Barbie Doll Cake and Cupcakes Project – Barbie doll with a gown made of cake and cupcakes with chocolate toppers featuring the Barbie logo. Price available upon request.
i’m a barbie girl . . .
I have never owned a Barbie doll in my life. It was so expensive back then and we being five girls in all, our parents never spoiled us with toys because money was set aside for the more important stuff. My sisters and I, we never complained; we just amused ourselves with whatever toys were on hand. Paper dolls were big at that time. Sometimes we would make our own dolls from cardboard and cut dresses from colorful magazine pages. Yes, we did have the regular plastic dolls but then, we were not much into toys anyway. We spent a lot of time outdoors running around, playing badminton, hide and seek or chinese garter. It was only my youngest sister who became so enamored with dolls but I don’t remember if she ever asked for a Barbie.
When I got the call for this project, I was not sure if I can pull it off because I have never made something like this. Initially, what I had in mind was to make the Barbie image cake topper with chocolate. But M._ told me she wanted the “doll” cake for her daughter and sent me photos for reference. M._ is a sister of a loyal client so I could not refuse. Enter Google. As I searched online for instructions on how to make this cake, I told M._ that if I have to provide the doll, she will have to shell out more since the doll alone costs a lot. She said she will lend me one of her daughter’s dolls which has a built-in bodice.
Typhoon Glenda nearly sabotaged this project because a few days before this was due, Glenda came bringing with her a massive power outtage that lasted for days. I already texted M._ that if there was no electricity yet by Friday (delivery date was Sunday), then the project would have to be shelved. Fortunately, power was restored in the nick of time. Back to regular programming!
I needed a sturdy cake because the layers have to be stacked high so I used my golden butter cream cake recipe. I threw in some colorful sprinkles in the batter to liven things up. I baked one cake in a bowl to get the dome shape and the rest were baked in regular pans. I do not have a round cookie cutter so I relied on my DIY skills and used a champange glass to cut holes in the center of the baked cakes where the doll will be inserted. Barbie’s waist down to her legs were covered in plastic wrap to protect the doll from the whipped cream icing. The flowers on her gown were made of chocolate.
The cupcakes did not require much work as the cake did. Toppers were hand drawn using chocolate. Frosting was also whipped cream. I think I overdid it with the pink but hey, Barbie is mostly pink so there.
Thank you, weather gods for clearing the skies; thank you Meralco for restoring power in the nick of time; and thank you mommy M._ for your trust.
September 4th, 2014
Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
We always have a bunch of bananas in our house. My father loves them. I always have one before heading out to log my LSD (long slow distance) workout and then use it for a recovery smoothie when I return. But sometimes we have too many and they ripen too quickly.
There are myriad ways of using overripe bananas. Banana bread, banana cake, banana cupcakes, even soft serve ice cream. I’ve used it for a three-ingredient cookie recipe that I so love. And now, I discovered these banana oatmeal pancakes. There are also various ways of preparing these breakfast/snack treats. Some only use bananas and eggs. But I wanted a healthier pancake and when I saw a recipe that calls for oatmeal, I was on board.
I got this from the The Fat Kid Inside but I altered the recipe a bit. I don’t like topping my pancakes with syrup so I make sure I use overripe bananas with this because they lend enough sweetness and flavor. I also ditched the vanilla called for. I will try to use rolled oats next time. And hey, I added chocolate chips just because they make everything good taste better.
These babies are very filling. I think they will make a good recovery fuel as well after a long run because bananas, oats, cinnamon, eggs are staples in a runner’s diet.
1 overripe banana, mashed
1 packet Quaker instant oatmeal (any flavor)
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
add-ons: chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, bacon
1. Brush pan/griddle lightly with butter or oil and heat it on medium-low.
2. Mix all ingredients. Put about 1/4 cup of batter on the pan. After a few seconds, drop your add-ons.
4. Wait for about a minute before flipping the pancake. Cook for another minute or so. Makes about five smallish pancakes.
September 4th, 2014
Dark Side Cupcakes - Star Wars-inspired cupcakes with edible toppers. Price available upon request.
tempting, these cupcakes are!
Lexie just celebrated her birthday and now it was her big brother’s turn. After I handed over the “Frozen”-themed cake to Dr. M_’s household, I was handed back a thank you note accompanied by a request if I can make Darth Vader cupcakes for Liam who was turning 11. I only had a few days to do them but since I am a sucker for challenges, of course I said yes.
When my nephew P._ learned of this project, he told me to make Death Star cupcakes. I had no idea how to do that and with little time to make tests, I decoded to just make the Darth Vader chocolate toppers and edible red light sabers.
I have longed to do the light sabers ever since I got an inquiry for a similarly-themed project which never pushed through. Now here was my chance. The light sabers must remain stiff and using only chocolate paste just won’t cut it so I used pretzel sticks as base. The chocolate paste won’t stick to the pretzels so I just painted them with red chocolate.
As for the Darth Vader image, I searched for something easy for me to draw. Tedious the task was but rewarding in the end.
I was very happy with my handiwork and was glad when Dr. M._ said they were yummy. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!
As for the Death Star design, I hope to do that on my next project.
July 31st, 2014
Disney’s “Frozen”-themed Cake – decorated with images of Elsa, Olaf and some snowflakes, all made of chocolate. Price available upon request.
“the cold never bothered me anyway”-not!
I am not in my element in extremely cold places. Whenever I visit my sisters in New York, I easily get the shivers even if the temps are in the high 50s. It was spring the last time I was there, in May 2013, and I got a bad case of colds and allergies. So bad that I could not breathe as my nose was so stuffy. Having allergic rhinitis made matters worse. That’s what I got from going on an hour’s run in the park on a chilly morning (at least for me), with pollen flying around and me not wearing enough layers. To quote Charles Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For me.
Now what’s all this talk about the cold and the chills when the Philippines is experiencing one of the hottest summer ever this time of the year? Because my next project was a “Frozen”-themed cake. Dr. M_ asked me if I can make a cake along this line for her little girl Lexie. Naturally, I was thrilled. First, the good doctor is a loyal client. Second, I also made Lexie’s cake when she turned one (the cake theme then was Angry Birds). Third, they are just a stone’s throw away from where I live. Neat!
Frozen, a movie so popular it made Idina Menzel a household name and spawned the Adele Dazeem name generator. And. I. Haven’t. Watched. It. Though it posed no problem to my project, I felt a bit disconnected to the characters I was drawing in chocolate. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.
I had a great time creating the cake. Dr. M_ sent me some photos and seeing Lexie with the cake was good enough for me. Thank you Dr. M_ for the continued patronage!
July 23rd, 2014
Beer and Bacon Cupcakes – cupcakes infused with San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer with bacon bits on top. Price available upon request.
iba ang may pinagsamahan
The combo of beer and bacon in a cupcake might sound strange but surprisingly it works. You just have to look for or create the right recipe if you want the beer taste to stand out because as with all alcoholic beverages, beer easily gets baked out.
But why beer and bacon? I was preparing for a Father’s Day cupcake and I thought of chocolate and bacon. As I was searching for recipes, I came across a better fusion: beer and bacon. Game on!
The most popular recipes I found combine dark beer with chocolate. Sounds intriguing, right? So I put that on top of my list. Our nearest supermarket does not carry the beer called for (Guinness or Narragansett) so I just reached for the local version which is San Miguel’s Cerveza Negra. My test cake yielded a fluffy texture, great chocolate flavor but hardly a beer taste. I mean there is something different in there but you cannot place what it is. You will not really detect it’s there unless you are in on the secret. The cupcakes were delicious actually and even the youngsters in our house (aged 13-19, I swear!) gobbled them up, unfrosted. For the frosting, I first tried cream cheese with maple syrup and bacon drippings. It was too sweet for my palate but the youngsters preferred it. I frosted the remaining ones with ganache and to me and the other adults, it was perfect for the cupcakes.
I have never fried a bacon in my life. I hate frying more than anything because I don’t relish dodging hot sputtering oil. It’s a good thing bacon can be baked and this method is easier. You don’t have to flip the pieces because they bake evenly, you can cook a lot in one go, clean up is a breeze, you get them nice and crispy all the time and you don’t have to endure burns on your arms and hands. What’s not to love? More on how to bake your bacon later.
While the chocolate beer and bacon cupcakes I made looked good and tasted awesome, I felt they were impostors because the beer flavor I was looking for just wasn’t in it. I chanced upon Guinness in another supermarket so I tried again. Same results, just more chocolaty.
I tried another recipe that was like a vanilla cupcake with beer. I used San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer because I am patriotic that way even if I am not a beer drinker. Of course I sipped some and tried to fathom why people are addicted to the stuff. All I can say is that beer is not that bad after all and it is really best when chugged ice-cold.
The batter for this cupcake was too watery and just as I suspected when I slid them in the oven, they turned out gummy. But the beer flavor was intact. I turned to another recipe and this time the cupcakes turned out to my liking. To boost the beer flavor, I poked holes on the cupcakes and poured a tablespoon more of beer per cupcake. I also used whipped cream with beer for the frosting which was perfect because it looked like beer foam. And for the “crowning glory”, bacon bits on the border.
I liked this golden beer version better because the beer taste is there. It was somewhat sweet because San Miguel Premium is sweet. The cupcakes also stay moist even right out of the fridge. Naturally, the younger members of our household were a bit turned off, repulsed even, because they said they were too “beer-y.” Perfect!
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how to bake bacon
I shun the act of frying food not because I am not a fan of grease but because I hate getting splattered with hot oil. Baking is the way to go when you want your bacon crisp and perfect all the time. Here’s how:
1. Line a baking sheet with foil. If your oven can handle it, you can bake two batches at a time.
2. Arrange bacon side by side but don’t let them overlap.
3. Turn oven to 400 deg F. Some say it is best to bake it without preheating the oven while others preheat theirs. I really don’t know if there is a difference because I have tried both methods. Baking time depends on the thickness of your bacon. The key is just to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
4. Bake for about 12 – 15 mins, checking them for doneness near the end of baking time.
5. As soon as they turn golden brown, take them out of the oven and transfer at once to a paper towel-lined plate.
6. You can collect the the fat from the pan, store it in the ref and save it for other uses. Enjoy!
June 15th, 2014