Sunday, January 19, 2014

A baking adventure and Butter Cream Icing Recipe.

So! How is the new year treating you all? We are already in the third week of January and here I am.. a little late to be sure, but back, where I love being.
The weather has been good (though a little confused, I guess! I mean, this is Winter but, Dallas seems to think it's Spring already). We don't mind. 

It's too late for me to do a re-cap on 2013, so I will let that be, but I to want to highlight one thing.
2013 saw me baking and trying to decorate cakes. It started with a baby shower cake for an acquaintance who was expecting a little Princess and wanted a cake with flowers, almost like a bed of flowers with Mom and Baby in it.
Royal icing , gum paste decorations, flooding technique

I made the cake with 5 layers and with whipped and cream cheese frosting and a ton of royal icing flowers I made a cake topper ( The Mom and Baby in the stroller) out of gum paste and used flood icing  technique to color the cake topper.
The second cake was also a baby shower cake for a close friend who was due in September and was expecting a little Prince.
This was a layered chocolate cake with whipped cream in the layers and Whipped cream and cream cheese frosting. The cake was designed just like her baby shower invitation. I carefully cut the animal silhouette and traced it on parchment paper and then used it to make the animals. These were decorated using royal icing flooding technique. 

Royal icing , gum paste decorations, flooding technique

And in addition, a few more birthday cakes for friends or their spouses.I enjoyed that and in some remote corner of my mind, I started day-dreaming. Day-dreaming of doing this kind of thing often.
Then one day, I saw Sandra Lee do a show on some bake sale. Of course I day-dreamed of participating in one. Of course, I realized that it would not be as glamorous as hers, but that idea had taken root in my head.

Months passed, things happened and I fretted and fumed and cursed (a good bit) and life went on... school, homework, cooking and cleaning and some song-and-dance practice sessions thrown in between. Yes, you read right, song-and-dance, but for the son. It was a group performance for the DFW Maharashtra Mandal Sankrant Festival.
That was last Sunday.

But what made everything just, like.... like a dream come true was, an email I got from one of the Mom's in the group, she encouraged me to set up or participate in setting up a 'cupcake stall'. I was jumping around and biting my nails, all at once. After a bit of back and forth with her ( and constantly whatsapping M at work) I agreed.
I made my trusty vanilla and butter cupcakes. This time around, I made butter cream frosting (recipe below), which though on the sweeter side is a dream to decorate with and guess what? Everyone loved the frosting! 
I made regular cupcakes and then, as an experiment, I made 'cone cakes'. I made these using flat base ice-cream cones and filling them with the cake batter and baking them. They were a hit! They were sold out in minutes and  a few children were disappointed that they did not get any. (note to self: next time, whenever that is, make more 'cone cakes')

The regular cupcakes had a rose swirled on them (using the Wilton 1M tip) and then Sujata and I had made some pink butter cream roses, the night earlier, which were added on top.These were a hit with the little misses. 

My friend, Sonali, was a big help in coming to my aid on the day of the bake-sale, she helped me pack and sort and kept me motivated. 
M helped me haul everything to the venue and help set up and my Li'll S was my cashier. He was just perfect! A little over enthusiastic, maybe, but perfectly charming! 
He demanded tokens for the cupcakes people were just looking at, as I was decorating them, LOL! 

Overall, I am just so happy that everything went off so smoothly and was such a success. This little adventure has given me a bit of confidence in my abilities and that I can do something.
It has been a while since I felt like that. I have Smita, the mom from the group, to thank for it. I am glad she encouraged me to get into this.

I am looking forward to some more adventures like this! 


2 sticks Unsalted Butter (at room temp.)
1 lb. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Milk / Water

In a deep bowl or in the stand mixer bowl, add the butter sticks  and  beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and smooth.
With the beaters still going, slowly add the powdered sugar and combine.
Increase the speed a little and add the vanilla extract add milk / water (1 T at a time)
I sometimes add a hefty pinch of salt when I am making the icing. 
Beat until the whole thing comes together and looks smooth.
This icing has stiff consistency, perfect to pipe roses or other decorative flowers.

By adding water (a few drops at a time) you can change the consistency to medium which makes it perfect for swirling roses on top of the cupcake directly ( the white icing on the cupcakes in the picture above) or piping borders on cakes.

To make a thin consistency icing, add few drops of water, this is perfect to write on top of the cake.

That's it for this week and for my first post in 2014. Stay tuned for more, take care and keep smiling! 
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  1. That cool Pallavi!! Enjoyed your post and all your decorations..I am happy for you..

  2. the cakes turned out very well. looks yummy

  3. wow.. the perfect frosting you have shared :) loving the cakes and the cupcakes :)

  4. Oh how perfectly wonderful to set up a cupcake stall! Here's to many more sweet baking adventures this year.

  5. I read your post with a big smile, I am so happy for you! May you find lots of success and happiness in this new year. The traced animal silhouette's look lovely, I can imagine the hard work. And was that your first tiered cake? Did your heart skip a beat when you placed the top tier hoping its perfectly centered? :-) I love your idea of using ice cream cones for cupcakes. I also love the fact that you were decorating on the spot, it adds a special touch of 'decorated just for you' and also indicates that the product is really fresh and not been on the shelf for long. I have a suggestion for next time - along with the regular cupcakes you can also offer to make a custom design of the buyers choice on the cupcake for an extra charge. There are many tutorials on youtube for making dog faces, fish, bunny etc. and samples of one of each kind could be displayed for making a choice. You can also do this as an event for a birthday party :-) My best wishes and lots of love!

    - Priti

  6. Congrats for your endeavours. Way to go girl.

  7. Congragulations and all the bakes and decorations look so good.

  8. Hi Manasi, you've certainly had an adventurous and very creative 2013 and last few weeks! You are a wonderful cake-maker-- I would never have the patience to decorate so beautifully. And what a cute idea to have a cupcake stall. I am not surprised at all that it was a great hit. Here's to seeing even more creative cakes and other recipes on your blog in 2014!

  9. Wonderful cupcakes. Happily following you.

  10. Delurking ...happy for u...keep up the good work- Mini 😊

  11. beautiful cupcakes.......... also view my space


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