacks is that they say you’ll have the class forever, but realistically that’s not possible. Instructors will eventually move on and you will no longer be able to rely on them for help with your questions.

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Butter tarts

Butter tarts

Summer always reminds me of cottages and butter tarts. Butter tarts are of Canadian origin and taste similar to pecan pie, but with runnier filling. Every individual has their own preferences about what makes a good butter tart. For me, I can’t stand raisins in mine while for others it’s essential. Pecans or walnuts and a not too runny filling for me is perfect.

This is the easiest crust to make ever. It uses shortening (lard is even better) so it doesn’t lose its shape. For pie crusts I always use butter, but it’s just not the same when making these tarts. I made minis because it was for a party. After making the mini size I found that I preferred this size better. I only end up eating half of a regular sized one anyway.

Here’s a pro tip for getting out your tarts from your muffin pans: use small strips of parchment at the bottom. All you have to do is pull the tabs.

This recipe is a mash up of 2 of Anna Olson’s butter tart recipes.

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Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

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Originally published on sweetspot.ca

I’m smitten with Smitten Kitchen. Every time I visit the site, there is something that begs to be made.

In honour of St. Paddy’s Day, I tried the chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes. This little cupcake is packed with a chocolate Guinness cupcake, filled with an Irish whiskey ganache and then topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. An incredibly moist and rich cake with a frosting that’s sweet, but not over the top.

I did run into some problems with this recipe:

  • There is such a thing as too much butter. When making the cupcakes, the batter separated resulting in an oozy layer of butter. I think I let the batter sit too long that caused the separation. Try having the eggs and sour cream already beaten to prevent this. Another solution is to use less butter, maybe 1/2–2/3rds the amount.
  • My ganache turned grainy. This was an easy fix, I just beat the mixture with an electric mixer until it was smooth as silk.

Despite these issues, the cupcakes turned out so well that I’ll be making another go at this for next year. Don’t fear the booze that’s in this recipe. You can only taste the Irish Cream in the frosting (don’t like Irish Cream? Replace it with milk or cream instead).

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Cookie round up

Looking for cookie ideas this holiday season? Try one (or all) of these:

Melting Chocolate Meringues

Melting Chocolate Meringues

Gooey Turtle Bars

Goeey Turtle Bars

Lavender shortbread with caramel filling

Lavender French butter cookies

If you’re looking for books, these are the cookie books on my shelf that I use:

Martha Stewart’s Cookies

I like the way the book has pictures for every single cookie and breaks it down into textures.

Rose’s Christmas Cookies

An older book, but still one I refer to every Christmas. Every year I make the shortbread and the Ginger Pennies are pretty fool proof. I made them with my friend and they turned out despite not having proper measuring cups and spoons or knowing how hot the oven was.

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich

They say never to make a recipe for a party unless you’ve made it before. I’m pretty confident that when I make one of Medrich’s recipes it is almost guaranteed to turn out and taste great. This book is also broken down into different textures to make it easier to find the cookie you’re looking for.

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Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Review and interview!

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

If I had to name one of the most influential people in my baking life, it would be Alice Medrich. Before her I didn’t know how to cook, let alone bake something edible. So when I had the chance to meet and interview her, I was afraid I came off as a creepy fan girl when I gushed about how instrumental she was in changing my life.

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts would have been a great book for me to start my baking journey. Baking is all about precision and technique and the recipes here are more forgiving for those who are more carefree in their cooking style. If you’re a more experienced baker, don’t let the title put you off from buying it. It’s not just about composing different ingredients together, the book dives into more complicated recipes like souffles and tarts.

Note: You have a chance to win a copy of this book!

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