Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Boo! Halloween Cupcakes

Here they are, my cute Halloween Cupcakes. Decorated with the left-over buttercream and Royal icing from the beginner cake decorating class.

The white ghosts and the orange flowers are the Royal Icing, piped onto parchment paper and left to dry overnight. Once dry, they can be picked up and placed on, or stuck into, the buttercream icing. I should note that the ghosts softened and toppled over in about 2 hours, due to the grease in the buttercream icing changing their consistency. The other icing is buttercream piped with a star tip. Simple. Cute. The cupcakes didn't need the flowers but I had them left over and they were pretty so I stuck them on. I thought the ghosts were adorable! Hope you do too. To make the eyes and mouths, you pipe around where they will be first and then fill in the rest. It was a lot of fun.

Here is the recipe for
Buttercream Icing
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
 2 cups sifted icing sugar
 1 Tbsp. milk, cream or water
 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream together shortening and butter until very smooth. Beat in one cup of the icing sugar. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining icing sugar. You may add additional icing sugar if the icing is too thin or more milk if you would like it thinner.
Happy Halloween a little early!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cake from my "Beginner Cake Decorating" course

I just finished giving the course "Beginner Cake Decorating" to 4 lovely ladies. It ran Tuesday evenings from 7-9 at the local junior school for 3 weeks. This is the cake I made to demonstrate the star tip, the drop flower tip, the leaf tip, the writing tip and the techniques to torte and cover a cake in buttercream icing.

The orange flowers around the sides of the cake were made with Royal Icing. Everything else was buttercream icing. It was a chocolate cake.

Tomorrow I will show you what cute thing I made with the leftover icing!
On the final night of the course, there were only 2 students that showed up. Here is the cake made by the first one:

And here is the cake made by the other lady:

I'm proud of my students. I think they did a great job. Like this cake says, Happy Day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian viewers! To you others: happy harvest-time!

A week or two ago I was given a fresh pumpkin for making pie. When I got home on Friday at lunch time, there was a turkey roasting in our oven (my husband was decidedly ambitious) so I simply had to make pumpkin pie!

I found a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that had everyone coming back for seconds. Maybe it was how I prepared the fresh pumpkin, or maybe it was the extra sugar I added to the whipping cream I slathered on the top of the pie, or maybe it was that the pie was still slightly warm out of the oven, but it was really good. Children were having seconds! I was surprised.

To prepare the pumpkin for filling, I made up my own method:
  1. cut the top off the pumpkin
  2. scoop out the seeds and the strings
  3. using a very sharp large knife, slice off the rind all around the pumpkin and from around the stem
  4. cut out the stem and the bottom "core"
  5.  slice the peeled pumpkin into wedges
  6. chop into inch cubes
  7. boil in an inch or two of water until pieces are easily pierced with a fork (think potatoes ready for mashing)
  8. drain off excess water
  9. mash or puree with a blender. (My small pumpkin yielded 6 cups of pumpkin pulp.)

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 pastry crust for a single crust pie
1 15-ounce can pumpkin or 2 cups fresh pulp as outlined above
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (when pumpkin is ready). Prepare and roll out Pastry for a single pie crust. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry circle and trim. Crimp edges as desired.

2. For filling, in a bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add eggs; beat lightly with a fork until combined. Gradually add milk. Stir just until combined.

3. Place the pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Carefully pour the filling into pastry shell. To prevent over-browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours.

To this, I added:
1 cup whipping cream

4. When pie has cooled as much as time allows, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Continue whipping while slowly adding 2 Tbsp sugar. Cover the pie in whipped cream or, for a fancier touch, pipe in a piping bag.

Cut, serve and enjoy!