Thursday, April 28, 2011

A few more cakes...

I am upset I haven't had more time to blog but I guess that's life.  I have had a cake every week for the past few weeks and I've been BUSY!  Anyways, here are the last two cakes that I have done.

This is Pierson's 1st Birthday cake.  Pierson is my cousin's son... so he's my 2nd cousin???  I'm never good at that stuff.    The theme of his party was Mickey Mouse playhouse. 

For those cake lovers out there: the bottom tier was 10" vanilla butter cake with strawberry buttercream filling (insanely delicious), the middle tier was 8" chocolate cake with chocolate fudge filling and the top tier (the playhouse) was vanilla pound cake made by using half of the Wilton ball pan.  The entire cake was covered with homemade marshmallow fondant and all decorations were fondant.  However, I did not make the figurines as my aunt thought I had... nope not that talented sorry. :)

And because I got the gene of going overboard on parties from my mother... I made cupcakes too.  Vanilla/Almond cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  The little toppers are Oreo cookies (tutorial to follow one day).

Then, I found these adorable cookies that I just had to make.  They are suppose to look like Mickey's shorts.  I found the template here.  I used regular sugar cookies (I will post the recipe soon) and covered the cookies with modeling chocolate.  This was super yummy and a LOT faster than the royal icing method.  I do still love the royal icing look but in a pinch... modeling chocolate is the way to go.  Just roll it out like dough...use the same cutter or template for the cookie and viola!  a covered cookie in chocolate no less.

And finally the dessert table....

Let me start off by saying I am completely aware these pictures are not the best.  I should have moved the cake however this cake was so heavy and we were on a time crunch.  So I apologize for the bad pictures... 

This cake was for a friend's son, Justin.  I did not make the wrestling ring nor the figurines... just the two tiered cake.  I was given a picture to replicate.

This cake was a monster... the bottom tier was 18" vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream filling and the top tier was 15" chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream filling.  This was by far the largest stacked cake I have done and boy was it heavy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart with Caramel Drizzle

I stumbled upon this recipe in a magazine while waiting in my doctors office one day.  The combination of creamy peanut butter, salty pretzels, and sweet caramel sent me into a frenzy to find a scrap of paper and something to write with.  In the end this poor little recipe was scribbled onto the back of a grocery store recipe and left in the bottom of my purse with all the other items that are missing from the universe... lip gloss, a mutilated granola bar, maybe a toy or two, a few lonely gold fish crackers that spilled out of the bag... heck maybe I should look there for the socks that go missing in the washing machine! 

Anyways, during one of my annual purse cleanings (just kidding it happens more than that... like twice a year) I found this recipe.  That day I tried to read what looked like my two year old's handwriting and whipped this bad boy up. 

Like I said I figured it just had to be good but I truly had no idea what I was in for.  This is one of those desserts that I like to call.... Get that out of the fridge before I eat every last piece of it!!!!  It literally calls to you from the fridge...okay maybe it doesn't call to you... It whispers though.

I highly recommend giving it a whirl... it would be a fabulous addition to your Easter dessert table. 

Start by melting 6 tbsp. of butter and then set aside for it to cool.

Add the pretzels to the food processor and well... process.

If you don't have a food processor, I'm sure you could crush them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or something.  Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Transfer to a bowl and add 6 tbsp. of melted butter.  After the butter is mixed in...

Then press the mixture into your 9" tart or spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes; allow to cool.  Meanwhile...

In a bowl, combine 4oz. softened cream cheese, 3 tbsp. softened butter, and 1/2 cup peanut butter.

Beat mixture until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Next, beat in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, the container of thawed whipped topping, and vanilla. Dump that all into your cooled pan, cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge.

Now let's talk Caramel Drizzle....

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tbsp. water.

Bring to a boil without stirring...

until mixture becomes golden brown.

Starting to get a little color...

Getting closer...

Almost there...


Let cool 2 minutes.  Whisk in 2 tbsp. chilled butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 tsp. salt.
At this point you can cool the Caramel Drizzle completely and pop it in the fridge (just rewarm before you serve) or if your tart is ready then get after it!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart with Caramel Drizzle

2 cups broken salted pretzels
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
3/8 tsp. salt, divided
1 stick + 3 tbsp. butter, divided (broken down into 6 tbsp. melted & cooled, 3 tbsp. softened, & 2 tbsp. chilled)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 small container whipped topping
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a food processor, finely grind the pretzels, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the 6 tbsp. melted butter.  Press the mixture into a 9" tart pan or spring form pan.   Bake until lightly browned, about 18 minutes; let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and 3 tbsp. of softened butter until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Fold in the container of whipped topping and vanilla.

Spread mixture over the cooled pretzel crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours (overnight is fine too).  Before serving: In a saucepan, combine the sugar and 3 tbsp. of water and bring to a boil.  Boil without stirring until mixture reaches a golden brown color, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool 2 minutes and whisk in the 2 tbsp. chilled butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream/milk, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Drizzle over tart and serve!

*Note: The caramel drizzle can be made ahead of time, cooled and stored in the fridge.  Then just reheat when you are ready to serve his amazing dessert.