Shirlee Goodness Cakery

Making the world a sweeter place one cake at a time

Quick and Easy No-Bake Mini Cones

Mini cones, picture courtesy of Hailey Rohde

The last Friday night of each month, I gather with a group of crafters.  We each bring whatever we are working on.   It’s a great way to get some of those UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) moving along and also be inspired by the creative projects that others are working on.  We also like to have some fun munchies.

One of the women in our group, Hailey, is expecting a baby girl next month, so I decided to make something pink and fun.  I didn’t have much time as I made this decision on Thursday night and would be working the next day, so I put together these  no-bake mini ice cream cones.

These are really quick and easy to make.  I think I spent longer writing this post than I did making the cones!  I purchased the little mini-cones at the cake supply shop.  First I melted the chocolate.   I used Nestle’s white baking chips because that’s what I had on hand, and added a few red candy melts to add the pink color.  Melt 30 seconds on high, stir, and repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

TIP: Melt chocolate in plastic container in the microwave.
A plastic container won’t get hot. If you use a glass or ceramic container, the container will get hot from the  melted candy making difficult (and possibly dangerous!) to handle.  This is a very useful tip from Bakerella of Cake Pops fame.  She uses shallow bowls for dipping cake pops.  I have a plastic one-quart measuring cup that is microwave safe. I like it because the handle makes it easy to maneuver. 

I stuffed each cone with a regular size marshmallow.  I made sure the marshmallow is really tucked firmly into the cone so it won’t fall out when it’s dipped in the melted chocolate.  I submerge the marshmallow and the top of the cone into the chocolate, twist slightly and lift the cone out of the chocolate.  I twirled slowly to keep the chocolate from forming drips, and then added the sprinkles.  You could add the “cherry” at this point.  My cherries were an afterthought, so I used a little more pink chocolate to attach them later.  I had just bought a package of pretzel M&Ms to try and they turned out to be perfect cherry for these cones!

For the chocolate topping, I melted some more chocolate chips and spooned it onto the “ice cream.”  A cherry on top and they were complete!

Mommy-to-be Hailey holding mini cone

By the way, I found out that Hailey doesn’t like pink!  She did eat a mini cone, though, and took the awesome picture for me.  You can see more of her work on her blog: http://haileyanna.wordpress.com/photography/

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Nyan Cat Cake

Happy Birthday, Roger!

Nyan Cat

One of the fun things about having a daughter is that she enjoys many of the same things that I do!  This post is about the Nyan Cat Birthday cake that my daughter, Allison, made this weekend.  She did all the decorating.  I just made a few technical suggestions along the way.

Allison said that she wanted to make a Nyan Cat birthday cake for her friend Roger. I didn’t know what Nyan Cat was.  I didn’t even know what an internet meme was.  I had to read about Nyan Cat on Wikipedia and check out the Nyan Cat video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4.

Piping the outline of Nyan Cat

After Allison showed me Nyan Cat and we checked out a few pictures of Nyan Cat cakes on the web, and I suggested she go with buttercream frosting and use M&Ms for the rainbow.  Buttercream because it can be colored to the intense colors we wanted, and M&Ms to add texture and interest.  An added benefit was that meant there were five fewer colors of frosting we would have to color and put into piping bags.  I hate washing frosting out of the bags!

Adding mini M&Ms

Finally, the surprise inside was that the cake was rainbow-colored!  This was just a white cake, but the batter is divided into six portions, each one colored one color of the rainbow.  They are poured into the pan one on top of the other and baked.

Surprise rainbow inside!

I’m so proud of my sweet and talented daughter!

Allison and her Nyan Cat Cake

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Tepig Pokemon Birthday Cake

Tepig Pokemon Cake“All’s well that ends well.”  The cute little Tepig gave me some anxious moments, but in the end, I think he turned out pretty adorable!  This cake was a lesson in fondant and gravity.  No matter how many times I make a fondant cake, I am always surprised by something in the way that it turns out.  And that’s often not a good thing!

I was commissioned to create a Tepig Pokemon Birthday Cake. Yes, another Pokemon cake!  This little creature looks like a chubby little piglet with rabbit ears.  I started a few days ahead by making the round body and leaving it in a plastic flower former to harden.  I also formed the head and let it start to harden before attempting to attach it to the body.

TIP: Use Chocolate Fondant for Brown and Black.  I use chocolate fondant whenever I need brown or black colored fondant.   If I need a lighter shade of brown, I add white fondant.  If I want black, I add a little bit of black food coloring to the brown.  It doesn’t take as much black as when starting with white fondant, and it tastes much better!  I also use chocolate buttercream frosting when I need black or brown colored frosting.

Angled Tepig

Propping up Tepig while his head is attaching to his body

The next day I could see that the Tepig body was already flattening and getting fatter because of its weight!  I propped up the body at an angle and decided that Tepig should be sitting on his behind because his tiny fondant legs could never hold up the weight of his big belly.  I had to try multiple strategies to attach the head and arms to little Tepig because he was so chunky.

I had Tepig drying in a cake pan (on a sheet of parchment paper so he wouldn’t stick) and tipped up the pan to center his gravity so that his head would attach.  I was hoping that his head would be strongly attached when I lowered him to be level and put him on the cake.

Tepig resting on some paper towels

It was not the case!  When I put him on the cake, his head was heavy and actually slid off his body.  What to do?  He needed something to hold up his head.  I reattached his head and propped him up with some crumpled paper towels while I pondered the problem.

I knew that if I tried to put a stick through his body and head at this point, the body would probably split and the stick would just tear through the fondant of the head and body.  I wanted something I could place under him that would support his head and look good.  Maybe a Pokeball?  I already knew that size ball of fondant would be too heavy and probably squish down under its weight to look more like a flying saucer.  Then I realized I could use a cake dowel for strong support and disguise it with a fondant Pokeball  built around it!

Dowel with fondant Pokeball

This worked great!  It was a little tricky maneuvering the dowel with fondant into place, but it worked out just right!  I covered the hole at the top with a little fondant star, and Tepig looked happy and content to be leaning up against his very own Pokeball!

Here’s just a shot of the border detail.  I rolled yellow fondant and cut out stars to attach to the sides.

For the little Pokeballs, I rolled out red fondant and white fondant, and used a size 12 piping tip to cut out small circles.  I cut these in half and put together half of a white circle with half of a red circle using a damp brush.  When these dried, I used a black food decorating pen to draw the line and little circle.

Border detail with mini-Pokeballs

TIP:  Wait a Few Minutes Before Pressing Out Shapes from Rolled FondantAfter you roll out your fondant, wait a few minutes before pressing out shapes with a fondant cutter.  I have found that if I cut shapes immediately, the surface is still fresh and sticky from being rolled out and the fondant tends to stick to the cutter.  This is especially frustrating when cutting out letters such as “B” and “R” because then I have to try to pry out the letters and the small openings from the cutter which usually ends up distorting them quite a bit!  If I wait just a few minutes, the surface will dry just enough so that the fondant cutter lifts away and the fondant stays in place.  I run my finger over the surface of the fondant to see when the stickiness is gone, and then press out a test shape.  If the fondant comes up with the cutter, I wait a little longer and try again.

The cake is ready!

The best part was, of course, seeing a picture of the birthday boy with his cake (notice his stuffed Tepig next to the cake), and receiving a special phone call to tell me how much he liked his Tepig Birthday Cake!

Jeremy blowing out the candles on his Tepig Birthday Cake

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Baby Girl Cookies

Party girls!

One of our coworkers is expecting her first baby, a girl.  I volunteered to make the party favors for her baby shower.  I thought that the gingerbread people I made last month could be transformed into some cute baby girl cookies.

Cookies cooling on parchment paper

I decided to making sugar cookies using the gingerbread man cutout.  First I made the cookies.

TIP #1: For Perfect Shapes Cut Out Dough on Parchment Paper.  Cut two sheets of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet.  Roll out the cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper.  The top sheet prevents your rolling pin from sticking.  Remove the top sheet and press the cookie cutter into the dough, leaving a little bit of space around each cookie for some expansion of the cookie during baking.  After all the cookies are cut, remove the excess dough between the cookies.  Place the parchment onto your cookies sheet and into the oven to bake.  Since you do not have to lift the cookies off the parchment, your shapes are perfect, not stretched or distorted in any way!  Also, you can be preparing another set of cookie dough for baking while the cookie sheet is in the oven, so you use less cookie sheets and have less to clean up when you are done!

While the cookies were cooling, I prepared a batch of royal icing.

Iced cookies setting

TIP #2: Glycerin Adds Shine and Keeps Royal Icing Soft.  Add just a little glycerin (1/2 to 1 tsp to one pound icing) to the royal icing so that it stays a little soft when it dries, and also has a nice sheen.

I left half of the icing white, and colored the remainder a bright pink.  I filled a piping bag each with the white and pink icing, then took some of each icing and thinned the icing to a spreadable consistency with addition of egg white.  This is called flow icing.

TIP #3:  De-gas Flow Icing.  Let the flow icing sit about 15 minutes so that the air bubbles which were created during the mixing will be released.  Otherwise, you may end up with tiny air bubbles that look like little pin pricks in the surface of the dried icing.

Then the fun began!  I piped in the faces, and the outlines of clothes and booties.  As these set, I spread the flow icing into the shapes using a small spoon and also used some thin sticks to get into the corners.  Lastly, I piped shapes like hearts and bows onto the clothing or added sugar flower sprinkles.  You can see that depending on how much the flow icing has set, you can get different effects of the piped shapes sitting in the icing or on top.

I let the cookies set overnight.  The next morning I packaged them and tied up each bag with a pink ribbon.

Cookies are ready to go!

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