The Icing On The Cake: Learning Project Finale

Hello Friends!

I cannot believe that I am writing my final learning project post right now! It seems like just yesterday that I was trying to figure out how to properly hold an icing bag and now I have numerous cake and cupcake creations under my belt! I never imagined that I would be able to learn so much in such a short period of time, nor was I convinced that I could do it through online sources! Well, it looks like I have surprised myself! Not only have I developed some impressive baking skills, but my confidence in the kitchen has grown substantially!

      My Inspiration

The idea to choose cake decorating for my learning project was not a difficult one to come to. I have been baking ever since I was a little girl and I love everything about it! In a way, it’s almost a stress reliever in my life! However, one thing that I have not been as successful with in the past is making my cakes LOOK as good as they taste! While flavour is the most important thing when it comes to baking, the saying that “people eat with their eyes first” is also beyond accurate! The goal I set for myself when I began this project was to learn a variety of decorating tips and techniques, a goal I feel I can say I accomplished!

Where I began

I began this project with a cupboard full of decorating tools, many of which I had no idea how to use.. More often than not I would just throw my icing onto my cakes using a butter knife and cover up any imperfections with a handful of sprinkles or more icing. While this “worked” it wasn’t the most attractive approach to decorating! This is where my idea for my learning project began!

Online Sources and use of technolgy

So I began searching the internet for blogs, videos, tutorials, pictures, and basically anything that could help me learn how to decorate beautiful cakes. I was happy to see that the opportunities to learn online were endless.

  • YouTube channels: I began following numerous YouTube baking channels such as My Cupcake Addiction, How To Cake It, and my personal favourite, The Scran Line. These channels contained step-by-step tutorials that focused on the decorating aspect of baking! I found myself watching the videos over and over until I could work up the nerve to try them for myself!

              

  • Pinterest: having always been a huge Pinterest fan, I relied a lot on the app for inspiration and ideas! I created a board titled “EDTC Baking” and began pinning away! I quickly found myself with a board full of baking creations and was tasked with the tough decision as to which ones to attempt! Although I only had the opportunity to try a handful of recipes for this learning project of mine, I will definitely continue working away at my board and adding to it all the time!

  • Netflix Baking Shows: Another guilty pleasure of mine is watching baking competitions! I started to watch the Netflix series “Nailed It”, which is a show about home bakers who compete in a competition in which they are challenged to re-create extravagant baking creations! While the “fails” brought a lot of laughs into the series, there were also a lot of great tips provided throughout the show that I found to be very useful!

  • Blogs: I signed up for a Feedly account, where I was able to follow several different baking blogs.  Some of the most helpful ones I found included Joy the Baker, Sweetopia, and Sprinkles Bakes! While I may not have used recipes from all these websites, I did get a lot of inspiration and tips!

   

 

So as you can see, I was able to find an amazing amount of resources to aid in advancing my cake decorating skills! I had no idea that I would be so successful in finding such detailed and user-friendly videos and websites! I am a huge fan of breaking things down and doing them step-by-step and luckily I was able to find a lot of sources that showed me just that!

In terms of my own personal use of technology, this learning project has allowed for me to gain experience by uploading videos to my own YouTube Channel, something I had no pervious experience with. I also gained a basic understanding of how to use iMovie. While I am no expert, I was able to create voice over videos that showed my decorating process, which was a huge accomplishment for me!


 

So..What exactly did i learn?

Where do I start?? I cannot believe the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained throughout this learning project! I learnt so many amazing things about cake decorating but let me share with you an overall summary of what I learnt each week!

Week 1: Introduction: Lets Get Baking

  • How to set my baking goal! I learnt to not make my goal too extreme, yet it had to challenge me! Goal: learn a variety of baking and decorating techniques using a variety of tips and tools.
  • What tools I would be needing and what each of the tools I had in my pantry was actually used for! (Check out this link for an advanced look at how to use over 40 baking tools!)

Week 2: Beginning With The Basics

Week 3: My First Cupcake Creation 

  • Exploring baking blogs, specifically The Scran Line
  • How to pipe on a cupcake using a round tip
  • How to make a chocolate ganache (spoiler: it’s not just melted chocolate!)
  • How to create fluffy buttercream frosting

 

Week 4: My First Cake 

This week I challenged myself to create my first cake! I created a carrot cake decorated with rosettes!

  • How to properly level cakes
  • How to stack cake layers
  • How to/the importance of dirty icing a cake
  • How to pipe rosettes
  • How to use a cake turn table properly

 

Week 5: Oreo Drip Cake

  • Exploring Pinterest to find recipes
  • How to create a chocolate drip around the top of a cake
  • How to stack a triple layer cake evenly
  • How little finishing touches can make or break a cake

 

Week 6: Cupcake Bouquet 

 

While I have provided a few specific links above, if you are interested in learning more about any of the points mentioned, please follow the links provided to the blog posts of mine that will give you access to more instructions, videos, and comments!

My Main Take Aways:

  1. Follow your recipe!! Measurements and instructions are there for a reason! It’s okay to be creative and add your own touches, but stick with the recipe if you aren’t an experienced baker!
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I was originally scared to try different cake flavours and techniques but I came out with some really tasty and interesting looking creations! Stepping outside of the box was my goal!
  3. Practice makes perfect & patience is key! I would just like to say that nothing turns out perfect the first time around! My decorating took many hours of practice to get to the point that I was ready to share with everyone! Don’t give up when things don’t go right. Sometimes taking a break and getting some air or re-watching a tutorial can help immensely!
  4. Sharing your progress/learning online is beneficial. Through blogging, i have had to opportunity to share my experience with others, gain their input, and create new relationships!
  5. Follow your passion. The entire point of this learning project was to find something that interests you and build on it! My passion for baking has only grown stronger through this adventure.
Where I am now

I have gained so much confidence when it comes to my decorating skills! I have said good bye to the butterknife and sprinkles, and hello to the arsenal of tools I once had no idea how to use! I no longer worry that i am incapable of achieving beautiful desserts because I now have numerous resources to aid me in doing so!

As a fun finale to this baking adventure of mine, I decided to showcase some of the things I have learnt by teaching my younger sister how to bake and assemble a cake of her choosing! This was an opportunity for me to take on a leadership role and share my knowledge with others, something I will soon be doing for a living! So if you are interested in watching the some-what dysfunctional, yet super fun and informative baking and decorating process of my sister and I, check out the videos below! If you would like to try out the recipes we used, those will be linked below the videos!

Baking The Cakes

Decorating The Cakes

This was the perfect end to an amazing learning project adventure! In the videos above, I shared numerous tips and tricks that I have learnt about through my use of technology over the past two months and I still can’t believe everything I know now was found online! Technology truly is amazing and opens up so many opportunities to learn!

This project has been an absolute source of joy in my life and I will continue on this journey for years to come! I think I will even continuing blogging about my creations from time to time!

Not only have I loved learning about cake decorating, but I have also loved sharing my journey with all of you! So thank you so much to all my EDTC 300 classmates for your comments, words of encouragement, and for reading my posts! I really felt the support and hope that I may have taught you something along the way! I would also like to thank Katia Hildebrandt for giving me this opportunity to further explore a passion of mine!

Thanks Again!

-Lauren Sauser

 

Advertisements

Cupcake Bouquet

Hello Again!

Okay, so I have spent the last week thinking about my learning project and what my next step should be. I have learnt so many amazing things so far but there is so much more out there! After much consideration, I decided that this week I would take a little break from cakes and revisit the wonderful world of cupcakes! Now I couldn’t just make any ordinary cupcakes, so I decided that I would attempt a brand new decorating technique! This week I was inspired by the beautiful summer flowers and am going to be creating a cupcake flower bouquet!

 

Here is a picture of a cupcake bouquet that i will be using for inspiration! I am going to use my creativity and add my own personal touches by choosing what colours I will be using, as well as what types of flowers I feel I can pipe with the most success! Hold on everybody! Here goes nothing!

 

Preparing My Pot:

I started by doing an online search as to what materials I would be needing and how to assemble the pot! I found a great picture tutorial on a website called TipHero on “How to Make a Cupcake Bouquet” and I found it to be really helpful! I then ran to my local dollar store to collect my supplies. For this project, I needed:

  • 5 1/2 ” terracotta pot
  • Styrofoam blocks or ball
  • Green tissue paper
  • Tin foil
  • Hot glue gun

 

Step 1: I began by cutting my styrofoam in order to fit my pot. The website recommended using a styrofoam ball but I couldn’t find any so I had to improvise! I then decided to put a layer of tin foil over the styrofoam because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get any on the cupcakes!

         

Step 2: I then plugged in my hot glue gun. While it was warming up, I cut a round circle out of my green tissue paper. (I made the circle a little bigger than the top of the pot so that there would be overhang) I then did a layer of hot glue around the outside of the pot and placed my tissue paper on top! My pot was now ready to go!

         


Baking The Cupcakes:

I really wanted to try a new and exciting flavour this week, but I also knew that this sort of cupcake arrangement required cupcakes that were a little more dense and wouldn’t crumble under the weight of the buttercream. I took to Pinterest and searched for the perfect recipe. The majority of the recipes that were suggested were for vanilla cupcakes, so I decided that I would choose a basic vanilla cupcake and then incorporate a fun flavour in my fillingg instead! I looked at a few different recipes, but I decided to go with one that I found on a baking blog called Natasha’s Kitchen! The cupcakes recipe, which can be found here, had great step-by-step instructions and very positive reviews, which is why I chose it above the others I viewed!

1) I read over the ingredients and gathered my supplies!

        

2) My next step was to combine the sugar and eggs in the mixing bowl. I mixed it for about 3 minutes until it was well combined. I then added the oil and vanilla and continued mixing for another minute or two.

      

3) I then mixed all my dry ingredients in a bowl and alternately added these ingredients and the milk to the mixing bowl until well combined. (**Note: I didn’t realize the recipe called for buttermilk and I didn’t have any! I turned to Google to see if there was any substitution options. I found a website called A Taste of Home that said you can use regular milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice to create the same result so I went with that! Spoiler alert..it actually worked!)

                     

4) The cupcakes then baked in a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes. They came out moist, yet firm to the touch! I think they will work well for this cupcake bouquet!


Building My Bouquet:

For the buttercream frosting, I am going to be using the same recipe I used in my last post because it turned out so well and will be stable enough to pipe the flowers with. If you would like to see how I made the buttercream frosting, please follow this link to my last post!

5) So I took my buttercream frosting and split it into 3 different bowls so that I could colour it 3 different shades! I chose to go with purple, pink, and yellow flowers! I also wanted to incorporate some fruity summer elements so I decided to put a fruit filling inside each cupcakes to match the colours of the piped flowers on top! All I did to create the fillings was add fruit purees (blended berries) to my buttercream frosting and stirred until combined! It’s a very simple step but totally worth it for that extra pop of flavour!

Before filling my cupcakes and getting ready to pipe my flowers, I spent some time watching some video tutorials online! I was super nervous about some of the flowers so I thought that I would watch videos that show different piping techniques, practice them, and then choose the one I am the most comfortable with for the cupcakes! I found a great video tutorial on Cake Style’s YouTube page titled “Amazing Buttercream Flower Cupcakes”, and let me tell you, amazing does not come even close to describing them! My jaw dropped when I watched how effortlessly the decorator was able to create her flowers! Check it out:

8) So after A LOT of practising and many failed attempts (a.k.a having to scrape the icing off the cupcakes and start again), I set out to create my bouquet! My favourite flowers were the roses so I decided to stick with those. I just used the link above to follow the picture tutorial on how to assemble my bouquet, but if you would prefer a video tutorial other than the one I am about to share, I recommend this one! Here is the video following my process of filling, decorating, and assembling the cupcake bouquet:


Final Thoughts:

The cupcake flower bouquet turned out really well in my opinion! I am no expert and I know that my piping is not as advanced as the bakers in the videos I watched, but for a first attempt, I think it looked nice!

I found that the vanilla cupcake was the perfect base for this creation because it held up nicely to the buttercream frosting (and there was a lot of it!). If you’re someone who loves icing, this is the cupcake for you!

When it came to making the actual buttercream frosting, I added a little extra icing sugar so it was thicker than usual. I also had to make sure that I wasn’t handling the icing bag for too long or the icing became warm and didn’t keep its shaped when piped.

Difficulty Rating: 8/10
  • This was by far the most challenging creation I have attempted throughout this learning project! It took a lot of patience and determination to keep going and not give up when things didn’t turn out right. I am happy I kept calm and didn’t give up because the end result was worth the struggle!
Would i make this again? of course!
  • This is definitely something that I would make again because I actually really enjoyed myself throughout the entire process! I think it would make a great mothers day gift or be a total hit at any special occasion! It is a very time consuming process so I would make sure to have the cupcakes prepared ahead of time to speed things along.

Overall, this was a blast to make and I love learning how to pipe such beautiful flowers! I really feel like I have come a long way throughout this project and this project really showcases it! Like I said, this was no easy task and I had many “flops”! If you don’t believe me, check out the comparison between my first attempt and my last:

                            

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post and maybe even got a laugh out of my missteps! See you next week!

 

-Lauren

Oreo Drip Cake

Hey Everybody!

Welcome back to my sweet journey to becoming the next Cake Boss (I wish)! Last week’s cake was a success so I thought that I would build on that momentum by diving head first into another new and challenging creation this week! As I was scrolling through Pinterest, my little sister caught a glance of a cake and her eyes just about popped out of her head. She told me that I just HAD to make that cake for my next learning project post and I enthusiastically agreed because I also thought the cake looked too good to be real! So this week’s creation will be a…Oreo Drip Cake! I found the recipe on a baking blog called Jane’s Patisserie. Here is an image of what the cake will (hopefully) turn out like:

Just look at this thing! If you’re telling me that this picture isn’t making you drool, you’re a liar! Chocolate and Oreo cookies are 2 favourites in my household so naturally this cake seemed like a match made in heaven! My first thought was that this cake looks super professional and that I couldn’t pull it off, but learning new things is about stepping outside you your comfort zone so I chose to give it a shot! Anyways, enough talking. Let’s get baking!

Baking The Cake:

1) This week I decided to do something a little different for my cake base. Rather than using someone else’s recipe, I decided to use a family recipe and take you through how I usually make a standard chocolate cake! (If you would rather follow the recipe on the website, that’s fine too!) As usual, I began by reading over my recipe and gathering my ingredients!

My Recipe calls for:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups boiling water

 

2) I started by combining my sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in my stand mixer and beat it with my paddle attachment for about 3-5 minutes until it became light and fluffy! While this was mixing, I combined my dry ingredients in a separate bowl and turned on my kettle to boil some water.

         

3) Once my sugar and egg mixture was finished mixing, I alternately added my dry ingredients and boiling water, beating well after each addition. I made sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer on one last time to ensure all the ingredients were incorporated.

              

4) I then lined my 8 inch round pans with non-stick cooking spray and parchment paper before filling them with the cake batter. I made 3 x 8″ round layers and baked them at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.

*Note: cook time may differ depending on the oven. I would recommend checking your cakes at 18 minutes to be safe!


Making The Buttercream:

5) Now it was time to mix up my buttercream frosting. I collected my icing sugar, butter, Oreo cookies, vanilla extract, and milk!

The buttercream frosting recipe I used can be found on the website Two Sisters Crafting and calls for:

  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup of butter (room temperature)
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk

 

I placed my room temperature butter in the mixer and beat it until it was light and fluffy. I then began adding my icing sugar slowly until it was well combined.

                          

While my butter and icing sugar was mixing, i placed my Oreo cookies in the blender and ground them to a powdery consistency before adding them to the buttercream mixture. (The recipe said to use a food processor but I didn’t have one so I think the blender worked well in place of it!) I then added the milk in order to create a smooth and creamy texture.

 


Making The Chocolate Drizzle:

6) In order to make the chocolate drizzle, I melted my chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. I slowly added my oil to the melted chocolate until it became slightly thinner and the perfect consistency for dripping!

       


Assembling The Cake:

7) It was now time to assemble the cake! I started by collecting my supplies, which included a cake turntable, offset spatulas, and bread knife! (You don’t have to have these specific tools but they sure do help! I would recommend them for anyone who does a lot of baking and decorating! Check out this link for common decorating tools!)

I then cut the tops off of each cake layer to make sure they were flat for stacking and I was ready to decorate!

   

8) Check out this video tutorial that I created to walk you through the process of assembling and decorating this cake!


Final Thoughts & Comments:

This cake was a lot of fun to make! Deciding to put aside my nerves and self-doubt was a really smart decision because it allowed for me to attempt a cake I wouldn’t have otherwise!

The cake itself was super moist as usual for this recipe, which is why I like it so much! (*Tip: it’s good to try new things, but if you find a recipe for a classic that is good, save it!*)

The buttercream frosting was light and fluffy with a very distinct Oreo cookie flavour that was sweet but not too overpowering.

The chocolate drizzle could not have been easier to make! I microwaved it and stirred in a teaspoon of oil (super simple, right?)! Also, I had no idea that oil could be used to thin out chocolate. It allowed for me to create the perfect consistency for creating drips. I think if you added too much oil you would wind up with a chocolate mess so I recommend to add the oil slowly! I have attached another video that I used for reference when creating my drips! It is super helpful so if you’re slightly hesitant (like I was) i would totally recommend watching this video a few times before you start! I found it on the YouTube channel Cake by Courtney and she has a lot of amazing videos that I will definitely be following!

Overall, the cake wasn’t as difficult to make as it looks! While the process was time consuming, I spread out the work throughout the day so it wasn’t all done at once. The chocolate drip part of the cake was probably the hardest to accomplish because you couldn’t really go back and make changes once you started. It helped to keep a constant motion and not go too fast or too slow.

*Tip: If you’re still nervous about the drip step, you can practice your technique by using the rim of a cup in place of the cake! This is something I came up with myself because you can practice without wasting a cake!*

Things I Would Do Differently
  1. Make the drips longer: I think it would have looked better to make the drips go a little further down the cake. I like how some are longer than others but if a few of the drips would have gone 3/4 of the way down the cake it would have filled up the space better!
  2. Use less Oreo crumbs on top: I got a little carried away when it came to the Oreo topping! If you’re a huge Oreo cookie fan then I think I used a good amount but I would personally use a few less!
  3. Use Oreo halves instead of whole Oreos: I think that the full Oreo cookies around the outside of the cake was a little too much! Next time I would probably try cutting each Oreo in half.
  4. Keep the cake at room temperature before serving: While it was necessary to chill the cake between layers of icing, I think that it should be left out before serving or the buttercream frosting is a little too thick!

Difficulty Rating: 5/10 (Medium)

Would I Make It Again: Yes, especially for people with a huge sweet tooth! 

Once again, here is a picture of the final product! And more importantly, a picture of my taste-tester who says that it’s a “10/10”! Another cake in the books!

          

Thanks for following! Check back next week to see what cake creation I will be attempting! If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below! Have a wonderful week and stay sweet!

-Lauren

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Cake!

Hey Everybody!

For those of you who read my blog last week, you know that I made my first cupcakes and they were actually a huge success! (Who knew??) After striking a high note, I thought that I would raise the bar this week and attempt my very first cake!  My mind has been racing with what kind of cake I wanted to make. There are so many to choose from and I found it hard to narrow things down! As I scrolled through Pinterest (which is an amazing source for recipes by the way!), I finally set my sights on the perfect cake to try! I had decided to create an ombre rosette cake! Now if that name totally confuses you, don’t worry! It will all become clear as you read this post!

The first step in creating this cake was to decide on a flavour. I was very tempted to stick with plain old chocolate or vanilla, but then I thought twice and decided to try something new! As I sat outside in the sun and  fed my pet rabbit a handful of carrots, the idea to make a carrot cake popped into my head! (Thanks for the inspiration Charlie!) I didn’t have a carrot cake recipe so I took to Google to find the perfect one! I scrolled through about 8 different recipes before deciding on one that I found on GimmeSomeOven.com! The recipe was titled “The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe” and the reviews were great so I thought I might as well give it a shot!

Baking the Cake:

1. I began by reading over the recipe and gathering all my ingredients!

                              

2. I then followed the recipe by combining the wet and dry ingredients separately and then adding the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. I then folded in the grated carrots!            

3. I then took my 8 inch round cake pans, sprayed them with non-stick cooking spray, and lined them with parchment paper! I was making 3 cakes but only had 2 pans so I had to cook the third cake separately.

     

Making the Icing:

4. I then read over the icing recipe and gathered my ingredients. It was very simple to make because it only required 1 bowl to combine all the ingredients!

        

Assembling the Cake:

5. Now here comes the moment you’ve all been waiting for! It’s time to assemble the cake! I started by watching this video on how to create a Rosette cake:

The design is so beautiful and the ombre effect really makes it modern and eye-catching to look at! I was so nervous about re-creating this cake that I watch the tutorial video 5 different times before I even picked up a piping bag!

6. Before I started to assemble the cake, I knew that I needed to cut the dome tops off of each individual cake layers so that they would stack evenly. I used a bread knife to cut the cakes.

7. It was now time to stack the cake! I was nervous to do so because I wasn’t sure how sturdy the cake would be because I had only ever made a double layer cake. I decided to watch another  video on how to stack and crumb coat a cake! I found a great tutorial on Martha Stuarts website!

Note: To crumb coat means to do a think layer of icing around the outside of the cake in order to trap any crumbs before applying your second layer of icing or even fondant! This is such a smart trick because nobody likes to see specks of cake through the icing!

                   

I then left the cake in the fridge for a few hours to harden the crumb coat.

8. My next step was to tint my icing different shades. I chose to do reds and oranges to match the carrot cake flavour!

9. Now, it’s show time! I started at the bottom using my darkest colour and worked my way up the cake! Check out my decorating process in the video below:

10. And here we have the final product!

 

Final Thoughts & Comments:

The cake was actually not as scary as I had originally thought it would be! For starters, the carrot cake was delicious and super moist! I would totally recommend it to anyone wanting a simple, yet flavourful cake! I had thought the the amount of carrots was too much when I was mixing the batter but it turned out to be the perfect amount! (It is a CARROT cake after all!) The icing was also the perfect balance of cream cheese and sweetness! If you’re a cream cheese fan, this is a cake for you!

In terms of decorating, I found that my icing was pretty thick and that actually benefitted the rosette structure as I piped them. I think that if you have icing that is too thin it would fall off the cake and smear. I also found that it was very important to keep a consistent speed and pressure when squeezing the piping bag or your rosettes wouldn’t look as smooth.

 

Things I Would Do Differently:
  1. Pipe rosettes closer together: I had a few open spaces where I had to go back and add a dollop of icing to fill in. I think if I overlapped the rosettes a little more then I wouldn’t have had this issue!
  2. Leave the cake overnight to set the crumb coat: I found that the cake could have used with a little more chilling time to make sure it was sturdy before adding the second layer.

Difficulty Level: 4/10 (Easy/Medium)

Would I Make It Again? Definitely!

I am happy to report that my first cake was another successful attempt! I am so happy with the way it turned out and I can’t wait to try a different technique next week! Make sure you continue to follow my sweet journey! Talk soon!

-Lauren Sauser

 

My First Cupcake Creation!

Hey Everyone!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my learning project and started searching the internet for different baking and decorating ideas! Pinterest has been my go-to website because there are so many amazing ideas and creations! I especially love how people are able to post comments and picture reviews about the recipes and decorating techniques they have tried! These comments allow for the reader to see how successful others were in following the recipes and whether or not different modifications need to be made in order to achieve the best results! The comments also allow for people to share tips and tricks, something I find to be very helpful!

After pinning a handful of ideas, I found a link to a website called The Scran Line. When I visited this website, my jaw dropped! The website features different cake and cupcake tutorials with step-by-step videos and recipes! While this is something many baking websites do, I can assure you that this is no ordinary website! The cakes and cupcakes are beyond amazing! The flavour combinations and extravagant decorations are enough to make anyone drool! The only problem I had now was deciding which recipe to try first…!

Considering how it was my mom’s birthday on the weekend, I decided that I would let her pick what kind of cupcakes I would be making! Her decision was easily made as soon as she saw the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes!

These cupcakes consist of a chocolate cake base, peanut butter chips, a fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting, a chocolate filling, and topped with chopped peanuts and peanut butter cups! The description alone is enough to make your mouth water!

Okay enough chatting, let’s get started!

Step 1: Making the Cupcakes

The first step in creating these cupcakes was to gather my ingredients for the chocolate cupcake base! The recipe calls for:

 

 

 

 

I used a food scale to measure my ingredients out but if you don’t have one, you can click here and it will take you to a website that allows you to convert the measurements so they are easier to use! Using measuring cups is what i prefer but I also know that using a scale is a lot more accurate when it comes to baking measurements!

I started by mixing my dry ingredients in my stand mixer. Once the ingredients were combined, I added the softened butter. Finally, I added the wet ingredients and mixed until well combined! I made sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides to ensure all the ingredients were incorporated well.

 

I then used an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. The ice cream scoop is a great tool because it ensures that all of the cupcakes are filled to the same level and will therefore all bake evenly! The recipe calls for sprinkling peanut butter chips on top of the cupcakes before baking but I didn’t have any so I went without them in hopes of the frosting to bring enough peanut butter flavour! I then placed the cupcakes in the oven at 350 degrees and let them bake for about 18 minutes.

*Note: the recipe calls for the cupcakes to bake for 20-25 minutes but my oven gets really hot so they didn’t take that long. I recommend watching the baking process closely to make sure they don’t burn!

Chocolate Heaven!

I baked the cupcakes the night before I decorated them so they had time to cool. If you plan on doing everything in one day make sure you let the cupcakes cool or the frosting will melt and you’ll have a big mess!

Step 2: Preparing the Frosting, Filling, and Toppings

  • After beating the butter for a few minutes, I slowly added the icing sugar and vanilla. I allowed the icing to mix for 4-5 minutes until it became light and fluffy! I then stirred in 3 (generous) tablespoons of peanut butter and voila! We now have fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting!

 

  • Chocolate Filling: I then made my chocolate filling, which was super easy! I combined my chocolate, cream, brown sugar, and vanilla and microwaved it! Simple, yet delicious!

 

 

  • Toppings: The toppings were very easy to make! I just chopped a handful of peanuts and 8 mini peanut butter cups!

Step 3: Assembling the Cupcakes!

Now that I have prepared all my components, it’s time to assemble my cupcakes. I cleared off a large space on the counter and set up my supplies. The video below is a walkthrough of my decorating process!

Final Thoughts & Comments:

Thanks for following my first cupcakes decorating adventure! I am quite pleased with the way things turned out and think that this was the perfect choice for a first attempt!

Things I would do differently:

  1. Use a different piping tip: although I used the piping tip that the recipe recommends, I would use a different tip in order to create more of a design! This wouldn’t actually change the cupcake that much but I think they would look fancier!
  2. Make the hole for the filling shallower: I think i made the hole too deep in the cupcake because the filling went all the way to the bottom of the cupcake when it was supposed to stop in the middle
  3. Remember the peanut butter chips: I thought that the peanut butter frosting would make up for the missing peanut butter chips but I would recommend using the chips because the chocolate flavour is almost overpowering the peanut butter flavour without them.

Difficulty level: 3/10 (easy)

Would I make again: YES!

All in all, this cupcake attempt was a huge success! My mom loved them and so did everyone else who tried them! They are super sweet so if you aren’t into sweet things these aren’t the cupcakes for you! I loved The Scran Line website and will be using it again in the future! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next baking adventure!

-Lauren Sauser

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning With The Basics

Hey Everyone!

Piping Practice:

As I wrote about last week, I have chosen to focus on decorating both cakes and cupcakes for my learning project! I love baking and have a lot of experience with it, but for my first attempt at decorating I decided to take a step back and start with the basics before I jump into actual cake decorating. So for this week, I chose to work on different piping techniques using basic buttercream frosting, as well as introducing myself to the use of fondant, something that is new to me! I started by searching online for different video tutorials on basic icing techniques and although I found many, the best beginner video I found was from the Topless Baker channel! Not only does this video include various icing tips and techniques, but it also has a great step-by-step approach that helps break down the process to make it less intimidating!

First things first, I needed to collect all the supplies I would be needing. As pictured below, I gathered:

  • Buttercream Frosting
  • Wax Paper
  • Tape
  • Paper Templates (tutorial in video below)
  • Icing bags
  • Icing Tips

After tracing out my templates with lines and circles, I taped down each template and covered it with wax paper. (This is a great tip because when you are finished practicing, you can simply scrape the icing off the wax paper and continue using it!) All of the different icing tips I used are Wilton brand and can be found on their website. So, beginning with the 104 Tip, I followed the video in order to create a series of ruffles. This technique is very simple and clean. After practicing a few times, I moved onto my second tip, the french tip! This tip is my favourite out of all the ones i used today because it is easy to use and creates a very cute design! I was really interested to see the different ways in which the angle I was holding my bag would change the design I was piping! I would use this technique for piping the boarders around the edges of a cake. The third tip I used was the 1M Tip, which is one that I have used before. The criss cross pattern that I created was surprisingly easy and I was able to pick up on it without much struggle. The rose on the other hand was a different story! Just as it is explained in the video, this technique took a lot of practice. I got slightly frustrated because the design looks very simple but you have to keep a steady hand in order to create a tight rose design. This was definitely my weakest attempt and I will have to keep on practicing it. The final tip I used was a simple round nozzled tip. I tend to shy away from this tip because it seems quite plain to me, but this video may have changed my mind. I like the idea of not just doing dots, but dragging the dots to create a whole new design! After many failed attempts, I was finally able to complete all the designs! Check out my finished product! It’s not perfect but I’m trying!

After working so hard on these piping techniques, I decided that I would use my leftover frosting to do some freestyle designs with a small rounded tip! I love being creative with my baking so I used some of the techniques I practiced above and put my own little twist on them!

Freestyle!

So what did I learn in terms of piping? Well there are 3 main things:

  1. Check your icing consistency: When I first started piping, my icing was not thick enough and it wouldn’t hold when I piped it. I decided to add a little more icing sugar to the icing and it worked like a charm! Also, the longer you hold the icing bag, the warmer the icing gets so popping the whole frosting bag into the fridge for a few minutes can help a lot!
  2. Find you rhythm: One of the most important things to remember when piping is to maintain a consistent rhythm and pace with your piping. If you go to fast, too slow, or change your speed up too much, you won’t end up with your desired design.
  3. Practice practice practice: Some of the designs or piping techniques may look simple, but they aren’t! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail it the first time! Just keep practicing and you’ll get it!

Fun With Fondant:

After getting used to using icing, I decided that I would introduce myself to fondant! I have never really used fondant before because I don’t think it tastes very good and I know a lot of people who share the same opinion. Regardless, I know that fondant cakes are really common and fondant is great for creating shapes, figures, and even covering cakes. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone so I went to Michaels Craft Store and picked up a box of fondant! Since I am new to the fondant game, I needed to find a video on how to start! After doing some searching, the beginners fondant tutorial on the Craftsy Cake Decorating channel seemed like the best choice! Here is the video that provides 4 basic tips for using fondant (all of which I didn’t know before)!

Again, I needed to collect the necessary supplies!

  • Fondant
  • Rolling Pin
  • Icing Sugar
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Water
  • Paint Brush
  • Cookie Cutters

I started by colouring my fondant because plain white was too boring for me! Pink and yellow are both bright spring colours so I went with those! I started by sprinkling some icing sugar on my counter and then rolled the fondant out. I recommend also sprinkling icing sugar on the rolling pin because if you don’t, you will end up with a sticky mess! I used some cookie cutters to cut out some different shapes and also just used my hands to create different shapes. The fondant texture reminded me a lot of playdough  and was really easy to mould! I was happily surprised at how simple the process was, or so I thought! Now I may have been getting a little cocky, but I thought that I had done a good job with the fondant and wanted to challenge myself. I found a video on the MyCupcakeAddiction channel on how to make a fondant bow! Here is the video:

This was extremely challenging! The woman in the video makes it look so simple but it’s a lot more complicated than I thought! I think that my first mistake was rolling the fondant too thin. As soon as I started folding the bow, the fondant started to rip. I had to start again and rolled the fondant thicker. This brings us to my second mistake. I used water to glue the fondant into place (just like the video says) but I used way too much and the whole bow became super sticky! I had to start once again..yeah it was at this moment that you could say I was slightly frustrated! My third attempt was by far my best! I followed the video step by step and took my time. My bow was much smaller than the one in the video but I think it still turned out super cute!

While it’s not perfect, you can still tell it’s a bow so I will call this a success! The main things I learnt about using fondant are:

  1. Icing sugar is key: You cannot use fondant without icing sugar! Don’t even attempt it! Cornstarch will work too but I would go with icing sugar if you have it!
  2. Fondant is temperamental: Don’t handle the fondant too much or it will become sticky and you’ll find yourself re-powdering your hands constantly!

 

Overall, I would say that this week was very enlightening for me! I think it was a good idea to start with the basics before I dive into cakes and cupcakes! I will keep practicing these techniques this week and am looking forward to next week when I will attempt my first cupcakes! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading & don’t forget that life is sweet!

-Lauren Sauser

Learning Project Introduction: Lets Get Baking!

Hello Everyone!

When I first read the syllabus for EDTC 300, I was immediately intrigued by the learning project portion of the class! I love the idea of being able to choose something that interests you and learn more about it through technology! I was initially overwhelmed at the idea of what to choose, as I understand that we need to spend 30-40 hours learning this skill! After some heavy thinking and input from others, I have finally made a decision! My learning project is going to be…..baking! More specifically, I would like to learn how to decorate cakes and cupcakes using different techniques and tools! I would also love to experiment with some flavours in order to create cakes that both look and taste delicious! I have had my fair share of baking fails and I know that I will likely experience many more, but that won’t stop me from trying, so bare with me folks! My goal for the end of the class is to be able to bake and decorate a variety of complex cakes and cupcakes using different methods and tools! I want to be able to create beautiful, detailed, clean, and creative desserts that look as good as they taste!

I feel that this is the perfect learning project for me because it is something that I am interested in and I know that I can learn a lot about it through technology! Baking and decorating are useful skills because everyone loves sweets of some kind and I love to share my creations with others! The skills I learn for this project will be ones I carry throughout the rest of my life and will continue to expand on after the class has ended!

Starting Point:

I personally have a lot of experience with baking in general. I have been baking ever since I was a little girl and some of my best memories were of myself baking with my grandma! It has always been something that has allowed me to relax and enjoy myself (and satisfy my sweet tooth in the process)! In terms of decorating, my experience is not nearly as advanced. I have made cakes and cupcakes before, but more often than not I find it easier to just grab a knife and spread frosting on quickly (by the way, is there anything that a spoon full of sprinkles can’t fix?). I would love to learn more tricks and tips for using an icing bag and other decorating tools! I also tend to stick to the same basic chocolate and vanilla flavoured cakes and would like to step out of my comfort zone and attempt some more creative and interesting flavours! I have a lot of decorating tools that I have collected over the years but if I am being truthful, I don’t know how to use half of them! By the end of this course, I hope to have at least a basic understanding of how to use all of them!

My Plan:

Each week, I plan on baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes using techniques that are new to me. Although I am not certain as to what I will create for each week, i know for a fact that I will find a lot fo my inspiration from Pinterest! I have also found a few Youtube channels that I think will have some great tutorials to use:

I will start by learning some of the basics before I jump into actually constructing cakes! For my first attempt, I am going to be practicing using different icing tips in order to create different designs and textures. I will also attempt to introduce myself to using fondant (moldable icing) because I know that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for decorating! After I feel comfortable with the basics, I plan on starting on my first cakes and cupcakes! The cakes I will attempt will become increasingly difficult and complex as the weeks pass by! I know that this is going to be very difficult but I have a lot of patience and feel that I am up for the challenge! 

All my decorating supplies ready to go!

Stay tuned because life is about to get a whole lot sweeter for this girl!

-Lauren Sauser