Towel Cake

Towel Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Towel Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

The wedding shower of one of my bridesmaids is coming up and I had two options, cash or be creative and make a towel cake from the registry list. Being a creative soul I couldn’t resist making a towel cake. Mind you it would have been much simpler & cheaper to give cash.
Time: 1 ½ hrs.

• 4 bath towels (2 Chocolate & 2 linen)
• 2 hand towels (1 Chocolate & 1 linen)
• 2 Block Monogram fingertip towels (Linen)
• 3 cake boards in various sizes. (small, medium & large)
• Safety pins
• Long straight pins
• Scissors
• Tape or Hot glue
• Fake flower garlands
• Bell wedding garland
• Baby blue ribbon (thick)
• Baby blue ribbon (thin)
• 1 roll of cellophane

Bottom Tier (2-Linen & 1 Chocolate Bath Towel & Large Cake board)
1. Lay bath towels out lengthwise and fold into thirds along its length.
2. Roll chocolate towel into one and pin closed with the safety pins, and place in the centre of the cake board.
3. Repeat step 1 and 2 with the 2 linen towels and wrap around the chocolate towel in a circular fashion until completed.
4. Safety pin the last end and hide the pins along the sides.
Middle Tier (1 Chocolate Bath Towel & Medium Cake board)
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the middle tier using the chocolate bath towel.
Top Tier (1-Linen & 1 Chocolate Hand Towels & Small Cake board)
6. Repeat steps 1-4 for the top tier using the linen & chocolate hand towel.
7. Add the two monogrammed finger tip towels to opposite sides of the cake top and pin.
8. Add flower garland to bottom of each tier.
9. Then add two rows of thick blue ribbon two rows for each tier.
10. Finally add bell garland to each tier. (2 to bottom & medium tier & 1 to top tier)
11. Decorate top with left of flowers and leaves and pin in.
12. Roll out cellophane and place towel cake on top and wrap.
13. Use the thin blue ribbon to make curly string on the top. (cut many pieces of string and run the scissor blade down it to curl)
14. Add card and matching bow to the front and you’re done.

• Ensure you have a big work space and everything within arm’s reach.
• If your boards are too big you can stuff the centre with tissue paper.
• Try to get the towels as straight as possible, it will be hard but try your best.
• Choose the ribbon colour from the save the date card. The colours for this October wedding is blue, so naturally I chose blue as an accent.

My Thoughts
I purchased the towel from their gift registry at bed bath & beyond. While I was finding the towels I saw some monogrammed towels in Chocolate & Linen. The exact colours for their towels and decided to get two and add as a cake topper of sorts.
The towels came to $154 with tax; the extras all came from the dollar store for $10 and I got the cake board from the bulk barn for around $8.
It was made with loads of love and I hope they appreciate the creativity.

The Bride-to-be knew I made it when she saw it and the writing on the card. She said “I don’t want to take it apart, but I will definitely be taking a picture before I do”

My friends I showed it to said “great job as usual, you’re so creative; if it’s unique and different it’s yours for sure.”

Towel Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Towel Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Bushberry Cake

Bushberry Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Bushberry Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

The Chatelaine Cooking Club had another recipe that interested me, and I made bushberry cake. As this is berry season I was the perfect time to make this recipe.
I was selected again to appear on Chatelaine online (I can’t believe it!!!). Click here to see my photo.

From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 9 servings
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 60 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla
• ¾ cup milk
• 170g tub raspberries
• 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
Whisky-butter sauce
• ¼ cup unsalted butter
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ 35% cream
• 2 tbsp Canadian whisky
Whipped Cream
• ½ cup 35% cream. Whipped optional

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 9X9 in. Baking dish with oil. Set aside.
2. Stir flour with baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Beat 2 tbsp butter with ½ cup sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
4. Add one third of flour mixture to butter mixture, then add half the milk. Repeat additions, scraping down sides of bowl, until well mixed.
5. Gently stir in berries.
6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
7. Bake in centre of oven until cake is lightly golden, about 30 min. Poke cake a few times with a fork and set aside.
8. Combine ¼ cup butter with ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup cream and whisky in a small saucepan and set over medium-high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
9. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 min.
10. Drizzle sauce over warm cake.
11. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve warm, topped with whipped cream.

Please Enjoy

My Thoughts
The cake had a sweet and tart taste and depending on the bite you took you would get a different taste. The Whisky butter only had a hint of whiskey flavour and I recommend making the whipped cream also.

DIY Body Scrub

Body Scrub - Candy Coated Culinista

Body Scrub – Candy Coated Culinista

I have recently started taking baths to relax and de-stress as my life is getting very busy and hectic at work and home. So I have been purchasing all types of bath products. I have been grabbing them on sale but other than that, it would get very pricey just to relax. I thought I can make these myself and they would have less chemicals and save myself a few bucks; and I’m now learning about homemade skincare low level. I’m not going to be mixing any weird or dangerous chemicals at home, as Mr. C already warned me and said “Don’t blow up the place” and made a bad Breaking Bad joke about me also.

Yield/Serving: 3 ¼ cups (740ml)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 ½ cups Sugar in the raw
• ¾ cup white granulated sugar
• 4 – 5 tbsp vanilla extract (or coconut, almond, orange etc.)
• ¼ cup almond oil

1. Mix together the sugars
2. Mix in your oil and vanilla extract with the sugar and combine.
3. Put scrub into a container

Tips• You will need an airtight container to store scrub in.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I used this the night I made this and at first it smelt a little alcohol like, but the smell dissipated and next time I will add some essential oil to alleviate that scent. My skin felt great and the sugar particles didn’t cut into my skin like some other scrubs I have used before. My skin absorbed the almond oil as I showered, so when I got out my skin was dewy moist and not stripped from the body wash I used before the scrub. I am looking forward to learning how to make my own body care and they make great present for your friends who like to take baths. Below is a breakdown on price.

Price Comparison
$0.43 White Sugar
$4.31 Organic Cane Sugar
$1.75 Orange Extract
$3.66 Almond Oil
= $10.15 Total for 740 ml

368g of scrub from the body shops would cost around $16.00. An exfoliant would run you about $6.00 but is also sand based usually and is harsher on the skin. It really comes down to what you buy regularly and if this works out better for you. I like the feeling of putting something on my body I made and has ingredients I can pronounce.

11 Layer Beef Taco Dip

11 Layer Beef Taco Dip - Candy Coated Culinista

11 Layer Beef Taco Dip – Candy Coated Culinista

For 3 years now I have been making a beef taco dip for Mr. C’s Christmas Pot Luck at work. Even when he is on vacation over Christmas he is still expected to bring it in and every year I add one or a few more ingredients and work on perfecting the recipe even more. I just hope they know I can make more than taco dip.

Yield/Serving: 9 x 12” casserole dish
Prep & Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 pack cream cheese
• 1 cup sour cream
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
• 1 lb ground beef
• 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
• 1 package shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese mix
• 2 large tomatoes, diced
• 1 head of lettuce, thinly sliced or shredded
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 green pepper, diced
• Green olives (Optional)
• Spices, sea salt, ground black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, chilli powder and chilli flakes, to taste
• 2 bags of tortilla chips

1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in a mixer until well blended.
2. Cook meat and add spices.
3. Add tomato sauce to beef and let cool.
4. In the 9”x12” casserole dish add the cream cheese mixture.
5. Now add the ground beef.
6. Add lettuce, tomatoes onions, green peppers, olives and finally the cheddar cheese.

• Now that I have a mixer, it is so much easier to blend these ingredients. If you have a mixer I highly recommend you use it if you have it.
• I didn’t put olives in the work recipe as not everyone like olives. But for the portion I made for me and Mr. C. I included olives.
• This is a filling dip, but you can also add black beans, salsa, guacamole or spring onions. I will be experimenting with this next time.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. said “The whole dish was gone in 20 minutes and everyone loved it and is asking for the recipe. “ It makes it worth the time it takes to make this when you get that type or response and praise.

A lifelong friend (actually one of my bridesmaid’s) recently started working at Mr. C’s office and she was told by another co-worker “you got to try this taco dip Mr. C’s wife makes” not knowing that we have known each other since we were kids. My friend said the morsel she managed to scrounge from the dish she loved, and she can see why it went so fast.

My thoughts
This is a great recipe and it serves many people and is a crowd pleaser. It’s is a delicious recipe. If you are making one for a party I suggest keeping a little back and put it in a small container for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Macaron Diaries – Petit Theut

Petit Theut - Candy Coated Culinista

Petit Theut – Candy Coated Culinista

Co-Owner and Chef: Marc Thuet.
Location: 1 King Street West Toronto, Ontario

Today I finally have a day off work, so instead of sleeping in like any normal person would do, I took a trip @ 7:30am to Yonge-Dundas square to see the Tumblr & Batpod which were there for a promotion for the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. (Mr. C. will be very happy with all the pictures & video I took for him!) So since I was up already I decided I would make the best of my morning, and I took a walk down to one of the stops on my search to taste the best macarons Toronto has to offer.

I go into Petit Theut and it’s pretty quiet, but then again all the patrons, except for me and two other guys are on their way to work. I can see a display case full of 17 varieties of Macarons, all I could think was “Wow!” I will have to make a trip back around in the near future to try some more of the flavours they had. They were a little bit bigger than a twoonie, and at the price of $13.00 with tax for 5 it is a once in awhile treat for sure!
The flavours I picked were Lemon, Raspberry, Blueberry Cheesecake, Cookies & Cream (for Mr. C.), and a Lavender coloured one I picked because it just looked pretty! The first one I tried was the raspberry macaron. The filling was a raspberry jam which was very sweet, even for me, but still delicious none the less. This is a decadent and rich treat and was my first morsel of food for the morning, I was truly happy, and thought what a great day this was going to be! The first piece is surprising, the shell is hard to the touch, but melts in your mouth once you bite into it.

The blueberry cheesecake tasted exactly how I envisioned it. The filling was cream cheese and blueberries. I’m not a cheesecake fan or a cream cheese in desserts type of person either yet I loved it. It was the perfect combination and not too cheesy. It never got to the point where I wanted to put it down, I just kept on eating and enjoying every bit not wanting it to end!

Since I had a whole day off, I decided to roam Toronto and since I was heading in the direction of St. Lawrence Market I said to myself, “Why not? It will be quiet at this time in the morning.”

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Couscous Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I did it! I have finally made a dish where I can say I enjoyed eating couscous. I like couscous but I’ve had a hard time finding a way to enjoy it. I did it again! I Now have a dish where I can actually eat chick peas and not cringe. Honestly I don’t like chick peas at all, but in this recipe it works and I can say “yum”.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• Parsley, handful chopped
• 80 ml of canned Chickpeas,
• 50 ml sultana raisins
• 250 ml grape tomatoes, halved
• ½ Green pepper, diced
• ½ Red pepper, diced
• 1 green onion, chopped
• 1 cup chicken broth
• Salt, to taste
• Black Pepper, to taste
• 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
• Couscous, 160g

1. Prep and add the parsley, chickpeas, sultana raisins, grape tomatoes, green & red peppers green onion into a large bowl.
2. Bring 1 cup of chicken broth (or water) to a boil.
3. Add the couscous to the chicken broth.
4. Stir and cover.
5. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
6. Fluff with a fork.
7. Add salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste and combine.

• Try also adding some of the following lemon juice, cilantro, basil, dill, or mint, honey, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, garlic, or try using Moroccan spices like cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, anise seeds, sesame seeds, coriander, saffron or toasted pine nuts. I will use some of these ingredients the next time I make it.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I will be adding this to my side dish rotation, now that I am in love with this recipe. The couscous tasted fresh and was very colourful. Not one ingredient over powered any other and they flavours married well. I had leftovers the next day for lunch and it re-heated just as well.

Pink Ombre Cake

Pink Ombre Vanilla Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Pink Ombre Vanilla Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

I have been pinning these cakes in its many variations, I even have a purple ombre cake with piped roses on my title page for my food board. I love the look of this cake but I never thought I’d be attempting this and so soon. I typically like to start small and work my way up to those more involved and technical recipes. This to me seems like I’m starting near the top as I don’t bake full cakes. Sure I bake cakes that go into loaf pans and cupcakes, but I have never made a fully layered cake that is also decorated. This was a part of the Chatelaine Cooking Clubs Cake Week Challenge. I decided to use this challenge as a lesson in pushing myself and see what comes of it. To my surprise this morning (I checked the moment I woke up at 5:25am. I went right to my ipad and scrolled through the best pics, found my cake and went back into the bedroom all giddy and put the screen in front of Mr. C.’s face) “I got selected again”. Click here to see my picture.

Recipe from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 1hr.
Cook Time: 20 – 25 min., plus 55 min. Cooling time
Difficulty level is: Hard (the cakes were easy, but the decorating I found hard)

Vanilla Cake

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• ¾ tsp salt
• 2/3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 ½ tsp vanilla
• 1 cup milk
• pink gel food colouring
• 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 4 cups icing sugar
• ¼ cup milk
• pink gel food colouring

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or spray four (4) 6-inch round cake pans and lines with parchment paper.
2. Stir flour with baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter with granulated sugar in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until fluffly. Add eggs, one at a a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Reduce speed and beat in one-third of flour mixture, then add half the milk. Repeat, ending with flour mixture.
3. Divide batter into 4 bowls (about 1 cup each). Set 1 portion aside (do not colour). Add varying amounts of food colouring to the remaining 3 portions, to create 3 shades of pink. Scrape each bowl of batter into a prepared pan.
4. Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in the centre of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.
5. Beat 1 cup butter in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy, 1 min. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 min. Reduce speed and beat in remaining surgar in 3 parts, alternating with milk (in 2 parts) and ending with sugar. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 min.
6. Assemble cake by setting the darkest pink layer on the cake stand. Lay short strips of parchment under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread with ½ cup icing. Continue with remaining layers and icing, with white layer on top. Spread a thin layer of icing on sides and top of cake. Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 15 min.
7. Divide remaining icing into 4 bowls. Set 1 portion aside (do not colour). Add varying amounts of food colouring to remaining 3 portions, to create 3 shades of pink. Spread the darkest pink icing around the bottom quarter of the cake. Spread the next darkest shade of icing above the first layer of icing, then continue with remaining icing. Spread white icing on top of the cake. Garnish with silver dragees. Remove parchment.

•Chatelaine tip – Gel colouring goes a long way. Use toothpicks dipped into get to get a small amount. Build colours by adding a little bit of gel at a time.
•I used regular food colouring for the cake batter and frosting and it came out just as well.
•Work fast with the icing, I was moving way too slow to do what was needed to accomplish the desired look.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. was really proud of me and said it looked great. (You got to love the motivators in your life eh. I see all the imperfections and the icing wasn’t smooth etc, and he just sees a beautiful cake)

I tweeted my photo to Chatelaine late Wednesday night and by the morning I had noticed they mentioned me in a tweet and said “Amazing! *applause*” and later that day I got a reply saying It looks great – love the roses on top!

My thoughts
I made this recipe twice as the first time it didn’t turn out for me. My first batch was more like an unleavened cake. I followed the instructions and added the baking powder, yet the batter didn’t rise. So the next day I started over again with my tighter deadline. I tripled the recipe so I could get my cake pans more full. I knew the techniques that needed to be used regarding getting the frosting to match the photo; using an offset spatula and lazy Suzan or a revolving cake stand. Making this cake I realized a revolving cake stand would have come in handy, but with practice and time and honing my skills I’ll get there. I haven’t tasted this batch as my goal was to get the decorating completed and not get to bed too late. I will make the recipe again way down the road and see how the cake tastes, and use different size pans as my cakes had a little bit of the “leaning tower of Pisa” going on. For my first try at layering a cake and decorating a cake I think I did pretty well.

Sidenote – As I post this my cake is in two parts in a cake box as I couldn’t house it upright. The top is smooshed and a chunk was punched out on accident when I tried to dismantle it. Poor pinky never saw it coming, c’est la vie.

Below was the inspiration look. You can see that mine looked way different lol.
Photo coutesy of Chatelaine
Chatelaine Pink Ombre Cake

Cake Boss

Who: Cake Boss – Buddy Valastro (Airs on TLC)
Book: Baking with the Cake Boss: Buddy’s Recipes & Secrets That Make You the Boss of Your Home Kitchen

Cake Boss was recommended to me by one of my lifelong friends (my matron of honour, second mom, older sister, hairdresser, seamstress, baker, cake decorator). I could go on and on, she’s a very talented woman and means the world to me. She absolutely loves the show and got me into watching it in its early days. I decided I would surprise her with a signed copy of Buddy Valastro’s latest book for her birthday.

My plan was to get tickets to his show at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, but they sold out too fast and I missed my chance. The book signing was for 1pm, and knowing the location chosen for the signing (A predominantly Italian part of the city) I decided to go very early and I’m glad I did! I arrived at 9:45am for a 1:00pm signing and was somewhere around 60th-70th in line. I sat in line and read for over 4 hours for a quick 20 second meet and greet, and got a few candid shots with him. Side note: – I have to say, he looks much more handsome in person, his eyes are very blue and he is much tanner than he appears on the show. The theme song, Sugar Sugar by the Archie’s was sung by the original artist, which I thought was neat. Also a fan in front of me went to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken and had a Carols Bakery tee shirt to tell his tale! When all was said and done over 1000 people showed up and the line went out the building and spilled outside. Buddy was supposed to only to stay until 3pm but he stayed until everyone got their book signed, what a guy!

For 4 ½ months I held onto my surprise and when April rolled around I gave my friend her present and she loved it! She finally has her own autographed cookbook by Cake Boss. The look on her face made me so happy.

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