I love Pinterest, DCF, baking and good food

Pinterest is a cool website which allows users to compile (“pin”) all their favorite photos from the Internet.  Before, whenever I see photos that I like, I save them on my drive. Pinterest organizes your favorite photos from the Internet without the risk of increasing your disk space.  It is the site where I compile all my favorite quotes and recipes from different sources.

It is where I found this cake design idea.

Source: flickr.com via kat on Pinterest

Just like before when I tried to replicate another cake idea, I had trouble with the frosting.  (I guess I never learned.  haha)

This is how my cake turned out.

I know. It looks different from the design inspiration.  I came prepared. I bought sprinkles for plan B.  Can you see how the frosting looks like it was melting?  I shared this on Facebook saying I am giving up frosting another cake. One friend asked if it was buko (young coconut) on top. Haha! However, my baker friends came to the rescue by giving me tips on how to do it better next time.  I guess I’ll give it another try.

This experiment came at the right moment when my favorite blogger, Lori Baltazar of Dessert Comes First (DCF) sponsored a blog contest.  It is a photo and caption contest asking readers why they love DCF.  This is my entry:

This is a voting contest so I asked my relatives and friends to vote for me. Many came to my rescue. Touching. This is the letter I wrote to them hoping that their votes will be enough.

On the first day of voting, another contestant already got three-digit votes. I knew I have to manage expectations. However, I already started this quest. I might as well give it my best effort by asking my friends from BCBloggers to click on this link:  DCF Photo Contest and click on the thumbs up sign under my photo (5th row, 2nd column).  Thanks!

I meant what I said that one of my dreams is to have Lori review (and like) my own cake creation. I might not be able to achieve that soon given that I always practice effortless baking (baking from a cake mix). Two days I ago, I baked from scratch with recipes from Kevin and Amanda  and My Mom-Friday.

This afternoon, I also made bread pudding with a layer of mango which I called “Baked croutons softened in creamy custard with slivers of mango”. haha Pretentious. 😀 This has yet to be taste-tested by my own highly-discriminating critic, my aunt. The other aunt has already given it a good review.

Right now, I am looking at another food experiment. 😀

Source: justfindit4u.com via kat on Pinterest

 

 

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Two D-I-Y Birthday Cakes

This July, two members of the family celebrated their birthdays one week apart of each other. The nephew turned 1 and my aunt turned 57.

My nephew’s first birthday was also his christening. It was a 2-in-1 celebration and my cousin worked on a tight budget. The couple only invited 50 people. In Philippine standards, it was a small party.  Nevertheless, we wanted to make it beautiful.  What is a birthday without a birthday cake, right? For my nephew’s birthday, we ordered 50 cupcakes instead of those layered and themed cakes.  No, we did not order those fancy and expensive cupcakes. We ordered P10 per piece cupcake from a neighborhood bakery, Julie’s Bakeshop. The cupcakes do not have the exquisite taste of those gourmet cupcakes but the satisfaction and happiness cupcakes brought to one’s face are the same.

I still have the printed liners I used last Christmas so I asked Julie’s to use them for the cupcakes.

I bought these decorations from another store for P48 a set.

We now have more personalized looking cupcakes. The caterer did some presentation magic. This is how the birthday cupcakes were arranged.

The second birthday cake

A few days ago, it was my aunt’s turn to celebrate her birthday. She did not have a party. We just  have a filling lunch to celebrate the occasion.

I baked the birthday cake. (I practice effortless baking. See previous attempts here and here.) I found this mix in the grocery.

I figured this is the cake mix I was looking for to experiment on making multicolored cake. I saw my aunt’s birthday as an opportunity to experiment.  I followed the cake mix instructions and portioned the batter and added food coloring.

I wanted the 4th color to be purple but for some reason the mixture between the red and blue food color did not turnout quite right. While trying to tweak it, I ended up with gray (not an appetizing color). I “marbled” the mixture.

My frosting was a little bit runny because I only have a less than a cup of confectioner’s sugar. Gaisano was already too far for me to buy the sugar. I was hoping to create rosettes like the cupcakes here.  I have to make use with what I have. This is the best I can come up with.

I told my Tita to blow her candle immediately because the icing might run out. HA! Btw, the cake was delish! Good job, Pillsbury!

This is how it looked when sliced.

This looks so far from the multicolored cake I had mind. Anyare? (What happened?)

 

The important thing is that my aunt was happy to receive the cake. 😀 Yay, for effort!

Someday, I’ll bake that multicolored cake. I’ll practice more. My birthday is coming up in the less than two months. I’ll experiment again.

The Valentine Cupcakes

I was supposed to write this blog post last night then brownout happened. We had power interruptions three times yesterday. I can feel the summer heat now even if it frequently rained hard the past few weeks.  Ok, enough excuses.

I practice effortless baking. Yes, the cupcakes in the previous blog post came from a box. I made my birthday cake and our Christmas fruit bars from the box.  Hey, I made a tiny bit of effort mixing the batter and watching the oven (making sure I won’t burn the house down).

I bought these cupcake mix when I went to Cebu in October last year. I was supposed to bake them for Christmas but we had too many food for Christmas and  I got lazy busy so these boxes remained in the cabinet.

The funny thing is that this is the same brand Max use for her cupcakes in ‘2 Broke Girls’. A friend of mine suggested that I should watch this TV series and by episode 13, Max cupcake secret is out.  Coincidence!

Can you see my cupcake boxes? Now where can I get those other cake boxes? Hmm. (Photo: screen capture)

 I just followed the instructions in the box.

This is the confetti cupcake before baking. Can you see the specks of colors?

This is how it looked after baking. These are the yellow cupcakes.

I wanted to frost my cupcakes to make it look fancier. It was Valentine’s day so there was a reason to be fancy.  (Do I even have to have a reason?) I got the buttercream frosting recipe from the joyofbaking.com.  The vanilla cupcakes in that site looked pretty. I chose this one because the usual royal icing used by cake decorators uses egg whites. Uncooked egg=salmonella. What they usually do is beat the egg whites over simmering hot water to heat the egg at a certain temperature that will kill any bacteria.  Too many steps for the effortless baker so buttercream it is!

Using my mother’s 30-year-old cake mixer,  I followed the recipe.

Photo of the mixer taken 2 yrs ago.

The recipe used buttercream and confectioner’s sugar.  I did not buy food coloring. The best thing I can find in the house is a sachet of Tang grape flavor.  So I mix in the powder until I get the color I like.

Photo from Kraft Foods

I also do not have a piping bag and those tips that can create fancy rosettes.  I have zero-experience in cake decorating.  What I had was a plastic bag where I cut a hole in the corner after I filled it with frosting.

Tada! This is the finished product.

Pick a cupcake! Thank you, Duncan Hines.

Verdict: the cupcakes are good. The buttercream frosting is a bit sour because of the Tang.   We scraped off the frosting when we ate the cupcake. We kept the frosting in the fridge and used it to butter our toast (and kamote) the next day. 😉

 

Source: etsy.com via Juliette on Pinterest

 

Betty Crocker saved the day!

Yesterday was my 34th birthday.  I woke up at 5am to attend mass. It was good to start my day with gratitude and blessing. I had a simple lunch with family. I cooked lunch (just spaghetti) and I baked a cake.

A cake is staple in my past birthdays. It makes a regular lunch or dinner a little fancier. It signifies a celebration.  I’ve had cakes of different sizes, flavors and designs.

This time around I baked my own cake. Betty Crocker came to the rescue. I found this box of cake mix in the local grocery.

Although I had six months of baking lessons under my belt, I did not want to sweat it out on my birthday. Baking from scratch is a lot of work. I was glad that the instructions written in the box were really simple: just mix and bake! No sweat!

What sealed the deal was that it was affordable!! Only Php141.75 (~ $3.3)! The price of a chocolate cake when ordered from a good baker ranges from Php 500-Php1200 depending on the size (and the reputation of the baker). Since I know how to make chocolate frosting, this is worth giving a try.

This is the baked product with frosting.  Tada!!

Haha! It looks bad. I need a lot of practice in the frosting department. Don’t tell me what it looks like. I already know what you are thinking!! Taste-wise, the cake did not disappoint. It was moist. I almost burned the cake bottom but it was still soft and moist. I think my oven was too hot that the cake was done earlier than the expected baking time. (Mental note: Buy an oven thermometer. )

Thank you, Betty Crocker! I will never bake a cake from scratch again. (The lazy bones in me are acting up!) I should have met you before I had the six months of baking lessons! Now I have this crazy idea of selling Betty Crocker cakes for Php500. (Cue in: evil grin)

More on the birthday:

I did not do much yesterday. I spent it lounging around. After the chitchat with family over lunch, I took a bath, napped and  read a book. I replied to Facebook greetings in between.  I was swamped with all the greetings. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for Facebook. Although I have issues with your privacy settings (the lack thereof and my confusion over the existing ones),  it is a nice feeling to receive greetings from friends. I tried to personalize my reply (as opposed to the standard “Thank you, _____!”).

“Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more–a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.”

– George Herbert