Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spun Sugar

I had this brilliant idea for a cupcake garnish, and it meant experimenting with Spun sugar. Now mind you, I've never done this before...It sounds quite simple, messy, but simple. Well, the making it part was simple. The getting it into small shiny strands...not so much! I definitely made a mess, not as bad as I would have thought, and I ended up with a lot more chunks of sugar (what looked like rock candy) then I did strands. All in all, I think I can still pull off a pretty nice looking garnish. Would I do it again, probably. I have learned though that when working with spun sugar you have to work fast, and have a ready supply of pan handles available to drape the sugar over.

But for those who like to creatively get messy in the kitchen, try it out. Here's what you do:

Spray pan handles with cooking spray and place plastic or newspaper under the lid handles on the floor. Ready a large bowl full of ice water (ice water bath).

Mix together 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan. Over medium high heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Cover the pan and boil 2-3 minutes. Uncover, stirring occasionally, allow to boil until temperature reaches 310 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and dip bottom of pan in the water bath and then allow to sit for about a minute to thicken. With a fork that has been sprayed with cooking spray stir the mixture and then flick the fork over the pan handles and allow to drip over. Let cool and your done! Spun sugar!

As always, Happy Baking!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cake Pops

I was inspired yesterday, I'm not sure why, but I decided to try my hand at making some Cake pops. Turns out, thanks to great advice from Bakerella and Kristine from Way More Than Cake, they are super simple and really cute! I started out with some scraps of dark chocolate cake that I had stored in my freezer. I crumpled them up into little chunks and mixed in some vanilla buttercream icing (I also had extra in the freezer) and combined it until it formed its own sort of dough like consistency, almost like cookie dough. I used a tablespoon to measure equal amounts and rolled each tablespoon into a ball. Then chilled them in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Then I melted some candy melts and rolled the end of the stick in it before I inserted it into the cake ball (this helps to hold it in place). Once I had all the sticks in place I melted more candy melts and added some shortening to thin the candy (paramount crystals work too). I dipped the balls into the candy and coated evenly. Then tapped the stick to remove any access candy and sprinkled with multi-colored sprinkles around the ball. I stuck the sticks in a piece of Styrofoam to dry and then wrapped them up and tied it all with a piece of ribbon.

These fun treats are perfect sized for favor gifts, school birthday celebrations, etc! I think they are one of my new favorite things! For decorative ideas and more POP fun check out either the Wilton website or And as always, Happy Baking!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Openning for Business

So, I have been slacking on the blog front lately, but for good reason. I have been diligently organizing myself and my business aspirations. That's right, I'm in the process of opening a business, a specialty cake and cupcake business. For those of you that are under the impression that home-based, small businesses are themselves, a piece of cake, I'm sorry to tell you that you are mistaken. I have been working regular work hours followed by long extended business hours of research, meetings, seminars and training. Preparation for a small business is neither fun nor exciting, but the prospect of doing something I enjoy for the rest of my life is so exciting I can hardly stand it!!

So bear with my obvious absences while I work through writing my business plan. I will continue to update my few and fellow followers on business status and will continue to use this blog in part with my business. This means a little restructuring for the blog! (Exciting I know).

For starters, I will not only post updates to the business (coming later this week!) but will also offer handy tips for those wanting to open their own business, interesting tips I come across or find handy, and the occasional fantastic recipe that I can't help but share! I will also be adding several pages to the blog for easier organization and making my blog more noticeable and findable on the web. So keep an eye out for news and more! Thanks for all of your support because without my friends, family and fellow bloggers, I would never have made the decision to form my dreams into realities!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Flavors

Fall  is a great time of year.  The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, the smell...well you know...Anyway, two of my favorite holidays take place in the fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And both  holidays are full of delicious smells and flavors.  So, I asked myself this year, how do I incorporate those smells and flavors into my cakes.  I have come up with two new flavors that I have added to my personal cookbook:  Caramel Apple Cider  and Pumpkin Gingerbread.  That's right,  both are sweet and spicy and make the whole house smell warm  and delicious.  I  have actually gone as far as building a tiered cake for Halloween (its a work in progress right now) with both these flavors!
On top of great flavors  also comes great fun!  With Halloween being just around the corner, I  am really excited to try some new techiniques out with the kids.  Here is a link to just a couple  of great Halloween ideas!  Just click on the cupcake pictures and it will take you to the Wilton site with step by step directions for each idea!

And if you are just not sure about your skills, look for a Wilton Basic Decorating course near you!  These cupcakes are all basic level and the techniques you learn in course one will allow you to easily re-create these cute ideas. (For those in the Calhoun County area, we still have spots available at Way More Than Cake.  Just Call Kristine and she will give you the details!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trade Secrets

You know those old tricks your grandma always talks about when it comes to baking? Well, most of them work wonders! 

 Here are a few tips and secrets your grandma may have tried to tell you about and you ignored:

1.   Use applesauce instead of oil.  It produces lower fat and moisture cupcake.
2.  Natural is always better.  Next time you make a flavored cake, try using the real deal instead of an extract (lemon juice and zest can make a great lemon cake and fresh pureed raspberries do wonders to a cupcake!)
3.  Try using pudding in the mix.  Sure you can buy a mix with it already in there, but making something from scratch and adding pudding mix in can not only add flavor but  the moisture and fluffiness is almost remarkable.
4.  For a more dense cupcake, try using vanilla yogurt in place of milk, it adds a  bit of uniqueness to your recipe.

And as always, happy baking!!!  :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Learning The Basics

Thousands of people world wide love to watch shows on TV like Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes or Cupcake Wars.  Are you one of them?  Do you wish you could create a fantastic looking cake in your own kitchen?  Here's your chance!

Way More Than Cake, on Michigan Ave in Battle Creek, 2 miles from the casino, is offering cake decorating courses.  (some of you may have already read about these courses on this blog).  You can learn everything from basics, to flower design, to using gum paste and fondant.   We are also offering courses on cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and candy making, as well as buttercream sculpting and tall cakes.  And we are offering these courses at a super affordable rate (40% off if you bring in a 2 can donation for the food drive--so that's like $25 for the course!!!)

If this is something you are interested in, stop by or call and talk to Kristine or Frank about getting registered today!  There are still openings for courses taking place in September and October, and classes are pretty flexible with sessions after work or on saturday mornings.  You can check out their website HERE for more information!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Decorating Courses are Here!!!!!

Like I promised, here are the specifics for cake decorating classes using the Wilton Method!

Classes will be held at Way More Than Cake! (1311 East Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49014)

Course 1: Decorating Basics will be held on Tuesday nights at 6pm OR Saturday Mornings at 11am in the month of September.  Courses meet 1 time per week for four weeks and each session will last 2 hours.

The cost of course one will be offered at 40% off (that's pretty cheap!!) and when you register at Way More Than Cake, you also get a pretty great discount off the student kit!

Keep an eye out as more information will be available soon, including a calandar schedule for courses posted on the webpage!

For more information please contact me (Sarah) OR Kristine at Way More Than Cake or stop by the store and check it out!!!  Can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yey for Teaching!!

I have recently found out that I will soon be teaching Wilton method courses for decorating cakes, cookies, etc.  I am super excited about this opportunity and can't wait to start.  I wanted to use this opportunity to let everyone know as much information as I can give right now.  Classes will be held on Tuesday nights and on Saturdays at Way More than Cake on Michigan Ave, near Wattles Park in Battle Creek.  If you are interested in taking the cake basics course (to learn the basic techniques to get you started), please contact me or Kristine at Way More Than Cake for  more information.  I don't exactly know when courses are going to start yet, but I will post more information as soon as I find out. 

You can get more information on what the courses offer at the Wilton website.  Again, I look forward to sharing my skills with everyone in my community!!!!  Keep an eye out here for more announcements on courses as well as a coming soon post on Velvet Cakes (I'm experimenting this week)

Happy Baking!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cupcake Fun

Cupcakes are all the rage right now.  Whether your a plain jane vanilla type or a  Chocolate Amaretto with Hazelnut filling kinda crazy, there is always some kind of delightful little creation for every single person out there.  And they are so versitile, little hassle, and come in a single serving kind of goodness.  I love making cupcakes, they are light and fluffy, sometimes gooey and always yummy!  Here are some of my favorite cupcake tips:
1.  When making a fruit or vegetable cupcake (banana or Zucchini for example) try using applesauce instead of oil, they come out moist and a little sweeter, and this is a lower fat substitute.
2. Use a liner, its less mess and ready to serve.
3.  Scoop into the liner with an Ice Cream scoop, and only fill about 1/2 - 3/4 full.
4.  Check on them about 2 minutes before the recommended cook time is up...all ovens cook differently.
5.  Cool completely before trying to frost, that way the frosting won't melt.