Chocolate-on-chocolate Home Run Cake

Baking date: May 13, 2017

As my oldest son has gotten grown up, I haven’t had the opportunity to make as many home run cakes for his baseball teammates. Those fences have gotten farther away as they have become teenagers, and it’s become tougher to crank it out.

So, when an opportunity comes along to make a home run cake for someone I know, I jump on it. Such an opportunity presented itself in May when my youngest son’s football coach posted this:

Csm at bat

I texted Coach and asked what kind of cake Cam liked so I could make him a home run cake. He asked and Cam said “chocolate with chocolate frosting”. OK…makes it more of a challenge, since my typical home run cake has white frosting.

I made a one bowl chocolate cake with easy chocolate ganache frosting. It was a two-layer, 9″ round cake.

I decided to decorate the cake with round bright white candy melts for the baseballs. I used a basic round mold. I use bright white candy melts for anything I want really white, because I feel like the white candy melts are more ivory. I had some leftover white frosting that I was going to use to pipe on red seams, once I dyed the frosting. But I was out of red icing coloring. Yikes – quick trip to grocery store to get emergency supplies. since my craft store go-tos (AC Moore or JoAnn) are on the other side of town and I was on a tight time line to finish!)

Red icing

I made star candy melts using the Starry Mix candy mold with red candy melts to spell out Cameron’s name and date of the home run. I used white icing to pipe on the name and numbers.

I used white candy melts to spell out home run with Make ‘n Mold Bakerella letter candy molds — the only molds listed on the website are the numbers, but they have letters also. You can really see the difference between white and bright white candy melts in this photo of all the candy melt decorations for the cake:

Candy melts

Here is the cake all put together and decorated from the top and side:

Cake from topCake from side

Cam was delighted with the treat…

Cam with Cake

And his dad was very appreciative…

Facebook thank you

Even though I don’t make as many home run cakes for the kids on my son’s baseball team as I used to, you can always find a way to pay it forward, if you are tuned in to your community!

LAX Hat Trick Celebration Cake

Baking date: April 29, 2017

When her older brother earned himself a lacrosse hat trick cake, Sami set her sights on a cake of her own. Just two weeks later, she earned it with her own hat trick.

I made a two-layer 9″ round one bowl chocolate cake, and topped it with canned white frosting. Around the base of the cake, I piped on leaf green dyed “grass” with a #234 tip. Around the top edge of the cake, I piped on green stars with a #13 open star tip and added large white sugar pearls in the center of each star.

Using black and yellow candy melts (her team colors), I added her name, accomplishment and date in letters and numbers.

I incorporated the hashtag her mom used on Facebook on the side of the cake in candy melt letters.

Facebook post

Congrats, Sami, on achieving your #ACakeOfHerOwn goal!

Sami with Cake

 

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: April 8, 2017

On occasion, I will recognize the accomplishments of kids my boys are friends with. It has tended to be sports accomplishments, since that is something we spend a lot of time focused on in this house.

Recently on my son Nick’s lacrosse team, his friend Josh had a hat trick. For those not sports-minded, that’s scoring three goals in a single game. I asked his dad what kind of cake he might like, and his dad said peanut butter and chocolate.

I turned to Pinterest and found a recipe for peanut butter cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Since it was a hat trick, a triple layer cake was perfect.

Except that not everything always goes as planned. While turning the cake out to go on the cooling rack, the collapsible legs actually collapsed and the cake starting sliding off the counter and toward the edge. My attempt to grab it was unsuccessful, as this was the only part left on the counter:

IMG_0155

Baker’s note: I’m pleased to report that Mocha and Jake — my furry sous chefs — loved the peanut butter cake, based on the samples they quickly snarfed off the floor.

I covered the cake in the chocolate buttercream. Baker’s note: the frosting recipe did not leave a lot of extra for my two-layer cake, so I would use the frosting sparingly in between cake layers if you end up making it with all three layers.

For the letters and numbers on the cake commemorating the achievement, his name, and the date, I used white vanilla candy melts.

This is a view of the top of the cake:

IMG_0158

And here’s a side view, showing the bursts piped at the base, with a gold sugar pearl placed in the center of each burst:

IMG_0159

The cake received positive reviews in terms of taste. But the best review is Josh’s smile before there was even a slice to sample — way to go bud!

Josh with Cake

Gender “Reveal” Cake

Baking date: March 25, 2017

Friends of ours are expecting their first grandchild this September. Their daughter contacted me and asked if I could make a gender reveal cake. She was finding out on a Thursday, and the family was gathering on Saturday, when the gender would be revealed.

I had found a great idea for a cake on Pinterest, however, the gender reveal was not to be. That’s because the Mimi-to-be could not wait the three days to find out. But I decided to make a gender cake anyway to help the family celebrate.

Another idea I had seen on Facebook for a gender reveal was this:Hershey Bar Blue and Pink

So I decided to make the cake to mimic the Hershey bar gender reveal.

This family has an affinity for snickerdoodle anything, so I started with a snickerdoodle cake recipe with brown sugar cinnamon buttercream frosting. I used the loaf cake pan set for the perfect rectangular shape.

For the frosting, I dyed some of it darker brown for the top and the piping at the base. For the letters, I used canned white icing, and dyed a small portion of it rose. I used a #47 basket weave tip, with the smooth side up to spell out HERSHEY’S. (Baker’s note: I have used the white icing coloring in the past, but I find it takes a lot to get even the lightest buttercream white, it has a taste I do not like and also it changes the texture of the icing. That’s why I go for the canned white frosting when a pure white frosting is the goal).

For the bursts around the top, I added pink sugar pearls in the middle of each burst and a smaller burst row inside in leftover rose icing. At the base, I made brown dyed icing bursts, with more of the mini-bursts in rose in the center.

Here’s a top view of the cake:

IMG_0133

And a view from the side so you can see the base: IMG_0134

Here’s the inspiration photo with the cake:

IMG_0136

Congrats Kaitlyn and Kevin on your exciting news!

High School Football Championship Cakes and Cookies

Baking date: January 6, 7 and 8, 2017

I’m going to cut to the chase here – my son’s high school varsity football team won the Class 2A Maryland state championship in 2016. He played on the JV team because he is a Freshman, but this accomplishment is no less exciting for all of us in the community. Last year, the team made it to the championship game but came up short by 1 point.

In January, the teams — both varsity and JV — held their awards banquet and meal. Of course, this was a perfect opportunity for me to bake and pay tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who were part of this amazing season.

First up was general cakes for all to enjoy. I made a large (16″) square cake.  I covered it in buttercream frosting, and piped on bursts in royal blue and golden yellow, with white sugar pearls on top of each burst. The item in the center of the cake is a buttercream icing transfer. The intricate letters were not that easy to pipe on and instead of peeling off the wax paper, I used an icing spatula to “slide” it off, which smeared the colors a bit. Finally, I made a giant Lion paw with yellow and royal blue candy melts.

img_2167img_2166

I also made a 1, a 4, and a 0 (Baker’s note: this is the new version of this pan. I have an older version that does not have angled edges). This team’s record was 14-0. I even made a dash with a mini bread pan. I used the motto “Small Town, Bigger Dreams” we had printed on tee shirts as buttercream transfers on these cakes. The buttercream frosting I made is really better designed for piping and not spreading. In the future, I may microwave it a few seconds to get better spreading consistency.

15975122_10212361293012755_56522657674464263_oimg_2162img_2163img_2164bigger-dreams

Next up were some special cakes. First was the cake for the team mom. She manages all the communications and activities between coaches, players and parents for both varsity and JV. She received a football make with red velvet cake (her favorite) and a chocolate cream cheese frosting (sorry, can’t remember where I got the recipe!). She also got a big lion paw candy melt in yellow and royal blue.

img_2159

Next was a cake for the head coach, who received High School Coach of the Year honors in the state of Maryland from the Baltimore Ravens.

coty

His football cake was triple chocolate cake with the same chocolate cream cheese frosting. He also got a large Lion paw candy melt on his cake.

img_2161

And then there were the players. I got the roster from the team mom. I made football shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. I piped each players name and number on the cookies with a #1 Wilton tip. There were also cookies for the coaches, managers, statisticians and videographers. Extra cookies were decorated with either royal icing or chocolate jimmies.

img_2171img_2172img_2173

There was also a special larger football cookie for a team mom and photographer, decorated with royal blue and golden yellow buttercream bursts.

img_2170

Congrats to the coaches and players for bringing the win home to our community and for all the accolades and pride that came with it!

15390996_10211988391210443_580992525245555179_n15380274_10206891427998235_7849686184066748594_n15356666_10211988559094640_6474823533524345283_nwetzel-defensefirst-team-offensefirst-team-defenseoffense-second-teamhonorable-mention-defense

Cake with Frozen Buttercream Transfer

Baking date: November 19, 2016

A former colleague of mine Jennifer celebrated a fun family accomplishment recently – her husband Sean, and their two kids Caeley and Seamus published their first children’s book. It was written and illustrated by Sean and the kids.

Here’s a synopsis of the book Little Robin: Flying South for the Winter:

In this lovable adventure, we fly away on Little Robin’s journey to meet up with his friends and fly south for the winter. Little Robin is in danger of missing the trip when he is faced with the important decision of whether to help others in need. As the air turns cold, in a moment of fright and worry, Robin teaches us how to stay calm and not give up hope.

The family had a book publishing party with friends and family. I decided to make a cake to help them celebrate. I used the 16″ pan from the Wilton performance pans square set for the cake. I used a French vanilla box mix for the cake and wedding buttercream icing to ice the cake and make the buttercream transfer.

I had watched a video tutorial on frozen buttercream transfers on the Wilton channel on YouTube. Here’s the image after I had piped on the white outline, white/black eyes of robin, green leaves, the red robin, and black feet. As you can see, it’s not easy to pipe on small details – I smudged some of the buttercream in the lower right side of the image and had to fix it. After piping on the blue and brown, I let it set an hour. I then added plain buttercream over all of it and put it back in the freezer for another hour to help it set even better.img_2006

Here’s how the cake turned out once I piped on the names of the authors and added a border of blue bursts around the base. Because the transfer image sits higher on the cake, the next time I try this, I’ll add a decorative border around the image to that it looks more seamless:

img_2007

And here’s the book cover next to the cake – not a bad likeness!

img_2010

Congrats Sean, Caeley, and Seamus!

Hot Chocolate Cake

Baking date: October 15, 2016

My college roommate at Towson State University (as it was known at the time) was a gal from an area of Maryland, equally as rural as the place in Maryland where I grew up. Funny story – I ended up moving to the small town where she grew up to raise my family. She also lives close by, but in another school district. Over the years we have remained good friends – we have sons that were born one day apart.

Alex and Kendall are both athletic.  In middle school, both boys made the elite basketball team for their respective schools and were often on the court up against one another. Kendall excels at basketball and soccer. Alex has found his home behind the plate as catcher and on the football field. It’s a bit sad that we won’t see Alex and Kendall go up against one another any more as they head into high school.

So, it was great news to hear that as a freshman, Kendall had made the varsity soccer team for his high school. But it was terrible news to hear that Kendall had injured his knee before the first game of the season and would require surgery to reconstruct his ACL.

The day after his surgery, I arrived at their home to provide wishes for a speedy recovery in the form of a hot chocolate cake. The first recipe I found called for a now discontinued International Delights frozen hot chocolate, so I had to find another recipe. This is the recipe I eventually decided on, which includes the cake, chocolate frosting and marshmallow buttercream.

I made the cake in two 9″ layers. Note that the butter needs to be room temperature, along with the eggs, so allow time for that. When it came to icing the cake, I didn’t use the “nesting” technique described in the recipe because I wanted to write a message on top of the cake. In between the two layers was the chocolate buttercream, but I also swirled on marshmallow buttercream.

Here’s how my cake turned out, with the marshmallow buttercream piped on for the message:

img_1905

And a view from the side. I piped the marshmallow buttercream up the side in lines and added mini-marshmallows around the base of the cake, anchored with a layer of the marshmallow buttercream.

img_1906

Kendall said it definitely tasted like hot chocolate and assured me it would help with the healing process.

It must have worked because his surgery went well and he’s now on the mend. Heal fast and get back out on the field and court soon, Kendall!

kendall

Brace off less than 2 weeks after surgery!