Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second wedding cake of 2013

This past weekend I had the honor of baking, decorating, and delivering another wedding cake. I always consider it such a high honor when someone selects me to make their wedding cake. It begins with a cake testing, moves on to talking about all the fine details of the cake and then serving adjustments based on the final head count.  I was very excited about this wedding cake order. It's one of my favorite decorating techniques and seems to be quite the trend lately. As for the cake, it was a 3 tiered, triple layered cake with fresh flowers on top along with 3 full sheet cakes. Congrats to the bride and groom! I hope they enjoyed their cake and had a chance to eat a piece on their very special day!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bee Mine

Valentine's Day is less than 2 weeks away.  Do you know what you'll be making or buying your sweetie this year?

These "Bee" Mine cupcakes are made out of chocolate cake, filled with cream, and dipped in chocolate ganache! Yum!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

At The Bakery...

I've been busy baking and decorating lots of cakes at the bakery lately! Here's a sampling of some of the cakes I've made over the past 2 weeks.

My first wedding cake of 2013!

250 more cupcakes for the University of Michigan...2013 theme.

More birthday cakes and cupcakes!

During the next few weeks, I'll be decorating lots of Valentine's Day themed cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. We also have Paczki Day coming up!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Orange Poke Cake

I first had this cake over the holidays while visiting with my family.  It disappeared quickly and I was sad that I didn't get a picture of it before it was all eaten up!  My hubby reassured me not to worry because we'd have to make it again as soon as we got back home.  It was just that good!!!

Orange Poke Cake
Source: Susan M.

1 box of Orange Cake Mix (prepared according to directions on box)

1 T. Water
1/3 c. Orange Juice (I used Sunny Delight)
2 c. Powdered Sugar

Bake the orange cake following the directions on the box. Then mix water, orange juice, and powdered suger. 
When cake comes out hot, poke holes with fork, then pour mixture over the top. Allow the cake to cool completely and absorb all the liquid...then enjoy with some whipped cream and orange's even good all by itself!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beyblade Cake

Yesterday my first born turned SIX!!!! How did that happen? How did time fly by so quickly?  Today we had his birthday party and he's been asking me for months to have a Beyblades birthday cake.  This kid only plays with 2 things right now....Legos and Beyblades!

Of course this mama listened. The smile on his face when we saw his birthday cake was priceless!  He loved it!!!

Little does he know, this cake was super simple to make.  I bought the edible rice paper image off of Amazon and just applied it to the top of the cake and then iced a border around it. "Easy peasy, nice and easy" as C would put it!

I am feeling very blessed right now. We had such a fun day today with C, his sister, and a couple friends. My heart is overflowing tonight. Happy 6th Birthday big guy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mini Banana Cream Pies

Now it's time to talk about some of the desserts I served at hubby's surprise party.  These mini banana cream pies were one of my favorites!  Served in little plastic shot-glass type cups and eaten with mini spoons, they were a delight to eat.  

Mini Banana Cream Pies
Source: Bloom

Whipped Cream:
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer attached with your whip and slowly start to mix.  Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, turn to high and whip away.  Don't walk away- it will separate into curds if you let it go to long. Put the whipped cream into a piping bag and it will save for a good 24 hours.

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Banana Cream Pies:
Instant banana pudding
Whole milk
Caramel sauce
Whipped cream (recipe above)
Mini sized vanilla wafers

Prepare pudding as directed on package for pie, not pudding.  I use slight less milk so that my pudding is thicker.  Put pudding into a piping bag. Any tip will work.  This is just to make it easier and quicker to get it into the cups.

Put just a little dollop of pudding into the cups to seal the cookie on the bottom. Put on mini cookie over it and press down. Put another dollop of pudding on top of the cookie.  Add a banana slice (approx. 1/4 inch thick) and again push down.  You don't want huge spaces of pudding.  Fill any space around the banana with pudding and cover the top of the banana with with another small dollop. Add another vanilla wafer and push down.  Add a thin zigzag of caramel (the secret ingredient).  Just a little! Too much will take away from the pie but just a little really make this dessert stand out!  Repeat the banana step but then fill to the top of your cup with pudding.  Make sure to cover the banana so it doesn't brown.  Seal the entire dessert with your whipped cream and top with a mini wafer. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Veggie Cups with Ranch Dressing

This fun little idea came from a photo floating around on Pinterest.  Simply buy some cute single-serve cups, fill the bottom with Ranch dressing (or any dipping sauce), then arrange sliced veggies so they stick out of cups. I chose carrots, yellow, orange, red, and green peppers. They are such an attractive appetizer! I found the cute little plastic cups at Party City which made the cleanup a piece of cake!

Veggie Cups w/Ranch Dressing

Small plastic cups
Ranch dressing
Sliced veggies of your choice (I used carrots and yellow, orange, red, and green pepper)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Caprese Skewers

Not only did the Mr. receive a surprise birthday cake at work, I also threw him a surprise birthday party the following day.  We had friends and family in town so it was easy to distract him for the afternoon while the other gals and I whipped everything together. We only had 3 hours to pick up balloons, hang up decorations, and prepare all the food for the party so I served lots of quick-fix appetizers along with some goodies from the bakery and Buffalo Wild Wings (Mr. C's favorite restaurant). Over the next few days, I'll share many of the recipes for the appetizers and desserts served at the surprise party.  It was a huge hit and the stunned look on my hubby's face was priceless. Definitely a birthday he'll never forget! :)

Caprese Skewers
Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 pint cherry tomatoes, red or yellow
1 bunch basil leaves
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (Mine came from Zingerman's creamery)
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
2-3 dozen long toothpicks/skewers
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half so you end up with two half-basketball pieces. Slice the mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. Slide a piece of mozzarella onto the toothpick. Fold a basil leaf in half or thirds and nestle it up next to the mozzarella (large leaves can be cut into halves or even thirds). Slide a tomato onto the bottom of the skewer, cut side down. Move the mozzarella and basil down to meet the tomato if needed. You want the flat side of the tomato to be right at the end of the toothpick so it stands up straight. Place all the finished skewers on a paper plate or tray. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and transfer to a platter to serve.

Favorite Recipes of 2012

Another year has flown by and it's time to reminisce and pick my top recipes from 2012!  Last year was a challenging one in terms of keeping this blog up-to-date. Between finishing culinary school to starting a new full-time job and raising two small kids, it was a challenge to keep up with posts and often times the blog got put on the back burner.  But that's ok. The sole reason I have a food blog is because it's fun and I love trying new recipes and sharing them with you all.  With the new year among us, I promise to bring you many new and fun recipes; however if life gets busy, then the blog will inevitably slow down at times.

So here it favorite 3 recipes of 2012. (Drum roll please!)

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Kathie's Favorite Recipe #1 - Baked French Toast

I made this recipe for Christmas morning in 2011 and again for this past Christmas morning. It's one of my favorite breakfast casseroles!

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Kathie's Favorite Recipe #2 - Sausage & Tortellini Soup

By far my favorite soup of 2012. I could eat bowls and bowls of this stuff. Even the leftovers are delicious!

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Kathie's Favorite Recipe #3 - Kit Kat and M&M Cake

Thanks to Pinterest, I was introduced to this cake. I have since made about 7 different ones of all shapes and sizes. Everyone loves this candy-covered cake! It's so sweet that it will make your teeth hurt.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2013 filled with lots of creative, new, inspiring recipes!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Birthday Cake for the Mr.

My hubby's birthday was just a few days before Christmas. I surprised him this year with a LLamasoft birthday cake. It was a chocolate cake with 1/2 custard filling and 1/2 raspberry filling. Thanks to a friend of ours, this cake had a secret delivery to the office and was presented to R during the company's ugly Christmas Sweater gift exchange. He was completely surprised!

Here is the birthday boy sporting his ugly Christmas sweater. Happy Birthday babe! I'm glad you liked your surprise cake.  :)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Erwtensoep...aka SNERT

In the beginning of December, my hubby traveled to Amsterdam on business.  One of the first things I always ask him when he returns from a trip is, "What did you have to eat?" :) I am always intrigued by food and hubby always has the best descriptions of unique entres that he eats while traveling. He often times will even take pictures to share with me. His favorite dish that he couldn't stop talking about during this trip was called SNERT. Not the most attractive name for a dish and once he told me it was a pea soup loaded with lots of meat, I shrugged my nose a bit and didn't think it sounded too appetizing.  

The name alone (Snert) made me want to look it up and do some research. Then when hubby said I should try to make this dish, I accepted the challenge. :)  Turns out Snert is a nickname for the traditional Dutch pea soup called Erwtensoep. It is a thick stew of green split peas, different cuts of pork, stalk celery, onions, leeks, carrots, and often potato. The soup is customarily served with rye bread and bacon, cheese, or butter. 

Tonight was my attempt at making Snert. My expectations were low but the outcome was AMAZING!!! I love snert. It was full of veggies (which I love) and loaded with meat (which makes hubby happy)! Full of flavor, it was the perfect dinner for a cold winter night. I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow. 

Now I dare you to try snert. Come on, you'll like it!

Source: Instructables

2 c. dried green split peas
7 c. cold water
2 bone-in pork chops
10 slices thick-cut bacon
3 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
1 beef cube
3 carrots
2-3 potatoes
2-3 leeks
2-3 celery sticks
1 small onion
Kielbasa smoked sausage 
Salt to taste

Put peas in pan along with the water, pork chops and chopped up bacon and some bay leaves, cloves and a beef cube. Bring it to a low boil. Just eyeball the water. If it gets too thick too soon, just add some more water.

After a couple of minutes it will start to foam. Remove foam with a slotted spoon.

Peel the potatoes and cut into big chunks. Do the same with the onion, the carrots, the celery and the leeks. Add everything to the pan and bring it to a nice slow boil. Cover with lid and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. You'll know when it's near to done when the veggies start to dissolve and the peas are starting to bind the liquid.

Once it's close to being done, take the pork chop out of the pan, and shred the meat. Remove any bones. Cut up the kielbasa in chunks and add it to the pot, along with the shredded pork. Continue to simmer until soup has thickened considerably. Serve and enjoy! Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Recap

The holidays are over and we are back home and all unpacked, getting back into our normal routine. We had such a wonderful Christmas and New Year's and loved spending so much time with our family and friends. Here is one last Christmas recipe I want to document so I don't forget. A candy cane shaped breakfast pastry. One of the many delicious things we ate on Christmas morning.

My hubby's birthday was just a few days before Christmas and I was able to surprise him with a birthday cake at his work and also a surprise party at home with friends. Over the next few days, I will share a picture of his cake and several small appetizers we made for his party. Have a wonderful day and Happy 2013!!!

Cherry Cheese Coffee Cake

1 pkg. crescent rolls
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract (I used almond extract)
1/2 can cherry pie filling

1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 - 3 t. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Separate dough and shape into a candy cane. Reserve a couple triangles for the top stripes on the candy cane. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Spread over dough. Spoon pie filling over cream cheese mixture.

Cut each of the remaining dough with pizza cutter into strips. Arrange over filling in candy cane-like fashion. Press ends to seal. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. Serve warm.