Harry Potter’s Happee Birthdae Cake – inspired by the pink cake in the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Price available upon request.
My cousin J._ is an artist and could have easily baked this cake for her daughter herself but she again asked me to do the honors for her this year. Maybe because she has a lot on her plate on the big day with all the preparations and stuff. What’s so endearing is that she travels some 17 kilometers from Quezon City to Makati just so she can meet with me and pick up the cake. Everytime. I myself comes from Paranaque so we meet halfway.
This year’s theme was Harry Potter’s pink cake that Hagrid baked for Harry’s 11th birthday. Except that the cake I was tasked to make was for Gwen’s 14th birthday. My cousin told me the color must be Pepsodent pink. Hmm, is Pepsodent in the market still? I’ve forgotten what shade of pink it was.
The cake was devil’s food chocolate because that’s what the book said. I filled it with dark chocolate ganache just because. The tricky part was getting the pink frosting not to turn into a nauseating hue. I found a tip: add some cocoa to temper the brightness and make it a bit wee pinkish brown. I added some red color too for good measure. I threw away the first batch I made because it tasted yuck (I followed a cocoa-flavored whipped cream frosting and just added the coloring but somehow the flavor was so off) and it turned darker, on the red side. So I just used the normal proportions for the whipped cream frosting, added just a bit of cocoa and adjusted the colors by eye. From the looks of it, I think it worked.
I made sure to include all the cracks on the cake. It was so funny because when I opened the box, there was this little smudge of frosting on the inside of the box. Perfect! Just like in the movie!
I was also testing some cauldron cupcakes and when I got this cake request, I thought it was perfect timing. So I added three little cakes to go with the main cake. More on the cupcakes later.
J. _ said the birthday girl was so thrilled with her cake and that her words after the first bite was “MMMSARAAP”, yes in all caps! Translation: So good!
Tha’s good enough for me. Thanks, J._, as always!
October 30th, 2015
Frozen-themed Cake and Cupcake Project v. 3 – Elsa and Olaf on the cake and cupcakes. Price available upon request.
let it go, not!
I am training for my second full marathon happening next year but somehow, I had not been as enthusiastic as I was with my first. Maybe because I had covered the distance already and know that I am capable of finishing it. Recently, a running buddy asked my progress and I said I missed a couple of training days because as with all non-elite runners, life happened.
I once made a mistake of accepting a last minute project two days before a half marathon. I was up on my feet all day and was so exhausted I forgot to put my legs up the wall after my day was done because I went to La La Land once I hit the bed. My race did not go well as I missed my goal time and worse, I suffered cramps at the 18k mark, just as I was about to crank up my pace to hit my target time.
Lesson learned: do not accept projects close to my scheduled races. Now you see where my priorities lie.
I had already done two Frozen-themed cake projects so I can say that I’m turning to be quite the pro at this but this latest one had been somewhat challenging. My friend N._ requested if I can add Olaf cupcake toppers to the snowflake ones I did in my previous project. Sure, I said.
The tricky part was drawing a resized Olaf as cupcake toppers. I ditched the idea of drawing just the head because to me it is unappealing. So I painstakingly drew each Olaf all in his full body glory. They looked really nice, don’t you think?
I was persuaded by N._ to stay and join the festivities. I did and I was glad because two of my closest friends in elementary and high school also came and it was fun touching base with them.
Thanks, N._ for the continued support! Now back to my running.
September 23rd, 2015
Emoji Cupcakes – featuring various emojis, decoration made of white chocolate. Price available upon request.
I hadn’t planned on doing these but a friend suggested I make them so here goes. I was making Olaf toppers (yes, the snowman from “Frozen”, but more on that in another post) for a cake and cupcake project. My friend saw the outcome and was impressed. A few days later, J._ sent me a video of a baker decorating cookies with emojis. Ok, I got the point – challenge accepted!
I was testing chocolate cake recipes for another project. I needed a cake that was firm enough to handle the white chocolate coating because my go-to devil’s food chocolate is too soft. After flipping through a stack of baking books, I finally just reached out for my tattered recipe notebook and used one of the very first chocolate cake recipes I did culled from a Good Housekeeping baking book. I baked a quarter of the recipe into cupcakes. They were buttery and chocolaty. But will they taste good with the white chocolate coating? Then came the light bulb moment. What perfect timing for the emoji cupcakes!
I had my iPhone right beside me as I was consulting it for the emojis. Fortunately, I had all the colors I need, leftovers from my previous projects that used white chocolate modelling clay. It was really a challenge but when I saw the finished product, I could not help but muster this:
I offered my nephew P._ a cupcake and he said he will just have a tiny bit. But when he tasted it, his eyes lit up and asked if he can have the whole thing. I guess that solved my conundrum. No words. Just
September 17th, 2015
Frozen-themed Cake and Cupcake Project v.2 – featuring Anna on the cake and chocolate snowflakes on the cupcakes. Price available upon request.
welcome back, jenny!
We are very close to our neighbors and we consider them family. I remember when the boys A._ and J._ were still little, they used to come over our house early in the morning in their pjs just so they can play with my hamsters. Every New Year’s eve, we set up tables and sound system in our street and have a party, blow horns, light sparklers and firecrackers and watch the spectacular fireworks as we countdown to the last seconds of the old year and usher in the new year. Years went by and we grew older and some of our friends/families moved to other parts of the world. So when they came home to surprise their dad who was dealing with a health issue, everybody went ballistic, in a good way of course.
They planned a thanksgiving party to celebrate their dad’s recovery. It was also little Janey’s birthday so it was part of the festivities. Jane is a Frozen fan but she is more enamored with Anna instead of Elsa so her mom requested a cake featuring Anna. Since I already made that cake, all I had to do was look for an Anna drawing.
But wait, there’s more. Cupcakes were also to be served. I thought a snowflake topper would look nice so that’s the design I made. With chocolate. I was working against the clock because the project was a last-minute request. How can I say no to family?
The party was a loving tribute to the patriarch of the family. They were still not complete as one daughter was unable to come due to scheduling conflicts. Nevertheless, it was still a happy occasion. Though people left to go on with their lives in their neck of the woods far from their family, everyone will have wonderful memories frozen in their hearts and minds. See you again, somewhere, sometime!
July 17th, 2015
to share or not to share
I found this recipe for a 30-minute Chocolate Cake for Two in Yahoo and the accompanying photo was so seductive that I had to try making it. It looked so chocolaty and it’s cooked in the microwave. Easy peasy.
I followed the suggestion to cook it in three batches using the same mug, 1/2 cup of batter at a time. I was surprised when the first batch was done because it rose so high and looked good enough for one whole mini cake. My issue was that when I flipped the mug, the cake did not release properly, with the bottom part sticking to the base. Was it because I did not grease the mug heavily? Probably. The next batches also rose so high. Great, I have three mini cakes!
What I liked about it was the texture. It was like a chocolate chiffon cake, springy but a bit dry, maybe I should lessen the 1-minute cooking time by a few seconds the next time. It was good while warm and I immediately slathered a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of the broken cake pieces. Yummers!
But as it cooled, I think some of the chocolate flavor also cooled down. I could not find the “dark, decadent, rich” chocolate cake as described in the post. It wasn’t really bad, just not what I expected.
I did not follow the frosting recipe because I do not like confectioner’s sugar in my chocolate frosting and I am such a ganache girl. So there.
The ganache really made a huge difference in terms of chocolaty-ness and it added moisture to the cake.
I do not know if I will make the cake again. If I’m going to have a chocolate cake, I want the chocolate flavor to be intense and this cake alone does not have it. Well, it might be the limitation of being cooked in a microwave. If ever I do make this again, I will probably replace some of the flour with more cocoa and use melted butter instead of canola oil. I rate this a notch below the Nutella Lava Mug Cake I made before. Yes, a notch below, because I have only tried making just two mug cakes so far *wink*.
30-Minute Cake for Two, (from Broma Bakery)
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 7 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
For the frosting
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- dark chocolate shavings (optional)
Or you can use this: (my own recipe)
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- 1/4 cup cream
- dark chocolate shavings (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix together all dry cake ingredients with a fork. Add in wet ingredients, stirring until combined. Heavily grease three large mugs* and evenly distribute batter into mugs (~1/2 cup of batter each).
- Microwave each mug by itself for 1 minute on high. Remove from microwave and shake slightly to loosen cake from mug. Flip mug over onto parchment paper-lined plate or board. The cake should drop right out. Repeat with remaining mugs, then place into freezer for 5 minutes, or until the cakes cool to room temperature.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. For frosting 1: Combine all ingredients in a standing mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. For frosting 2: Microwave all ingredients for about 15 seconds. Stir until uniformly melted. Remove cakes from freezer and frost the top of each layer before stacking. If using, shave dark chocolate over the top of the cake using a sharp knife.
*don’t have 3 uniform mugs? Use one, cleaning thoroughly between cooking each layer!
June 16th, 2015