Mini Birthday Cakes

Can you tell I like mini cakes?  They’re just so much more fun since unlike one large cake you can decorate several.  I say that now, but when I was making these at 3AM I was kicking myself for not making a large cake instead.  AND I was really mad when the person I made them for didn’t even attend the party!  There were supposed to be mini red velvet (gross) cakes along with this, but there was a mishap and since it was already 3AM I gave up and made cupcakes at work and bought them from there instead.  I don’t have a picture of the cupcakes though.
Mini Cakes
Disregard the food wrap in the background.  I was rushing out to go to the party and had no time to clear space out.  My favorites are the three pouches (green and gold, brown and green, and striped).  I was going for the “I’m going to wrap this large candle with cellophane and scrunch it all at the top and tie with ribbon look”, but came away with what looks to me like old coin purses instead, which I liked better. ^_^  The brown and green pouch seems like it’s dirty in this picture, but it’s actually pearl dust that my camera has a hard time capturing correctly.
Mini Cake
This was my reject because it didn’t fit in the box and because I tried to make it shiny with said pearl dust and lemon extract but it was too strong (as can be seen by the glare it kept bouncing back from the flash).
The cakes: white cake with coffee neoclassic buttercream (Cake Bible)
Fondant: combination of Chocopan and Satin Ice since Vegas weather makes it difficult to work with Chocopan alone.
Colors: Americolor Teal and Green, Wilton Brown
Accents: Soft Gold pearl dust, Old Gold pearl dust, Super Pearl Powder
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Food


Holiday Cakes

Ugh, yes, I am still trying to catch up on posting all of my holiday baking.  Here are the mini cakes I made for my sister and cousins.  The round ones are chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, the square ones are white cake with buttercream, and the wreaths are red velvet with cream cheese icing (left over batter baked into mini bundt pans and icing from the red velvet balls).
Holiday Cakes
I had to make the fondant from scratch and it wasn’t as easy to work with as bought fondant.  I wasn’t happy with all of them, but most of them came out really well.  I especially loved the wreaths.
Okay, so all that’s left is pao de quiejo and ube cakes and then no more holiday posts.  I’m hoping to get to my baking projects once I’m all caught up with postings.  I really want to make massa sovada. ^_^


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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Food



I know people usually say their mom makes the best [insert food here], but my mom makes amazing palabok.  It’s so addicting…I can’t stop eating it until I’m bursting, which is why I only eat it when I’m home for the holidays.  For those who don’t know what palabok is, it is a Filipino noodle dish consisting primarily of ground pork, shrimp, noodles, onions, garlic, green onions, hard boiled egg, and crushed pork rinds.  You can find it in almost any Filipino restaurant since it’s a comfort food and extremely popular.
My mom’s version is technically called pansit luglug because she uses thick, luglug noodles instead of the thin palabok noodles, but I’ve never heard anyone call it pansit luglug.  They’re both pretty much called palabok, regardless of the noodles used.  And because it is my mother’s recipe I cannot include the recipe because she won’t let me. LOL.  But here are some pictures and some of the cooking methods.  It’s pretty basic and probably the same as most palabok recipes…I’m just biased because she’s my mom.
Here are the ingredients:
Palabok Ingredients
So, you saute your onions and minced garlic to golden brown.  Then, add your ground pork and cook until browned.  Add ground pepper and the Mama Sita mix (or whatever palabok mix you prefer) and the recommended water or as much water to your liking (my mom doesn’t exactly measure).  Then add the achute (annatto) powder until you reach a dark burnt orange color.  Simmer for a few minutes and your sauce is complete.
Cook your noodles until they are soft, hard boil eggs, and saute the peeled shrimp with some achute powder for color.
Achute Shrimp umm…I went a little overboard with the achute here since I didn’t want any leftover powder and just dumped the rest in hence the clumps of achute powder.
Combine noodles and sauce, cover with ground pork rinds, and decorate with sliced eggs, shrimp, and sliced green onions.
Finished Palabok
Ta-da!  My mom’s is definitely prettier, but I don’t think it’s so bad.  To prevent the yolks from breaking like mine boil the eggs the day before and let harden in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a few hours.
Here’s my single (um double serving) of palabok:
Single Serving (um ok probably at least double serving)
I know it’s like being a tease by not posting the recipe, but I just had to share this since I was so proud I made it so well.  I think it’s better than my mom’s ::gasp:: People who ate it loved it and someone wanted to pay me to make it! Woot!!


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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Food, Savory Dishes


First Pop-up Card

For my friend Paige’s birthday I wanted to do a more girly, fun card.  Originally, I was going to make a topsy-turvy cake card, but when I saw a cake pop-up card I knew I just had to make that instead.  So, I followed the instructions from Dawn’s Stamping Studio and since I do not own any die cutters, I clicked on the flyer link and used the diagram as a stencil for my pop-up card.  Unfortunately, I think my proportions were a little off since my cake looks nothing like hers…or I just suck at pop-up cards.  Let’s just say halfway though I was kicking myself for not going for the easier topsy-turvy cake.  The final result is not what I was expecting, but it isn’t horrible either.  My next one (if there ever is one lol) will be better for sure.

Here it is:


And, um, yes…she’s obviously turning 26…sorry to let the world know Paige ^_^
Recollections Cardstock (Black and Red)
Patterned Paper Carstock (Girls Night Out Theme)
K&Company (Mini Flower Accents)
ki Memories Funky Paper Pad II (pink paper)
Jelly Roll pink star pen
Elegant Writer 2.5mm calligraphy pen
It’s actually a simple process…just a little frustrating.  I seriously think my proportions were off since my cake layers were a little lopsided and the strips kept unsticking.  i just hope when she gets it it’ll still be in one piece :/

Hope yours is better than mine. ^_^

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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Cards, Paper Crafts


Mini Square Cakes

Here is another set of pictures of cakes I made during the holidays.  My cousin Marimel threw a small get together and I wanted to make some desserts for it.  I’m more into mini cakes and cupcakes than large cakes lately, so it’s probably why my first project for the holidays were square mini cakes (sorry, that my time line is so warped).  I wanted a slight challenge, but nothing too complicated.  So, for her party I decided to make four flavors using as little components as possible.  Basically, I made a white cake, a chocolate cake (the same one I used for my salted caramel cupcakes), buttercream, and a brown butter glaze.
Chocolate Peppermint
Chocolate Salted Caramel
White Cinnamon Brown Butter
White Coconut (I know not very Christmas-y, but the only extracts I had left was coconut and lemon.  Plus, the coconut was snow-y, right?)
So, I baked the cakes, made simple syrup for soaking, salted caramel, and made and flavored buttercream.  When the cakes were cooled I cut them into squares, soaked each layer with simple syrup, filled, and crumb coated.
After letting the cakes harden in the refrigerator, I finished icing them with buttercream and decorated.
Chocolate PeppermintFor the Chocolate Peppermint: I crumbled leftover chocolate cake and covered the whole cake and dusted with powdered sugar.
Salted Caramel For the Chocolate Salted Caramel: I covered the sides with chocolate cake crumbs, piped a basketweave on top
Cinnamon Brown Butter For the White Cinnamon Brown Butter: I made the glaze for this and my mom actually coated it herself (her first time!) Once she put her glasses on she did an amazing job! LOL. Then I placed edible gold leaf to give it some shine and elegance. This was my favorite out of all of them…although I want to find a way to make it less sweet.
CoconutFor the White Coconut: My mom patted coconut flakes on these.
And here are all the completed cakes…way more than was necessary for the gathering, but I had fun making them and watching my mom, who’s not too fond of baking, help me.
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Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Food


Red Velvet Balls

Okay, so I am horribly behind on posting all of my holiday projects, but given this is Valentine’s Day I figured I would post at least the red velvet ones since they fit the color theme. 🙂
Truthfully, I am not a red velvet fan because of the high amount of red food coloring needed to achieve its hue, but my sister is very fond of it so I decided to make her some for Christmas.  I also found a red velvet angel food cake recipe from Michelle’s Story.  Light, fluffy cakes are my type of cakes so I was excited to make this recipe.  I learned three important lessons while attempting this project: First, candy melts and I do not get along.  Second, angel food cake does not crumble well unless it’s been completely dried out.  Lastly, all the food coloring I used just makes me stick to eating Devil’s Food cake instead of Red Velvet.  It is after all what red velvet originated from…oh, and that roux icing is much better than cream cheese icing.
I baked the angel food cake pretty much as was written in the recipe instruction, but baked it in a sheet pan instead since it was going to be crumbled anyway.  Then I had my cousin run the cake(it cooled overnight) through a cooling rack.  We then added cream cheese frosting to the crumbs just until it could hold a ball shape.
Red Velvet CrumbsRolled Red Velvet Balls
Yes, the crumbs look odd and the balls look like meatballs, but they tasted good.  I promise!  The balls were placed in the refrigerator while I melted the candy melts to harden.  This is where I began to get annoyed and things went downhill.  Originally these were to be mini cupcakes…as in they were going to be placed into peanut butter cup molds, but the balls my cousin and I rolled were too small.  Since it was late I decided to just coat them.  Maybe it was because the balls were too cold, but the chocolate was blooming after I dipped them.  I tried to fix it, but got too frustrated and, yes, gave up.  But the end results were a lot better than I expected.  Add some pink (because I couldn’t get red) stripes and some gold dust and ta da! Pretty red velvet “bon bons.”
Finished A closer look


***I had left over batter than I poured into mini tube pans that I later turned into wreaths.  Those pictures will go up with the rest of the holiday cakes though.***
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Food


Turkey Vegetable Soup

My friend Melanie and I have a tradition of going to Olive Garden whenever we are in the same town.  I’m not a huge fan of Olive Garden, but I LOVE their pasta e fagioli soup, which is the only soup I order.  Since I pretty much only go when I’m with her I decided to make a version of the soup for the times I was craving it using a modified recipe from Top Secret Recipes.  I made this once two years ago with ground beef, but being more health conscious I have replaced it with turkey and pretty much omitted the pasta since it doesn’t really make much of an impact in the soup.  It’s pretty simple to make, but is a little time consuming.  Recipe yields about 8-10 servings, depending on the serving size.


454g     Lean Ground Turkey
56g     Garlic, minced
160g     Onion, diced
128g     Carrot, diced
130g     Celery, diced
250g     Red Kidney Beans
250g     Great Northern Beans
11.5oz   V8 Juice
28oz    Diced Tomatoes, canned
15oz    Tomato Sauce, canned
1/2t      Oregano
1/2t      Thyme
1/2t      Basil
1t       Salt
1t       Pepper
1t       White Vinegar (I used rice vinegar since it’s what I had on hand)
1lb    Ditali Pasta
These are the canned goods I used.  I was trying to keep it as low sodium and organic as possible, but the Muir Glen (the only tomato products I use) I already had were not low sodium and due to time constraints I just went to Walmart and bought those beans and v8.  Next time I will boil my own beans…more time consuming, but I like controlling the amount of sodium that goes in my food.
Cans (Note: I forgot to take a picture of the vinegar.  I used Star Foods Rice Vinegar)
1. Cut your onion, carrots, and celery to medium dice, and mince your garlic.  (I cheat and buy minced garlic since I use so much garlic in my cooking mmmm garlic…)
Onion & GarlicCarrots & Celery
2. Lightly spray a large pot with cooking spray or use a nonstick pot.  I actually spray extra virgin olive oil with a Misto.  Brown ground turkey.  Drain fat.
3. Saute garlic and onions until lightly brown.
4. Add carrots and celery and continue to saute for about 10min.  [I don’t saute mine this long since it will continue to cook when you simmer everything and I like a little crunch to my veggies.]
5. Drain and wash your beans if using canned.  Add the remaining ingredients and the beef.  Simmer covered to desired thickness.  [I like this soup to have the consistency of stew so I simmer mine for about an hour.]
Note:  I modified the spices from the original recipe since I am not a big fan of oregano or basil and I reduced the amount of salt due to the salt in the canned products.
You can adjust the spices and vinegar to suit your needs.  And, if you would like to add the pasta, 10minutes before your soup is done simmering make the pasta, drain, and add to the soup.  If needed, use the pasta water to thin out your soup.  If you plan to eat this soup in batches, boil only the amount of pasta you plan to consume because it will soak up the liquid as it sits.
I had nutritional information for this, but I seem to have lost it.  I will update this post later with one that uses dried beans and low sodium products instead.
Turkey Vegetable Soup
Here is what my soup looked like.  For some reason I never took a picture of it in a bowl…


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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Food, Poultry, Savory Dishes


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