Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day picnic

Today we enjoyed family time with the extended family. I love getting together and visiting with this amazing family I married into. Today I was feeling a little tired so I sat and listened and watched everyone mingle. What I saw was a family full of love and adoration for each other. Many I really do feel blessed. I wish everyone enjoyed their spouses family the way I enjoy mine!

Of course I was thrilled to make the cakes. Ryan's cousin Jimmy will celebrate his Bday tomorrow so I made the big cake for him. He choose chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Then Ryan asked that I make Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It was a last minute thing so I used cake mixes and they turned out so wonderful. Cake mixes really are easy and they always do turn out. I did make the vanilla frosting simply because I wanted to frost it good and smooth and you just can't do that with store bought.

I tried a few of the tricks I had recent posted about. I used the spaghetti noodles to test if the cake was done and I wondered why i had never heard of this trick sooner. If the cake is not done you just brake off the part of the noodle you used and try again in a couple of minutes. I also changed the tempurature to 325 instead of 350 and that worked great. My cake was almost level. Much better then having a big huge piece you have to cut off. Since I was in a hurry I didn't even level the cake and it turned out mostly level.

My favorite trick which I will always use is viva paper towels! Life saver!! You crumb coat, let set, then give a nice smooth-as-you-can coat, let it set, then (this is the cool part) you use the paper towel to smooth the frosting. This video shows how I did it. It is kind of a long video but the lady shows it off real well.
You can skip the first 6 minutes if you just want to see the paper towel technique.

Look how smooth, almost like fondant. I am hoping the more I try it the smoother I can get it.

Then I made a bunch of cupcakes for the kids. Since today is national BBQ day, and we were not eating hamburgers, I decided to bring it into the cupcakes. These are mini nilla wafers with chocolate frosting for the patty and red and yellow writing frosting for ketchup and mustard.
Then my adorable husband came home and suggested adding fries. I was trying to finish up the cake before it was time to go so I told him he was more then welcome to make some. Didn't they turn out good? I told him we should open up a bakery together, then we both laughed.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate orange vegan cake recipe

Crème-filled Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

This rich, award-winning cupcake took top honors on Cupcake Wars, making vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli the first vegan to claim victory in a Food Network competition.

By Chloe Coscarelli
Makes 12 cupcakes
What you need:
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
Orange Buttercream Filling (See Recipe)
Chocolate Ganache (See Recipe)

What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together orange juice, canola oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
5. Once cupcakes are completely cool, fill each cupcake with Orange Buttercream using a pastry bag with a narrow tip. Spread Chocolate Ganache evenly over each cupcake and top with 2 slices of Candied Orange Peel.

Chocolate Ganache

By Chloe Coscarelli
What you need:
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
3 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil at room temperature
What you do:
Using a double boiler or microwave, add almond milk and melt chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Whisk in coconut oil until smooth.

Orange Buttercream Filling

By Chloe Coscarelli
What you need:
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup refined coconut oil at room temperature
1 tablespoon orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
What you do:
In the bowl of a standard mixer, combine powdered sugar, coconut oil, and zest. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. With the mixer running, add 1 tablespoon of orange juice at a time, until the desired buttercream consistency is reached.

Strawberry cake failure- sort of

This cake turned out the texture of spongy foam. During the cooking process it began to rise then fell and kept on falling

I took the failure and turned it into something super yummy. I added strawberry glaze to the indent and then put a touch of coconut frosting on top.
I will be searching further for the perfect vegan strawberry cake. Joshua wants it for his birthday cake that will be three layers. I have a couple weeks to figure it out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tips to try

I have been reading cake blogs trying to learn all I can. I guess it's my way of going to school since school for me is not really an option with 6 kids. I joked with my older two the other day that I Graduated from the U, youtube univiersity that is. I love all that the internet has to offer.

Here are some things I want to try.
When baking cupcakes raise the temperature 400 when preheating then lower to 350 when you put the cupcakes in
When baking cakes lower temperature to 315-320 to help lower the dome affect.
If you put chocolate chips into cake, coat with flour first so they won't go straight to the bottom
Smores cupcakes with graham cracker crust and marshmallow frosting
viva paper towels to smooth buttercream frosting
floral wire to add pop
use spaghetti noodles to check doneness of cake
recipe replacer- 1 ounce of chocolate= 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
never frost a frozen cake- always let it come to room temperature first

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

88 is a number to celebrate

Grandma June loves lemon cake so it only seemed right to make her this lemon coconut cake filled with lemon curd then topped with lemon curd.

I wish this picture turned out better but isn't she just the cutest thing ever. I only hope I look that good at 88!
Happy birthday Grandma.

Comfort Birthday cake.

Ryan's family is mourning the lose of a dear loved one. We were blessed to get together Saturday to comfort one another and also celebrate His Grandma's birthday.

So when I was trying to decide what kind of cake to make I thought rich chocolate mixed with light vanilla. Comfort foods.

I made my favorite chocolate cake but added in a cup of milk chocolate chips. Then I made a white cake ( I am still on a mission to find the best white cake) I put them together with a yummy chocolate frosting mixed with toffee bits. I obviously did not make it Vegan so I did not get to taste it but it got good reviews.

I was so pleased with the checker board effect on the inside. It looks so fancy but it is so easy. I posted how to do this here
Moist Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (to make it vegan I either use flax seed or powdered eggs)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

  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 electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (Cake may be left in rectangular pan, if desired.) Frost with ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING. 8 to 10 servings.

    6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened I use earth balance to make it vegan
    2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
    1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
    1/3 cup almond milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Don't knock it till you try it.

Avocado and Cake? Ryan has served us avocado in a milkshake before and it is actually very good. I think that is the only reason I could see past the scariness of this recipe.

I served this to two different groups this week. Here is what I found. The chocolate avocado cake when served with other frosting was well received. No one could tell it had avocado in it. The avocado actually made it very moist and I will use this recipe often.

Now the frosting was a very different story. Jared thought it was the best frosting ever. Most people actually really enjoyed it if they did not know it was avocado making it green. Once some of the kids knew- they were grossed out and wouldn't touch it. The adults seemed to either love it not care for it.

My opinion? I thought it was not as sweet as most frosting's, which I enjoyed. It had a very light taste and I did like that as well. It does not go under the most-favorite-want-to-make-it-everyday category though. But I will make it again.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado

makes 2 8-inch rounds or 2 thinner 9-inch rounds

3 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch rounds. Set aside.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar. Set that aside too.

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado.

Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.

Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting with avocado buttercream.

Avocado Buttercream Frosting

from Alton Brown

8 ounces of avocado meat, about 2 small to medium, very ripe avocados

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel and pit the soft avocados. It’s important to use the ripest avocados you can get your hands on. If the avocados have brown spots in the meat, avoid those spots when you scoop the meat into the bowl.

Place the avocado meat into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Add lemon juice and whisk the avocado on medium speed, until slightly lightened in color and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat. Add vanilla extract until combined. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator. Don’t worry. It won’t turn brown!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vegan lemon coconut flower cake

I was so excited to make this cake. I love the way the whole thing turned out. Here is the top.I was going to leave it like this but I ran out of the yellow frosting to add one more layer to make the sides really smooth.

So then I decided to make these cute little yo-yo flowers all over.So Springy looking I think. Is Springy a word? Let's rephrase that. It looks like Spring. The only problem is trying to convince the family, and myself, not to get into it. I'll post pictures of the vertical layering once we cut into it. Recipe is found here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The best cake I have ever eaten let alone made

I have a birthday luncheon in two days and I offered to bring the cake. I always love a reason to try something new. I got this crazy idea from a new cake blog I found. She combines 2 flavors of cake into to one amazing combo. I think she did vanilla and red velvet.

Around my house lemon is a favorite and with summer coming it seemed like a wonderful idea to start there. When I was looking up good recipes I saw coconut out there and realized I had to combine the two into one great cake of awesomeness.

I will give you a little picture tutorial and then recipes to follow.

First off bake an 8 inch vegan lemon cake and an 8 inch coconut cake. While they are baking make your lemon curd and your coconut frosting.

Then take an 8 inch cake board and draw a 6 inch circle and then a 4 inch circle. Then cut them out.

Lay them on top of your 8 inch cooled cake and with a good serrated knife cut out the shapes. See how I cut a straight line to get to the next circle?
Do this for both the lemon and the coconut cakes.
I wish I had a picture of this next part but you carefully separate each circle and lay them off to the side. I put mine on a cookie sheet I believe.

Now is the fun part. You will put the cakes back together but in an alternating pattern like this.

See how pretty that looks? You will have two cakes with the opposite pattern.

Now you will use the coconut frosting to pipe a well around your cake. This is so that your lemon curd will not leak.

Then with a spoon simply spoon on the curd until you have a nice layer that looks like this.
Place your second circle cake on top of your newly filled layer. It should look like this.

I guess I put a little to much lemon curd because it did spill over just a touch. No worries though. I simply ran my finger along the edge sealing in the curd as I filled in the holes with the excess frosting. I also used extra frosting to fill in line I had made to get to each inner circle.

I put on a nice crumb coat and stuck it into the fridge to finish tomorrow.

But because I did not want to torture my family with the yummy smells I made a mini version. I only had excess cake mix for a 6 inch round . I cut that in half and filled the same I showed you above. I then put the leftover lemon curd on the top because dinner had only a minute or so left until it was time to eat. This is what it looked like.
My husband kept saying, "This is vegan?" Yeah it is and it really is that good. My kids were licking their fingers and licking the plate. The baby called it a donut I think because the curd tastes like jelly filling and the frosting was so donut frosting like.

A 6 inch cake was just the perfect size for my family of 8. If there had been more we would have grown gluttonous and not have been able to enjoy our outing to the park that came afterwards.

I am excited to decorate this cake and have it look pretty as well as taste good.

The lemon cake came straight from the internet. The other recipes I adapted to my vegan needs and the flavors that I wanted.

Vegan Lemon Cake


1 large lemon (juice and rind)

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

6 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vinegar (Yep, vinegar, but I promise you, you won’t taste it.)

1 tsp. vanilla



Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift flour, sugar and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Mix them together fairly well.

Then grate all your lemon rind into a measuring cup.

Then, take your already sorely abused lemon, cut it in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into your measuring cup.

Next add water to your rind and lemon juice until you have filled one cup.

Pour your lemon juice mixture into your bowl of dry ingredients.

Add oil, vanilla, vinegar.

Mix well.

Mixture will foam.

Pour into an ungreased 8 inch cake pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until cake bounces back a bit when you touch its center.

Vegan Lemon Curd

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 Tblsp. cornstarch
3 Tblsp. thinly grated lemon zest (I used 3 large lemons to get this amount), divided
2 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine (or other vegan alternative)

6 Tblsp coconut milk (the kind that is meant as a milk replacement found with the other milk in a carton, not the kind found in a can)


Combine the lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and 1 Tablespoon of the lemon zest in a blender. Blend for a few seconds until mixed well.

Pour mixture into a saucepan and add the rest of the lemon zest. Whisk quickly while pot is over medium heat. You want to make sure you are stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil.
Stop stirring and let the lemony liquid boil on its own for 1 minute. It should thicken and turn somewhat clear.

Add coconut milk and Earth Balance, and stir in well with the whisk.
Remove pot from heat. Cool the curd in room temperature air, then you can refrigerate it in a covered container until you want to use it.
It will continue thickening as it cools. This should last about 2 weeks while refrigerated and covered.

Vegan Coconut Butter Cream Frosting


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (the kind that is meant as a milk replacement found with the other milk in a carton, not the kind found in a can)
  • 8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Mix shortening, salt, coconut milk, vanilla, coconut, and almond extract, and half of the powdered sugar with a mixer for 5-10 minutes. (it's very important to mix this long)

Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat just enough to mix in.

Add additional coconut milk for desired consistency.

Vegan Coconut Cake


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 7 egg whites or Energ Egg Replacer equivalent of 5 eggs prepare per package instructions (energ egg replacer is a vegan substitute for eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk (again the kind that is meant as a milk replacement found with the other milk in a carton, not the kind found in a can)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or spray) a 8 inch and a 6 inch round. Sift then mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time; beat well. Mix in coconut flavoring. Add flour mixture alternately with coconut milk, mixing well with each addition. Fold in coconut. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

I made that.

I made a rose on my first try and I love the way it turned out. I had leftover frosting from the wonder woman cake so I was trying some new things. I wish I would have taken a picture of my hydrangea failure but the rose, I love it. I love it so much I am going to try to cover the top of an entire 8 inch tomorrow with that design. Wish me luck.


It's only truly a failure if I don't learn from it. I put fondant on my cake right after pulling my crumb coated cake from the freezer. Now I know this can cause fondant to buckle and become over all not so pretty. The night I made the cake it looked so pretty and smooth. But then when they sent me this picture form the party I was sad to see what it had become. Lesson learned. Let my cake sit at room temperature over night before I attempt to put fondant on.

Mothers Day

My MIL has 13 children and over 20 grandchildren. She really is amazing so Ryan and I made this for her for Mothers Day. I think she deserves a little wonder in her life.

Cakes that have turned out and I actually am proud of.

I made this one for my birthday just a couple weeks ago. My first attempt at making a 3 dimensional character. This cake was so yummy too. I found the recipe here.
I did not use the chocolate ganache for my cake but I made this recipe the other night and I believe it was a big hit. I didn't taste it sense it was not vegan.

The blue butter cream is the smoothest I have ever done and it gives me hope that I am really getting better. Isn't this cake adorable?
This cake took me about 10 minutes to frost. I did not crumb coat it so that helped. This cake was an after thought and I love it! I think it would be so cute as a wedding cake.

This counts as a cake right? One of the yummiest summer treats around. Strawberry trifle.

I made this just for because. It was Christmas time and I just wanted to make it. Very elegant I think.

My favorite cake Ever!

Jacob LOVES toy story 3 so I had to make him this cake. I think once I made this I started to remember how much I love making cakes. I also realized there is a whole new world of designs I have yet to discover.

Kid creations

Teacher appreciation week was last week and the kids wanted to make something cute for their teachers. I did not think they could do the apples on their own but look how good they did? Can you see in the back Emma even made a little eraser?

My 10 year old sister in law and my niece were over the other day when I was playing with frosting and I let them have at it. I love watching children create.
Jared made this one for scouts. I made the candy lava but he did the rest.

More old school cakes

This girl loved her Dora

This cake makes me laugh. Jared wanted a Lord of the Rings/Star wars cake. I think that is supposed to be the hobbits home? He thought it was so awesome. That is why I like to do my children's bday cakes. They are easily pleased.

This was for Joseph's first birthday. It is supposed to be a bath tub.

Do I need to clarify?

Megaphone for a neighbor. It seems so plan and kinda boring.
For a cub scout meeting.

Joseph was really into cars so naturally he needed a car cake. I forgot I made this cake. It is super cute. I wonder if I still have the pan?
Pirate cake for Jared. I guess not all his cakes were bad.
Not wowed by this cake but soemtimes good enough really is good enough.
Super easy campfire cake. This is another anyone could do cakes.

Not so amazing birtdhay cakes and super easy, anyone could make cakes.

This falls under the super easy category. I was making a bigger cake for Emma's bday this last year so for the family party she helped me throw this together last minute. I believe Emma made the paintbrush. It was made from fondant.

I believe this was right after Joseph was born and putting figures on a cake was all I could do that year. Sarah thought it was great.

Joseph wanted this simple cake for his bday party with his friends. I had made him a more complicated cake for his family party. Easiest cake I ever made. I didn't have to frost the sides or anything. Yes please.

Wow. When I look at that cake I am reminded of what a tough year that was and especially that 2 weeks surrounding Jared's birthday. The week before was when Joshua had put a pencil through his skull just missing his eye and not into the brain cavity. We had only been home for a couple days after a week in the hospital when we celebrated Jared's 9th bday. I was so tired. Then the next day Josh had complications with the meds that caused him to stop breathing and again we were back in the hospital.
So I don't excuse the ugly cake. I embrace that Joshua is doing just great almost 4 years later.

Again I think this one was due to pregnancy. The funny part to me is that it looks like I was almost trying.

I wasn't feeling this one for some reason and I decided to let Emma finish decorating it.

I don't really have an excuse for this one. This year his cake is going to rock. He seems to always get the crappy cakes.

And we will end with a costco cake with a toy added to help with the theme of the party. We had just moved into our new house and this was all the energy I could muster.