Paw Patrol Cake (A How-To Guide)

paw patrol cakeI rarely ever take cake orders in the summer, not since the cake fiasco of 2015. On a hot summer day, I made a two-tiered cake with an assortment of fondant animals that took hours to create. It was too large to refrigerate so we had it sitting at room temperature until it was ready to be delivered. Right when we were about to move it, there was a strange buckling around the edge of the cake. We kept calm and moved it to the car, which even after having the AC on for 30 minutes was not cool, but warm. During the 30-minute ride to our destination, the buckling worsened and the fondant pieces started to warp with the frosting. By the time we got there, the cake looked like the Michelin Man’s arm. It sucked that all my hours of work went down the drain, but it was even worse that I ruined someone’s event. That’s the thing about cakes; they are usually the centerpieces of celebrations and can make or break a party. Since then, I’ve turned down any requests for a cake in the summer. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but more so because I was worried about ruining someone else’s big day.
paw patrol cakeWhen my sister approached me about making a cake, my gut reaction was, “No.” After hearing my reasons, she said that it didn’t matter if the cake was perfect and that her friends were just grateful that I would do it. Knowing that perfection wasn’t what they were after took a load off my back, but that didn’t mean that I would try any less.
how to make paw patrol logoThere is a very popular Pinterest picture of a dog bone shaped Paw Patrol cake (this was the photo I was asked to recreate), but it has no information on the dimensions and how to put it together. And after scouring the internet for information, I decided to make a guide on how to put a cake like this together. Like many of my projects, it is not very difficult, but it is time consuming. I think the overall effect is worth it and even more worth it to see the smiles on kids’ faces.
how to make a paw patrol cakeInstead of using fondant for all of the Paw Patrol logo, I used Wilton’s sugar sheets. It is much more stable for hot and humid weather and it’s great for crisp edges. It is important to have a fresh Xacto knife blade. You want the edges to be super crisp. Almost like you printed the logo onto the cake. I did make a fondant base for the logo so that the logo would not be flat against the cake like paper. Other than that, it’s making a lot of paw prints, which looks simple but it ends up taking more time than anticipated because for every paw print there are 4 parts to be made. This cake has approximately 50 paw prints.
paw patrol cake The most difficult part about the cake part is covering the cake with frosting. There are many circles and lines and it took a while to get the crisp edges. But then again, it might be because I’m a novice at frosting untraditional cake shapes. I’m not complaining, it’s always fun to stretch beyond my comfort zone and try new things.

Paw Patrol Cake

For the Paw Patrol Logo:

You will need:

white fondant
wilton’s sugar sheets in white, red, blue, yellow and silver
silver pearl dust
xacto knife
scissors
water
vodka
small paintbrush (food use only)
paw patrol logo, cut out of paper
paw patrol outer stencil, cut out of paper
paw patrol inner stencil, cut out of paper

Instructions,

  1. Roll out the fondant to ¼ inch thickness and place the paw patrol outer stencil on top of it. Using the xacto knife, cut out the fondant to the shape of the shield. (As shown in picture #1)
  2. Place the outer stencil on top of a silver sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the shape of the outer stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #2)
  3. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the white fondant and stick the silver sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #3)
  4. Place the inner stencil on top of a red sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing, Cut out the shape of the inner stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #4)
  5. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the silver sugar sheet and stick the red sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #5)
  6. Cut out the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo, remembering to keep the yellow border. (As shown in picture #6)
  7. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a yellow sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #7)
  8. Cut out the yellow border of the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo.
  9. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife.
  10. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue “PAW” and stick it onto the yellow “PAW”. (As shown in picture #8)
  11. Cut out the white paw in the middle of the “A” from the paw patrol logo.
  12. Place the paw print on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the paw print. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the paw print with the xacto knife.
  13. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the paw print and stick it onto the middle of the “A”. (As shown in picture #8)
  14. Cut out the white bone from the paw patrol logo.
  15. Place the bone on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the bone with the xacto knife.
  16. Place the bone on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PATROL” letters with the xacto knife.
  17. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue letters and stick it onto the white bone. (As shown in picture #9)
  18. Center the “PAW” onto the shield and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the letters to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  19. Center the white patrol bone under the “PAW” and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the bone to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  20. Mix a small amount of vodka with the silver dust to create a thick silver paint. Brush the silver on the silver shield border to give it a metallic look. Let dry. (As shown in picture #11)

For the Bone Shaped Cake

You will need:

2 batches of vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate frosting (recipe below)
1 batch of vanilla swiss meringue frosting (recipe below)
fondant paw prints (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut all the 6-inch cake layers in half. Cut one of the halves into quarters.
  2. Cut a 2 inch strip from both of the 9×13 cake layers. You want to cut the width side of the cake (the long side, not the short side). You will be left with two 7×13 cake layers.
  3. Center one 7×13 cake layer on top of a sheet cake sized cake board. (As shown in picture #1)
  4. Use ¾ of each 6-inch cake layer on three corners to form the circular part of the dog bone. Use three ¼ sections left from the 6-inch cake layer to form the fourth corner of the dogbone. (As shown in picture #1)
  5. Spread a generous layer of the chocolate frosting.
  6. Repeat the same method to the second layer of the cake. (As shown in picture #2)
  7. Crumb coat with the remaining chocolate frosting, remembering to fill in any gaps between the 7×13 cake layer and the 6-inch cake layers. (As shown in picture #3)
  8. Let the cake set in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the freezer and spread one layer of the vanilla frosting. Trying to cover up the chocolate as well as you can.
  10. Let the cake set in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the freezer and smooth on the second layer of vanilla frosting. Try to make it as smooth as you possibly can. This will be your final layer. (As shown in picture #4)
  12. Place the Paw Patrol logo in the center. If you made fondant paw prints, now is the time to place it on the cake. (As shown in picture #5)

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
(This will make three 6-inch round layers and one 9×13 layer. You will need two batches of this.)

Ingredients:

450 g. cake flour
500 g. sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
5 whole eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 ¼  + ⅓ c. buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. (two and a half sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions:

  1. Prepare one 9×13 baking pan and three 6-inch round cake pans for baking by spraying them with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt on low speed.
  3. Add in the butter and 1 ¼ c. buttermilk into the flour mixture on low speed. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
  4. In a large cup with a spout, mix the eggs, egg yolks, ⅓ buttermilk and vanilla extract with a whisk. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix on low speed again until well combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly amongst the four pans, making sure that the three 6-in pans are even.
  7. Bake about 15-20 minutes until cake is golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The 6-inch cake pans and the 9×13 pan will have different cook times. Make sure you check both to make sure one doesn’t overbake.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:
9 oz. good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled (The darker the better. Emphasis on good quality.)
400 g. confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse a few times before processing it until the frosting is smooth.
  2. Put the whole bowl in the freezer until the frosting sets. Similar to a ganache, the frosting will become more firm and easier to handle after about 10-15 minutes in the freezer.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
400 g. sugar
8 large egg whites
3 ¼ c. (6 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Bring a small pot filled with about an inch of water to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt together.
  3. Place the bowl on top of the pot and whisk continuously until the mixture becomes slightly foamy and you cannot feel the grittiness of the sugar, about 5-8 minutes. The mixture will be hot. Be careful.
  4. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the egg mixture until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  5. Add in the butter, and continue to whip until a smooth buttercream forms.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to whip until incorporated.

Cake and chocolate frosting adapted from sweetapolita.
Swiss meringue frosting adapted from the smitten kitchen.

Strawberry Pretzel Squares (AKA Strawberry Pretzel Salad)

Strawberry Pretzel Squares The English language is a funny thing. I never understood why some dishes that are sweet are called “salads”. It’s off-putting. It’s in the name. If you hear “strawberry pretzel salad”, what do you picture? I imagine a bowl of salad greens with strawberries and pretzels. No, thank you. Other examples of such salads are Jello salad, snickers salad, cookie salad and the list goes on and on.
Strawberry Pretzel Squares Strawberry Pretzel SaladBut after reading numerous blogs all featuring the same recipe and all with glowing reviews of how they grew up with this particular dish and how it’s everyone’s favorite at their family gathering, I broke down and had to try it. And after trying it myself, I can see why people would like it, especially with fresh strawberries. The pretzel crust is salty and crunchy, the cheesecake layer is smooth and creamy and the strawberry jello layer is fruity and refreshing. You pretty much hit every flavor profile. The best part? It’s super easy and the ingredient list is very short. Oh! Also, you only have to bake the pretzel crust for 10 minutes so your kitchen doesn’t get too hot. It’s a serious win-win-win situation.
Strawberry Pretzel SaladStrawberry Pretzel Squares (AKA Strawberry Pretzel Salad)

Ingredients:

2 c. finely crushed pretzels
1 cup and 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
¾ c. salted butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. cool whip, defrosted
2 c. boiling water
1 – six ounce package strawberry jello
1 ½ c. cold water
4 c. hulled and sliced strawberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and prep a 9×13 inch baking dish by spraying the inside with nonstick spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir the pretzel crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar until well mixed.
  3. Pour the melted butter over the pretzel mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Press the pretzel crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, pressing it down with a spatula to form an even layer.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cool completely.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in the cool whip and spread evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. (Wipe off any cream cheese mix you get along the sides of the glass pan for a clean presentation later on.)
  7. Refrigerate crust while you prep the strawberry layer.
  8. In a large bowl, mix the strawberry jello mix with the boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and refrigerate for about 1½ hours. (At this point, the mixture should have the consistency of egg whites.)
  9. Stir in fresh strawberries into the jello mixture and carefully pour over the prepared cream cheese layer and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the strawberry layer is set. If you wiped the sides clean as suggested in step 6, the strawberry layer should set to a glass-like finish.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeYou guys, I’m obsessed with the tv show, ”Girls”. That is the reason why this post is so late. All of my free time has been going to binge watching this show. If you’ve never watched it, I would describe it as “Friends” and “Sex and the City” put together except it doesn’t have the laugh track and is somehow more real and dark and relatable and freaking awesome. Before the show, I always wondered why they casted Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. But after watching this show, I realized that the man can act. I love his character, Adam, in “Girls” because he’s SO weird and so honest. I always find weird people fascinating, and this is probably why he is so intriguing to me.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeI originally wanted to post this before Memorial Day because to me, Memorial Day is the green light of the year to start eating ice cream again. I know, I know… True die-hard fans of ice cream always say that you can have ice cream any day of the year, but when I’m freezing and my fingertips feel like ice, ingesting something that is as just cold is unpleasant to me. But Memorial Day has now passed and this needs to be shared with the internet community as soon as possible.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeMacaron ice cream sandwiches are just like regular ice cream sandwiches but instead of cookies, you use macaron shells. Since my sister’s birthday was coming up, and she loves ice cream, coffee and only the shells of macarons (not so much the filling, which I never understood) I figured that this was the perfect cake for her. Filled with layers of homemade crunchies, Ben and Jerry’s coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz (my sister’s favorite ice cream), and layered with two giant macaron shells, it’s chocolaty, cold, and smooth with crunchy and chewy textural differences from the macaron shells and the crunchies.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeI did make a pattern for the top macaron shell by drawing streaks of gel food coloring on the inside of my piping bag, but it’s not necessary for the cake. Basically, if you made macaron shells before, it’s pretty much the same thing except that you are making two giant shells. You will have leftover batter which you can use to make regular sized macaron shells. You should also take caution and remember that the batter will spread a bit. I didn’t think of this possibility, which made my macaron shells a little larger than I wanted, but in hindsight, it gave me enough room to cover the outside with cool whip, which helped give it a super smooth outside and keep the ice cream from leaking and hold its shape.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeIt is so worth the time. If you like macarons and ice cream, this is the cake for you. The best part? You can totally customize this by coloring the macaron shell and changing up the ice cream flavors.
Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich CakeNot really feeling this ice cream cake? Here are some of my previous ice cream cake recipes:

The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Giant Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

You will need:

Two 8-inch macaron shells (recipe below)
4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz, softened
1 batch of homemade crunchies (recipe below)
cool whip

Instructions

  1. Try to prep the ice cream cake a day before you want to serve it. You want the ice cream layer to be as firm as possible.
  2. In an 8-inch cake pan with high sides (at least 3-inches), use plastic wrap to line the bottom and the sides, letting it overhang over the pan.
  3. Spread a third of the homemade crunchies on the bottom, then layer 2 pints of the ice cream on top.
  4. Layer another third of the crunchies on top of the ice cream, and then layer the other 2 pints of ice cream, finally topping the top with the last third of the crunchies.
  5. Wrap the cling film over the top of the ice cream cake and place in the freezer. Freeze until firm, preferably overnight.
  6. When you are ready to assemble your ice cream cake, place one macaron shell, flat-side facing up on a cake stand.
  7. Remove the cake pan from the freezer and slide the ice cream layer out and place it on top of the macaron shell.
  8. Place the other macaron shell, domed side facing up on top of the ice cream layer.
  9. Use the cool whip around the ice cream layer to smooth the cake trying not to get it on the macaron shell. You want it to have smooth sides and look like an even ice cream sandwich.
  10. Place back in the freezer for at least two hours, or until cool whip is firm to the touch.
  11. The colder the ice cream cake is, the cleaner the cuts you will make.

Giant Macaron Shells

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
brown food color

Instructions:

  1. On a parchment paper that is the size of a baking sheet, draw an 8 inch circle with a pencil. Repeat with another parchment paper.
  2. Line two baking sheets with the parchment paper, pencil side down.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  5. Add the brown food coloring to the almond paste to get the color you desire.
  6. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  7. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  8. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  9. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  10. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  11. In a pastry bag fitted with the largest plain piping tip that you have, paint about 8 vertical lines along the inside of the piping bag using a clean food-use-only paintbrush and the brown food gel color.
  12. Fill the piping bag with the macaron batter.
  13. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper in a tight spiral pattern until you get to the edge of the 8-inch circle that you drew. You should have a concentric circle pattern of brown circles. Take a toothpick and draw lines into the center through the brown circles to create a pattern. This will be the top macaron shell.
  14. Fill the piping bag with more batter and pipe another large circle. There may or may not be a pattern here because you already piped out the first circle. If there isn’t, there is no need to stress because this will be the bottom shell.
  15. If there is leftover batter, feel free to pipe out some normal sized macarons for later use.
  16. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  17. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  18. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 275˚F. Bake 15-18 minutes for the large shells, 10-13 for the small shells, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.
  19. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 275˚F.
  20. Let cool and fill.

Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients:
30 Oreo cookies
1 – 7.25 oz. bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, Crush Oreos into even crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and ice cream topping until each crumb is well coated.
  3. Reserve for later use.

*Homemade crunchies recipe from Our Best Bites.

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part II: Leia, Yoda & Chewbacca

star wars doughnutsThe other day I was watching my favorite movie of all time, “When Harry Met Sally” but something was off about it. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was bothering me until I realized it was Billy Crystal’s voice. Billy Crystal who is a main character in the movie, also voices Mike Wazowski from “Monsters Inc.”. Every time he spoke, all I could see was the short, green one-eyed monster in my head. It’s still my favorite movie; it just isn’t the same as before.
princess leia doughnutshow to princess leia donutsIt’s taken forever to edit and finish the second part of the SW doughnut series. You would think editing a few photos and putting it together would be a cinch. But editing each step took a lot longer than I thought. chewbacca doughnutshow to - chewbacca donutSo far,  It’s been a busy weekend with baking this and that. I can’t wait to share the next cake with you! I hope to have it on here before the end of the week.❤
yoda doughnutshow to-yoda dounutsStar Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part II: Leia, Yoda & Chewbacca

For the Leia Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
white candy melts
dark brown candy melts
orange candy melts
yellow candy melts
gray candy melts
junior mints
black edible pearls
pink confetti sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Melt white candy melts in a small cup, or a bowl.
  2. Dip one half of doughnut into the melted white candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Melt one orange, one yellow and some white candy melts to make a flesh toned candy melt.
  4. Dip the second half of the doughnut into the melted flesh toned candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  5. Melt dark brown candy melt into a small cup or bowl.
  6. Dip a quarter of the flesh toned side of the doughnut on each half of the dhoughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  7. Before the dark brown candy melt sets, attach a junior mint on either side of the dark brown candy melt. (as shown in picture #3)
  8. Attach two black pearls of the flesh toned part of the doughnut (as shown in picture #4)
  9. Draw a gray thin horizontal line where the white and flesh toned color meets with gray candy melt. (as shown in picture #5)
  10. Attach two pink confetti sprinkles, below the black pearls and slightly to the outer corners for the cheeks. (as shown in picture #6)

For the Yoda Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
light green candy melts
light brown candy melts
heart shaped sprinkles
black edible pearls

Instructions:

  1. Melt light green candy melts in a small cup/bowl and dip the doughnut into the candy melt (as shown in picture #1)
  2. With melted light brown candy melt, draw two horizontal squiggly lines, one longer than the other (as shown in picture #2)
  3. Draw two short vertical lines to connect the horizontal lines. (as shown in picture #3)
  4. Place two black edible pearls while the light brown candy melt sets. (as shown in picture #3)
  5. Dip a heart shaped sprinkle into the melted light green candy melt and attach it to the side of the head, repeat on the other side. (as shown in picture #4)
  6. Pipe a small round of light brown candy melt in the center of the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #4)

For the Chewbacca Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
dark rown Candy melts
brown candy melts
gray candy melts
black edible pearls

Instructions:

  1. Melt dark brown candy melts in a small cup/bowl and dip the doughnut into the candy melt, and flip the doughnut onto parchment paper and lift up to give it texture. (as shown in picture #1)
  2. With melted brown candy melt, dip just the top surface on top of the dark brown candy melt and flip the doughnut onto parcment paper and lift up to give it extra texture and mimic hair. (as shown in picture #2)
  3. Place two black edible pearls on the top half of the doughnut for the eyes. (as shown in picture #3)
  4. Place one small dot of dark brown candy melt in between the black pearls for a nose. (as sown in picture #4)
  5. Draw a diagonal line in thee middle of the doughnut with the dark brown candy melt for the belt. (as shown in picture #4)
  6. Draw a series of short dashes along the diagonal line with the gray candy melts. (as shown in picture #5)

Classic Baked Doughnut Recipe
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
  3. Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
  4. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
  6. In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
  7. Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
  8. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

{Simple Sundays} Giant Popovers

Giant PopoversIt’s been a while since I’ve done a Simple Sundays post. I’ve been too busy trying to be creative and unique that I’ve put the effortless recipes on the back burner. But I’m back with this super simple popover recipe.
giant popoversgiant popoversIf you’ve never had a popover, I would say that it kind of reminds me of a dutch baby but in a muffin form. Light and crisp on the outside and moist and eggy on the inside, it’s the perfect breakfast food served with jam and butter. Actually, you can pretty much use them for dinner rolls too.
how to make a popoverIf you loved my blueberry cruffins, but feel like it’s too much work to do, I highly recommend this recipe instead. It’s lighter and you can use any kind of filling that you like. Plus, that vertical lift is insane! I mean just look at them. They’re literally popping out of the pans. You don’t even need a blender, mixer or a food processor. All you need is a whisk and a bowl. Oh! And a popover pan of course.🙂
giant popovers
Giant Popovers
makes 6 very large popovers

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. whole milk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Use a pastry brush to brush your popover pan with melted butter.
  2. Turn on the oven to 425˚F, and place your popover pan in the oven while the oven preheats. (As shown in picture #1)
  3. In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout), whisk salt and flour together. (As shown in picture #2)
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk and eggs. (As shown in picture #3)
  5. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture while continuously whisking to make a smooth, liquidy batter. (As shown in picture #4)
  6. Whisk in the rest of the melted butter to the batter. (As shown in picture #5)
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into each cavity about halfway full. (As shown in picture #6)
  8. Bake the popovers for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and very tall. DO NOT OPEN the oven door during this time.
  9. Remove the popovers from the pan and puncture each popover to let the steam out. (As shown in picture #7)
  10. Serve warm.

Recipe barely adapted from Food 52.

 

 

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

star wars doughnutsWell it’s here, Star Wars Day! Every year I try to make some sort of Star Wars themed food to celebrate Star Wars Day. In case you didn’t know, it’s on May 4th because it plays on the phrase, “May the force be with you”. Get it? Like “May the Fourth be with you?” What I love the most about Star Wars is how it is intergenerational and timeless. Plus, there are so many characters and worlds that it’s hard to become bored with the series.
doughnutsAfter talking about hybrid food that involves doughnuts in my last post, I could not get them out of my head. But of course I couldn’t just make regular doughnuts; I had to try my hand at decorating doughnuts. To make them even cuter, I went down a size to mini doughnuts. It was tough to figure out which characters to do because there are so many to choose from, but I decided to go with the classics: Yoda, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Stormtroopers and Ewoks.
ombre doughnutsI think if the doughnuts were bigger, it would’ve been easier to do the details but since they were tiny, it was pretty time consuming to do everything. I was working with teeny tiny holes in my piping bag that kept clogging up with chocolate that hardened too quickly and tiny black pearl eyes that wouldn’t stay on the faces. And because they have more detail than I originally expected, I’m breaking up the post into two parts: a how to of Stormtroopers and Ewoks on this one, and Princess Leia, Yoda and Chewbacca on the next one.
how to make stormtrooper doughnutsThe doughnut recipe I used tastes like a classic old fashioned doughnut thanks to the ground nutmeg. Fresh ground nutmeg is key here. As someone who is guilty of buying a whole jar of spice for one recipe and then never touching it again for years, I highly recommend you buy the nutmeg whole since it will last you pretty much forever (as long as you keep it in a cool, dry place). storm trooper donutsThe recipe I used will make a small batch, so small that you can use a simple hand held mixer for it. Oh, and remember not to overfill your pan or your doughnut will not look like a doughnut. It will look more like a tiny bunt cake. Once they’re covered in chocolate, they taste like the highly addictive Pop’ems. They’re addictive and so easy to eat, it’s a little dangerous.
how to make ewok doughnutsDisposable piping bags and plastic cups are your best friends for this project, especially if you plan on tackling more than two characters in one time. Melted chocolate is so annoying to clean off, it’s just not worth the pain if you have to wash off more than 6 colors worth of bowls. The part of me that cares about the environment did cry a little, but in the end laziness and convenience won out.🙂
ewok donuts

Here are some other Star Wars posts that I’ve done:
BB-8 Cake Pops
Star Wars Rebel Party
Star Wars Day 2014

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

For the Stormtrooper Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
white candy melts
black candy melts
silver dragées

Instructions:

  1. Melt white candy melts in a small cup, or a bowl.
  2. Dip one side of doughnut into the melted candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Place two small dots of black candy melt on the bottom half of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Before the black candy melt sets, put two small silver dragees on it. (as shown in picture #3)
  5. Draw a thin horizontal line in the middle of the doughnut with the black candy melt. (as shown in picture #4)
  6. Draw a black thin horizontal line on the top of the doughnut, about an eight of the way down. (as shown in picture #5)
  7. Draw two black semi circles below the black top line. (as shown in picture #6)
  8. Draw a small black triangle in between the two semi circles. (as shown in picture #7)
  9. Mix a little of the black candy melt into the white candy melt to make a gray candy melt.
  10. Place two stripes on either side of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #8)
  11. Place two small dots on either side of the small triangle. (as shown in picture #9)

For the Ewok Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
light brown candy melts
orange candy melts
brown candy melts
black pearls
gray candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Dip the top half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted light brown candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  2. Once the light brown candy melt sets, dip the bottom half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Once the orange candy melt sets, dip the outer top half of the doughnut into melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Pipe a small round of brown candy melt in the center of the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  5. While the candy melt sets, pipe small round dots of brown candy melt on parchment paper.
  6. Attach the small brown dots to the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #3)
  7. Place two small dots of brown candy melts and place two black pearls (as shown in picture #4)
  8. Pipe one long curve and three short lines along the curve with gray candy melt. (as shown in picture #5)

Classic Baked Doughnut Recipe
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
  3. Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
  4. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
  6. In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
  7. Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
  8. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

Doughnut recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Blueberry Cruffins (Crossiant + Muffins)

blueberry cruffinHybrid food seems to be the trend these days and they usually involve a doughnut.  Doughnut ice cream sandwiches, cronuts (doughnut + croissant), macaron doughnuts, and doughnut bagels are all examples that have popped up on our social media feeds. I freaking love doughnuts and I think they’re perfect as they are so I’m moving onto the cruffin. A cruffin is a croissant + muffin. Insanely crisp and flaky on the outside and fluffy, buttery and moist on the inside, it’s the perfect combo of both worlds. Oh, and because Mr. H loves jam filled doughnuts, I filled mine with my favorite blueberry jam (seriously, my favorite for years! I used for my blueberry pie cookies and blueberry pie doughnuts too) and dusted it off with powdered sugar.
blueberry cruffinCruffins have become popular in the U.S. by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco.  In fact, they are so desired that someone broke into the bakery to steal the recipe in 2015. The thief didn’t steal anything else, not even the cash. In a way it sounds like a ridiculous reason to risk going to jail, but it also shows how awesome a cruffin is. You know how they say there is no such thing as love at first sight but there is lust at first sight? When I first saw the photos of the cruffin from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, I fell in deep lust. I needed to have this cruffin, like now. But San Francisco is on the other side of the continent, what can I do? The only other way was to bake it on my own.
blueberry cruffinThere is a very popular cruffin recipe that is on Pinterest by Lady & Pups. They’re ridiculously cute and have tons of layers, but they weren’t tall like the cruffins I was looking for. Enter the popover pan. It’s twice as tall as a muffin pan and perfect for the recipe. Am I telling you to buy a popover pan just for this cruffin? Heck yes. Before this recipe, I’ve even settled for making popovers in muffin pans but there is just no other way around it. I think if you make these in a muffin pan, there isn’t enough surface area for the fluffy interior and the ratio of the crisp to chewy would be off.
irish butter cruffin layersSo how difficult is this recipe? If I’m being completely honest with you, it’s not easy. It is labor intensive and the yield is very small. Only 6 cruffins. But the6 cruffins are worth it. It’s like asking someone would you rather eat one fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt Krispy Kreme doughnut or a dozen stale supermarket ones? If you are the type of person who would go for the dozen stale ones, this recipe is not for you. But if you, like me, would rather have that one delicious doughnut, then dust out your pasta roller. Yes, you need a pasta roller. I’m going to say it is impossible to roll out the dough this thin with a rolling pin. Also, I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients.
blueberry cruffin blueberry cruffinThe ingredient list is short so you want to use the best ingredients on hand. I love King Arthur flour and I used the best butter I could get my hands on which was Kerrygold’s Irish butter. Irish butter is much more flavorful and rich than American butter and every penny was worth buying it for this recipe. I changed my technique just slightly from Lady & Pups. Her post has beautiful photos of how she did it, and I recommend looking through the photos if you have a difficult time understanding how to put this together. It does look a little intimidating, but don’t get scared because once you get the hang of it, it becomes a rhythmic process, kind of like knitting.
how to make a cruffin

I promise you, it’s worth it. :) blueberry cruffin

Blueberry Cruffins
makes 6 tall cruffins

Ingredients:

150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp) bread flour
150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (6 grams) instant dry yeast
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
160 grams (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) luke-warm filted water (not tap)
50 grams (3 1/2 tbsp) salted butter, soften and cubed
165 grams (11 1/2 tbsp) salted butter, room-temperature
blueberry jam
powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl of a standing mixer attached with a dough hook, mix bread flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar.
  2. Once mixed, add in your water and knead on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the 50 grams of softened and cubed butter and knead for 5 minutes on low speed until the butter is incorporated and then raise your speed to medium and knead for about 10-15 minutes until a smooth ball of dough forms.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, the dough will puff up and be larger in size.
  5. Prepare your popover pan by lightly greasing the inside with shortening and dusting it with flour. DO NOT skip this step. It would be very sad if the cuffins do not come out of the pan as one whole piece.
  6. Move dough to a lightly floured surface, and divide into 6 equal portions. (as shown in the above picture # 1). Take one portion out and cover the remaining under plastic wrap so the dough does not dry out.
  7. Flatten the dough with your hands to about ½ inch thick and with your pasta roller on the widest setting (or the lowest number), work the dough through your pasta roller.
  8. After you move the pasta through the widest setting once, fold the dough in thirds and then move it through the widest setting again. Repeat this step once more before moving onto the next step.
  9. Once the dough has been moved through three times on the widest setting, cut the dough in half.
  10. Lightly dust both sides of one half of the dough and move it through your pasta roller from the widest to the thinnest setting or as thin as you can get it without the dough tearing. (My pasta machine goes from 0-9, 9 was too delicate of a dough to work with so I only went to 8. It was still tissue thin and that is what you are looking for.)
  11. Set the first half of the dough aside and work the second half of the dough in the same way until the same thinness is reached. (as shown in the above picture #2)
  12. With an offset spatula, lightly butter one side of each half of the dough with the 165 grams of the room temperature butter (not all at once, divide the 165 grams for all the flattened dough). Be careful not to tear the dough and to completely cover each side with butter. (as shown in the above picture #3)
  13. Roll up one half of the dough, kind of like a fruit roll-up. (as shown in the above picture #4)
  14. Take the rolled up dough and place it on one end of the second buttered dough. (as shown in the above picture #5)
  15. Roll up the dough in the same way as the first dough to make one fat roll of dough. (as shown in the above picture #6)
  16. With a very sharp knife, cut the rolled up dough in half lengthwise. (as shown in the above picture #7)
  17. Place both halves of the dough into one cup of the popover pan with the layers (cut-side) facing outwards. You want to curl the first half of the dough in on the bottom, and then layer the second half of the dough on top of that one. Do not squish the dough into the pan, because it needs room to rise. (as shown in the above picture #8).
  18. Repeat steps 7-17 until you are done with all 6 pieces of the original dough.
  19. Loosely place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the popover pan and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until the dough is fully doubled in size. (as shown in the above picture #9)
  20. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a sheet pan underneath the popover pan (to catch the butter drippings) and bake until golden brown and puffed up.
  21. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a wire rack.
  22. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with blueberry jam.
  23. Find a divot on top of a completely cool cruffin and wedge the tip into the cruffin.
  24. Squeeze the piping bag to fill the cruffin with jam until you feel resistance.
  25. Repeat with the other cruffins.
  26. Lightly dust the top of each cruffins with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Lady & Pups.

Weekday Update // Currently Loving…

Untitled-2

  1. Tory Burch Cecile Sandal – I love the gold detail on the heel. So unique and the very walkable heel is a bonus.
  2. Uniqlo Rayon Check Shirt – Incredibly light and wrinkle resistant, which is perfect for hot and humid northeast summers. I got both the gray and the blue because they’re so versatile.
  3. DC Fix Adhesive Film in Grey Marble – 1) Marble is expensive. 2) I am not strong enough to lift and move a slab of marble every time I want to shoot photos for the blog. This faux marble sticker works well on any surface and mimics the effect wonderfully.
  4. Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser – I have very dry skin and any cleanser that thoroughly cleanses my skin usually makes my face feel tight and dry. This is one of the few cleansers that gets rid of all traces of makeup, even stubborn eyeliner and mascara AND isn’t drying to the skin. Holy Grail status.
  5. Naps and Entrees Shaker Set – Is this not the cutest salt and pepper shaker set? Pandas are always adorable.
  6. Club Monaco Valencia Sandal – I’m in love with gingham these days and the multi-wrap ankle strap makes it slightly sexy.

 

Jackson Pollock Macarons

Jackson Pollock MacaronsThere is a store called “Marbles: The Brain Store” in my local mall. As the name suggests, the store mainly sells puzzles and games that exercise your brain. I ended up stopping by a few years ago with my friends and while we were browsing, we noticed a display of various puzzles. When one of us picked up a jigsaw puzzle of Jackson Pollock’s Convergence, a store clerk leaned over to us and commented, “I’ve never seen anyone complete it.” Of course after a comment like that, we HAD to take it home and try to solve it. A few years later, it’s still incomplete and sitting in my room.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock MacaronsThese macarons are inspired by my incomplete puzzle. I’ve done paint strokes on my macarons before and the difference between the strokes and the splatters is the amount of liquid you add to the food coloring. In order to make your splatters look imperfect and messy, you need to dilute your gel food coloring with a generous dose of vodka.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock MacaronsI’ve done the splatters two ways, and I believe it works the best when you arrange your macarons side by side as if you’re creating a blank canvas for a painting. If you leave the gaps in between the macarons like my first try, you’ll miss the trail of paint that makes it look so convincing and similar to Pollock’s work. I absolutely love the effect that it makes. Try to get a small bit of each color on every macaron so that when you get the full effect for each macaron.
Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock MacaronsAs fun as it is to splatter food coloring everywhere, I will leave you with a word of warning. The food coloring will get everywhere. It will get on your counter, on your clothes, and on your skin. My best advice is to lay a layer of paper towels on your work surface and wear an apron before you start. Now go satisfy your inner artist and have fun.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons

Jackson Pollock Macarons

You will need:

1 batch of vanilla macarons (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla frosting (recipe below)
red gel food coloring
yellow gel food coloring
blue gel food coloring
black gel food coloring
vodka

Instructions:

  1. Cover your work surface with a layer of paper towels.
  2. Arrange your unfilled macaron shells closely in a square/rectangular shape.
  3. In four plastic cups, place a few drops of gel food coloring in each cup.
  4. Dilute each color with a tablespoon of vodka and mix until your desired color is reached.
  5. Using a clean, food use only paint brush, saturate your brush with the yellow paint and use a flicking motion with your wrist to create a splatter pattern on your macarons.
  6. Once done, thoroughly clean your brush with water and dry as well as you can with a paper towel before repeating step 5 with a different color.
  7. Let macarons dry completely before filling and sandwiching them with your vanilla frosting.

Vanilla Macarons

Ingredients:

212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  12. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 275˚F. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macarons are done when you slightly wiggle them and they start to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  13. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 275˚F.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
a pinch of salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

 

 

A Boy Baby Shower & How to Dye Your Own Sprinkles

it's a boy cakeThis past weekend I made some baby shower cakes and cupcakes for a friend. There wasn’t a particular theme except the color blue and silver. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve catered for a baby shower, so I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. If you’re like me and are very particular about your colors, you know how difficult it is to find that riiiiight shade of sprinkles. Try googling “baby blue sprinkles” and most likely you’ll get the generic blue. The first time someone requested a baby blue cake, I searched high and low for the right shade. Etsy, amazon, and just plain google search turned up nothing. Zip. Zilch.
baby boy cakeYou know what they say, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” (<= Side Note: Fifth Element is one of my favorite movies. Also, Gary Oldman pretty much can be anyone he wants. How is this the same person that played Commissioner Gordon?) And so I did. All you need is a ziplock bag, white sprinkles, and gel food color.
baby boy cakePlace your sprinkles in a ziplock bag, add in your gel color. A tiny dab will do. You can always add more but you can’t take away the color. Start massaging your sprinkles into the gel color. The sprinkles will magically start taking on the color of your dye without melting. Once all the sprinkles are uniform in color, you are ready to go!
baby boy cupcakesFor the sprinkles on the cake I used, Americolor’s sky blue and electric blue and for the cupcakes, I used Wilton’s cornflower blue. I bought the silver sprinkles because metallic colors just don’t work as well when hand dying them.
baby boy cupcakesAnother tip I have is that if you’re short on time and on a budget, I recommend ordering items from Etsy. I love Etsy for their homemade things and supporting small business is always a good idea. I suppose I could’ve made the little converse booties and the cutout sign, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done as neat of a job and it would’ve taken me forever. What I did make were the little fondant pom poms to tie the whole thing together with the décor. I promise to do a tutorial on this soon!🙂

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