Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let’s Play Cake! - September 2011

Last Wednesday I announced “Let’s Play Cake!”  If you missed the post you can catch up on it in this post.


September’s Theme:  Practice!

While preparing to make displays for the store I was reminded that we sometimes get so wrapped up in learning or doing new things that we forget about the basics or forget to take a moment and brush up on something we have already learned.

I challenge you this month to pick at least two techniques from any of the three Wilton Courses and practice them. 

You can bake a cake to decorate with the different techniques, or you can just pull out your practice board and do it on there.  If you want to practice some of the flowers you can always just do them on the wax paper squares and save them for a future use.

Post pictures on facebook in the album titled, “LPC” – Sept 11!  Or Email any pictures to me at TracyCakesTX at gmail dot com.  Please include a description of what you did.

All pictures received by the last day of September will be shared in a blog post the first week of October.

I ask that anything you submit to me or to the photo album be a new creation.  While we all love a chance to show off past work the idea behind this is to push us to sit down and do something new or just for ourselves.

Next Post:  Friday, September 2nd - Write on your Cakes!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bag Striping!

Have you seen piped borders or cupcakes with a swirl of colors blended together?  One of the ways to do this is what they call bag stripping.


There are two different ways to get the bag strip effect.  One is to take a paint brush the color gels straight out of the container up the inside of a bag.  This will give you a bolder color difference. The second way is to take already colored icing and using a spatula and spreading it up the inside of a bag.  With the already colored icing the striping will be softer tones of color.

In the below picture I took three different colors of icing and stripped them upside the inside of a 16in plastic bag fitted with a tip 1M.  


Next you fill your bag up with icing.  I used white, but you could always use different shades of the same colors, like dark pink strips with light pink icing filling the bag.


Using the 1M tip, I took my spatula stripped bag and piped swirls on cupcakes.


You can see in the above picture that the first swirls will have darker colors.  If you want them all closer in look you can squeeze the bag over a bowl to get to the white icing before you start piping.  Also, because the later swirls have more white icing you can always make your strips of colored icing thicker in the larger portion of the bag to add more of the color for the swirl.


I love doing this for cupcakes when I want something quick and easy.  It adds color with a bit of a tie dyed effect, kicking a plain cupcake up a notch with out a lot of additional work.


Visit Wilton’s website for a video demonstration of bag striping at http://www.wilton.com/decorating/icing/coloring-icing.cfm. 

Next Post:  Wednesday, August 31
"Let's Play Cake" September's Theme Announced

Update:  I added a link to a printable version of the Marshmallow Creme Filling recipe.  You will find it at the bottom of the post.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Marshmallow Crème Filling

Description:  This filling is a lot like what you would find in Twinkies, only better.  It can be used in cupcakes or as a cake filling.  You could even use this in Whoopee Pies or between two cookies.

Marshmallow Crème Filling
Makes about 1.5 cups, just enough to fill 24 cupcakes

1 tablespoon very hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Dissolve the salt in the hot water.

Whip the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it begins to get fluffy.  Add the water and whip well.

This lovely fluffy mixture is what you end up with.  Don’t you want to just scoop some up on a spoon?


Tip 230, the long skinny one, is great to use to fill cupcakes.  It comes in the Decorating Basics class kit, as well as the Cupcake Tip Set.  You can use a tip 12 in a pinch, but the tip 230 will allow you to get deeper into the cupcake.

If your Tip 230 does fit a coupler you can use one with it.  Some of them do not, like mine, so I just cut my bag closer to the skinnier end of the tip.


Insert the tip into your cupcake about an inch in and give the bag a good squeeze.  You should be able to fill the cupcake expand slightly.  When the tip starts to crack or you have filling coming out around the sides of the tip you have more than enough filling in your cupcake.  If you need to you can wipe any excess filling off, or just smooth it down.



Ice the cupcakes how ever you want, for these I just did some swirls.  I cut one open to show everyone what they look like inside.  And of course I had to sample it.  Yummy!


Filling in a cupcake is a nice hidden surprise.  I love that little extra in them, and it will set your cupcakes apart from others.  You can fill your cupcakes with anything you would fill your cakes with.  Just remember you want something that is thicker, rather than very runny.

For a printable version of the recipe click here.
 
Next Post:  Monday, August 29 – Bag Stripping!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let’s Play Cake!

Do you have a cute cake idea in your head that you haven’t made yet, a collection of recipes waiting for you to try, or a list of ‘one day I want to do attempt this technique’ and yet some how you never seem to get around to doing any of it?

I’ve decided to put a challenge to everyone.  Once a month I will post a theme or suggestion to give all of us, including myself, an excuse to take some time for ourselves and ‘play cake.’  Some themes will give you a chance to do any cake idea you want to do, while others may challenge you to try something new.

A folder will be set up each month on the facebook page for everyone to share what they did.  If you do not have facebook, you will be able to email me the picture.  At the end of the month I will make a blog post showing off all the cakes made. 

September’s “Let’s Play Cake!” theme will be posted on Wednesday, August 31.

Next Post:  Friday, August 26 - Marshmallow Creme Filling Recipe

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fewer dirty bowls!

I’m going to take a wild guess that many of you have finished a cake, only to look around the kitchen at the piles of dirty bowls used to color icing.  Maybe you are even standing there thinking you can't serve soup for dinner, since all of your spoons are probably mixed in with those dirty bowls.  Been there, done that!

Today’s tip:  Use one bowl for several colors. 

You can use the same bowl to color several different colors of icing.  Start with the lightest colors and stick to colors that blend well or are neighbors on the color wheel.  For my example I am using yellow, green and blue.  You can do the same with yellow, orange, pink and red.

First I colored yellow icing.


After I scooped it out into a bowl I colored green icing in the same bowl.


Plopped some more white in to the bowl with the green and yellow and added blue food coloring.


Here is the blue all mixed up.


This is the single dirty bowl for that was used for three colors.  Notice the jumbo Popsicle sticks I used, these get thrown away and reduce the amount of dishes you have to wash.


This tip works best when you are coloring smaller amounts of icing and plan to fill the decorating bags as you go. 


Leave me a comment and let me know if you found this tip helpful.  Do you have any tips to help reduce the clean up after a cake?


Next Post:  Wednesday, August 24 - Announcing "Let's Play Cake!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Butter Cream Shelf Life, Storage, and Leftovers

Wilton’s Class Decorating Butter Cream Shelf Life

Kitchen cabinet - up to two weeks, according to Wilton
Fridge - 4 plus weeks. 
Freezer – 3 to 6 months.

Even if you use milk or butter in this recipe it is considered shelf stable and does not have to be store any differently than the icing using water and Crisco.

I store it either in a bowl when leaving it on the cabinet or in the fridge or a ziplock bag when putting it in the freezer.  Your icing that has been left on the cabinet or in the fridge needs a good stirring before you use it, as it tends to separate some. 

In my kitchen, I have a set of plastic bowls that I use typically for icing only.  Why is this?  Because plastic bowls can retain smells for food that has been stored in them, especially if that food has strong flavors like garlic or onion.  Glass bowls do not hold smells like plastic bowls can, so they also work great for storing icing.

Do you ever have small amounts of random colors that you don’t want to throw away, but it doesn’t seem like you have enough to really save?  You can always mix them together to get a new color, such as mixing pink and yellow or orange and pink or blue and yellow or blue and green.  Their are many different combinations out there, just remember what colors will blend well together.

You can also plop many different colors in a decorating bag for fun multi colored swirls on cupcakes.

If you have any other butter cream icing questions, let me know!

Next Post:  Monday, August 22

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hello!

Thank you for stopping by!  I want to take a moment to give you an idea what you can expect to find here at Your Sugar Connection w/ Tracy.

My plan is to make at least two blog posts a week.  The posts may be short and sweet or more detailed.  They may be more for beginners/current students or more advanced.  They may reinforce something you have already learned or teach you something new.

I will share tips, tricks, recipes, and tutorials along with some other things.

You will also find my current class schedule as well as classes that are coming up.

The Lists & Links Class Resource section, which I am still in the process of working on, is geared towards current students as reference place for class information.  There will be supply lists, shopping list and more on it.  You will also find reference links to the practice board sheets and patterns used in the courses.

It is not my plan for this blog to take the place of the facebook page, but rather work together with it.  I will continue to post links to coupons and other things on the facebook page.  It is my wish that both the facebook page and this blog be interactive.  Please post comments, questions and ideas when you have them.

Next Post:  Friday, August 19