Rolled Sugar Cookies

For Christmas we made rolled sugar cookies using cookie molds. My mother brought along a German recipe for the cookies which she has made for decades. They are easy, fast and delicious.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Rolled Sugar Cookies

If you want to give it a try, here is the recipe (you may need a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients):

Ingredients:
250g flour
150g white sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
1 pack vanilla sugar
125g butter

Directions:
Mix flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar in a small bowl. In a different bowl, cream butter and white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs on at a time. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Cover dough in plastic wrap and cool for about 1 hour in the refrigerator. Cover working surface with flour. Roll out dough and cut out cookies with molds. Place cookies on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 13 minutes at 350 degrees.

These rolled sugar cookies are delicious plain, but are also perfect for decorating. I always mix up some powdered sugar with water or milk, add some food coloring and let the kids decorate the cookies. It is fun and they love it. Finish the iced cookies with an almond or sprinkles for additional decoration!

Wilton Course 2 Class 3:Wilton Rose

In the third class we completed the Wilton Rose. We needed to bring already prepared royal icing. This time my icing turned out perfectly. The trick was to add much less water than the recipe asks in the beginning. As you mixed all the ingredients you slowly need to add water, about ¼ tsp at a time. That way you make sure the royal icing does not get too thin, which is almost impossible to reverse.

Wilton course 2 Daffodil

Wilton Course 2: Daffodil

Next we piped a daffodil. What fun it is to pipe those flowers when you icing is perfect consistency! Check out my pictures to see how my Wilton rose and daffodil turned out. We also practiced to pipe the violet and lily. They are fairly easy to make but I did not safe any to take pictures.

Wilton Course 2:  Yellow Rose

Wilton Course 2: Yellow Rose

The flower templates that the Wilton kit provides (you can also buy them separately) are needed and a great tool to help piping flowers. If you want to pipe a lot of flowers, you need to buy many templates. To avoid that, you can get a clean template sheet laminated and cut and just wash it after use. Thank you to our instructor for that moneysaving tip!
I am excited to design my layout for the final cake which we will complete during class 4.

Christmas Cupcakes with Santa Claus Face

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It is almost Christmas and, of course, it is the time for baking. Cookies, cakes, cupcakes…you name it.
As always, I signed up to make cupcakes for my daughter’s preschool Christmas party. I wanted to pipe a Santa Claus face on the cupcakes. After searching the internet for some techniques, I was ready for my own design.
I baked cupcakes following a delicious recipe for Red Velvet cupcakes. Instead of using red food coloring I used green one. They turned out beautifully. Now it was time to whip up some icing and get the decorating started. This time I took pictures of every decorating step, so it will be easy to follow.

1.    First, I colored some icing with Wilton gel in copper, which is used for light skin tone. I spread the icing over a little more than half of the cupcake. This will be the face. I did not cover the whole cupcake, because I do not like too much icing.

Santa Claus Cupcakes

Santa Claus Cupcakes - Step 2

2.    Next, I used red icing and tip #12 to pipe the Santa hat. It is a little tricky to achieve a real deep red icing. You need to use a lot of color so the icing does not appear pink. I started with a chocolate buttercream, which makes it a little easier to get a deep red.

Santa Claus Cupcakes

Santa Claus Cupcakes - Step 2

3.    The third step is to pipe the big dot at the end of the Santa hat and the white beard and hair around the face. When I finished adding the white icing (again using tip #12) I dotted some extra icing on the hair and beard to give it a more natural texture.

Santa Claus Cupcakes

Santa Claus Cupcakes - Step 3

4.    Last, I colored a little amount of piping gel black. With tip #3 I put in the eyes and mouth to complete the face. Voila, the Santa Claus cupcake!

Santa Claus Cupcakes

Santa Claus Cupcakes - Step 4

It took some time to finish these cupcakes, but it gets easier and faster as you go and get used to the technique.
Merry Christmas!

Wilton Course 2 Class 2

Wilton Course 2 Class 2

For the second class of the Wilton Flower and Cake Design course we had to prepare royal icing for the first time. I never mixed up royal icing before so this was a new challenge for me. Following the recipe was not difficult, but it turned out that the icing is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. When I prepared the royal icing at home I had to cover the bowl with a wet towel while I colored some of the icing. Royal icing dries very fast. Therefore it is used for piping various flowers which are dried hard and later placed on a cake.
When I came to the second class and whipped up the icing again it turned out to be very thin. Making royal icing thicker afterward is very difficult. You can add cornstarch gradually, but that will alter the taste and it is still hard to achieve the ideal texture.
We first learned the rose base. Because my icing was too thin, I decided not to let the flowers dry, but instead just practiced the piping techniques for the different flowers. The rose base was very similar to the rose we learned in the Decoration Basics course.
The first full flower we piped was the apple blossom. It is a little cutesy flower which I think is great for borders. The next flower, the primrose, is similar to the apple blossom. It is only a little bigger. The last flower we learned during this second class was the rosebud. It was hard for me, because my royal icing was so thin, but I got the technique. It is not my favorite flower, but certainly a good flower for wedding cakes.

Fall Cake with Gumpaste Leaves

fall cake with gumpaste leaves

Fall Cake with Gumpaste Leaves

During my last Wilton class I learned how to form flowers using gumpaste. I really liked rolling and pressing out flower parts and I found it easier than piping icing flowers. After searching the internet for new cake decorations I came across several ideas for fall cakes. I decided I would try making leaves out of gumpaste and place them on a brown cake finished with a basketweave on the sides.
I baked a three layer cake with two layers of chocolate cake and one layer of vanilla cake. To stack the cake I cut the “domes” off and filled the spaces between layers with raspberry jam. I decided against icing inside the cake, because I would be using chocolate buttercream on the outside. To make the cake a little fresher and not too heavy I used jam on the inside.
Next, I mixed up chocolate buttercream and crumb coated the cake. In order to even out the icing on top, I dipped my spatula in hot water and smoothed out the buttercream. That technique worked wonders! The sides I decorated with a basketweave using a star tip.
Days before, I cut fall colored leaves out of gumpaste. I found a maple leaf shape online, traced it and made a shape out of cardboard. Colored fondant was used to color the gumpaste. I placed the maple leaf shape on top of the rolled gumpaste and cut along the edges with a sharp knife. My Wilton cake decorating kit included a flower former, in which I placed the leaves to dry. That way they dried in a wave shape and looked more natural. I piped a blob of icing on the cake where I wanted to place the leaves and placed the hard dried maple leaves on the cake.
I am proud of my end result which turned out to be a beautiful and delicious cake. I definitely loved working with gumpaste, because it gives you many more decorating options.

Wilton Course 2 Class 1: Flower and Cake Design

Wilton Course 2 Class 1: Flower and Cake Design

wilton-course-2-flower-cake

Wilton course 2: Flower cake

After taking a break from the cake decorating classes over the summer, I finally signed up for my next Wilton Cake Decorating Class. Since Wilton changed the curriculum in June, there are two classes to choose from after completing the Decorating Basics course: Flowers and Cake Design or Gum Paste and Fondant. I signed up for the Flowers and Cake Design class, because that was the next course offered at the local Michael’s store.
I was excited about starting to work with other materials besides buttercream icing. During this course we will work with royal icing and gum paste. You will also use a little bit of fondant to color the gum paste.
During this first class we learned how to color the white gum paste with colored fondant. You can also use the Wilton gel colors for that, but it is messy since the color will stick to your hands. We then made gum glue adhesive by mixing a tiny amount of dried gum paste with a tablespoon of water. After about 30 minutes the gum paste dissolves and makes a milky liquid which is used to glue gum paste flowers together etc. We also talked about the use of several tools and it was very informative to learn more techniques.
The first flower we learned was the button flower. We used colored gum paste, rolled it out and pressed out flower templates using the button flower cut and press set. I really like this neat little tool. It also comes as a Wilton rose leaf cut and press set, which is not included in this kit, but I am thinking about getting it. It makes nice leaves for modern looking designs. We placed the cut out flower pieces in the flower forming cups, so they will get a natural flower form and set them aside to dry. At the end of the class the flower parts were mostly dry. Using the previously made gum glue adhesive we assembled the three flower part and … voila: the finished button flower.

flower cake design

Flower and Cake Design

The last flower we made during the first class was the pansy. It was more complicated, because you have to roll out the gum paste very thin and make a two toned flower. Using a ball tool and thin and thick foam we softened and ruffled the edges of the flowers. This takes some practice and cutting of the excess gum paste at the edges of the flower is key to making a neat pansy. A little very sharp knife is extremely helpful.
I loved making both flowers and cannot wait to learn more tricks and techniques to make my future cakes and cupcakes more beautiful.

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