Winter Forest Cake

Winter Forest Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

A four layered cake that is a wonderful addition to the Christmas and holiday season gatherings.

Yield/Serving: 4 – 6” cakes
Prep Time: 45 min.
Cook Time: 35-45 min. per cake
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Vanilla Cake

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• Egg whites from 5 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ¾ cups 2% milk
Gingerbread Cake
• 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
• 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
• 1 1/8 tsp ground ginger
• ¾ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp five spice
• ½ tsp ground clove
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¾ tsp cinnamon
• 1 large egg beaten
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 2 tbsp fancy molasses
• 1/3 cups hot water
Funfetti Cake
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg white
• 2/3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp 2% milk
• 1 ½ tbsp blue sprinkles
• 1 ½ tbsp. white sprinkles
Simple Syrup
• 4 tbsp water
• 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Frosting
• 1 ½ cups butter, at room temperature
• 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• 3 tbsp milk, more if needed
• Blue food colouring
Decorations
• Pocky, chocolate covered flavour (red box)
• Teal melting chocolates
• Blue melting chocolates
• White melting chocolates
• Snowflake sprinkles
• Blue sprinkles
• Blue, silver & white non-pareils
• Blue sanding sugar

Assembly
Vanilla Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg whites and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture alternating between milk and flour mixture three times.
8. Pour into two pans, smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Gingerbread Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, five spice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
5. Whisk in eggs, oil and molasses.
6. Slowly add in water until just combined.
7. Pour into one pan and smooth smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Funfetti Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of one pan.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg white and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture until just combined and then add milk and mix.
8. Fold in sprinkles by hand.
9. Pour batter into one pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Buttercream Frosting
1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy.
2. Add confectioner’s sugar and milk and finally food colouring and combine until well incorporated.
Tree Decorations
1. Place wax paper on a cookie tray and set aside.
2. In the meantime melt various coloured molding chocolates in microwave safe bowls melting each colour separately in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted.
3. Once chocolate has slightly cooled pour in a piping bag.
4. Place Pocky sticks onto wax paper and pipe trees out and place decorations on top and then place in the fridge to set up.
Layered Cake Assembly
1. Use a serrated knife, trim tops and even out if necessary to level out the cakes.
2. Apply simple syrup to each layer of the cake and let absorb.
3. Smear a little frosting on the silver disc so cake doesn’t move.
4. Place first vanilla layer on the bottom layer and spread some buttercream frosting over top.
5. Then place funfetti layer over and spread buttercream frosting over top.
6. Place gingerbread layer over and spread buttercream frosting over top.
7. Top with final layer of vanilla cake and spread buttercream frosting over top and sides.
8. Place in fridge to let the crumb coat firm up some.
9. When crumb coat is firm using an offset spatula frost the cake.
10. Apply sanding sugar to the cake.
11. Remove trees from the fridge and place in the top of the cake from the middle going back.
12. Add the snowflake decorations.
13. Place bake in fridge to firm up.
14. Remove from fridge 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
15. Serve and enjoy.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my first cake at 4 layers and I was so happy with how it turned out. I will say one more layer would require wooden dowels placed inside the cake no matter the size of the cake. I spent a lot of time insuring my crumb coat firmed up and applying the final coat properly. If found applying the sanding sugar a little tricky; but for my first attempt I get the hang of it eventually. Cutting into the cake and seeing perfect layers with frosting in between was a wonderful treat. The cake was moist with three different flavoured cakes there is something here for anyone.

Winter Forest Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

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Vanilla & Gingerbread Layered Cake with Birch Bark, Coconut Snow & Truffles

Vanilla & Gingerbread Layered Cake with Birch Bark, Coconut Snow & Truffles – Candy Coated Culinista

I came to church Christmas morning and was told by my God-Children’s Grandmother “I have a bone to pick with you” to which I said “huh”. She said “where’s my cake”…. Ohhh. Their grandmom had seen a picture of my Birch Bark Buche de Noel and wanted her own. Well in all honesty that Yule log could be shared as there was more than enough; but I took the hint and made a cake for her and her husband for new years.

Yield/Serving: 3 – 6” pans
Prep Time: approx. 60 min.
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Difficulty level is: Medium, time-consuming

Ingredients
Vanilla Cake

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• Egg whites from 5 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ¾ cups 2% milk
Gingerbread Cake
• 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
• 1 1/8 tsp ground ginger
• ¾ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp five spice
• ½ tsp ground clove
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¾ tsp cinnamon
• 1 large egg beaten
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 2 tbsp fancy molasses
• 1/3 hot water
Birch Bark
• Small paint brushes
• 6 dark chocolate wafers
• 6 milk chocolate wafers
• ½ cup white chocolate wafers
Simple Syrup
• 4 tbsp water
• 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Frosting
• 1 cups butter, at room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tbsp milk, more if needed
Decorations
• Truffles
• Desiccated coconut
• Confectioners’ sugar

Assembly
Vanilla Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg whites and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture alternating between milk and flour mixture three times.
8. Pour into two pans, smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely.
Gingerbread Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, five spice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
5. Whisk in eggs, oil and molasses.
6. Slowly add in water until just combined.
7. Pour into one pan and smooth smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
10. Let cool completely.
Birch Bark
1. Place parchment in a cookie tray and set aside.
2. In two small microwave safe bowls melt the dark chocolate and milk chocolate wafers separately in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted.
3. Draw lines and tree knots on the parchment paper and place in fridge to set for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile place white chocolate wafers in a medium sized microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted.
5. Let cool, until it is not hot to the touch. (You don’t want the white chocolate to melt the other chocolate when applying.)
6. Remove cookie tray from fridge and apply white chocolate using an offset spatula in a rectangular shape; covering all the dark and milk chocolate design.
7. Place back in fridge and let firm up for minimum 20 minutes.
Simple Syrup
1. Mix sugar and water together in a small prep bowl and set aside.
Buttercream Frosting
1. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter until fluffy.
2. Add confectioner’s sugar and milk and combine until well incorporated.
3. Taste frosting and add more sugar if you like; but this is purely a crumb coat to adhere the birch bark and coconut snow. So there is no need to overly sweeten this frosting.
Layered Cake Assembly
1. Use a serrated knife, trim tops and even out if necessary to level out the cakes.
2. Smear a little frosting on the silver disc so cake doesn’t move.
3. Place first vanilla layer on the bottom layer and spread some buttercream frosting over top.
4. Then place gingerbread layer over top and brush simple syrup into gingerbread cake. Cut a thin layer off the gingerbread cake for sure, to ensure the simple syrup can absorb.
5. Spread buttercream frosting over top.
6. Top with finals layer of vanilla cake and spread buttercream frosting over top and sides.
7. Place in fridge to let the crumb coat firm up some.
8. Bring out the birch bark and start breaking into long shards.
9. Once frosting has firmed up start placing birch bark unto the cake.
10. Run some of the buttercream frosting along back of the birch bark and stick to the cake.
11. Continue until the cake is covered in birch bark.
12. Grab truffles or make truffles buy using more milk chocolate wafers and melt in the microwave and pour into circular molds and let set in fridge for at least 1 hour.
13. Once truffles are set dip base of truffles in the buttercream frosting and then place around the edges of the cake.
14. Sprinkle cake top with desiccated coconut and dust tops of truffles with confectioners’ sugar.
15. Serve & enjoy

Tips
• I bought my paint brushes at the dollar store.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
They were very appreciative of the cake and said it was great; which made me happy. I enjoyed making this cake just as much as the yule log and I’m loving the decorating just as much as the baking now. I wanted to add a gingerbread layer to make it a seasonal cake and I’m happy I did. The aroma form the gingerbread cake was delightful. For once I got to taste my cakes as I had to level them. They tasted great and I loved that it came together so well. This took awhile to make; but again like the yule log I didn’t noticed how long it took. I binge watched Netflix’s Marvel shows in the kitchen while I baked and decorated and the time flew by.

Vanilla & Gingerbread Layered Cake with Birch Bark, Coconut Snow & Truffles – Candy Coated Culinista

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Gingerbread Molasses Cookies – Candy Coated Culinista

Another year another gingerbread recipe and this year I think I have a decent recipe. Last year I tried a recipe from a cookbook that shall remain a secret; but it was a terrible recipe. I followed the instructions perfectly twice and the cookies looked like a dog’s breakfast and I had so many to make matters worse. I’m so much more pleased with this recipe that I can actually make a post.

Yield/Serving: about 30 cookies
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: approx. 24 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 cup demerara sugar
• 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp nutmeg
• ½ tcp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cloves
• 1 tsp baking soda
• Pinch of salt

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using parchment paper, line two baking sheets.
3. Using an electric mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment; beat butter and sugar until it is fluffy.
4. Then add egg and molasses and continue to beat until just combined.
5. In a medium-sized separate bowl wisk flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt.
6. Pour flour in the mixer on low speed and mix until just combined.
7. Roll 1 tbsp of the gingerbread mixture into a ball and place on the baking sheets, two inches apart.
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes one pan at a time and until edges are just firm.
9. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Enjoy.

Tips
• Store in an air tight container between a layer of wax paper in the fridge for up tp five days or freeze for up to two weeks if you want to make ahead.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts

Now I noticed the shelf life of these cookies was super short; two days maximum in an air-tight container. I do realize the texture of gingerbread cookie is different from the normal cookie; but I enjoy those Starbucks ginger molasses cookies so much. Maybe those are just a touch under baked as they tend to be so soft in the centre. These cookies smelled of Christmas and as my house smells of balsam fir & now gingerbread with the Christmas tree lit and presents under the tree I am officially in the Christmas mood. Nott to mention I got the desired crack in my cookies so that made me happy. Next year I will attempt to make gingerbread men decorated and everything – fingers crossed

Cupcake Diaries: Yummy Stuff

Cupcake Diaries: Yummy Stuff Bakery - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Diaries: Yummy Stuff Bakery – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 1660 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, 416-531-9732

When I can hit a few quest shops in one trip is always a good day for me. When I visited Gloryhole Doughnuts; half a block away was Yummy Stuff and I couldn’t have been happier to visit.

Since it was the week of my birthday I choose a few selections: Pecan Lace Cookies, Raspberry Cupcake with Raspberry Buttercream, Gingerbread Cookie and a Sugar Cookie that said “Happy Birthday” on it. The Pecan Lace Sandwhich Cookie was light and airy and didn’t taste like a dessert to me, even with the buttercream in the middle. The Gingerbread and Sugar cookies were quite tasty and my favourite items from the bakery. Mr. C. had the cupcake and he wasn’t really that impressed as the cupcake fell apart in his hands. It seems that the only thing keeping the cupcake together was the baking liner. As for the buttercream he felt the same way, it was just ok and nothing special. For these four items it came to about $20 with tax; which I found to be a tad pricy.

I went here specifically for the cupcakes, but that in my opinion isn’t the best thing on their menu. I visited based on an article of the Best Cupcakes in Toronto, but somehow I think some other bakeries and shops have come up in the meantime to eclipse these cupcakes, including my own on a good day. Go for the cookies, lemon bars, and brownies and other treats I say.

Cookie Decorating – Practice #1

Royal Icing Decorating - Candy Coated Culinista

Royal Icing Decorating – Candy Coated Culinista

Truth be told I am about 3 months late practicing how to decorate cookies. The plan was to make El Dia Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Sugar Skull cookies, as I love all things macabre and skulls being my focal point in this genre. There should have been a post November 1st 2013, but I had so many Halloween posts leading up to that day that I thought I should relax a bit. I also put a hold on it as I haden’t practiced or got myself all the tools needed, even though I had the sugar skull cookie cutters from my prize money for my Mini-Jumble Berry Tarts. Christmas rolls around and Bulk Barn is now selling pre-made gingerbread cookies and houses and royal icing. That’s perfect for me as I can just concentrate on the decorating aspect and not worry about making the gingerbread. I bought my supplies and what happens again, I have so many Christmas recipes and posts that I run out of time. Now it’s the first week in January and I am practicing now. The only good thing to my procrastination was that everyone in my life for Christmas either gave me cooking, baking or photography related presents and my second mom (she’s more like big sister and mom – my mom has always said if anything should happen to her this is my new mom) and that’s exactly how it worked out. Anyway back to the story, she and one of her sons (my god-son) gave me a unique measuring cup set that looks like seashells, as my god son thought they were unique just like his aunty C.C. and an icing pen set with all the decorating tips and the much needed offset spatula. Now I had everything I needed and I had no excuse, and I broke in my new icing set.

Supplies
• Gingerbread cookies
• Royal icing
• Sprinkles, quinns, coloured sugar (as decorations you like)
• Offset spatula

Assembly
1. Lay out cookies.
2. Pipe outlines around the edges of the cookie.
3. Let the outline set for 1 hour before flooding the interior.
4. Thin the icing in the microwave or add a little water at a time until runny.
5. Let the icing stand for 5 minutes to allow bubbles to rise to the top and then flood the cookies inside your outlines.
6. Use an offset spatula along with a toothpick to help the icing reach the edges.
7. Let cookies set for 1 hour and then pipe details or the next colour on top. Or when you have finished flooding the cookie sprinkle the sprinkles, quinns or coloured sugar on top immediately so they can adhere to the icing.

Tips
• I found it easier to work with the royal icing if it was slightly warm to get a more liquid consistency.
• Another option is to add water, a little at a time until the runny texture is achieved.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My first cookies was a real disaster, you can always tell your first when your practicing something new. By the second cookie I had the hang of it (I was expecting this to take me longer, but maybe my artistic background kicked it). For my first practice at cookie decorating I am quite pleased with myself. I just have to work on my flooding technique and using the offset spatula. I am now feeling more confident and by November 1st 2014 I will have that El Dia Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Sugar Skull cookies post up for you to try.

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