Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's your favorite flavor?

What is your favorite flavor of cake?  I'm taking a poll!!
Chocolate, Carrot, Coconut, Vanilla, Lemon, Italian Cream, or Other?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, April 11, 2011

My First Wedding- Mini Cupcakes & 6" Cake

This weekend I reached a new milestone!  I did a wedding!!  It was such an honor to be able to contribute to the celebration.  I loved that the bride and groom knew exactly what they wanted and were able to communicate that to me.  They choose three flavors of cake.  Lemon cake, with Lemon Curd Filling and a Lemon Buttercream topped with a fresh raspberry,  White Cake, with a Raspberry filling, and a Swiss Meringue Frosting sprinkled with toasted coconut, 

Devilishly Moist Chocolate Cake, with a Fudgy Frosting.  Everything was all natural with no food coloring or fondant.  All the recipes I used were from my very favorite cake cookbook of all time by Tish Boyle, The Cake Book.

For the top tier on the cake stand, I made a 6" White Cake, with a Raspberry Filling, and a Swiss Meringue Frosting sprinkled with toasted coconut.  She wanted 125 of each flavor of mini cupcakes, I ended up with a few extra of each flavor, and the total was more than 400 mini cupcakes!  We calculated three cupcakes per guest, one of each flavor.  My husband helped me deliver and set up.  He was a huge help!!  The bride had fresh flowers that I used to decorate the top of the cake and around the mini cupcakes.

It took us a good 1 1/2 hours to set up the cupcakes just right.  Amazingly the frosting was in good shape when we got there (thanks to my hubby's careful driving!!) and all we had to do was place the raspberries on the Lemon mini cupcakes.  Just a few of the mini's got messed up and so some people (family of the bride and groom) had a little "taste test" as we were setting up, since we had plenty of extras this was not a problem. The bride and groom had a guard near by all day, so no one would be temped to do their own taste test.

I pray Jeff and Christi have a blessed life together and enjoy each other to the fullest!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Ingredients

I often think about what exactly goes into my family's food.  The choices I make, I make because I believe they are the best choices for my families health.  I'm not so strict and rigorous that my kids don't consume junk food or processed food, but I try to make those a very small percentage of what they actually eat.  That is one of the many reasons I started baking from scratch.

Please understand, I'm not trying to say eating cake is actually good for you, but if we are going to eat it, shouldn't it be the best it can be?

I must tell you, I'm a label reader.  I looked at the back of the cake box and there were things included in the mix that I didn't want to pay for with our money, and health.  Things like High Froutose Corn Syrup (HFCS), or Hydrogenated Fats (Trans Fats), and things that sound foreign to me like: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate.  Which is some sort of salt, I can figure that much out, but there are many things listed on a basic white cake that I'm not sure of what it is and certainly doesn't sound like food to me.  For example:

My basic rule of thumb is if it doesn't sound like food, it's probably not really food, or they would call it by it's name.  It's most likely artificial or imitation food.  Another rule of thumb that is easy understand is, when the food is closer to the way God made it, the better it is for you.  The more we processes it, the less it resembles the original food to our eye and to our bodies.  Another factor to consider is when certain elements that have been isolated out of the food, they may be missing certain key elements that make it viable to the body.  Vitamins and minerals, all work together in a complex way to nourish our being.  God made the apple with hundreds of components, not just vitamin C.  Sorry, I just don't buy that science is smarter than God.  We are just not that advanced.  If you would like to learn more about today's food and what it means, I recommend this great book by Michael Pollan- In Defense Of Food.

When I make food from scratch, I use ingredients that I can pronounce, and know exactly what they are.  Like flour, butter, eggs, milk, sugar, sea salt, baking powder, and baking soda.   All familiar, traditional ingredients, and guess what?  I feel happy putting these things into my food, it gives me a wholesome pleasure to watch them all come together.  I enjoy cooking, and I think there is beauty in the raw ingredients, the colors, the textures are all somehow soothing to my soul.  Not to mention, real food actually tastes better to me than the artificial food.  Not that the artificial food doesn't taste good, but side by side I can taste the difference, and so can many other people, I know because they they have told me!

I'm not perfect, and neither is the list below.  If anyone has special requests, I'm very happy to accommodate them.  :)  So, with no further ado, here ya go.

These are the ingredients I put into my cakes (depending on the recipe & availability of course!):
Unbleached All Purpose Organic Flour by Central Milling Company
Unbleached Cake Flour by King Arthur Flour
Organic Cane Sugar by Wholesome Sweeteners
Organic Large Grade AA Brown Eggs, Cage Free and Humane Certified by Kirkland
Organic Butter by Kirkland, or Conventional Butter with no rBST
Organic Milk by Kirkland
Conventional Powdered Sugar purchased in bulk from Costco
Conventional Food Coloring by Wilton, AmeriColor, and Adams Extract
Rumford Cornstarch from Non-Genetically Modified Corn
Rumford Aluminum-free Baking Powder, or 365 Aluminum-free Baking Powder
Pure Sea Salt from Brazil's Northern Coast by Kirkland
Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda
Hershey's Cocoa Natural Unsweetened
Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate Squares
Nestle Chocolate Morsels
Conventional Marshmallows (for fondant)
Conventional Non-Hydrogenated Palm Oil by Hill Country Fair (used only for greasing pans and fondant)
Organic & Conventional Lemons
Organic & Conventional Strawberries
Organic & Conventional Raspberries
Organic Carrots
Organic Oranges
Conventional Sweetened Coconut or Organic Dried Coconut
Conventional Unsweetened Canned Pineapple
Conventional Cream Cheese that is rBST free
100% pure Guar Gum by Now (for Gluten Free Baking)
White Rice Flour from Whole Foods Bulk Bin (for Gluten Free Baking)