Tag Archives: cake making

Easter Bunny Carrot Cake

Springtime has been so busy for me! I’ve been baking away and doing all sorts of other fun stuff.

I took a dirty hippy job doing henna tattoos down on the beach. I’ve been doing henna for many years now, and this was the perfect excuse for me to get a tan and spend some time honing my Mehandi skills. I’m having a blast!

I took a break on Sunday to spend Easter with my family. It was a wonderful time to consider what Easter is all about. I’m so thankful that God loves me enough that He sent His son Jesus to die for my sins, and that he rose from the grave on Easter Sunday! It was such a joyous time for us all to celebrate what Jesus did for us.

My parents set up tents in the back garden and we had a lovely luncheon out on the lawn. The kids (and the men, lol) had a water balloon fight, while the ladies sat around discussing crafts and baking. Just my kind of banter. 🙂

Every Easter I make a carrot cake.

Last year’s was pretty awesome. I made a 6 layer cake with cream cheese frosting and candied carrot strips that looked like ribbon. I made a bow for the top and laid strips down the side, so it looked like a present. It was positively lovely.

I had to outdo myself this year. Not that Easter is about bunnies or anything, but I just couldn’t resist making this adorable Bunny cake that I saw on foodnetwork.com. It was a hit!

I started with a Duncan Hines premium box cake. 2 boxes to be exact.

I like this mix because it comes with a pouch of real carrots and raisins that you just reconstitute in some water. It makes the cake taste amazing.

This sure beats shredding a pound of carrots by hand!

2 boxes filled 2 nine inch rounds and one six inch round. I filled them about 2/3 full because this cake does not rise a whole lot, plus I wanted to have nice rounded tops so the bunny would be round and not flat.

Let the cakes cool completely before you start assembling. This cake was shockingly easy to assemble and the results looked really pro!

Start by adding a layer of frosting between the two nine inch cakes. I used cream cheese frosting because it tastes great with the carrot cake.

You don’t want to level them off. You want the flat sides to be on the inside and the top and bottom will be the rounded sides. (You can’t see in this picture but the bottom is round just like the top.)

Cut the cake into two pieces. One piece will be 2/3 and the other 1/3. So you’ll have a big piece and a little piece.

Now would be a good time to round off the edges with a serrated knife. I waited until I had already assembled it before I did this, but you will be smarter than me and do it now. Just gently bevel off any hard edges, so the bunny looks soft and round.

Line the edges of your cake board with sheets of wax paper so after you frost the bunny you can slide them out and your board will be clean. Place the larger cake piece cut-side-down on the center of the board. This is the body of the bunny. Cut the remaining 1/3 size piece in half and place in front of the bigger piece. This is the head. (You will end up with an extra wedge which I recommend you take a break to eat. It will be delicious! Alternatively, if you have an Adam, he will gladly take care of this task for you as mine did.)

Next, cut your six inch cake in half and frost the flat side of each piece.

Stick one to each side of the body, toward the back. These are the legs.

This is when I rounded the edges. I had also already blopped some frosting on top before I remembered to do this. So you will do better than me, and do this before. But this is an example of how to bevel the edges off, and also where to place the legs.

Now frost the whole bunny. The original recipe called for the cake scraps to be mixed with frosting and rolled into a cake ball to be made into the tail. But I just rounded off the edges of a marshmellow to make it into a ball and frosted it too. (Unfortunately that didn’t make it into this picture.)

Once your bunny is frosted, cover him with sweetened shredded coconut. I used about 2 cups. Gently press the coconut into the frosting and brush away any excess. Put coconut on the tail too. Now for the fun part!

For the feet: cut one marshmellow in half length-wise, and cut two slits into each half to be the toes. Stick them to the legs with a little frosting. For the ears: frost the front of two biscottis with white frosting, and add a little pink frosting for the inside of the ears. Stick these into the top of the head with frosting. The eyes are two black jelly beans. For the cheeks cut a marshmellow in half and stick on with frosting. If you have black licorice rope you can use that for the whiskers. I didn’t have any so I just rolled a rope out of black fondant and cut it into pieces. The nose is a pink jelly bean.

If you want you can embellish your cake board with grass using a grass tip and green frosting. I picked up some easter egg malt balls, and little flower gummy candies to make a cute little garden scene.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day (but mainly my family’s weekly American Idol get-together, which gives me an excuse to bake) I decided to do a variation of a very creative recipe I saw on a blog called BrownEyedBaker. She made an Irish Car Bomb Cupcake which included Guinness and Irish Whiskey. My version is a scoche less boozy but will surely gain respect from leprechauns with sweet teeth 😉

For this recipe I used a chocolate box cake because I already had it in the cabinet. In fact I had everything I needed already which always makes me very happy.

The cake mix called for 1 1/4 cups of water, plus oil and eggs. I swapped the water for the same amount of cold coffee. This isn’t all that noticeable in the final cupcake but it adds a richness to what can sometimes be a flat flavour in box cakes.

I also added 1/2 a cup of mini chocolate chips which made the cake more chocolatey and who doesn’t like that? (You’re a ding-dong if you’re thinking either 1- “chocolatey isn’t a word” or 2- “I don’t like when cupcakes are more chocolatey”)

These cupcakes are filled with an amazing chocolate ganache that is ridiculously easy. Seriously, if you’re all “I can’t make that,” I would genuinely ridicule you.

All you have to do is pour 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (the very same that we’ve already added to our cupcakes) into a pyrex measuring cup. Gently simmer 2/3 cup heavy cream + 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish cream on the stove or in the microwave. Don’t boil it or you will make the cream lumpy.

Now about the Bailey’s… you simply MUST use Bailey’s brand. I was once cheap and bought an off brand and I sorely regretted it. Bailey’s is the only Irish Cream that tastes good. Moral of the story: Don’t be cheap. P.S. Try drinking Bailey’s from a shoe… I hear its amazing.

Once your cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and add 2 tbsp of butter. Stir for a few minutes until its all melted and mixed in, then let it cool until it thickens enough to pipe into your cupcakes. You don’t want it to be too liquidy or too hot. (I cheated and popped it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down and get it to a nice consistency.)

Here’s a simple trick for filling your piping bag. Fold the bag over a glass, and just pour your ganache right in.

The glass is also a nice place to rest your piping bag so all your ganache stays toward the tip.

Cut out little holes in your cupcakes using a long piping tip as a punch. If you blow gently through the other side the cake will pop out of the tip. Trust me, you’ll get annoyed trying to get that cake out of there afterward. These get thrown away anyway (or if you have an Adam, they will get eaten up!)

Now pump your cupcakes full of ganache!

For the buttercream I followed the Sprinkles recipe (which is my go-to buttercream recipe) but I doctored it up a little bit. I doubled it for 24 cupcakes and instead of milk I dissolved one individual sized packet of Nescafé instant coffee into 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream + 2 teaspoons of vanilla (okay maybe I was a little heavy handed on the Bailey’s ;)) and whipped it into my frosting. This not only gave my frosting the delicious irish coffee kick I was going for, but it also ended up being the exact shade of creamy beige I wanted. Feel free to up the instant coffee amount if you want a stronger coffee flavour. It would taste great with more coffee, but I didn’t want to make it too strong for my guests. I would have used Starbucks Via, but its really PRICEY! It is tasty, but not for $10+ for 12 packets. I remember having Nescafé in Paris and being surprised at how delicious it was (imagine going all the way to france to find a good cup of instant coffee!), plus its only $1.50 for a box of 8.

I learned this nifty trick on pinterest for filling a piping bag with buttercream.

I’ve been wanting to try it, and it actually really works!

Start by blopping some frosting on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Then roll the plastic wrap around the frosting and twist up the ends.

 Slide the whole thing into your piping bag and feed through the tip (with the coupler on but without the piping tip yet).

Then just snip off the excess plastic tie up the bottom and you’re good to go.

When you’re done you can just pull out the empty plastic wrap and toss it. So easy!

 DISCLAIMER: Like many things on the internet, this looked extremely easy but I somehow found a way to muck it up the first time. Fear not.

If you’ve tried this and failed…

<– This fatty is an example of how NOT to do it.

I found out that you can’t use too much frosting or it won’t fit into your bag properly. I also learned that when you roll it up be sure to do this lengthwise. You’ll need a nice long piece of twisted plastic wrap to feed through the coupler. This may have been obvious to you, but it was not to me, and when I started squeezing buttercream was shooting out of both ends.

Now for the piping. This part really was just as easy as it looks. I used a Wilton Star tip. I didn’t bother to consider which number it was, so I’m sorry to say I don’t know which one you should use. Maybe just use your heart, or common sense. Its the one that looks like it would be about the size of the one I used in this picture.

Start in the center of the cupcake, and pipe right over your ganache. Starting from the inside make a neat little swirl. Make the center swirl about an inch and a half in diameter.

Then continue making 1 inch swirls all around starting from the center of where you want it to land and working your way out. You should end up with about 7 swirls on a normal sized cupcake.

And here is the final product…

Double bonus, I got to use my sweet new Dollar Store cupcake stand 🙂 

Cake Pops Are Not Easy!

Who ever said making caking pops was easy? (Ahem… bakerella). It most certainly is not. It is a ton of work and takes a lot of practice and finesse. There, I said it. I’m so tired of these DIYers out there making it look like everything they do is just the easiest thing they’ve ever done.

            Its time someone spoke out, and I’m willing to be the someone.

This is the true story of how I tried and failed, and tried again, until finally I made the (almost) perfect Cake Pop! This post is dedicated to all of you who, like me, had a dream of being a baking goddess… only to be faced with the ugly truth, “I am NOT Martha Stewart.”

I picked up a Bakerella book at William’s Sonoma the other day and read through the whole thing right there in the store. Don’t judge me, but I snapped a couple pictures of the recipes. Armed with the ease of the illustrations and the gorgeous ideas, I was ready to go! I popped into Michael’s with my 40% off coupons in hand, and stocked up on lollipop sticks, Wilton candy coating, candy food colors, and styrofoam blocks. I picked up some box cakes and vanilla frosting as well.

Cake Decorating Supplies

First of all, the Bakerella recipe is WRONG. I’m not trying to disparage her because I think she’s an innovator, but whoever the test chef was who wrote this recipe obviously did not test it out first. There’s just no way.

The recipe calls for one boxed cake to one 16 oz cannister of frosting. This made for extremely mushy dough. A whole canister of frosting is WAY too much. Even after freezing the balls they were much too soft to hold up on the stick. It was even worse once I tried to coat them with the candy.

Several fell off the sticks into the candy and crumbs got all in my velvety candy coating.

The ones that made it through the coating process fell off while cooling on the sticks.

<– These are the ones that bit the dust. 😦

Ugh, the whole thing was very frustrating. But alas I am a champ.

I did not give up! I gave it another try. This time I am very happy to say I was successful! Yay!
Craftsy: Free Cake Decorating Classes

Here’s how I did it…

I started with a chocolate cake this time, the kind with the pudding mixed in.

After it cooled completely I cut the crust off the edge, so I didn’t have any crunchy pieces in my dough. Adam gobbled the crusts up in seconds!

I crumbled up the cake into evenly broken up crumbs. If you roll the cake between your palms it will really help for a nice smooth crumb. It was lots of fun getting my hands in there! This would be a great part to let the kids help with.

This time I only added about 1/3 of the frosting. About 5/8 of a cup if you’re making your own frosting.

The result was a nice firm dough. —>

Using a 1 oz scoop made perfectly portioned balls.

Though the portion was perfect, the shape wasn’t- so I rolled them between my palms to make nice smooth round balls. Then I popped them into the freezer to firm up.

Become an Expert Cake Decorator at HomeNow comes the fun part! I made a handy little double boiler to melt the Wilton candy using two pyrex measuring cups. I just kept my electric kettle near by with freshly boiled water to change it out so the candy stayed smooth. I also added a few teaspoons of shortening to thin out the candy a bit so it wasn’t too thick of a coating on the cake balls. It only takes a few minutes to melt and it gets really smooth.

Start by dipping the sticks into the candy and then gently push them only half way into the balls.

Then stick them into a styrofoam block and chill in the fridge for a few minutes.

On my first attempt I tried dipping them into the candy but this made the balls fall off the sticks. So I like holding them over the dish and spooning the melted candy over them.

Then gently twist & tap the cake pops on on the edge of the dish until no more “blops” of candy drip off.

Now all that I had to do was set them in the block, and let them cool. Then they were ready for embellishments!

I melted some white candy and poured it into a squeeze bottle.

I kept a glass with boiling water nearby in case the bottle started to cool. Then I just drizzled it over the pops.

And here is the final product!

They were a hit at my mom’s dinner party!

And finally… always be sure to buckle up for safety when transporting your little pops.