Friday, February 24, 2012

Fresh strawberries and 100% real whipped cream...yum!

Here's the cake I did today...strawberry shortcake...yellow cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Strawberries still aren't wonderful this time of year, but I added a little sugar and they were fine. The 100 % real whipped cream with the powdered stabilizer tastes so much better than when I used to combine whipped cream with the non-dairy stuff. No it! I think I put too many strawberries in because the cake was too tall to put the lid down on the box, but it was for a friend, so I wanted it to be extra special!

Mardi Gras Taco Bar

Last Friday night we catered a taco bar for Forest City Residential at the Air Force Academy. We were supposed to serve 50, but only 30 showed, so we had a ton of food left over. It was also the first time doing a taco bar, so we over estimated on the rice and beans. We left food for the customer, sent some home with helper Wayne, and we brought some home. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and we're always learning new things with every job. 

Taco shells & tortillas, shredded chicken & beef, beans & rice, and toppings
We used one of the chafers  for an ice bath for the taco toppings
Finger desserts...8 dozen of each, in Mardi Gras colors
New silver punch bowl...5 gallon capacity
My wonderful helpers...Wayne & Bruce

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day...another cheesecake for hubby

Here it is Valentine's Day again and once more I have the opportunity to make another cheesecake for my sweetie. The cheesecake or cream cheese pie is really nothing too special, but my guy loves them, so over the 35 years that we have been married, we estimated that I have probably made him around 150 cheesecakes. I used to always top them with cherry pie filling, but as of late, he has opted for raspberry. I whip up the entire cheesecake filling in the blender, so it's super simple. Here's the recipe:

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (or you can make your own)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 graham cracker crust
1 can pie filling of your choice

Blend together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. When smooth, add the vanilla and lemon juice, and blend for a few more seconds until combined. It will thicken up immediately. Spread the filling into the pie crust. Refrigerate until set and top with pie filling. 

See, nothing special and very simple, but when something isn't broken, you don't fix it, and he says that this recipe was what "caught" him before we were even married. So, if this lends in any way to our 35 years together, I'll keep doing it!

Here's the recipe for my homemade sweetened condensed milk. I mix this up in my blender first, then add the cream cheese.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup non-instant milk powder

Combine the water and butter in blender. Mix together the sugar and powdered milk, and add it slowly through the top opening in the blender while it is going on a slow speed. After all is added, scrape down the sides, and blend on higher speed until thick and smooth. Saves money and I think it tastes better made fresh. 

Here's a cheesecake that I made for a friend's birthday with topping made with fresh strawberries, and garnished with chocolate covered strawberries...

Now, because I usually don't share any of "his" cheesecake, I decided today to try a new lo-cal version of something I've been wanting to try. So here is my Valentine treat... 

fresh strawberries piped with lo-cal cream cheese mousse and drizzled with dark chocolate...

Recipe for cream cheese mousse:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/3 - 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6-8 oz. Cool Whip or whipped cream

Blend together cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar with mixer until smooth and fluffy. At a slower speed, fold in Cool Whip or whipped cream. To make a lo-cal version, I used fat-free cream cheese. I also use this recipe to make a variety of flavored mousses as a filling for my cakes. When making a chocolate mousse, I add a little cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar. When making peanut butter mousse, I add some peanut butter (to taste) along with the cream cheese and sugar. Any kind of fruit mousse, I usually just fold the fruit or fruit filling into the mousse after it is done. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yesterday's cake tasting very successful!

So this is what it looked like in our neighborhood yesterday. 

We weren't expecting it to snow at all yesterday, and when I woke up and saw this, I thought OH NO! Anyway...all 6 of my brides braved the snow and cold and turned out to the cake tasting. I was so busy, didn't even think to snap any pictures. was very successful. Got a couple of confirmed orders and I think the others will most likely get back with me when it gets closer to their wedding dates. Thanks to all of you for coming out in the frigid weather, and a big thank you to my friend Nancy for coming to help. I appreciate you!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mardi Gras King Cakes

My neighbor called today to order a King Cake. I had made King Cakes before for a friend, so I was familiar with them. So, I went shopping for a baby to insert into the King Cake after it was baked and here is the finished product...

This is the cute little baby I found  at Hobby Lobby to insert into the cake.

I thought you might enjoy reading more about the King Cake tradition...

The king cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, crossed between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It's decorated in royal colors of PURPLE which signifies "Justice," GREEN for "Faith," and GOLD for "Power." These colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.
Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby." If so, then that person is named "King" for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dolphin Cupcakes

If you follow my blog, by now you know that I don't care much for cupcakes, but... I must admit...these turned out pretty cute. A past wedding cake customer ordered these for a friend's bridal shower. They were having a beach theme, because the bride and groom are planning on getting married in the Bahamas or Virgin Islands, or somewhere tropical (I can't remember for sure) and the bride especially loved Dolphins and flowers. So, I looked for patterns online for dolphins and ocean waves, and with a little help from my Cricut Cake, this is what I came up with. The flavor was lemon with lemon curd filling and cream cheese icing. 

Looks like a pod of dolphins swimming their way into your tummy