Friday, November 18, 2011

Hello Kitty Cake - Full Body

Hello Kitty seems to be extremely popular amongst my friends.  I have made Hello Kitty cakes for several birthdays as well as a baby shower now.  This time around, the recipient requested a full body Hello Kitty.  This cake requires minimal fondant decorations; however, don't let that fool you.  It took me a bit of time trying to figure out how to exactly cut out the clothes to cover the fondant body in 2d fashion.  Also, I actually made the body and head separately and placed the two cakes together on the board at the end.  I don't know whether that was smarter or not but it worked out for me luckily.

I got to try out a new recipe combo on this cake as the birthday girl wanted mocha cake and buttercream frosting.  I used this tried and true recipe for cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker which thankfully converted nicely to cake as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blue Velvet Cake

Given I already done an iPad cake this year, I originally wasn't planning to blog about this cake (hence no pictures besides these ones which were off my friend's camera).   However, after sitting here eating a slice of leftover cake, I knew I had to share the recipe for this amazing blue velvet cake.  It is very similar to my version of the red velvet cake; it's very moist and dense.

I had a lot of bulge the last time I made the iPad cake, so this time, I spent extra time forcing/allowing the cake to settle.  After filling the cake, I took a sheet pan and placed it on top of the cake (protected with saran wrap).  I stood up on a chair and placed as much weight as I can on the cake.  In addition, I left a container of flour and sugar on top of the sheet pan for 30+ minutes while I cleaned up.  This allowed me to scrap off the bulge of frosting before proceeding.

Blue Velvet Cake
adapted from Food Network
Makes 1 8-inch round cake

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp blue food gel paste (2 ounces liquid food coloring)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Line and spray 2 8in by 2in round circle pans with parchment paper and baking spray.

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt into a medium size bowl.  Set aside.

Dissolve the food gel paste into the vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition. Add the food gel paste/vanilla extract mixture; mix well.

Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.

In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture; mix well.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Pie Bars

Finally, I am back on track with baking Fall goodies to add to my repertoire.  I have yet to bake an apple pie from scratch but these apple pie bars are the perfect lead in.  These were quite labor intensive but so worth it.  (Note to self: Ask for an apple corer and a mandoline for Christmas!) The tart apple filling balanced perfectly with the sweet shortbread crust.  As for the crumb topping, I  could eat it by the spoonful.  When making the recipe, it seemed like a lot of crumb topping but trust me, you want every morsel packed on top.

Step 1 - Make the crust

Step 2 - Make the filling

Step 3 - Make the topping

Step 4 - Assemble and Bake

Apple Pie Bars
from My Baking Addiction
Makes 4 dozen bars

For the Crust
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water, if necessary

For the Topping
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Make the Crust
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil, allowing it to come up the edges.  Grease the foil lightly. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms.

Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan creating an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

Make the Filling
In an extra large skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter with 1/2 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes or longer.  Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated.  Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and if necessary, add up to 1/2 cup of water to prevent scorching. Let cool. (I did not need to add any water to my skillet.)

Make the Topping
In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the pecans.

Assemble and Bake
Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into bars.
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