While my brother and I were growing up, my Mother did a lot of baking and cooking. One of the favorite things that everyone remembers about my Mother were her buns. My sons, grandchildren, nephews and niece remember Grandma’s buns. That was one of the favorite things about visiting my parent’s home or when the grandparents visited ours. What the younger generation doesn’t know is how those buns came into being.
Every weekend as far back as I can remember, my Mother made what she called coffee cake. Her coffee cake was nothing like the coffee cake that is normally called coffee cake. Most coffee cakes are made with baking powder and are crumbly. My Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ was more like everybody’s favorite – Cinnamon Rolls, made with a yeast dough.
My Mother usually made it in a ring style. The dough was rolled out like Cinnamon Rolls, buttered and dressed with Cinnamon Sugar and sometimes with raisins or candied fruit. Then the dressed dough was rolled into a tube. This is where the difference came in – my Mother’s roll wasn’t cut into individual pieces. The tube was fastened into a circle and pinched together at the ends. Then the tube was partially cut about every 2-3 inches. It was placed on a greased baking sheet and then each partially cut section of dough was turned so that the layers of cinnamon could be seen.
Essentially the rolls were shaped into a flower-like pastry. During the winter holidays my Mother made these and topped them with a Vanilla Glaze and put Cherries on top. My Mother would wrap these cakes up in cellophane wrap and my Father brought every one of his co-workers one of my Mother’s creations for their holiday gift.
My Mother Naomi made these rolls every Friday and they were our Saturday breakfast. We usually ate them spread with butter, not frosting. I cannot remember a Saturday morning that we did not have these rolls. The year that I was nine my Mother had surgery for a hernia and could not make the dough. I convinced my Mother to let me do it and while she instructed and supervised, I made the dough for our weekend rolls. I don’t remember how they turned out, I only remember making the dough, but I do remember that my Mother talked about it to her friends and family members for a long time afterwards so they must have turned out pretty well.
As the years went by and the grandchildren were born, my Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ somehow evolved into little twisted buns that were always available for the grandchildren to eat when they visited or were brought to the children’s homes when my Mother visited them. In my home, we always had to watch out for my second eldest son Joel, who would have eaten the whole batch if allowed.
The dough is a rich butter dough and melts in your mouth. My children always had fond memories of these buns and all of the sudden one year it dawned on me, why don’t I make them. I knew exactly how my Mother made them and I had been making Cinnamon Rolls for years so now when there is a family event, I make ‘Grandma’s Buns for the grandchildren (my children and niece and nephew) and of course my grandchildren.
Several years ago I flew to Ohio with my son Joel, my granddaughter and grandson to attend the graduation of my eldest grandson who was attending school there. I made a batch of buns to take on the trip and to bring to my grandson in Ohio. The buns never made it all the way to Ohio. Between my son and grandchildren, they disappeared while we were on the plane. Since we were staying at my Grandson’s home in Ohio, I was put to work right away making another batch. Fortunately I know the recipe by heart. For my version of Grandma’s Buns check our recipe section. The recipe will be under Baked Items and then under Bread. http://sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/baked-productsbread/ So, this is the story of ‘Grandma’s Buns’. Anybody else out there have stories like this. It would be fun to hear them.
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]kitchen.com
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.
This year for my Birthday, my mother, Sylvia of Sylveeeskitchen.com, for whom I help operate this web blog to share her years of talent with others, asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my Birthday on November 26th.
My first thought was that I didn’t want a cake since we usually celebrate my birthday on Thanksgiving and there is always too much food and far too much that she always does to make it a great day for our entire family.
But then a little devil inside me said, Hey, I will tell her to make Andriano Zumbo’s famed eight layered V8 cake as featured on Masterchef Australia this season. One contestant described this cake as eight layers of hell.
I figured it was so complicated and difficult to even attempt that she might opt out and then I would get my wish that she not make me a cake and give herself a break this year. But to my surprise, she took on the challenge of making this monster of a cake.
While not technically perfect cosmetically as this would take any master pastry chef many attempts to even come close, she made what was one of the best cakes I have ever had. It was truly amazing in flavor, texture and was everything I thought it should taste like. I have posted some of the pictures on the cake on Sylveees Kitchen Flickr Album. Please take a look. Thanks Mom, for the best cake ever.