Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread AT-AT

This year, I decided to go a little non-traditional with my gingerbread creation, so instead of a house, or a barn, or a church, I bring you a gingerbread AT-AT.

This idea was first posted on my Facebook wall a few weeks before Christmas, with a picture of an AT-AT made by a professional bakery in the States. I decided that this would be a fun challenge to try and make my own.

We started with my brother designing a pattern for all of the pieces and then I baked them in gingerbread and laid them all out.

Then we started building.
We had some difficulties when the head didn't want to stay on to the body. There was originally a neck as well, but we got rid of that when we realized it wouldn't hold the weight of the head.
I was very nervous when we balanced the body on the legs, but it was surprisingly stable.

Then we started decorating.We added lights along the sides of our Christmas AT-AT.Also plenty of pretzel cannons and a viewscreen.
And also, we have a snowspeeder, crashed with its tow rope around the AT-AT's legs.
We also have the rebel defense army.

And then we have a warning triangle on the back...

Merry Christmas from Hoth!

My gingerbread and icing recipes can be found with last year's gingerbread blog post.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Whipped Shortbread

I made these the other day for an event where the engineering students were handing out coffee and cookies to the homeless. My mother tasted a few for 'quality control' before I took them and demanded that I make them again. So I have another batch in the oven as I type this.

Now, I would recommend that you don't even attempt this recipe unless you have an automatic mixer like a KitchenAid or a Bosch. I wouldn't suggest trying it with a hand mixer because it requires almost a half-hour's worth of whipping/beating.

2 cups butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups flour
Maraschino cherries

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease some cookie sheets. Beat butter for 5 minutes. Add in icing sugar and beat for another 5 minutes. Add in 1 cup flour and beat for 2 minutes. Add 1 more cup flour and beat 2 more minutes. Add the last 1 cup of flour and beat for 10 minutes. While it is beating, halve the cherries. When the batter is done it should be similar to buttercream icing in consistency. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and press a half cherry into the center of each cookie. Bake 10-15 minutes, until they are starting to brown around the edges, but are mostly still pale.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Loaf

So after last weekend's banquet we had some ingredients left over, including six pounds of mandarin oranges, 1.5 liters of whipping cream and about 4 bricks of butter. So I've been trying to use these things up.

Fortunately it was a friend's birthday this past week so I made him a chocolate truffle loaf 'cake' and used up a significant portion of the whipping cream and some of the butter. (I'm taking the oranges to the school today to feed to hungry university students studying for exams)

Chocolate Truffle Loaf

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream

16 oz semi-sweet chocolate (2 boxes of the Bakers stuff or that much in chocolate chips)
1/2 cup corn syrup (the recipe said light, but I just used regular)
1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Line loaf pan with plastic wrap.

Whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Set aside.

In a medium pot melt together chocolate, corn syrup and butter on medium heat until melted and well combined. Stir in egg mixture and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Let cool to room temperature.

Mix together icing sugar, whipping cream and vanilla and beat on high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Fold whipping cream into (cooled) chocolate mixture until it is one consistent colour.

Pour into prepared loaf pan. Cool in fridge for several hours until firm. (I did a couple hours in the fridge and a couple in the freezer because I was in a hurry)

Turn out onto serving plate and remove plastic wrap.

This was a super rich, super tasty dessert and my mother has requested that I make it for Christmas Dinner. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This past weekend my church group had our annual Christmas Banquet! This year I was in charge of most of the food for the event, which was a bit of a step up from last year when I just did the desserts.

But of course, this being me, I did still put a lot of emphasis on making sure the desserts looked and tasted fantastic.

Wanting a change from last year, but still wanting something individual and elegant, I went with mousse this year. And since not everyone likes pure chocolate, we did a mixture of Chocolate and White Chocolate Mousse.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

2 tbsp cold water
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
2 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl with lots of surface area combine cold water and gelatin. Let stand for 2-5 min, then stir in boiling water until gelatin has dissolved. Allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the mousse.

Stir together cocoa and sugar. Add 2 whipping cream and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form. Blend in gelatin until well combined.

Spoon into dessert dishes and chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish as desired.

White Chocolate Mousse

12 oz white chocolate (I cheated and used chocolate chips)
1 envelope gelatin powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler (or the microwave if you are super careful).

Stir gelatin into milk and let sit for a few minutes. Microwave the gelatin-milk until it is almost boiling. Stir milk mixture into white chocolate. Allow to cool.

Whip whipping cream until soft peaks form, fold in cooled chocolate mixture.

Spoon into dessert cups and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish as desired.

As you can (kind of) see in the pictures we had different kinds of garnishes. Plain white chocolate with white chocolate chips on top, plain chocolate with candy cane, white chocolate with raspberries on the bottom and the top of the mousse, with raspberry syrup on top, chocolate with raspberries, white chocolate with blueberries and blueberry syrup and chocolate with blueberries. Again, I was a little busy this year and kind of forgot to bring a camera, not that I really would have had time to take photos anyway.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spanish Birthday Cake

I made this cake last weekend for a good friend who's spent time doing missionary work in the Dominican Republic (as well as some other places) and who is hoping to go back there soon.

There is a map of the Dominican Republic, along with their flag. And also a donkey, which was supposed to be an inside joke that no one (not even the birthday girl) understood, except for the person who told me to put it on the cake.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flowery Birthday Cake

Sometimes simple is the best way to go. I needed to do a birthday cake for a good friend this past weekend and I didn't have enough time to make something really epic or elaborate. So I just made this really simple flower design, and I love how it turned out.

The flowers are made from melting chocolate wafers, with yellow sprinkle-like things for centers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Celebration Cake!

This past week we had a combination celebration for my parent's 25th wedding anniversary, my Dad's 50th birthday and my brothers 16th birthday, so naturally I had to make a cake.

So I decided on a three tiered monstrosity with one tier representing each event. Unfortunately in all of the insanity of the party this is the only picture I have of just the cake.
The top tier is supposed to be a replica of my parent's wedding cake. The second tier is characters from Minecraft and on the other side there is an illustration of the Angry Birds game. The bottom is guitars and bicycles for my dad.

Overall I was not happy with this cake. As you can see the second tier was not exactly structurally stable, (hey, I'm an Electrical, not a Civil) which meant that the top tier didn't stay on for much longer than it took for a few pictures. Then we took it off to prevent it from falling on the floor.

Also, I wasn't really impressed with my piping job, although the front of the cake (which I don't have a good picture of) looked a lot better than this side. And I just was overall not happy with this project.

However, I also made another cake for a family friend who turns 50 the day before my dad, and I was quite happy with how it turned out!
Well... except for the corner where I squished the icing when I was trying to put a lid over it...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream

I haven't posted in ages... and I can't really say I've been busy either, I've just been playing way to much Minecraft. But I've also been creating some tasty creations, and then forgetting to photograph them. Anyway, one of the things I've been making a lot of lately is ice cream. I was given and ice cream maker for my birthday and I love it. This is my favourite recipe so far, its a chocolate base which you can then turn into whatever you like!

Chocolate Ice Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups whipping/heavy cream
1 cup light cream (Creamo, or half & half)
1 tbsp vanilla
Whatever mix-ins you like! (I've done rocky road, which is marshmallows, peanuts and chocolate chips and also caramel-pecan, which is pecans and caramel sauce)

Mix together sweetened condensed milk and cocoa in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until smooth and slightly thickened. Allow to cool slightly. In another bowl, combine whipping cream, light cream and vanilla. Stir in cocoa mixture until well combined, this works best if you whisk it in, or if you wait a few minutes so that most of it can dissolve into the mixture and then stir in the rest. Chill for several hours until cold. Then freeze in ice cream maker using manufacturer's directions. Mix in your extras according to the directions for your ice cream maker.

Pretty much, this is the best ice cream I've ever tasted. Also, the recipe is super flexible and so you could make a ton of different flavours from the same chocolate base!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Journey of A Cake

This is a cake I made for my friend's birthday two weeks ago. I realized I had posted the photos on Facebook, but not on here. This is the story of one cake's epic journey, 5 hours by car, 1.5 hours by ferry, 1 hour by transit and up 3 flights of stairs to the Flat for Wayward Adults.

The Cake's Journey begins in the my refrigerator. Ready for the travels ahead.The Cake is then snugly secured in the trunk of my car for the first leg of it's Journey.The Cake prepares to board the "Spirit Of British Columbia"The Cake relaxes on the ferry boat and eagerly anticipates the journey ahead.The Cake waves hello to the passing ferry boat in the Gulf Islands.
The Cake is ready to do all of the touristy things that Victoria has to offer.
The Cake enjoys it's time on the wonderful Victoria public transit system.
The Cake reads (and signs) the guidelines for the Flat For Wayward Adults.

The Cake is ready for a PAR-TAY!

But, you might be wondering, how is the cake dressed for the party?

...with some fishies...

...and a crab or two......a lobster and a squid join in the fun...
...along with a sea turtle and a orca and an octopus....
...and a whole gang of other friendly sea critters!

I was really, really happy with how this cake turned out, decorating wise. I was also especially happy that it managed to survive the trip.

Because the friend I made it for is on a sugar-restricted diet, the cake itself was made from a sugarfree yellow cake box mix and the chocolate icing was also a store bought sugarfree icing. The decorations, however, were done with my regular icing. Personally, I can't stand the taste of Splenda, so I was pretty much unable to eat my own cake, but everyone who can't tell/doesn't mind the taste of Splenda thought that it was great!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mario Cake: Take Two

So this cake was for my brother's birthday last week. So far I'd only ever made him one cake before, it was the first cake I decorated and it was kind of really lame.

I knew I had to do better this time. I had a few ideas, but then my Mom and I found him a copy of Super Mario 64 for his birthday. Then his girlfriend found him Mario Kart for N64. Then my grandmother bought him a Mario t-shirt. So I figured we should do a retro-mid-90s Mario Birthday. And I made him this cake.
Here it is with the game box in the background. And his copy of Mario Kart as well.
Oh, and the cake was chocolate, with chocolate icing, as usual. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cheese Dip

This cheese dip is super easy and super tasty.

1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 (250 g) brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese (I usually use closer to 2 cups)
1 clove minced garlic

Throw all the ingredients together in a bowl and cream well.

This is pretty much a staple at any sort of social event my family hosts. And the recipe makes a lot, so there's enough to go around. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Graduation Cake

I made this cake yesterday for those from my church group who were graduating. There were 12 of them, so I made 12 peanut butter cup grad hats. I wasn't super thrilled with this picture, or the cake. But it was cute.

Also, this was the first cake that I did with my two newest cake-baking tools. First of all, I bought a 12"x17" cake pan, so that I could make large cakes in fewer batches. Which was super helpful! Also, I am so very thrilled that I also bought a bright red, beautiful KitchenAid Stand Mixer! It is lovely, and makes my life a lot easier as well!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ordination Cake

This Sunday our church had an ordination ceremony/celebration for one of our pastors. So, of course, there was cake. :)

I wasn't super thrilled with how it turned out. It was supposed to look like a cloud with a beam of light shining out of it onto the little figurine of our pastor. But everyone just thought it looked like a funny looking mushroom. Also, I need to practice printing on the cake.

Monday, March 14, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I love this cheesecake recipe. It is super tasty, although its a little tricky. And it uses just about every bowl/pot in the house.

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Biscoff cookie crumbs)
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter

300 gr (ish) frozen raspberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half cream

3 pkgs (250 gr) cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt butter. Mix with sugar and cookie crumbs. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Combine raspberries, 2 tbsp sugar, corn starch and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then continue boiling until thickened. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer to get out the seeds.

In a double boiler, or (carefully) in the microwave, melt chocolate chips together with half and half until smooth.

Beat together 1/2 cup sugar with cream cheese. When this is fluffy, start beating in the eggs one at a time. Blend in the vanilla and white chocolate mixture.

Pour about half the batter over top of the crust. Spoon a few tablespoons of the raspberry mixture over the cheese goo. Pour in the rest of the batter. Spoon another few tablespoons on top. Run the tip of a knife through the batter, just a little, to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, using whichever method you prefer to prevent cracks. Cool, then refrigerate at least 8 hours. Serve with white chocolate curls, fresh raspberries and remaining raspberry sauce.

This recipe was what really convinced me that I want a stand mixer. I beat the cream cheese and the sugar in our food processor, which made life so much easier than usual. However, when I added all the other ingredients it kind of overflowed the food processor. (Our food processor has a hole in the middle where the blade attaches, I filled it up too far and overflowed it through the middle) Which made me decide that I should get a real stand mixer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Engineering the Cake

So every year our school celebrates Engineering Week. This is a week with social events like games nights and bowling, fun competitions, like (banned) soldering competitions and edible car races and charity events, like smashing cars. Also, during E-Week there tends to be a significant increase in the number of large items found hanging off of the local bridge. And at the end of the week there is a wrap up event to announce the winners. This year, they wanted cake at the wrap up event, and so I was asked if I would be willing to provide a pair of cakes for the event.

I'm really happy with how both of these turned out. They were a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. Each of the cakes is made up of four of my regular 9x13 recipe of chocolate cake. And the icing is my standard chocolate butter cream. I used an excessive amount of red food colouring to get the colours right, and overall I was really happy with how it turned out!

Monday, February 28, 2011


So the other day I was complimented on how up-to-date I am with my blog. So to disprove this I thought I should write this post, which is either 2 months or 1 year, 2 months late. Depending on how you look at it.

I thought I'd show you the gingerbread houses that I've made over the past two years.

First, the 2009 Gingerbread House

As you should do before you make any gingerbread house, I started by collecting a large amount of decorating candy.
Then I put the house together. In the past we've used boiled sugar glue to stick the house together but that usually results in burnt fingers and burnt-sugar covered gingerbread that no one wants to eat.
So instead I found a recipe for a cement-like royal icing. Which worked a lot better, and was much tastier.

Next you decorate it...
Don't forget the Christmas Hippo in the garden.

The hardest part of this whole project was the candy-cane fence. It was really, really hard to find enough candy canes that were still in one piece to use. And then you still had to make them stand up. It was tricky, but it looked really neat.
The finished product. Our family Gingerbread House for Christmas 2009.

Then, this past year, for Christmas of 2010, my younger cousins were in town for a pre-Christmas visit so I thought that it would be fun for all of us to make gingerbread houses. We made two of them, one for them to take home and one to stay at our house.

This is the house my cousins made, it was fairly traditional, and covered in tasty, tasty candy.
They did some really cute stuff with it, like a skating rink.
And a little man in overalls with his snowman.
A reindeer on the roof...

And Penguins on the back wall!
The finished product!
Apparently the Gingerbread house survived the 8 hour drive home (except for the roof corner that I accidentally broke while trying to put in a box to go home) but most of the candy did not!

I decided to do something a little different this year and so, instead of a traditional gingerbread
house I constructed a gingerbread barn!
There's a pond with a frog...
A pen with some animals and a silo. I wanted to make the silo completely purple-y blue, like the one the farm where I spent parts of my summers while I was in high school.

There is also a farmer in the front yard.
I put the hayloft on the wrong part of the barn. But its still cute.

I found all the patterns online and a whole bunch more that I want to try. Next year I'm going to be very tempted to make an entire gingerbread town!

So, now, what you probably are looking for, the recipe for my Gingerbread! Now, there is a story behind this recipe: when I was in elementary school, every Christmas time students from the 5th grade class would come around and sell raffle tickets. At the assembly before Christmas break there would always be a draw for trees, people, a big house and a little house. I would always buy tickets, and I never won a thing. However, when I was in Grade 5 myself, the whole class got to help make the gingerbread, and my mom helped out too. And she had the thought, to ask for the recipe! So now, I every Christmas I can buy the gingerbread that I could never manage to win!

Group 1:
1 cup margarine, butter or shortening, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tbsp vinegar

Group 2:
5 cups flour
1 1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Mix group 1 together. Mix group 2 together. Add group 2 slowly to group 1 until well mixed. Form into a ball, or several smaller balls and chill for an hour or more. Roll out the dough and cut into the shapes you need. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Usually, I make one batch and it is enough for the house that I am making plus a few extra animals, people, or Santa and some reindeer!

I had a hard time finding a royal icing recipe that didn't call for egg whites, because I'm a little nervous about eating egg whites that have been sitting out for several days. I eventually found this recipe which calls for meringue powder. Meringue powder is an egg white substitute that's a little pricey but great for when you don't want to eat raw egg whites.

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp cold water

Beat all ingredients together for 7-10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Keep the icing covered in a damp cloth while you are working with it, otherwise it will stiffen up and will be useless.