Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Scratch Cakes vs Box Mixes

I bought some cake flour out of curiousity--I wanted to see what, if any difference, it would make in from-scratch cakes. I don't know why I bothered, honestly, because I almost never make cakes from scratch. I don't think I would have noticed a difference if there was. Meh. So that part was a waste.
My reasoning for using box cakes is now solidified thanks to this "experiment". I followed the recipe on the back of the box (just a simple yellow cake recipe). As it turned out, I noticed very little difference between the from-scratch cake and a yellow box cake mix. Seriously, it tasted exactly the same as a box mix, after all that work! If fact, it seemed a little drier than a box cake. Which is good if you're making carved cakes (which I have yet to do) but not so good if you're like me and like your cake moist.
As for box cake brands, I've tried them all, and I like most of them (Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, and Duncan Hines) although Duncan Hines is my least favorite of the "big 3" (I think the cake turns out too dry). The Kroger brand cake mix was awful.

To be brief, I think making cakes from scratch is
generally a waste of time.
Though I must say that the orange cake recipe and the chocolate cherry cake recipe are definitily worth your time if you want to make a cake from scratch.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cotton Candy Cake

My latest cake is made with all buttercream. I haven't done a full buttercream cake for a long time! I still like working with fondant and gum paste better (I feel like I can do so much more), but I still enjoyed making this cake. I especially enjoyed doing the basket weave; it's been almost a year since I last did it, but luckily I didn't forget how to do it entirely! It's not perfect (I lost the template for basket weave-whoops) but it didn't take too long and it turned out okay.

I tried a few new things with this cake. I made it ALL from scratch using cake flour (I'll make another post on that later). I also tried a new flavor combination: its yellow cake with cotton candy pudding for the filling and the frosting is raspberry flavored. I know, sounds weird but I think it tasted pretty good. Not amazing, but good.

While the cake was in the oven, a friend called and asked me to bring a dessert for dinner. How convenient that I already had a cake in the oven! So I brought it to the dinner. I {think} people liked it because I didn't take much cake home!

Dang camera. A lot of the pictures I take with it are fuzzy. A new camera is definitely on my Christmas list!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baseball Ice Cream Cake

Here is the cake I made using the bake-n-fill set. I honestly didn't plan on decorating this cake (I only wanted to try out the bake set) but I couldn't help myself! The decoration is NOTHING amazing but it it was quick and easy to do and looks a lot better then a big ugly snowball!
Using the bake set was really easy and filling it was simple too. I just followed the instructions and had no problems. I love ice cream cakes so I will definitely be using this set a lot in the future!

Yellow cake, white frosting, and chocolate ice cream. Delicious!

Bake n' Fill Set!

My in-laws came for a visit over labor day weekend, and my mother-in-law, who loves to spoil us with gifts, gave me a Betty Crocker "Bake n Fill" pan set. It comes with a round pan, another deeper roundish pan, a base pan, and a top pan. It allows you to make filled cakes and ice cream cakes. Pretty awesome! I was so excited to try it out, so I made an ice cream cake for dessert the very next day; I'll make that my next post. I'm looking forward to using this set more, there are a ton of possibilities. I've only tried it once but I highly recommend it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Better Way to Make Fondant Cut-Outs

I've always found it irritating when I make fondant cut-outs and the piece doesn't cleanly detach from the cutter. Well, somewhere on the internet (can't remember where) I saw that there is a different way to cut out clean peices of fondant. I decided to test it out for myself, and lo and behold it works! Here is the proof:

The typical way to cut out fondant:

See? The flower does not come out clean.

The better way to make fondant cut-outs is to lay your fondant sheet over the cutter, and then roll over it with your rolling pin, making sure to press hard.

You get a much neater, cleaner cut-out with basically no extra effort: