Wednesday, January 23, 2013

About Us & Instagram

It came to my attention recently that most people don't realize that there are two people blogging on this blog. Which is fair we just started blogging with no real introduction. So the people on my (my = Jessica BTW) facebook think this is my blog and the people on Brandi's facebook think that this is her blog. Of course...they are both correct!

I am Jessica I live in Seattle. I'm married with 3 kids. Brandi lives in Kansas City, is also married and with one kid and one baby on the way! We "met" a few years ago on the internetz and our friendship has blossomed over the years. We discovered we had a lot in common from our history of being stabbed (just with pencils), our love of rap music and most of all our love of cake (and sir-mix-alot).

One day on the facebook Brandi posted that she wanted to start a blog where she went through a cake cookbook and made every cake in the book. Sort of a Julie & Julia sort of blog. Me being totally obnoxious jumped on it and said "OMG YES! Do it! Not only should you do it, but I will do it with you!" Now I will never know if she actually wanted to do the blog or if she actually wanted to do the blog with me because I got all eager puppy and jumped all over it and never thought about actually asking or anything. Oops.

Brandi picked a book of cakes and I picked Martha Stewart's cupcake book. As the months went by we both were busy and a bit unmotivated. Then I found out there is already a blog doing Martha Stewart's cupcake book. So it evolved to where we are just doing whatever we want and Brandi does cakes and I do cupcakes.

There were a lot of names tossed out while naming this blog. I was honestly (and still am) rather fond of Bone Thugs & Cakery but I guess it probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense or flow well but I loved it all the same. After tossing around many names we settled on Baby Got Cake. Brandi went and snatched up the domain name and the name on blogger.

We discovered however that there are a lot of people on the Internet squatting on various sites with the name baby got cake. Most accounts are going unused and it's so frustrating. So recently taking a page out of the Internet squatters book I went around and snatched up the name wherever we could. Unfortunately a lot of places it was already in use so I had to go with BabyGotCakeBlog which I suppose is better than nothing. So now we may never need a GMail, or a tumblr (ummm what's a tumblr???), a Flickr or an Etsy shop but if it ever comes up, the names are ours!!! We even have a twitter (and we are following sir-mix-alot) despite the fact that both Brandi & I are a bit twitter unaware.

The one thing we do know how to use (um sort of) is Instagram. So far all that we have posted is a bunch of pictures of cupcakes that I found in my phone but hopefully we will start using it more. So everyone should follow us at BabyGotCakeBlog on Instagram!

So in closing we have a lot of hope for this blog...mostly that it goes viral and a movie is made about it. I haven't decided who should play me yet, I am still considering actresses!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I like 'em round and BIG

Who doesn't? Square/rectangle cakes are boring to me and the bigger the better. I think it's been a while since I made a cake that wasn't a three layer. And since it's for me, I can have it however I want. Round and big it is!
I made a Chocolate Cream Cake that I've made several times before. It comes from this cookbook. It's basically a devils food cake with a very smooth buttercream inside and a chocolate cream cheese frosting on the outside. SO yummy!

I had to take a shot of the cream layers because once you put the frosting on, you have no idea how good it looks until you cut into it.

See what I mean? Looks good and chocolatey, but you have no idea the goodness you are about to cut into.

I was a bit uneven in the cream filling distribution, but I promise that doesn't take away from the flavor. Nom, nom.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back in the Saddle (Oven?) Again

Well so as it turns out giving birth to a baby with a incredibly rare genetic mutation that causes a host of problems from hydrocephalus to a rare form of genetic cancer (rare is the word of the day!) kind of knocks you on your ass. All the things you used to do go by the wayside and everything changes. Having a baby changes everything as it is but having a special needs baby with cancer that you weren't prepared for changes it in ways you can't even imagine. It also means that people treat you differently and are always going out of their way to make life easier for you. So when it's a holiday or even and you say "can I bring anything?" they say "OMG no, of course not, you have too much going on please don't!" Which is a nice sentiment, it really is. Unless you are craving some sense of normalcy and miss things like baking cupcakes more than anyone even realizes. So when I heard at Thanksgiving that I did not have to bring anything I thought "cha! I'm totes bringing cupcakes and there is nothing anyone can do about it".

Well when your life is turned upside down and your brain is fried and you don't know whether you are coming and going and you decide to make cupcakes where do you turn for inspiration? I obviously don't even need to answer that question because obviously I go straight to my homegirl Martha Stewart. Thanksgiving = pumpkiny deliciousness. So I decided to give Martha's (word to my homie!) Pumpkin Cupcakes a try.

I topped them with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting. A basic cream cheese frosting with 1/2 cup light brown sugar mixed in. If I had put more time and effort into it I would have added some browned butter to the frosting as well to give it another level of flavor.

At the last minute I decided to top them with a candied pecan. I hastily looked up a candied pecan recipe and threw it all together. I'd love to share the recipe and tell you they turned out amazing they turned into a big giant candied mess of grossness. I tossed them oh and the pan I made them in because they were stuck in the pan. I sent my husband to the grocery store up the street to their amazing bulk bin and had him get me a bag of candied pecans to top the cupcakes with. I really like the bit of crunchy sweetness that they added. I was taking them to a get together where there were some nut allergies so some cupcakes just got some extra sprinkles instead.

I'm not sure where I got the fall sprinkles but if I had to guess I would assume Sweet! Baking Supply because they have an incredible selection of sprinkles. I know sprinkles are "suave" or anything but I really do think they add a bit of fun to a cupcake and I think cupcakes should be fun.

In December my mom asked me to make her some cupcakes for her work Christmas party. She gave me free reign to make whatever I want and I was very excited to get creative! I'm including these as a pure cupcake porn blog bonus as I'm not really including the recipes. It's January and Christmas is over and eggnog cupcakes aren't happening again for another 11 months! This first batch was french vanilla cupcakes with eggnog frosting. Of course I added a variety of Christmas themed sprinkles.

I fully admit I have a lot of Christmas themed sprinkles. Sprinkles are around $2 a jar and they are incredibly hard to resist.

The other set of cupcakes I made looked incredible. As these weren't for me I never actually got to sample one. Dark chocolate cupcakes, peppermint white chocolate butter cream, chocolate ganache swirl & chopped candy cane Hershey kisses & topped with a starlite mint. The first batch I put a dollop of ganache on the mint but it looked like a creepy eyeball so I didn't repeat it for the other batches.

I definitely contemplated throwing some sprinkles on them because why not go overboard but I reigned it in at the last minute.

It's a new year, a new blog header (LOVE IT) and hopefully in the months to come I will be able to regain a bit of normalcy and make a few batches of cupcakes here and there.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adventures with Fondant Icing

I'm just going to start with the finished product. This was a new experience and I have a problem with being too wordy, so this will save people lots of time and scrolling :)

Now on to the wordy backstory. I'm known around these parts (meaning where I work) for making cakes. It's not unusual for me to get a request, but this one was different. It had me scared. Why? One word. Fondant.  I have never had the guts to attempt it. I've had some unfounded biases against using it too. First, I have heard that it tastes gross. Being a buttercream girl, it's hard for me to replace that with something that doesn't taste nearly as good. Next, I heard it's a huge pain to work with. That alone was enough to keep me away. I like my cakes easy.

However, fondant cakes are SO pretty. I'd never gotten the chance to work with it before (mostly because I avoided it). No better time than a new year to try something new, right? Also, the mama who needed the cake for her one year old's birthday was OK with the fact that I was a fondant newb. Challenge accepted. 

The cake was to be lemon flavored, so I made the cake I've done before in this post and just left out the blueberry part of it. That was the easy part. I made the cake one night and decided to dirty ice and give it a fondant cover the next night. Being a newbie to fondant, I decided to defer to the experts at Wilton. Call it cheating, I'm OK with that :)

 I found some varying opinions online about how to roll fondant. Use cornstarch, no - use powdered sugar. Roll 1/8 inch, no - roll 1/4 inch thickness. I heard some warnings about cracking and showing wrinkles if too thin so I went with 1/4. In retrospect, that was probably too thick. Here it is rolled and covered. At this point, I think I'm doing OK. Kinda looks like a dress. And that's how some of the youtube videos described it so I thought I was alright.

Then, I started tucking the bottom. I quickly realized that this was not going to be easy. No matter what I did, I just could not get rid of the wrinkles at the bottom. I smoothed and smoothed, but it wouldn't give and the top was starting to stretch. I started to wonder if I bit off more than I could chew. I hoped that the fondant ribbon I was going to put on the bottom would cover most of the wrinkling. I decided to head to bed at 11:30 that night with it looking like this. 

Then came night three. Cake was due the next day and the pressure was on. Thing is, I was out of fondant because I had only bought enough for the cake, apparently. Another thing all the videos say is to buy more than you think you need because fondant keeps for a long time. Noted. I'm not sure what got into me, but I thought I could make it. I ran to the grocery store and bought items for a recipe I saw that claimed to taste like buttercream. I won't post it, but I will say if you come across such a recipe, go ahead and avoid that. It never got to a fondant consistency so I couldn't even roll it, it just kept breaking apart and never lost it's greasy sheen from the shortening. Very disappointing. I will say, I should have just asked for Jessica's (BGC's cupcake blogger) advice before I even started. She had never even heard of buttercream fondant :)

At this point, it was 9:30. Just in case the buttercream recipe fell through, I had also purchased marshmallows earlier in case I needed to make marshmallow fondant. I decided against more unknown and headed to Wal-Mart to buy more fondant. Glad I could count on them for a late night cake emergency :) I was a bit worried though that I would be up all night. But once I got back home, it was like things had clicked. I dyed the fondant to match the party colors, rolled it all out, cut the polka dots and had it all together just before midnight. This is actually good for me! Here it is again. Despite it not being perfect, I'm still really proud of myself.

Overall, it was challenging. This is totally normal from everything I read/saw on youtube. Almost every video I watched stated that it takes lots of practice to get it right, so that makes me feel better. I was also able to put that other bias to rest. I tasted it when I was done and I didn't cringe. It was actually not too bad! It's no buttercream, but it's certainly not gross :)

Now that I sort of have a clue as to what I'm doing, I might be using fondant on my son's birthday cake. We shall see. Either way, I'd definitely try again.

Almost forgot to add that the cake is modeled after the topper on this party post. I will update again when the mama does her post. It was SUCH a cute set up!