My Crazy Cocina Caliente!!

Just a crazy little latina, stirring up trouble in the cocina!

Baby Shower Cake September 24, 2009

This past weekend hubs and I attended a baby shower for his co-worker, whose wife is pregnant with their first baby! (It’s a Boy!)

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The co-workers put together this adorable shower at the father-to-be’s uncle’s restaurant and we had a great time.  The restaurant served us some GREAT Dominican appetizers and the parents-to-be got many wonderful gifts including the baby’s crib.

Hubs asked if I would mind making the cake for the shower and I said I’d love to!!! His co-worker sent me a napkin with the design she was using through the shower and so I took my ideas from that.  I created a lion, giraffe, and a hippo- I wanted them to match the napkin’s characters as closely as possible.

Lion

Giraffe1

I made the leaves and animals out of fondant that was kneaded with Tyclose powder.  After some research I found that the Tyclose powder would make the fondant hard to ensure my shapes didn’t sag or lose their form.

My original plan was to cover the entire cake in fondant but I rolled it way too thin, plus my frosting hadn’t crusted and it just created a giant mess (I was on a little bit of a time crunch).  So I had to toss over a pound of fondant away 😦 I knew I could cover it pretty smoothly with buttercream so I went that route to ensure I didn’t mess up again and had the cake done on time.

The bottom tier (8″) was Dulce De Leche cake (as seen previously in my blog, here).  This was by far the crowds favorite 🙂 I got so many compliments and I must say it’s also one of my personal faves.

The top tier (6″) was Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake (also seen previously in my blog, here).  I filled it with Molly Jean’s Cheesecake Filling.  It was mega mega YUMMY!! A great and tasty combo for sure!

While it wasn’t perfect as per my standards I received so many wonderful comments regarding the cake.  The dad-to-be kept gushing on how nice the cake was 🙂 I’m so glad the parents-to-be and the crowd loved the cake! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling to receive compliments on something you worked hard on.

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SK’s Birthday Cake September 1, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake — Vanessita! @ 3:32 pm
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My parents anniversary was in July and for some reason or another I was unable to bake them a cake.  So, since July my mother has been bugging me about making them a post-anniversary cake.

CakeRoses2

The hubs and I decided to take Sunday and drive out to the farm to visit my parents so I figured this was the perfect chance to bring them their happy-late-anniversary cake.  I searched the Internet to find something simple and yummy and not too sweet since my dad doesn’t have the biggest sweet tooth.  I also knew I wanted to fill whatever cake with pineapple since that’s my dads favorite filling.  After searching a few of my “usual” websites I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake.  I figured this yellow cake would be the perfect cake to pair with my pineapple filling.

This cake is SO GOOD!!!  It’s very light and fluffy, soft and very tasty.  It went GREAT with some pineapple filling and a cream cheese frosting.

During the week I cranked out a few more roses in a deep orange color to decorate my cake with.  Overall I think the cake ended up  looking pretty good!

RoseCake1

***WARNING! This recipe creates A LOT of batter!!!  I’ve made it twice so far and both times I’ve had to toss out some batter because it was just too much!***

Best Birthday Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising) I couldn’t find cake flour so I substituted 1 cup of regular AP flour MINUS 2 tbsp PLUS 2 tbsp of corn starch.  Worked well in this case.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.) I didn’t use parchment circles, I just greased my pans with Wilton Cake Release- that stuff is great!

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.  I had to bake my cakes (at 350) for a little longer, perhaps it’s just my oven though.

RoseCake3Pineapple Filling
Taken from CakeCentral

1 box of Vanilla Pudding Mix
1/2 a container of Cool Whip
1 large can of Pineapple Chunks (or tidbits) WITH JUICE!

Mix together the Vanilla Pudding Mix with the can of pineapple (including juice!).
Mix well and let it chill for 5 minutes.
Fold in the Cool Whip until incorporated and chill for an hour.

All in all this cake is great!! I’ll def. be making it again (I actually already made it twice, the 2nd time for cupcakes).  It was a hit with my parents and my cousins/aunt/uncle who were over as well.


 

Wilton Cake #3 August 27, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 9:30 am
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Tuesday was a happy but kind of sad day- it was the last class of my first Wilton course.  I totally intend on signing up for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th courses but I know not all the girls will return and I really had a great time getting to know everyone.  I really learned a lot and in the course of 4 weeks I’ve learned how to make crazy looking clowns, pipe a rainbow, make drop flowers, pretty polka dots, and I’ve mastered the Wilton Rose.  Ok- so maybe I haven’t mastered it yet BUT I did learn how to make it and I cranked out more flowers than anyone else in my class!  So give me some credit, please. haha. 🙂

Rose1

Here’s the cake I made during our last class.  I made 6 purple Roses and placed them in the center of the cake (I’m all about being imperfect and who cares that they aren’t perfectly centered, lol!).  I made a few leaves and then a few sweet peas across the bottom shell border (which I still haven’t perfected!).

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Overall I love the way this cake looks.  And my frosting skills have also improved!!! I didn’t have nearly as many “blobs” on this cake, it was pretty smooth looking!

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The cake itself is a red velvet cake filled and covered in cream cheese frosting.  After asking the wonderful girls on the WC board for some help finding the best red velvet recipe, I was forwarded to Bridget’s blog where she did a fabulous red velvet recipe comparison.Roses2

My co-workers probably agreed with Bridget’s findings because they all told me how wonderful this cake tasted.  Mine came out SUPER moist and wasn’t too dense.  It’s definitely a front runner for the best red velvet I’ve ever had.  It didn’t taste as good as it could have since I had to cover it with a layer of Wilton icing (aka NOT yummy!!!)…but I’m sure fully covered in cream cheese this cake would be phenomenal.  Below is the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake
Taken from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, Originally found on Apple A Day.

Makes 1 8-inch 3-layer cake

For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring  I used gel food coloring and only used about half an ounce.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. I baked this cake in my 8″ round, 3″ deep pan- I put all the batter into this one pan and baked for about 75 minutes on 325 degrees.

6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

4. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting. I did the same.

5. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

So there you have it- a deliciously yummy red velvet cake!!! Thanks Bridget!

 

Wilton Cake #2 August 26, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 11:41 am
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This post is a bit delayed seeing how I baked this cake up last week, but I had to share it with you guys!

I’m not too proud of the actual decorations on the cake- my frosting wasn’t the right consistency so my flowers didn’t look very pretty.  But I am proud of the cake inside- it was YUMMY!!!

CakeClass3

During our third class we learned how to make drop flowers using a closed star tip.  The flowers (if made with the right frosting) can be VERY pretty and are super simple to make.  Using our small #3 round tip, we made the little dots in the center of the flowers and I made some extra dots around the cake as well.

The cake inside is a Hershey’s cake I sort of made up on my own.  I had looked around and found a bunch of recipes but they involved baking with a lot of caramel and I didn’t want my cake to fall apart when I took it out of the pan.
I also half-cheated by using a cake mix- but hey, it worked and tasted delicious!!! Don’t hate! 🙂

Snickers Cake
Cocina Caliente Semirginal 😉

1 Box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Pack of Fun Sized Snickers Candies
1 Bag of Caramel Candies
4 tbsp of flour
1 Batch of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

Prep your oven per box instructions.

Chop up the Snickers (I used about 8 Fun sized bars, feel free to use more) and set aside.
Chop up the Caramels (I cut these pretty finely, I didn’t want HUGE globs inside the cake.  I also used about 12 caramels) and set aside.

Prep the Chocolate Cake Mix per the box instructions.

When you are done making the batter, dump your chopped candies into the flour.  Make sure to mix it up really well so that each candy is fully coated in flour.  This will help the candies stick to the inside of the batter versus dropping to the bottom of the mix (top of the cake).

Once the candies are covered in flour, lightly mix them into the cake- making sure they’ve been evenly distributed.

Make sure your pans are very well greased!!!

Bake as per the box instructions.

AND VIOLA!  Easy Peasy Snickers Cake.

I filled the layers with the Hershey’s Chocolate Icing but topped it with the standard (overly sweet) Wilton icing recipe.  The chocolate on chocolate though was SOOOO good.  My co-workers loved it when I brought it in the next day for my managers birthday.

CindyCake1

Oh- and I thought I’d share the EXTREMELY creepy Wilton Clowns that we also learned to make during this weeks class.  I don’t think I’ll EVER be making these things again- they’re just so creepy looking!!! ACK!

ClownsScary, huh?

 

Sunflowers for Sophia

Filed under: Baking,Cupcakes — Vanessita! @ 11:24 am
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I’ve been looking forward to our trip to Tampa for MONTHS now!!! Hubs and I got tickets to see his favorite band: Incubus.  The concert was going to take place in Tampa-which was also the place where our friends Sophia & Jeff moved to last year.  We hadn’t seen them since our wedding last October so I was excited to be heading to their neck of the woods.  We decided to meet up for an early dinner before the concert.  Unfortunately Jeff had to work but I had a BLAST chatting it up with Sophia and catching up- it had seriously felt like FOREVER since we had last had such a fun and long conversation.

I knew I wanted to bake her something and when she told me her favorite cake flavor was chocolate I immediately knew which recipe I was wanted to make.  After thinking about it for a little bit I decided I also wanted to decorate the cupcakes like sunflowers, as I had seen in other blogs recently.

SunflowerBlog

I used the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake & Frosting recipe.  I’ve heard so many wonderful things about these recipe from the girls on the cooking blog I frequent.  I actually halved the original recipes since I didn’t need 30 cupcakes, but I’ve posted the original recipes below:

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
Source: Hersheys.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.  I baked this in a regular cupcake pan and got about 15 cupcakes.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING.

“PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

I then used a store bought vanilla frosting which I tinted yellow and added some meringue powder to, to get a thick/stiff consistency.  Using the round #20 tip I piped on the chocolate frosting in small “dots” in the center of each cupcake.
Then I used a star tip (I believe it was #21??) to pipe the flower petals on.  The entire process was SUPER easy and didn’t even take much time.

Afterwards I used a toothpick to draw the spots on red M&Ms to resemble little ladybugs.  I really think they came out super cute.

Special thanks to JoJoEspana from the WC board for her helpful tips on making these cupcakes.

 

First Wilton Cake! August 11, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 10:24 pm
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I’ve been wanting to take the Wilton Cake Decorating courses FOREVER now and had never gotten around to it.  Finally last month I decided I was going to sign up even if it meant going alone.  My classes began last Tuesday but this week was the first time we actually got to decorate.

We had to make the “assigned” designed on our own cake (any flavor any filling we wanted).  We had to cover it in blue Wilton buttercream (aka lard & sugar! lol) and in class we made our rainbow design.

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Please ignore the horrible frosting & the 2nd grader hand writing- it’s my first real time decorating ok!? 🙂

The cake I originally made was an Puerto Rican Amaretto Cake, but sadly it didn’t work out.  I had to use a deeper pan than I’m used to and the center of the cake didn’t bake right.  I did bake a small portion into some cupcake cups so I can tell you it tasted amazing, but sadly the large cake just didn’t work. 😦

It was super late Monday night and I since my class was on Tuesday I had to bake something QUICK! I dug into the pantry and grabbed a Yellow Cake box mix, mixed it in with Amaretto and vanilla flavors, then filled it with bananas, blueberries, and amaretto cream cheese frosting.  YUM! 🙂  Overall it was quick and easy- just what I needed at 11pm Monday night! haha.

Overall the class was a lot of fun.  They cram so much into the 2 hour class so we were constantly busy but I really learned a lot and can’t wait to use these techniques again.

If you’re thinking of taking these classes- GO FOR IT! SIGN UP! 🙂  Next week we’ve been assigned to make a flower cake- I can’t wait!!!

 

My First Fondant Cake!!! July 21, 2009

Filed under: Baking — Vanessita! @ 10:58 pm
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Yesterday I took you on a journey- first stop: making fondant, second stop: baking up the delicious Dulce de Leche cake.
Now we’ve reached the last leg of this fondant-baking-decorating journey.

Finished3

Sunday afternoon I spent nearly 4 hours baking and decorating… I was really motivated to try and make a cute cake using the fondant I had made the day before.

Step 1: Get your apron on, it’s time for the baking to begin!!!

Apron

Isn’t it cute?! I bought this off FlirtyAprons.com

Once the cakes were baked and out of the oven cooling, I started to work with my fondant once again.  Remember- I made the fondant the day before.  It’s recommended that you let the fondant sit overnight before using it.
I started by covering my work station with corn starch and kneading in some more Crisco to the fondant (it seems a little dry)…  After kneading it for a few minutes I got it to the perfect consistency.  I shaped the fondant into a small flat circle and started to roll it out using my rolling pin.

Fondant1.1

After rolling the fondant out to the right size/shape… I rolled it up on my rolling pin and put it over the cake.
Then using my fondant smoother I smoothed down the top and worked my way down, making sure the fondant stuck to the cake and that there were no visible air bubbles.

Once the fondant looked like it was on right, I used a sharp knife to cut off the excess fondant.  I quickly double wrapped it in saran wrap.  If the fondant is stored right you can use it again and it lasts quite some time.

Fondant2

Then it was time to decorate the cake.

First I rolled out my blue fondant and using my Wilton Ribbon Cutter tool, I cut a wavy ribbon to put along the bottom of the cake.  Dabbing my finger in water and moistening the back of the fondant I was able to “glue” the fondant ribbon to the cake.

After I had the ribbon on I went back to the blue fondant and started to cut out various circles using my Wilton Fondant Cutters (circle shape pack).  Once I had enough blue circles, I balled up my fondant and wrapped it up.

Time to bring out the purple!
Again, I rolled out the fondant and cut out various circles in different sizes.  I let the circles sit for a bit so they’d get hard and be easier to work with.  (Be sure to put away your extra fondant so it doesn’t dry out!!!)

After waiting for the circles to get a bit harder I brought them over to the cake.  Using water as my glue, I dabbed a little water on the back of each circle and laid them on the cake.  Be sure you know where you want to lay the decorations before you plop them on your cake.  If the back is too wet and you drop the decoration on the wrong spot the color may spread onto your white fondant base.  BAD!!!  So be sure to not wet your decorations too much and to be sure where you want to place the decorations first.

After I had laid enough circles on my cake I let it sit out so the decorations would harden onto the cake.  I have to say, for it being my first time ever dealing with fondant it looks pretty good!

Finished1

While working with fondant in general is easy- it is time consuming.  Between making my own fondant and rolling out each batch, it took a toll on my upper arms.  Be sure you aren’t in a rush when working with fondant!

Finished2

So- what do you think?!?!

I’m excited and I can’t wait to work with fondant again.  I’ve already got some ideas in mind. 🙂

P.S.: Here’s a pic of the mess I made 🙂 I thank God for such a wonderful hubbie who helped clean it up.  He said: “If the cake would have tasted bad I wouldn’t be helping you clean up this mess!” hahaha!!!!

Mess