A Painting Party!

sweet-tableWe recently hosted a painting party and it was so much fun! It combined both art and baking and the kids really enjoyed it. For the craft we used painters tape so that the kids could create little masterpieces. The cupcake activity was very well received, not surprising, which kid doesn’t like candy!!!cupcake_edited-1paint-popspaint-pots-and-popsrainbow-vegetablesrainbowcandy_edited-1tablescape_edited-1

Spelt Cinnamon Raisin Bread

img_8466This bread will honestly melt in your mouth and oozes yumminess (the truth though, you’ve got to eat it right out of the oven with butter) otherwise it definitely tastes as healthy as it sounds. I got the recipe from Texanerin Baking and followed it pretty much exactly. If you’re following some kind of special diet (which chances are you’re trying, since it’s that time of year) you could have it with earth balance “butter” instead and feel even better about eating half of the loaf in one sitting. Treat yourself to a cup of tea and slice (or the whole loaf) and enjoy!

 

Rosette Cakes

IMG_6214.JPG

I have been seeing a ton of these Rosette Cakes online lately and wanted to give it a go. I was delighted with how easy they are to make, it’s all about having the right icing tip, it really is. I’ve come to learn that as long as you have the right tools baking is quite simple. I used a Wilton tip #2D or you can use #1M, either one works. I baked a 3 layer cake and used a buttercream icing to mask the cake first. For the pink rosette cake, I did the top first and then worked my way down the sides, some people may suggest starting the other way, I think whatever you’re comfortable with. IMG_6382IMG_6389For the purple rosette cake I actually only used one icing bag and one bowl for mixing. It seemed like a daunting cake to make at first with 3 different colours of icing, but using one bag and one bowl made it super easy. I started by adding a very small amount of icing gel to the buttercream icing to get a pale purple. I filled the icing bag with it and did the first layer. Then I added a couple more drop of purple icing gel to the remaining icing. I squeezed out the leftover icing from the bag and refilled it. The first couple flowers had both purples in it but it gave it more of that gradient look. I repeated the same process for the deepest purple and voila!IMG_6390

Easy Peasy Focaccia (I promise)

IMG_5964Have you ever wanted to try making focaccia but thought it was a daunting, time consuming task? Well, fear not, this recipe here is not only easy but quick to make. Our teen cooking class was able to finish the bread in under an hour and it was absolutely delicious.

FullSizeRenderIngredients

  • 2 34 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 12 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 1 handful of basil – chopped
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
 Directions
  1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes (until bubbles begin to form).
  2. In large bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, and black pepper.
  3. Add the yeast mix and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients.
  4. When dough has pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil.
  6. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place 25 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  8. Punch dough down, place on greased baking sheet.
  9. In a small bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with basil, white wine vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  10. Pat dough into 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil, then place cherry tomato mixture on bread.
  11. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.IMG_5976

Valentine’s Mini Cakes!

We hosted a Valentine’s Day Mini Cake Workshop this past Sunday. The cakes were pretty easy to make and you could easily host this at home for your friends or little ones. Keep it really simple and buy one of those infamous cakes in a box, 3 eggs and vegetable oil. Or make it harder on yourself and bake the cake from scratch. Here’s a great recipe for a simple traditional white cake. Next, make buttercream icing, I always use the Wilton recipe, I find it quick and easy. For step by step instructions on how to make your very own mini cake visit one of our previous posts. Once your mini cake is complete all that is left is decorating it, which is really the very best part!

 

 

guilt free fudgy, chocolate blondies

IMG_5674New year, new diet, or really ancient caveman diet. Depending on which version of the Paleo diet you follow, this little treat may fit into your dessert menu perfectly. I got the recipe for the fudgy pumpkin blondies, from here and not only were they easy to make, they were delicious! Even my husband got into them and if it passes his sweet tooth test, we a have winner folks.

FullSizeRender-1

DIY birthday (for big, grown-up people)

For starters, I apologize for the delay in posting. I got a little lost over the holidays and have only recently found my way back to the keyborad. I find December to be all consuming and it takes a bit of time to recover, but I’m ready to completely return to routine. I was even able to host a private dinner party recently. Putting that little extra effort into creating a special birthday for a friend is well worth it.

FullSizeRenderIf you’re feeling crafty for your next party, try making a couple of these tassels to hang. Lots of websites list different ways you can create the tassel look. I was really drawn to the shiny tassel, after all which girl doesn’t like a little sparkle. Check out this DIY tassels for instructions. For mine, I used three different types of paper, wouldn’t recommend using the kraft paper, found it was a bit hard to fold. The crepe paper and the tissue paper were the easiest to manipulate and hung nicely.

IMG_5698For the cake, I wanted to try out the half-iced look. First step, do not google naked cake, some people have pretty interesting ideas of what could constitute a naked cake. The best part about this cake is that you don’t have to be a professional baker. If you’re not feeling like spending the entire day in the kitchen, you can always go the route of cake in a box. Otherwise there are a plethora of white cake recipes out there. I used this white cake recipe – and then swapped vanilla essence with lemon oil. The oil is much stronger in flavor and you only need a couple drops. Otherwise, you can also use lemon essence and then just replace 1:1 with vanilla. I also put a couple drops of the lemon oil in my buttercream icing, used Wilton’s famous buttercream icing. I doubled the recipe because I had 3 layers of cake. I picked up the edible flowers from St.Lawrence market, they do sell them in other parts of the city but not for the same price.IMG_5697

Holiday Sweet Table

IMG_6262Our Santa event was this past Sunday and personally, my favorite part was the sweet table (I may be slightly biased towards sugar though, we have a sort of love/hate relationship). If you’re wondering how to create your very own sweet table, please see our previous post. For this one, I adamantly stuck to the red and white theme. I also chose to reduce my work load by making easy sweets, like cupcakes and gingerbread. I found these amazing printables on Etsy and used them all throughout the event – this helped with consistency and presentation, plus a bonus is how cute they are!

IMG_6263 (1)Sometimes you just have to turn your edibles into display items only – I hot glued the gingerbread men to the skewer sticks. I also made the lollipops using red and white felt. I cut strips and then round them around each other. I glued the lollipop to a skewer stick and then wrapped them up in cellophane. IMG_6268 (1)IMG_6264 (1)

Halloween Sweet Table (part two)

IMG_5200So, Halloween has come and gone (hard to believe) and now I’ve finally gotten a moment to sit down and complete the steps for the sweet table. Working in steps really makes the whole task much less daunting. See our previous post about freezing iced cookies. For the week leading up to the big day, I worked on the little details. Making the chalkboard signs, buying the display items, etc.

IMG_5203

Another great trick is to pick sweets that can be stored for several days in advance, I picked meringue ghosts and made them 3 days before the big day, I got a great recipe from joy of baking.

IMG_5202

All that I had left to do the day before was draw the faces on my little clementines and ice my cupcakes. The party was on actual Halloween, so on Friday morning I took all my sweets out of the freezer and let them sit out at room temperature all day. I iced my cupcakes Friday night and they were still fresh and yummy on Saturday.

IMG_5208

One more step that I found really helpful was to set everything up at our centre and photograph it. That meant when I got to the location, I wasn’t fiddling with last minute decisions about where things would go. The key to having a stress free job is to divide your steps and don’t leave everything till the last minute.

IMG_5207

Halloween Sweet Table!

IMG_5116

We’ve been hired to create a sweet table for a Halloween birthday party, we thought some of you may be interested in the step-by-step process of creating a sweet table. We did a post similar to this a while back but didn’t focus on the steps for baking  . The first step is pick your theme/colour combo and then plan your desserts/baked goods around both. It’s easy for us since the theme was already picked and we went with black and white as colours. Remember the key to a sweet table is levels! We will put our cookies on flat dishes in the front and then have a few cupcake towers and use boxes to elevate some of our other desserts. The other key thing to do is plan ahead and use your freezer!!!

IMG_5112

We have made all the sugar cookies and iced them and are now storing them in the freezer for one week. The trick to proper storage, is to use air tight containers and parchment paper between each cookie. Let them defrost at room temperature for several hours (keeping them in the container) do not defrost in the fridge, the condensation can ruin your cookies. We’ve also made our cupcakes which we will freeze till next week and then ice them the night before. Over the next week we’ll purchase a few candies and details for the table. This means that the day before the party, we’re not trying to do a million things, maybe just a thousand (haha). The day before the party, we’ll ice our cupcakes and make meringue ghost pops, stay tuned for the rest of the pics!

IMG_5107