Today I'm going to show you how to make a beautiful cake.
It all comes down to this little tip, the 2D. Don't worry, if you're not a cake decorator, this isn't an intimidating or difficult thing to do. That's not The Farm Chicks way. I promise.
First, you'll need to bake yourself two same-sized cake rounds so you can make a double layer cake.
Once the cakes are cooled, cut off the rounded tops so the cakes are nice and flat. (A large serrated bread knife works best).
Next, layer and thinly frost the cakes.
(Cake is sitting on a tiny wooden cakestand).
Now comes the fun part. Place the 2D tip in a decorating bag (or a gallon-sized ziploc bag with one of the corners snipped off for the tip to poke out of). Fill the bag with your favorite THICK buttercream frosting. The frosting needs to be thick so it doesn't sluff off the cake. Starting on the top of the cake, make frosting swirls, like a pinwheel, starting in the center and circling around until you have a rose.
Make them in varying sizes. If there are holes, simply squeeze in a star. Like this:
Once the top is complete, move on to the sides. Swirl, swirl, swirl.
You don't need to be perfect. In fact, imperfect is homey. Imperfect says, Eat me! I'm a delicious, approachable cake!
And there you have it. A beautiful little cake.
2D cake decorating tip: Wilton, purchased at Carolyn's
Aren't big sprinkles adorable? The only problem is they're so hard to find. And then they're CRUNCHY, which isn't very enjoyable when you're taking a bite of a soft, fluffy cupcake, right? So, I've taken to making them myself. You can make different shapes, but today I really want to show you hearts. (Another phase of mine... Note the My Favorite Find logo, and this year's FC Show poster... :)) Love love love. It's what it's all about! hee hee
So anyway, they're really simple. Simply take a handful of candy melts in your desired color and heat for about 30(+/-) seconds in the microwave to melt:
Stir the melts until all smooth. Transfer mixture into the corner of a large ziploc bag and cut the tip off:
Line a tray with wax paper. Carefully squeeze out heart shapes, one side at a time. Squeeze briefly from the top, angling the heart side to the center, then pulling the shape, without squeezing any more out. Sort of just dragging what you've already squeezed:
Ohhh. So cute! And SOFT, so they won't break your teeth. Hooray!
Make as many as you like. zip. zap. zoom. And you're done! Then, top your favorite treats. Like cookies, sundaes, or cupcakes.
Or lots. Why not? We're equal opportunity sprinklers!
.... and with a few sprinkles, she'll change the world.
The microwave really needs a washing. This is what happens when children heat food until it explodes. I won't use cleaners that are full of chemicals because I don't want those fumes seeping into our food. Here's what I do instead.
I remove the tray and give it a wash in hot soapy water. (I love Mrs. Meyers dish soap!)
Next, I slice a lemon in half and squeeze it into a little microwave safe bowl of water.
I place it into the microwave and cook it on high for 4 minutes. The lemony water boils and steams.
When it stops, I don't open the door for 10 minutes, allowing that citrusy steam to loosen up the grime.
When I open the door, I wipe everything down with a clean cloth, and just like that, it's lemony clean.
My tomatoes are going like gang-busters right now, and I'm obsessed with keeping up with the pickings. I can't stand the thought of any going to waste.
This weekend I did lots of harvesting and am slowly putting each garden bed to rest for the winter as each one is picked out. Good night, snap peas. Good night, edamame. Good night, corn.
While I was harvesting, Colin was doing manly things, like protecting our new trees from the deer. Did you know deer love to mash their antlers against tree bark in the fall? If you don't protect new trees, they'll surely die. Colin likes to use chicken wire to wrap the bark because it's not really noticeable, which just looks a bit nicer in the yard.
I think that canning tomatoes is kind of unnecessary, because freezing is just so much handier (and keeps the nutritional value much higher because it's not all cooked out during the canning process). To process, I simply chop up the tomatoes (not necessary to chop the cherry tomatoes) and blend them up in my cuisinart. Then I place the mixture in a freezer bag (about 2-3 cups in each) and freeze for use in fresh tomato sauce (or soups, etc.) throughout the winter.
For a very simple, yet fresh and summery tasting sauce, heat fresh garlic and olive oil in a saucepan just until the garlic is aromatic. Add in the frozen tomatoes (frozen or thawed is fine) and cook just until heated. Season with basil and salt and serve with pasta.
Tip: Skinning the tomatoes before processing is completely unnecessary here, as the skins are blended up and are not noticeable when eaten.
It's always good to have a back-up dessert option for those times friends stop by or you just want to create a wonderful treat in no time flat. Chocolate Dipped Anything is a favorite of mine. I know, I had you at chocolate, right? And to make it even better, why not sprinkle it up? With sprinkles, of course.
Here's all you need:
Fruit or cookies for dipping
Combine chocolate chips and oil together in a small vessel such as a small measuring cup or bowl. (Something that is a bit more narrow than a standard cereal bowl, yet large enough for you to dip into, as this makes the chocolate go further). I use about 1/2 teaspoon of oil to 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until oil and chocolate are combined and the mixture is melted and smooth.
Dip fruit/cookies into the chocolate, followed by a dip into a bowl of sprinkles (you can skip the sprinkles if you'd prefer) and place onto a sheet of tin foil or waxed paper.
Allow to sit and harden (you can speed this up by placing them in the fridge for about 15 minutes). Once chocolate has set, transfer to a serving platter and serve.
I like to do serve a mixture of dipped, un-dipped, some sprinkled, and some not, so there are choices for everyone's tastes.
Tiny bunches of grapes are a favorite of mine for dipping, and are an unexpected twist to the traditional strawberry.
I prefer to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but milk chocolate and white chocolate are delicious too.
Make sure fruit is completely dry before dipping. Water and chocolate don't mix, and the water will make the chocolate become instantly lumpy and unusable.
I always keep large jars of different sprinkles on hand. I buy mine from Bake it Pretty.
Greetings from the countryside of Dayton, Washington!
Colin and I just enjoyed one of the most memorable dinners ever. (I'll be writing about it next week).
And good news! We enjoyed "Strawberry Fool" for dessert. In honor of Strawberry Week, I thought I'd share the concept of the dessert with you here, and how you can re-create it at home.
Please don't roll your eyes when I tell you this...
This is a very simple dish!
And elegant? YES!
To create, quarter fresh strawberries and gently stir in granulated sugar (add sugar to taste). Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, until the strawberries begin to release their juices. Combine strawberry mixture with heavy whipping cream and taste to ensure the mixture is suitably sweetened for a dessert. Beat until cream is stiff.
Scoop beaten strawberry cream mixture onto a chilled platter, top with chocolate cookie wafers and fresh raspberries. Drizzle with sweetened, unwhipped, heavy cream and embellish with thinly sliced fresh mint. Serve immediately.
If you want to get really fancy (and create more work for yourself), drizzle with Creme Anglaise, instead of the sweetened, unwhipped, heavy cream.
And how many times in your life have you gotten to announce that you're serving "Strawberry Fool" for dessert? Yeah, me too.
xo, from Dayton
P.S. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers are readily area where I live, however, if they're not in your area, the next best substitute (but a pain in the neck) would be Oreo cookies with the filling removed.