Archive for January, 2011

Frosting and Decorating a Valentine Cake

 

Parent/Child Decorated Valentine Cake

 

A decorated Valentine Cake is a delightful way to say “I Love You” to sweethearts, husbands, parents and children.  Your cake can be baked in a heart-shaped pan or in just a round pan and then decorated to be like a heart.

If you make your own cake, be sure and allow it to cool completely before frosting it.  To give added stability to the cake, you may even freeze it before frosting and decorating it.  This will ensure that you are less likely to tear the cake when frosting it.  If you don’t have time to bake your own cake, purchase a ready –made cake from your local bakery and frost and decorate it yourself.  To avoid having to make the frosting you can purchase ready-made frosting in the baking products section in your supermarket.

If you want to tackle the job of making your own frosting and decorating your own cake, please read on.  For instructions on mixing and baking your cake, please see our previous article on ‘Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Cakes”.  You will find a Buttercream Frsoting Recipe under our Recipes Section.

Make your frosting ahead and have it ready before following the steps below.  If you are going to decorate it, be sure that you have the equipment that you will need also.  Listed below are the items that will make frosting and decorating your cake easier to do.

Pastry Brush– for brushing off any excess crumbs

Off-set Spatula – for frosting the cake

Decorating Bags – the bags will hold the frosting and the couplers will allow you to switch tips without having to prepare another bag or empty out the one you are using.

 Cake Board – to put the cake on

 Foil  – for covering the board

The first step in frosting and decorating your cake is to prepare a cake board to place your cake on.  Choose a board that is the same shape as your cake and at least 1” larger in diameter.  The board may be covered with plain aluminum foil or colored foil that can be purchased in your local craft or cake decorating store or even at a florist’s shop.

Step Two is to brush off any loose crumbs that may be on the cake.

Step Three is to crumb coat the cake.  This will entail, taking a small portion of frosting (about 1 cup) and thinning it out so that you will be able to smooth a very thin layer of frosting on the cake.

Step Four is to give the cake its final coat of frosting; you want to make sure that the frosting is as smooth as you can make it – to do this have a glass of warm water handy and use it to dip your spatula in.  This will help to smooth the frosting.  Keep a paper towel handy, in case your spatula gets too wet and also to wipe off excess frosting as you are working with it.

Step Five is to decide how you want to decorate your cake.  If you are going to use colored frosting, decide how many colors you want and estimate approximately how much you will need of each color.  Place each color in a separate bag that has been fitted with a coupler and decorating tip.

For decorating ideas, please see my photo page.  You will see cakes that have been decorated by parent/child teams at last years’ Valentine Cake Decorating Class.  For different decorating techniques you can find on-line help.

If you are making a cake that has been baked in a pan that has designs molded into it, you will want to skip the crumb coating and top coating steps.  Instead, you will simply decorate right from the beginning using star tips to fill in the various segments.  Star tips come in many sizes and in open and closed form.  If you have never done cake decorating before, it would be easier to use the open star tips rather than the closed star tips.  The open star tips, allow for more ease in squeezing out the frosting for decorating.

If you want to keep it simple, use cupcakes and frost them in a swirl effect and then top them with candy hearts.  The delight from your family will be almost the same and these take very little time.  Allow your children to help with the decorating or cupcake frosting.  When it seems to you like it would be too much trouble to have the children help, just remember that you are teaching them skills and creating family memories that will last a lifetime.

‘Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Cake Decorating!  We would love it if you would show us your finished products.  You can e-mail us at [email protected]

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/31 at 1:18 PM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Food as Gifts, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals   Tags: , , , , ,

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Cakes

Saying “I Love You” with cakes, candies and flowers has long been a tradition not only on Valentine’s Day but on many other occasions during the year. So, what you use for Valentine’s Day does not have to be isolated to that event. Many of us love to bake and cook and others of us love to eat what others have made for us. Saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” with a cake can be a lovely tradition for your family.

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/27 at 11:40 AM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Food as Gifts, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Holiday Tidbits   Tags: , , , , , ,

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Cookies

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is celebrated with hearts and flowers, and phrases of love.  Young and old enjoy observing Valentine’s Day and one of the favorite ways to celebrate it is with special food treats.  For the children these can be cakes, cookies or candies.  For adults, a lobster dinner with champagne and roses would be a welcome treat.  Your choice of treats can be as simple as you wish or as complicated as you can make it.

Since, today, everyone seems to be very busy, let’s start with the simple ones.  The simplest of course would be to go to the market or bakery and purchase your heart-shaped goodies.

For those of us who bask in compliments aimed on our efforts, the direction would be of course to make your own.  Making your own can be as simple as purchasing ready-made cookie dough and fashioning it into heart-shaped Valentine Cookies.  If you wish to take a little more effort, you can try one of the Sugar Cookie recipes listed in our recipe section.

The dough can be dyed with food colors or you can make frosting to decorate the cookies with.  Rolling out and decorating cookies is a great family project and all the children can be enlisted to help.  They will love it!    can be purchased at your local culinary store or on-line.

For ease in rolling out Sugar Cookie Dough, you should either have a [amazon ASIN=”B002L8A1SK”]silicone covered rolling pin[/amazon] or purchase ‘stockinet’s’ to cover your rolling pin.  With the use of the stockinet, you rub the flour into the stockinet instead of the dough.  This prevents the cookies from becoming too tough;  your cookies will be tender and delectable as they should be.  To avoid too much sugar as present in frosting, just brush the unbaked cookies with Egg White and sprinkle on [amazon ASIN=”B0026PF0NY”]Colored Sanding Sugar[/amazon].

If you have a [amazon ASIN=”B00004S1AS”]cookie press[/amazon], molded or Spritz Cookies can also be made, but these do take a little more effort and a certain expertise in the handling of the cookie press.  Once you master its use though, the possibilities are endless.

Go ahead and have a Valentine’s Day Cookie Party.  It doesn’t matter whether you use store bought dough, store bought cookies to decorate or if you go all the way and make your own dough.  The fun and memories will be the same for the children participating in this event.  Just enjoy the moment!

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/24 at 4:26 PM

Categories: Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Food as Gifts, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Tidbits   Tags: , , , ,

Dim Sum for The Year of the Hare

Chinese New Year’s is on February 3rd this year, which is the year of the hare or the rabbit. What better time to have a ‘do it yourself’ party where everyone can help to make Dim Sum. Dim Sum are small dishes or appetizers that are of course, Chinese in nature. This would be a great idea for a February Birthday Party or for just a small group of friends who like to get together and cook.

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/11 at 7:59 PM

Categories: Birthday Parties, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Holiday Tidbits   Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Chinese Zodiac

This year the Chinese New Year falls on February 3rd. As per the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, 2011 is the ‘Year of the Rabbit’. The Rabbit is said to be one of the most fortunate of the twelve animal signs since it is the symbol of longevity. If you were born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 the Year of the Rabbit, you possess graciousness, good manners, sound counsel kindness and sensitivity to beauty

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/11 at 3:14 PM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Food as Gifts, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Holiday Tidbits, Main, Parent Child Classes, Pre-Teen Classes   Tags: , , , , , ,

Mediterranean Meatball Stew

The wind is blowing, the rain is falling and the temperature is dropping. This is the time when we want hot, tasty food, and if it is easy to prepare that makes it all the better. For busy Mothers and Career Women alike, this dish will hit the spot. It can be prepared for family meals or in larger quantities for casual dinner parties. If you are a single or a couple it can easily be altered for more than one meal.

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/03 at 7:56 PM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Dinner Ideas, Holiday Meals, Lunch Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , , , ,

Waffles and More!

Today there are many different types of waffle irons available that make it easy to be creative with your meals. There is the plain old fashioned type of waffle iron, the Belgian Waffle Iron which makes waffles that were originally called Brussels Waffles. When the Brussels Waffle Maker was showcased at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows New York, the name was changed to Belgian Waffle Iron because it was thought that many people in the United States did not know where Brussels was.

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/01/02 at 5:01 PM

Categories: Birthday Parties, Breakfast Ideas, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Holiday Meals, Lunch Ideas   Tags: , , ,