Sunday, March 31, 2013

April fool's day treat: pizza cookie

Ben and I have so much fun making our April Fool's Day treats. We talk about what we're going to make and how we will do it for a couple of weeks in advance.  In the past we've done tv dinners, submarine sandwiches and fries, and nachos...but we don't want to recycle any of our past projects.

This year we decided to make a dessert that looked like a pepperoni pizza, and I have to say it was - by far - the easiest of the April Fool's desserts we've made.

I made two batches of sugar cookie dough then rolled it out on a pizza pan covered with parchment paper.  I baked it in a 350 degree oven and started checking it at about 12 minutes.

After the cookie cooled, I added buttercream frosting tinted red for the sauce and a few lines of white for cheese.  That part was completely unnecessary; I thought it might help add something to the background of the design but it turned out I couldn't see any of it in the end and should have just skipped that step.

Ben and I shredded white chocolate and added it to the top of the cookie pizza for the cheese.  We started out by shredding it into a bowl and sprinkling it over the top but quickly realized this was a mistake.  Half of the shredded chocolate was melting on our fingers and making it hard not to end up with clumps of chocolate on the pizza that looked very un-cheeselike.  So we started shredding directly onto the pizza and that worked much better.

We used a small circle cookie cutter to make pepperoni pieces out of fruit roll ups and added those on top of the cheese.

I cut the cookie with a pizza cutter to make eight pieces initially, but they were huge when you think about what they are - a slab of cookie covered in frosting and chocolate.  I mean, just because *I* can eat that much doesn't mean anyone should.

So I went back through and cut them to 16 pieces to take for dessert to Easter dinner.  Not very Easterish, I know.  But what are we supposed to do when the two holidays fall so close together?

How to make a tie dyed cake

My niece asked about making a tie dyed cake so I put together this quick tutorial for her.

1.  Prep your frosting.  You need enough frosting to cover the entire cake plus enough to have the colored frosting for decoration.  I used three colors; red, white and blue.  So I made a batch of vanilla buttercream and separated it into three bowls to color and then put into piping bags.

2.  Frost the cake in whatever flavor you want to use.  It doesn't have to be white frosting, but a lot of the colors add a little bitterness to the flavor so it's better to cover the entire cake with a base of the plain frosting first rather than covering the whole cake in a colored frosting.  (Since I didn't actually have a project going to use it on, I just piped frosting onto a circle of parchment paper for my base.)

3.  Pipe the colors onto the cake in a swirl, one at a time.  (Another cool design for this decoration is a star, but I would suggest practicing how that looks on a piece of parchment paper before trying it on a cake - it's good to give it a run through to make sure it looks the way you want it to.)

Don't worry about making this perfect...just get the general pattern you want. Follow your first line with the others you want to use - if you are just using two colors, it works best to alternate and have more lines of colors than to just have two (like blue, then white, then blue, then white).  My three colors aren't really enough - four or five lines give you a better pattern.  

4.  Get a clean brush.  I got a cheap little set of these at the craft store a long time ago and store them with my cake materials, designated for food use only.  

5.  Use the brush to gently push the frosting lines down and together (don't pull the frosting to mix the colors, just try to make the height of the different colors about the same and less separated so they will blend well when you pull across them in the next step).

6.  Use the brush to gently pull a line from the center out to the edge of the design. Repeat this all the way around your design.

7.  Once you are done pulling the lines through, you can go back and clean up a little bit if you feel like there are areas that got a little muddled. But less is more with this design - don't get too worried about cleaning up or making it too neat. Sometimes the continuous messing with it will make the colors sort of muddy and every time I try to go back and do much clean up I regret it.

See?  Easy and quick, once you get your frosting prepped.  Good luck with your cake, Grace!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Side trip: Cake and Jewelry icon for iPhone

This is an easy addition for anyone using an iPhone or iPad that will create an app icon on your home screen that will take you directly to this blog.  (Family members, don't think I won't be checking your devices and making mental note of who is paying attention to me and who isn't.)  

Two important things to note if you want to do this:  You need to use Safari and navigate to the Cake and Jewelry blog.  Since the view defaults to the mobile version, scroll to the bottom of the page and select the "view web version" link.

From there it's simple; select the little icon at the bottom center of your screen to share the website to social media sites or add it to your home screen to keep a link to that webpage just like any of the apps you use regularly.  Select "add to home screen", adjust the text to display as desired, and that's it!

If you have a blog and want to create your own image to appear like this, I found the tutorial for it here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rainbow jarcakes for St. Patrick's Day

I have - literally - at least a hundred mason jars from the jarcakes I made for my sister's wedding last summer.  When I brought them home I kept saying I would send jarcakes to various family members to unload them over time.  St. Patrick's Day seemed to be a good enough excuse to ship some off.

Since I had success making the zebra jarcakes a few weeks ago, I used the same layering technique with more (annoyingly bright) colors to make rainbow cupcakes in jars and shipped them out.  Two boxes went out at the beginning of the box went east and the other went west.  Hopefully everything arrives before St. Patrick's Day!