Noosa Yoghurt Blogger Recipe Contest


Disclosure statement: this post and recipe were created in partnership with Noosa Yoghurt, for which I have received free samples of yogurt, a $50 Visa gift card to cover purchasing other recipe supplies, and they’ll be sending some kitchen tools for both me and for someone who votes for the recipe. The contest itself could yield further prizes. All of the content of this post is my honest opinion unfettered by these gifts.

For this contest, bloggers were challenged to create an original recipe using one or more flavours of Noosa Yoghurt. I actually developed two recipes, a Blueberry Cake with Lemon Frosting and some Hearty Gluten-Free Pumpkin Oat Yogurt Pancakes. Since the recipe contest only shows the cake and frosting, however, I’ll put off the pancakes for another post to come soon.

The voting for the contest is on Noosa’s Facebook page. I don’t use Facebook much myself so I’m probably at a significant disadvantage, but if you’re a Facebook user please vote here. If you enter your email address after you vote (Noosa is collecting the addresses, not Facebook), you could win a free month’s supply of Noosa Yoghurt! And as mentioned above, they said they’re sending a prize pack for me to send out to someone who votes, but I am still waiting for details on that and how to tell who voted.

cake and frosting

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Frosting

I wanted to make a blueberry cake that was moist, flavourful, light enough to not feel like a brick in the tummy, but dense enough to support the blueberries throughout as opposed to having them sink to the bottom. I decided to combine techniques form multiple cake styles to incorporate the dense, rich yogurt flavour but fluff it up by folding in beaten egg whites as opposed to mixing the eggs straight. Using cake flour instead of AP also lightens the overall result.

I also added extra blueberries beyond the yogurt. Ever since we finally got a Trader Joe’s here in Austin, my family has been enjoying their organic frozen wild blueberries. These tiny treasures are the best of the best when it comes to blueberries with nary a sour one in the bunch. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s store near you and/or fresh blueberries are in season, those will work as well, but try to get wild ones if you can because they’re smaller and therefore make for better flavour distribution through the cake.

cake without frosting

Blueberry Cake without frosting: very pretty and also very tasty!

Note that the frosting is optional. The cake itself is very nice, mildly sweet with a lot of blueberry flavour and the tanginess of the yogurt. The frosting adds a snappy lemon punch and more sweetness. I’m generally one to go for less frosting on a cake but I know those with a sweet tooth want more, so the recipe for the frosting makes lots but you don’t have to use it all. I used about half and my daughter loved it that way, but my husband and I would’ve been happy with a bit less. Go for what suits you and your audience best!

An important note regarding the Noosa Yoghurt – which my daughter has declared to be her new favourite, especially the Lemon – is that unlike most yogurts, it comes in an 8 oz container with a lid and a foil top instead of the standard 6 oz pottle with only a foil top. This makes it good for recipes because 8 oz is a full cup and many recipes call for a cup of yogurt. And for smaller amounts it’s neat and easy to put the lid back on and pop it in the fridge for someone to finish up as a snack later.

Blueberry Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A mildly sweet cake packed with blueberries. By separating the eggs and folding in the whites, the cake is lighter than most blueberry cakes but still dense enough to support the blueberries throughout.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 8oz tub of Noosa Blueberry Yoghurt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • approximately 1 ½ tbsp lemon zest (from two large lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1⅓ cup frozen organic wild blueberries, divided
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, yolks separated from whites
Method
  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature. For perishable ingredients like the eggs, milk, and yogurt, be sure not to leave them out too long. For the frozen blueberries, put them out on paper towels to stay dry as they thaw.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9” springform pan (I like my glass-bottomed one with non-stick sides), or use a cooking spray containing flour.
  3. Wash lemons thoroughly before zesting to remove any wax, pesticides, or dirt. I recommend using a microplane grater for zesting to get the maximum amount in a very fine grain. Juice enough of the lemons to get ¼ cup of juice, reserving peels and remainders.
  4. Combine the milk and yogurt thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, oil, and egg yolks. Mix thoroughly.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1 cup of the blueberries and toss in the dry mixture to coat.
  6. Degrease your mixer’s bowl and whisk attachment thoroughly. Use one of the reserved lemon peels to help this by wiping all surfaces with the inside of the peel, then wiping away any lemon residue with a clean paper towel.
  7. Set the egg whites to beat in the mixer at medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  8. While the egg whites beat, combine the wet mixture and the dry mixture until even but do not overmix. The batter will be lumpy.
  9. When the egg whites have finished beating, turn the mixer down to low and gradually add the sugar in small amounts until combined.
  10. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter and pour it all into the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup of blueberries on the top.
  11. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove sides of the pan. If your pan base allows for direct serving as my glass-bottom one does, put it on another wider plate before frosting. If your pan base is non-stick or otherwise can be damaged by serving, carefully remove the cooled cake to another serving platter.
  12. Cool completely before frosting.

 

icing on a cake

Close up of the icing as it drips down the side of a freshly cut slice of cake.

 

Lemon Yogurt Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 cakes
 
A rich and tangy soft frosting/glaze that goes well atop fruity cakes.
Ingredients
  • 300 g/10.6 oz (about 3 cups) powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (half stick) butter, softened
  • 4 oz Noosa Lemon Yoghurt (half tub)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of one medium lemon
  • juice of one medium lemon
Method
  1. Put the butter in a mixer and beat until fluffy and no lumps remain.
  2. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until thoroughly combined with the butter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar for an extra minute or two on medium speed to whip in some air and to ensure it’s smooth without any unmixed lumps.
  4. Add yogurt, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice. Beat the entire mixture on medium speed for three minutes.
  5. Put a dollop of the frosting on the cake and spread out to the sides, but not down the sides. This icing will flow until it sets up. Once your cake is frosted, put it in the fridge. This frosting contains uncooked yogurt and should be considered a spoiling hazard if warm for more than four hours.

 

I hope you love the recipe as much as my family did, and please remember to vote for it!

Here’s the recipe card Noosa made for the contest, if you’d like a single graphic to print for both recipes together (click for a larger version):

recipe card

Click to embiggen. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

Posted in Cake Decorating, Contests and Giveaways, My Recipes, Products | Leave a comment

Interview at Geek Native


I was recently interviewed about role playing games and baking at Geek Native. My answers feature tips and tricks for successful ventures in both fields. You can read it here: http://www.geeknative.com/44702/half-orc-barbarian-rages-mystery-cakes/ Please note that some of the discussions of RPGs include adult topics, so parents should preview before letting their kids click through.

Posted in General Cooking Tips, Links, Praise from others | Leave a comment

Dynamic Fondant Figure Modelling PDF Now Available!


I just posted it for sale! More details here: http://www.eat-the-evidence.com/tutorials/dynamic-figure-modelling/ or go directly to Craftsy or Gumroad to get your copy of the handout from my class for only $4 until next Monday. That’s the special deal I offered if folks helped me get students to sign up in advance of last weekend’s cake show. The regular price will be $10 and I’ll set it to that sometime next Monday, so get it for only $4 while you can!

cover

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Quick Note – Ebook Coming!


I promised if enough people took my class that I’d make an ebook of the handout for sale. The class is going ahead and the handout is ready but it’s got some glitches I need to fix for the ebook side. I promise I will post it for sale after the cake show, and at the discount promised for the number of students that pre-registered. I’ll even extend the sale since I’m posting it late.

Just wanted to let you all know it is coming, but I have to get to bed so I can get up in four hours to go to the show…meep!

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Blow Thine Hunger To Cakey Bits


My older daughter’s best friend asked me last year when her father was diagnosed with a serious illness if I’d make him a Holy Hand Grenade cake for his birthday. Of course I said yes!

Holy Hand Grenade Cake

Mmm, irreverence.

Part of why I was able to say yes is because this is a reasonably simple cake. I baked a vanilla cake in the Wilton Sports Ball Pan (and this is the closest I’ve ever come to making a sports ball in it, for values of very nerdy sports), then covered each half with my dark chocolate buttercream.

I then popped the halves in the fridge to firm up the buttercream, and meanwhile rolled out some red fondant to lay roughly on the board to look like cloth, taking care to tuck all of the edges underneath because that prevents any cracked edges from ruining the cloth look.

Then I rolled out some dark chocolate fondant and put that over each half. It’s a tricky thing to cover a sphere in fondant without ending up with a pleat somewhere, so since this design has a bar that goes around the middle anyway, I made life easy on myself and did it in halves. I put the bottom in place on the red “cloth”, then put more dark chocolate buttercream in the middle, placed the top half on, and cut a long strip of the dark chocolate fondant to go around the middle and hold it all together. Then I added the upper strips in the same dark chocolate fondant.

Holy Hand Grenade Cake close up

It may look gold, but it’s all chocolate and tastes heavenly.

To complete the chocolate theme – in part because dark colours show metallic airbrush better than light ones – I also made a cross out of semi-sweet modelling chocolate. After I’d put a big wooden dowel down through the whole cake, I affixed the cross in place with two toothpicks on either side of the center dowel. I also made sure there was a note with the cake mentioning these supports so nobody would hurt themselves.

Then I placed some plastic wrap all over the red cloth and the cake board, tucking it down as much as possible between the chocolate-covered cake and the red part. I then airbrushed gold all over and let it dry for a few minutes to ensure that it wouldn’t make a mess when I removed the plastic. This is another reason why a dark fondant covering works better: if there were any parts along the very bottom that got missed by the airbrush because of the plastic, they simply look like shadows. If I’d used white fondant, they’d have shown.

Next were the dragees. I used two sizes because that’s what I had on hand. If this had been a competition cake I’d have carefully measured out the spacing, but since it was for a friend for free and they know I have a seven-month-old baby, I just eyeballed the spacing. I worked my way along the still-soft strips with a small ball tool, then put a dragee in each dent with some piping gel.

I had originally planned to do some kind of edible banner around it with quotations from the Book of Armaments, but see the above note about the baby. I was tired and decided it looked good like this. But I added this cheeky altered quotation to the note about supports:

cake text

In case you can’t read the silly font, it says: “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out, and Pi is just silly. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it. Alternatively, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch into thine mouth, that thy hunger shall snuff it. And have as the Lord commands, a most Happy of Birthdays.”

I heard a rumour that the recipient loved it so much he spent his whole birthday party smiling and that it may even top his favourite childhood cake. His older daughter read the silly passage above in an English accent for the party.

Required viewing for the uninitiated:

Posted in Cake Decorating, Fancy cakes, My Recipes, Severe Nerdery | 1 Comment

New Class – Dynamic Figure Modeling (No More Dead-Eye Static Figures!)


At this year’s Austin cake show I will be teaching a hands-on version of my popular beginner Fondant Figure Modelling 101 tutorial (register here) as well as an intermediate class on how to make your figures look like they were frozen in the middle of actually doing something. I see too many wonderfully done cakes with figures sitting there, staring into space vacantly. No more, I say! Let’s get those sweet little people up and moving!

In my new Dynamic Figure Modeling (No More Dead-Eye Static Figures!) class, I’ll show you how to make wire armatures, tips for getting the fondant on the armature, and many more tips and tricks for adding poses and facial expressions. Each student can pick between a walker, a runner, and a jumper to work on in class but will receive a booklet on how to do all three.

fondant figures moving

The walker and jumper in front with the runner in back.

fondant figures

The runner in front and the others in back.

All students for this class should be comfortable with basic figure modelling and may wish to take the 101 class first. It’s pretty much the same figure, but we’re making it get up and move around.

walking fondant figure

The walker will be the easiest because it has two feet attached to the base. Choose this if you’re still pretty new to figure making.

running fondant figure

The runner only has one foot on the ground so takes more skill. Choose this one if you are confident in your figure modelling and want to start pushing your skills. Also note that the runner is an excellent discussion point for how the face tells the story: here, this runner is scared and fleeing, but we’ll talk about how a different expression makes the same figure a happy jogger, a menacing chaser, etc.

jumper fondant figure

The jumper is the most advanced of the three. It only has one foot on the ground and the posing, facial expression, and movement details are what sell the motion as jumping versus dancing. We’ll also talk about how you can use other elements of the cake to enhance the figure’s story: this would look even more “jumpy” posed on a trampoline that is indented from the force of the jump.

This class will focus on the construction and how to alter details to create different poses and moods, but also how to save time to spend on the details that matter versus those that don’t. For instance, these samples don’t have the smoothest, cleanest clothes, but their clothing is modelled to suggest movement. Hand details are more important for some poses than others. We’ll talk about how to focus your time to get the maximum effect on your figures, when it’s important to go crazy with detail, and when it’s okay to simply suggest elements in a less refined way.

fondant hands

Mounting hands on a wire armature is tricky and the method varies by how much detail you need. Here, a mitten-hand is stuck on and then fingers suggested with simple lines because the hands on this figure aren’t as important as they may be on a figure with hands as a focal point.

All supplies will be provided, including wire so you can learn to make armatures and cover them. This class isn’t about a specific figure, it’s about learning techniques so you can go out and make any figure you need.

wire armature

The runner’s wire armature. This is very sturdy for construction.

runner partly covered

The runner partly covered. We won’t fuss with perfect pants and shirts in this class, but we’ll talk about how to do that for when it counts, and how to position the clothing to enhance the appearance of movement.

But I hear many of you crying out, “KIM! I don’t live close enough to Austin to come to your fabulous cake show! I want this class so badly but I can’t get there! What about me?”

There are two answers: 1) if you’re involved with another cake show/club and want me to come to you, I may be able to do that. Get your show/club to invite me out to teach there. I do require that travel costs be covered and keep in mind I have a small infant so I need lots of advance warning. 2) I will make the handout for this class available for sale on this blog starting a day or two before the show. It will be $10 for a PDF of the same thing I’ll be giving out in the class, showing how to make all three figures with lots of tips and tricks to empower you to go forth and bring life into your figures.

But to incentivize you all to help urge your friends who are coming to the Austin show to take the actual class, here’s a deal: for every person signed up for this class by the close of online registration, I will lower the price of the PDF by a dollar during the show to a minimum of $2. So while the PDF will be $10 most of the time, during the show weekend it could be as little as $2 if eight people sign up for the class. If you want that to happen, post a link to this blog and/or the class registration link on your social media platforms and tell your friends to take the class. Then you can get the PDF cheap and get your friend to tell you all about what they learned hands-on with an expert. Win-win.

Plus if enough people don’t sign up the class will get cancelled, and then who knows when I’ll get around to making the PDF. So really really, help me promote this if you want the instructions for yourself!

UPDATE: The class happened, here’s the ebook discounted to $4 for the first week of sale: http://www.eat-the-evidence.com/tutorials/dynamic-figure-modelling/

Posted in Cake Decorating, Classes, Figures | Leave a comment

Double Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


Does that mean that they are doubly dark, or that there are two dark components? YES.

dark chocolate buttercream filled sandwich cookies

Because chocolate, that’s why.

Step 1: Bake some dark chocolate rolled cookies in a shape that can be mirrored so you can put two cookie bottoms together evenly. Rounds are easiest.

Step 2: Make some dark chocolate buttercream.

Step 3: Pipe or spread some of the buttercream between cookies, using the flat bottoms on the inside.

Step 4: Love your life because you have double dark chocolate sandwich cookies.

In lieu of converting to a religion that worships me as a goddess for bringing this goodness into your life, buy one of my books listed in the sidebar. I recommend sitting down to read “Finding Gaia” with your favourite beverage and a plate of these cookies. You’re welcome.

coffee plus cookies plus Finding Gaia equals happiness

Should you be a generous sort who wishes to share these cookies, leave them out for a few hours for the buttercream to crust over on the edges. If you need the buttercream to firm up fast, you can put them in the fridge.

If you feel like living dangerously, you could also add dark chocolate chips to the dark chocolate rolled cookies and then they’d be TRIPLE DARK CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES. Note that this blog, its author, and her dependents are not responsible for any severe drool damage caused by such tomfoolery.

Posted in Cookies, Experimental Techniques, General Freakishness, My Recipes | Leave a comment

Cookie Cutters: Making Your Own, Some of My Favourites


These days with a baby in the house, my baking time is really limited. I find the best way to be able to quickly make delicious, lovely cookies is to always have a batch of my favourite dark chocolate rolled cookie dough in the freezer so I can take a chunk out and whip something up fast. The fastest method for frosting is to use the same cutter on thin fondant and stick it to the cookies (even if they’re still warm, as long as they’re not hot) with a bit of corn syrup thinned with water. Then you can draw on the fondant with edible ink markers for any needed detail. And if there’s time, thinned royal icing decorations are beautiful and tasty.

I have lots of cookie cutters, and further down this post will highlight some of my recent favourites. But what do you do if you need a shape for which you don’t have a cutter and can’t get one in time, or maybe that cutter doesn’t even exist?

If you just need to do a few, the easiest method is to do a Google image search for the item, find an image that suits you, save it, resize it in your program of choice to suit your needs, and print it out. If you’re just doing one or two, you can cut it out and place the paper right on your dough, then trim around with a knife. If you are doing several or your dough is very greasy, you can faux-laminate the paper first (do this BEFORE cutting the paper) by covering it with clear packing tape. I did this for the Doctor Who sonic screwdriver cookies and the Alien facehugger cookies earlier this year.

The main downsides to cutting around a template are that it is slow, tedious, and leaves a ragged edge on the dough.

So what do you do if you want to make a cookie cutter that you want to be able to keep for future use, but you don’t have access to many workshop tools? If you Google around, you’ll find lots of advice on using disposable foil pans or aluminum cans. Those may work on some dough, but I’m quite certain they won’t work on the stiff chocolate dough I linked above. Thus, when I needed to make some Wonderland themed cookies for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin’s event this fall and didn’t have time to go buy teapot or mushroom-shaped cutters, I found this video and decided to give its methodology a try:

I went onto Lowe’s website and ordered some of their copper-covered tab tape (sometimes called hanger’s tape) and some lead-free, potable-use solder for pickup at the store up the street so I could get it on the way to getting my kid home from school without having to actually search the aisles for anything (this is super-convenient). I already had a plumber’s torch that I use for sugar work.

That evening, I printed off a mushroom shape and a teapot shape, and then used needle-nosed pliers to bend the tab tape to match. Next, I attempted to solder the ends together but usually this requires a highly toxic chemical called “flux” to etch the copper so the solder will stick, and obviously you shouldn’t use that on a cutter that will be touching food. So I was dubious as to whether or not the solder method would work, and indeed I used Many Rude Words as it continually failed to stick. Over the course of half an hour with Many More Rude Words I managed to plug the overlapping holes of the cutters with the solder to form a sort of holding peg, but honestly, it was a right royal pain in the cookie:

Tab tape cutters in the shape of a teapot and mushroom

You can see the lumpy plugs of solder holding the ends together. I’d strongly advise the suggested alternate strategy in the video of using some kind of at least nominally food-safe tape on the ends instead.

That being said, here are some of the mushrooms and teapots I made:

teapot and mushroom cookies

You can see that some of them are reversed, a perk of the cutter not having a folded-over safety edge.

Let me make it clear that although the cutters came out okay, worked well, and are even reversible since they don’t have a crimped safety edge (which also makes them harder on hands), this method isn’t exactly easy. I’d definitely advocate for buying cutters you need in advance when you can, but keeping some tab tape around for sudden cookie emergencies. And if you’re a known baker parent with a kid in school and clubs, you will have a cookie emergency eventually.

I also made some standard rounds to go with the mushrooms and teapots for the Wonderland theme:

eat me and drink me cookies

Quick and easy royal icing decorations, flooded first and then piped for the lettering.


On the opposite side of making your own cutter is an all-in-one cutter so easy that you hardly have to think at all to end up with an awesome result. Take this 3D Gingerbread House cutter, for instance. Well, don’t take mine…I have a spatula and a temper, so don’t even try! This wonderful device cuts all of the walls and roof segments for an adorable little cookie house all at once. Again, I used my chocolate dough but rolled it to 1/8 inch instead of the usual 1/4 inch, since the cutter’s instructions called for that thickness in gingerbread. It worked really well and I was able to make a village of them for my older daughter’s school holiday party as well as the baby’s playgroup holiday cookie exchange:

chocolate cookie houses on disply

To save time, I put the roof segments on their own tray and pre-covered them with sprinkles. That way all I needed to do for decorations was a window on the back, a line and circle on the front, and the royal needed to assemble the houses. Much easier than they look, and these were the hit of my daughter’s school event.

Because these are so small, they’re a cinch to put together with no supports needed. Basic royal icing piped to the joints and all of the pieces pushed gently but firmly together and set to dry. This cutter rocks!

backs of chocolate cookie houses

The houses from the back with simple piped windows.


Another favourite cutter set I use frequently is this fall/Halloween set of minis from Wilton. I bought it on post-holiday sale a few years ago mostly because it had a maple leaf in it, and while I rarely have cause to make maple leaf cookies, my inner homesick Canadian can’t help wishing for a reason. Since then, I’ve used this set for multiple Halloween parties over years, especially because it’s so easy to knock out dozens and dozens of little-kid bite-size cookies with quickie fondant coverings:

Halloween cookies

One tray of last year’s cookies with fondant cut with the same cutter as the cookie and attached with watered-down corn syrup. Edible ink markers were used for details. The cookies were the Ann Clark lemon recipe, and the bats and cats have Satin Ice Dark Chocolate fondant on which is an insanely delicious combination.

Halloween cookies

Recipe and methodology as the photo above, and this time I put punny jokes on the gravestones. That made them very popular with the kids.

Halloween cookies

These ones were for 2013 and have royal icing with edible ink marker designs added on. The cats’ eyes are just yellow dots of icing with black lines drawn on, and the bats are left icing-free.

Halloween cookies in a tub

Because I was taking this set to a playdate party where I wasn’t sure if they’d be served on a plate or not, I took the time to prop them upright in a clear tub so folks could still see a sort of display of what was inside.


I’ve only used parts of this Karate Cookie Cutter Set and only once, but given that my older daughter is really into her karate lessons and her dojo is a non-profit run by women specializing in karate and self-defense for girls and women, I anticipate making a lot more karate cookies! These ones were for their fall Kickathon fundraiser, so I just used the two kick styles in the set. A simple royal icing decoration made these a hit of the event.

karate cookies

Eat enough of these and you won’t look anything like them.


I have two sizes of music note cutters that I’ve used for cookies and fondant effects for Biscuit Brothers events in the past, and most recently for another Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin event. This time they were in Italian flag colours to go with the Italian theme of that musicale.

music note cookies

Once again, fondant cut from the same cutter as the cookie and attached with watered down corn syrup. Easy and effective.


Graduated sets of the same shape are really useful. I have Ateco sets of squares, circles, ovals, daisies, and triangles.

A friend was having a birthday and likes purple, penguins, and purple penguins. So I borrowed the methodology from Worth Pinning’s penguin cookies with some minor adjustments (I piped the black directly onto the whites for the eyes, added wings, and used royal for the beaks), using the oval set, and voila:

purple penguin cookies

Because purple penguins, that’s why.

In fact, I used leftover icing from these and the Halloween cookies above to make extra eyes for future use:

icing eyes

I cannot overstate how happy the phrase “extra eyes” makes me. GOOGLY EYE ALL THE THINGS!


Lastly for now are these lovely Autumn Carpenter snowflake cutters that come with matching texture mats. Again, I got these in an after-holiday sale one year because that’s often the best way to get pricey cutter sets. I wish I had more cause to use the texture mats because they’re lovely, but I often end up just using royal icing and dragees, as I did this year. This year I also added a bit of Disco dust for sparkle, and the combo hid what a terrible job I did with uneven royal application in the first place. Hah, I love cheating strategies in decorating!

snowflake cookies

Dragees and Disco Dust disguise decrepit decorating. Mmm, alliteration.


I probably have other old photos of cookies that I haven’t gotten around to posting, but that gives you a general idea of cutters I recommend for busy bakers along with some techniques that hopefully help you achieve awesome results with minimal effort.

All evidence consumed, om nom nom.

Posted in Cookies, Experimental Techniques, Products | 4 Comments

Quick Tip: Getting Parchment into a Square Pan


My go-to recipe for fast/emergency potluck baking is Brown Eyed Baker’s Snickerdoodle Blondies because I always have the ingredients on hand, it cooks up fast, and it’s really yummy. But I use parchment instead of greasing the pan because then I can lift the whole thing out about five minutes after it comes out of the oven, put it on a cutting board, and about five minutes later cut bars and load ‘em into whatever carrying case I’m using for the event.

It occurred to me on Sunday as I made some that many of you might be fussing around with getting parchment paper into square pans when there’s a super-easy, super-fast trick to help.

Step 1: Turn your pan over on the counter or table.

Step 2: Place the parchment paper on the underside of the pan and fold the edges in to match the bottom.

parchment on back of pan

Make sure your folds are just inside the actual edges of the bottom of your pan.

Step 3: Lift the paper off, flip the pan over, and put the folded sheet into the bottom of the pan.

parchment in pan, still folded

It should drop right in and fit perfectly.

Step 4: Push out the folds, creasing the corners on the diagonal (the angle will depend on how sloped the sides of your pan are). If there’s too much floppage in the middle on any side, just tighten up one of those corner folds with a little bend or crinkle.

parchment lining pan

Fold out the corners and squish-crease them into place. Voila!

Step 5: Bake deliciousness and eat the evidence, nom nom nom.

Posted in Links, Other People's Recipes, Quick Tip | Leave a comment

Itty Bitty Widdle Waddles!


First, in the early days of my cake decorating, there was the Large Turkey. Then came the Mini Turkeys. Lots of them, in costume and in rainbow colours.

Now behold…THE CAKE BALL TURKEY!

mini cake ball turkey

So cute, he just might gobble gobble you!

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Isn’t that the same size as the other mini turkeys?” Nope. This one is barely two inches tall, made around a cake ball (well actually a foil ball so I could keep it as a display piece but it was while I was making cake balls for a purse demo so close enough).

mini turkey cake ball with ruler

Iiiiiiiiitty bitty! That’s a lid of a portion cup he’s sitting on!

Mini Turkey cake and Cake Ball Turkey Cake

See, there it is beside the display model of the Mini Turkey made for the ebook. I guess someday I should make a fake-cake model of the Large Turkey. Also: presumably this means next year I have to make Nano Turkey.

The cake ball version pretty much follows the same directions in the Cute and Easy Turkey Cakes ebook with the small exception of being covered with fondant first (or chocolate, if you prefer) to keep the cake ball intact and to give the feathers something to stick to since you don’t cover a cake ball in buttercream. This version has the benefit of not needing any specialized pans; just make round cake balls and chill them to be firm.

cake ball covered in fondant

Cake ball covered roughly in fondant. Don’t worry about getting it perfect: you just want something to wrap it all together and give something for the feathers to stick to.

After that, it’s the same as the ebook except in teeny tiny scale. If you want more details, grab a copy of the ebook…it’s only $4.99 and I promise if you show up to your school, church, or other community bake sale this holiday season with these, you’ll make that back easily. I’ve raised several hundred dollars for my older daughter’s school with Large and Mini turkeys in past years.

cutting feathers from fondant

I happen to have a tiny oval cutter, but a tiny leaf or petal cutter would also work, or just an x-acto knife.

applying fondant feathers

See, wrapping the feathers is just like the Mini and Large versions. This goes super-fast at this scale.

applying the neck and head

The neck and head are made the same way, simply pinched between fingertips instead of with your whole hand. And the small scale means no toothpicks are needed: it just stays up on its own.

There you have it! And if you already have the ebook, consider this a freebie bonus project. Enjoy, and don’t forget to let your kids have a go at designing their own turkeys this year! In fact if you do and you want me to post some photos, let me know.

Cute and Easy Turkey Cakes - Cover

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Posted in Cake Balls, Cake Decorating, Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Fancy cakes, Working With Kids | Leave a comment