Two Peas in a Pod Cake

Recently I had a rare opportunity of making a cake for a twin-baby shower. Not only I had a pleasure of baking and decorating the cake for the event, but I was also invited to the party. Who would have thought that sleepless nights and worrisome care of two newborns could have such a wonderful beautifying effect on the mother! Eva, you do look fabulous and the little ones are absolutely adorable! My very best wishes to you and your family!

I tried to match the colors of the fondant and the insides of the cakes. The bottom tier was a lemon cake soaked in Limoncello syrup, filled with raspberry preserves and pink color fresh raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream. The upper tier was the same lemon cake, but filled with lemon curd and vanilla bean SM buttercream. Yellow and white looked nice with pale-blue fondant.

Click to see closeup photos…

Puff Pastry Strawberry Coconut Cookies

These are super easy and quickly-done (provided you’ve made the puff pastry in advance or bought it) cookies that go well with ice-cream and fruit salad.

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Alduin the World Eater Dragon Cake

The World Eater is now facing danger to be eaten!

When we asked our son to make a wish-list for his upcoming birthday, the only thing he wrote there was to have an Alduin cake for his birthday party. Under no circumstances could I decline his request. It turned out by far the most time consuming project I have ever endeavored. Aside from its complexity, it was also my very first attempt in air brushing (I got this toy on my own birthday a few months ago, but didn’t dare to start using it until now, so Alduin also served as my guinea pig. And, oh boy, did I love it, despite the fact that my whole kitchen is now colored in a gentle brown-silver hue).

The cake itself and the dragon was my attempt to reproduce a sculpture from a set of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Collector’s Edition (a computer game by Bethesda). I started making it using photos I found on the internet. Later, when we purchased the set, I realized that my pretty birdy was getting way too big, almost twice the size of the statue. To make the whole thing proportional, I had to scale up the size of the cake itself. It was made of four 13″x18″ sheets of chocolate cake, soaked in strawberry syrup, and sandwiched with bittersweet strawberry ganache (5 lbs of chocolate). Alduin’s core is made of modeling chocolate. His scales, horns, and spikes are made from gum paste. The double-sided wings are half-and-half (fondant/gum paste). His eyes are Swarovsky crystals. At first, I planned to make them edible from isomalt, but these ruby-like gems were so perfect in their brightness and size, so I changed my mind. I knew Tim would never ever let anybody have a bite from Alduin, so a couple unedibles seemed OK.

On the stone it says “Happy Birthday Tim” transcribed in Dragon alphabet. The script is also by Bethesda. In the game, the runes mean “shouts” or special magic words that suppose to help the player to defeat the dragon.

Tim loved his cake. Seeing his happy lit face was priceless. I hope my dragon turned out recognizable enough, and gives its justice to the famous dragon. I have never been a computer game junkie myself, but this one got me hooked, I have to admit. The Skyrim is amazing, gorgeously designed game, and absolutely deserves the title the best game of the year of 2011.

P.S. I thought I was so clever and original in making the cake as the Collector’s Edition statue, but it’s already been done by Charm City Cakes (aka Ace of Cakes) for no less than Bethesda itself.

Click to see many more photos…

Carrot Orange Muffins

I bet everyone has their tried-and-true carrot cake/muffins recipe, but I will still share mine since I believe this recipe is pretty awesome. I put a little bit of banana puree in, not too much to turn them into banana muffins, but just enough to make them extra moist and fragrant. I like using fresh pineapple finely chopped in a processor, but I usually do so to utilize some leftover pineapple, other days canned pineapple does the job.

Because the batter is wet, the tops of the muffins don’t dome that high which makes them perfect for piping a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting. You should try my recipe for icing sugar-free honey frosting. Substitute honey (some or all) for maple syrup and add a bit of orange zest to compliment the orange-flavored muffins.

The batter can be also baked as a cake in a deep 9×13 inch pan or divided between three 9 inch round pans and assembled later into a more impressive-looking torte.

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Whole Wheat Black Olive Paste Focaccia

It makes really nice, earthy bread. This focaccia was inspired by Carol Field’s whole wheat focaccia.

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Loose Stealth Elf Skylander Cake

I had so much fun making this cake. As well as Pokemon, the Skylander theme gives numerous possibilities to a cake designer. And as I’ve heard, there are more characters on their way.

This pugnacious girl is made of gum paste.

Click to see closeup photos…


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