Wednesday, April 29, 2009

cake decorating ideas

Creative Cake Decorating Ideas

Special occasion will always call for special cakes. Most celebrations are incomplete without a cake specially decorated to fit the occasion. While there are bakeries for the purpose, a member of the family will surely feel honored to make the cake specifically for that purpose. Fresh ideas may be needed in the decoration if you are assigned to make cakes. Here are a number of cake decorating ideas:

-Characters: There are many known characters that can be used in cake decorating. Cakes can be made special by drawing characters like Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer. Cutting up the cake to make it as the whole character is another option.
-Themes: Sport theme, underwater adventure, 50's or modern themes of 20's are some of the themes that you can use. Think about the recipient of the cake and the guests' reaction for the theme that you are considering. A masquerade party will finely go with the theme that you are planning.
-Motor Cakes: Most boys will always be fascinated with motors like cars, trucks, fire engines, tractors, boats, airplanes or helicopters. The expertise that you have in cake decorating will help you make racing strip, firemen on the run, or a 3 dimensional tractor plowing in the farm.
-Animals: You can cut the cake to have an image of animal as your theme. It could either be one animal or a scene in a zoo featuring many kinds of mammals or birds.
-Food: The preparation of the cake will also depend on the occasion that you are going to have. If it is about opening of Italian restaurant, you can have a scene where you can see a building or an image portraying a chef at work. Again you can cut the cake to represent foods like hot dog, taco or burgers. When it comes to food theme, the cake decorating ideas are limitless.
-Holiday Themes: Holidays are special and it will be a great time to show off your creativity. Bunnies will be good in Easter, hearts during Valentine's Day, or cloverleaf on the feast of St. Patrick.
-Your Own Creation: A lot of practice in cake decorating will give you flair of your own designs. You can readily make any kind of styles of cakes on any celebrations. The cake that you create will always be center of attention during any celebration.

The satisfaction that you will get from the praises will be worth any of the effort you put in. Spending time practicing will pay rich dividends as your cake decorating skills are sure to improve. Ask friends and experts or search the web for ideas in cake decorating and use them to hone your creative skills.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chocolate Recipe

Find Her Heart Chocolate Recipe

Everyone knows the phrase "the stomach is the way to a man's heart". Well by which route do guys take to arrive at a woman's heart? Like snowflakes, gentle, pure, and never are there two the same; so too are women. So this question is not very easy to answer. Even though there are many things that a man must do to win a woman's heart, there is one constant:

Women Need Chocolate! Guy's I could get in big trouble from the woman's rules committee for even telling you this secret, but because I feel you may need a little help I am willing to go on. So pay attention and you may even discover a chocolate recipe that has been a guarded secret amongst women for centuries.

First I must state that, women love chocolate pure and plain. They love it in bars, cubes, and cakes. They even love it when it comes out of fountains and waterfalls. They love it in single or double (gets some girls in trouble). They especially love it when it's free or given to them by a lover (hence the mandatory holiday Valentines Day). They love it in every which way and in every chocolate recipe (even ones that have jalapenos). But the one way that no woman can resist (and incidentally one of the secret ways to a woman's heart), is Truffle.

Chocolate truffles are a powerful force in this world. Women are forbidden from childhood to tell you this though. If they did, they know that you evil men would just torture them all day by dangling that mystical chocolate treat before their faces all day in attempts to sully them into bending to your devious wills. In some cases it might even work too. But I know you would not do that, would you?

One problem with the chocolate truffle is that it can sometimes be a little too sweet and thereby giving you headaches if you were to gorge yourself for too long. So I have devised a solution, and one I might add that men will find equally appealing.

My solution: Double Chocolate Truffle Cake.

Let me break this down for you: Double (meaning better), Chocolate (meaning got your woman's attention), Truffle (Now your poor girl is drooling), Cake (the dudes will like it too). So without further ado, I give you the chocolate recipe that is sure to make your girl swoon:
Double Chocolate Truffle Cake Serves 8 - 10 at dinner party (or one women all day) 4 eggs - separated 3/4 cup butter, softened and cubed 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate 2/3 cup sugar 3/4 cups flour, sifted Rich Chocolate Topping (recipe at end) (notes put in for men to follow)

Chocolate Truffle
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at half power for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes, and stir every 30 to 40 seconds, until smooth and melted. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl mix together butter and sugar, continue mixing while adding egg yolks and melted chocolate until completely smooth. Fold sifted flour into chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Then fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to over mix, continue folding until white streaks are gone. Prepare a 9 inch (break out the tape measure) spring form pan by buttering the bottom and sides and then sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Shake off the excess cocoa powder. Spread the batter evenly in the pan, then bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (not by you licking it) . Let cool on a wire rack. Once cool place on a serving plate, and spread chocolate topping on the sides and top. Refrigerate before serving (because otherwise it is hot).

Rich Chocolate Topping
1/3 cup of superfine sugar 1/3 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup butter, softened 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Cream together sugar and butter then stir in melted evaporated milk, continue stirring until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes until topping stiffens a bit and reaches a good consistency to spread. Spread topping on the sides and top of the cake.

For a spectacular dessert arrangement, cut the cake into serving size slices and serve on oversized dessert plates that have been dusted with cocoa powder. Top with fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries. (Women will be putty in your hands, unless you leave a mess in the kitchen).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Birthday Cake Decorations

Get Creative with
Birthday Cake Decorations

By Morgan Hamilton

Each year your lovely child has a birthday and yet again you have to find the best birthday cake and birthday cake decorations. Even if you have made up your mind to prepare the cake by yourself, you still have to make the most important decision – choose the proper birthday cake decorations. Of course, there are hundreds of themes available. Even though it might sound like something very difficult, don’t give up hope and give it a shot. You will see that it is not that hard to decorate a cake beautifully.

If you are not much of a cook and making a masterpiece is way out of your possibilities, then you should go with a sheet cake. There is a great variety of birthday cake decorations that you can use. If you are making a sheet cake you might use the balloon cake theme. This idea is quite easy, so take advantage of it. Once you have the baked, cooled and frosted sheet cake, all you need to do is frost eight or nine colourful cookies and place them on the dessert. If you add the string for the balloons and a tube of icing and you will have everything you need for a great party.
You can find many both amusing and creative cake decorations. Just visit the local discount store and get some volcanoes and dinosaurs, add more colouring to your already baked cake. You can create a prehistoric landscape on your birthday cake. I am sure your kids will love these birthday cake decorations as children are interested in creatures and animals.

There are many other specific party themes you can use, as well. One of the greatest is the farm cake idea. It is really suitable when you are partying out in the country. Try to use some farm animal toy sets and classic brown fencing as birthday cake decorations and you will be amazed how great the cake will look like. Add some dyed frosting to create the ground and put all the toys on the surface. Put these lovely pigs and cows and you are ready for a big party!
You can also use a movie theme for your birthday cake. You can use your kids’ meal toys from fast food as birthday cake decorations. If you don’t have any of these, then you can go to your local toy shop and buy some small figures. If you want to make your cake look outer space it is a good idea to melt chocolate and pour it into molds such as stars and planets. These will be unique birthday cake decorations.

Apart from the above mentioned ideas, there are many others which you can use to make a great birthday cake for your children. If you are making another type of cake, not sheet cake, then you can use some of bright theme ideas from Thomas the Tank Engine to Lego theme. There are many wonderful birthday cake decorations which will make your cake a true masterpiece.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Ideas For Chocolate Cake Recipes

New Ideas For
Chocolate Cake Recipes

By Vince Platania

There's very little in life that has the potential for happiness that chocolate cake recipes do! Just reading them over and, better yet, looking at a photo can start a person drooling. Oh, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Chocolate cake recipes are not all equal; some can be dry and some can be flavorless. But some can be just right. If you have a basic recipe that calls for milk or water, substitute some coffee to perk up the flavor (pun intended!)? Try using some of the new extra dark cocoa powders, to make your chocolate cake recipes more intense. Sour cream is always a good addition to chocolate cake recipes, too, making a cake so moist that it doesn't even need frosting -- you can just dust it with confectioners' sugar, which makes for a beautiful presentation.

Probably the most famous of all the chocolate cake recipes is the Brooklyn "Blackout Cake," which is frosted with a pudding-like fudge icing and then coated with chocolate cake crumbs. Those who've eaten it can be transported to Nirvana simply thinking about it! After all, you don't name a cake after the darkness unless it's particularly deep and rich and delicious!

Arguments about supposedly authentic recipes continue to this day. But even without the exact details, you can take the best ideas from the various chocolate cake recipes and make a "Blackout Cake" of your very own. If I were going to make one, I'd bake it in a 10" springform pan, rather than in 2 8" layers. And while the cake was baking, I'd bring out my jar of Chocolate Pie Filling and Dessert Mix to help me to make the perfect frosting.

Makes the best product I've found in all my years of cooking and baking; it's even low in fat and comes in a jar for freshness -- it's hard to beat that! So I'd mix up the recipe provided, but substitute coffee for the milk and use a bit less liquid than the provided recipe calls for to make the pudding thicker. Then, once the cake had cooled, I'd spread it lovingly with my pudding/frosting, and then sprinkle chocolate cookie crumbs on top ... sigh. I'd better go start baking -- if I may say so myself, this sounds like it has the potential to be one of the best chocolate cake recipes around!

Wedding Cake

Do-It-Yourself Wedding Cake Guide
By Jeanette Shinn

Recently I stopped in to visit a friend who runs a wedding cake supply store - a store that caters to pastry chefs, caterers, and hobbyists. During the course of the conversation she told me something that surprised me at the time, though in hindsight it shouldn't have: She said that this year she is being inundated with brides asking about how they might be able to bake the wedding cake themselves.
After all, said one, isn't it just flour, eggs, and sugar? Well, yes... and definitely not. A wedding cake is made up of those things, but on that level a Picasso is just oil and canvas. It is not the components that make up a masterpiece, it is the craftsmanship of the artisan.
That said, it is possible for a bridal party to create their own DIY wedding cakes 'in house', there by saving money, if they tread carefully and follow a few easy guidelines:

Use a Cake Mix: Surprised? Don't be. Not every scratch recipe can be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled and even a small wedding cake takes multiple recipes per layer. Cake mixes can be multiplied. The exception to this is the situation where the bride wants an eight inch cake on every table as the centerpiece and chooses to use something else as the wedding reception design focal point. Moreover, cake mixes survive because they have come upon a formula that makes the cake reliable - and the last few days before the wedding is not the time to discover something doesn't work.
Use Buttercream Icing: The pastry chefs that I know assure me that Buttercream is far easier to work with than any other form of icing out there.

Use a Cake Stand: Every other method of presentation requires something to be inserted through the bottom layers of the cake to provide stability. With a cake stand all one has to do is to place the wedding cake tier on the appropriate plate and slip it into place on the stand. Thus, no significant room for error.

Use Fresh Fruit, Flowers, Crystal Cake Jewelry, or? for Cake Decorations: Those hand sculpted sugar lilies on cousin Jen's wedding cake were gorgeous, but unless the budget allows the hiring of a craftsman the chances of getting enough that look good for a wedding cake are not good. Instead ice the cake smooth and then ask the florist to adorn the cake with flowers, or pile each of the layers with the fresh fruit of the season, or accent the cake with a display of items (clean of course) that represent the couple.

Take a Cake Decorating Class: More than one, if time allows. Taking the time to take a class through a local craft store, will do more than provide instruction on how to decorate a cake - though even learning the trick to smooth icing is worth the cost - it guides the individual in the purchase of the tools that they will need. This will save far more time and frustration than most imagine.
Of course, consider the option carefully before committing. Do-it-yourself wedding cakes might sound doable but remember, the cake has to be made in the last couple days before the wedding when there is little time for error or finding a bakery if things go wrong. Still, there is something quite personal and even a little bit romantic about a wedding that has been staged by the bride, groom and all of their loved ones. Whether it is a do-it-yourself Aunt making the wedding cake or a close friend the labor of love is intensely beautiful.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

The flavor everyone craves, served up with style in our Chocolate Cupcakes. Semi-sweet chips make them deliciously distinctive!
Cupcake Fun
· 1 pkg (18.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix
· 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 3 eggs
· 1 1/3 cups water
· 1 cup mayonnaise
Makes: About 24 standard cupcakes. Each cupcake serves 1.
In large bowl, combine cake mix and cocoa. Add eggs, water, and mayonnaise; beat with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.