“Ok. Seriously, it is time to update!” I suddenly thought about it when I was taking a break after I did 3 loads of laundry this afternoon. Ever since my husband and I moved up to San Francisco, I was extremely busy with getting a job and settling down. It’s been almost 6 months and everything is going well in San Francisco. So far, we went to most famous spots in San Francisco – still exploring and we love the city.
The good news is that I am getting close to start baking again! Last week, we applied an apartment that we want to move and we are waiting for the approval. If everything goes well, we will have a new place at the end of this month.
Since I haven’t been able to bake freely these days, I would like to show some pictures of my sweets from the past. The other day (now, a few months ago), I was organizing my photos and found old pictures of cakes and cookies that I made from 2004 to 2007. This was the time that I just started getting interests in baking, so the sweets that I’m introducing today are not 100% made from scratch except few cookies, but they were good as they were made from scratch!
My First Cake
This is my first cake ever. Before this one, cake was something that I only buy at a bakery. I used a cake mix and a store-bought icing. It’s not bad for the first cake, is it?
This is such a quick and easy dessert. I used to buy a small cake for this dessert at a store. Wait, I still do sometimes when I don’t want to do anything, but craving for some sweet stuff.
Dark Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberry Filling
This is a second cake that I made for my hubby’s birthday. Can you tell that I really tried hard to make it little bit fancier than the first one? I used Betty Crocker Super Moist – Dark Chocolate cake mix (It was my favorite, but I don’t see this anymore in a grocery store.) and I LOVED it. The combination of “Dark chocolate cake + Whipped cream icing + Fresh strawberry filling” is my ultimate favorite!
Strawberry Flavor Icing Cake
This is a cake with yellow cake mix and strawberry flavored icing. I wasn’t sure where I was going with the decoration on this cake, but my friend who got this cake loved it…=]
Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake
Whipped cream icing is my favorite, not so much for my husband though. I like it because it is sweet, but not too sweet. I’ve always whipped my own heavy cream as I have a control in consistency for decorating. How did I make this chocolate flavored whipped cream? It’s simple, just add chocolate syrup while you are whipping heavy cream!
Dark Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Filling
I love to watch FoodNetwork channel! I have learned most of cooking and baking knowledge and skills by watching it. One day, I saw a fancy chocolate decoration on TV – something like the one that I made, and I decided to try for my friend’s birthday cake. At that time, I had absolutely no idea about ‘tempering chocolate,’ so I just melted regular chocolate candy bars, piped and shaped, and waited until they get hard. However, shaped chocolate decors were still soft, so I decided to chill them in a refrigerator. They got hard, but it only lasted for a couple of minutes. Result – my finger prints appeared.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Berries
After I had a great holidays (Christmas and New Year’s Day) at my parents-in-law’s house, I wanted make something sweet for them before I leave. Again, I made my ultimate favorite – A dark chocolate cake with fresh berries and whipped cream icing. I forgot to buy mint, so I went out to their backyard and got some sage leaves! It worked for that time. =]
Strawberry & Blueberry Shortcake
Strawberry short cake is my emergency dessert – when I really want something sweet. Any kind of cake (pound cake, angel’s food cake, sponge cake, or chiffon cake) and strawberries are all I need, then, I can simply make this dessert. Don’t have whipped cream? Don’t worry, It is still good without whipped cream!
Brownie With Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
One of my favorite desserts is good quality vanilla ice cream on top of freshly baked warm brownie. Of course, I can’t forget to drizzle some chocolate syrup and dust powdered sugar for extra sweetness! Oh, I recently got an ice cream machine as a gift from my mother-in-law. I can’t wait to make all different kinds of frozen desserts!
Dark Chocolate Cake With Strawberry Whipped Cream
I made this cake for my birthday. Yeah… it may sound a little weird, but I’m kind of obsessed with a birthday cake. =] For this cake, I tried some new techniques. First, I added fresh strawberry puree while I was whipping heavy cream. You can see strawberry seeds on the cake! I personally don’t like using artificial flavor, so this is how I usually flavor my sweets. Second, I tired sugar art for the first time. I didn’t know how to do it, but I just did it after I saw a quick process of ‘how to make sugar art’ on TV. It was very beautiful, but I almost burned my hands.
Caramel Covered Walnut Shortbread Cookies
Although I had not attempted to bake cakes from scratch during my first four years of baking, I made some cookies from scratch time to time. One cold night, I had to have some sweets and made pecan shortbread cookies. I shaped dough in start, square, and triangle before I freeze them. They were good.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing Cake
My first homemade icing (other than whipped cream icing). Instead of adding sugar to cream cheese icing, I added melted white chocolate. Yammmm…it was good! No special decoration needed! Just decorate two layers of baked cake with white chocolate cream cheese icing and sprinkle cocoa powder on top!
Winter was coming. I had to smell freshly backed gingerbread cookies in the kitchen before Christmas arrived. I think I over-baked them…a little bit. Royal icing is so fun and pretty to decorate.
At the end of 2007, my mother-in-law and I decided to take a cake decorating class for fun. We registered at Joann for Wilton cake decorating beginner’s class and decorated three cakes through the classes. This was my first cake – the theme that I picked was ‘Thanksgiving.’ I decorated cute mother and baby pumpkin using a star tip decoration method.
My second week of class, I learned how to make clowns on top of cupcakes. My clowns were about to fall.
We also learned how to make drop flowers on the same week we made clowns.
Mini Wedding Cake
This was the final project – decorating with flowers and ribbons. I baked a regular cake mix in a one cake pan (the height was higher than a regular pan) and sliced them in three layers. Then, carve them into three different sizes using plates. It was my first mini wedding cake. Someday, I would like to make a real wedding cake.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Individual Cake
I’ve always dreamed about making individual cakes. I didn’t have individual cake rings, but I attempted to make them anyway. I baked cake in a sheet pan, cut it with a circle cookie cutter, and arranged layers with whipped ganache by hands. It was messy and not easy, but I did it! By making this sweet, I’ve learned why it is important to have right tools and pans to make certain sweets. It saves lots of time and helps me to get a perfect result. I still don’t have individual cake rings – they are quite pricey. I’m just waiting for the right time to buy all kinds of different size cake rings!
This is the end of my sweets from semi-scratch collection. Although I started baking and making sweets from scratch only a year ago and I love that way more than anything else, I have to tell you that I don’t mind to use cake, brownie, or cookie mix time to time. They can be convenient when I have to make massive amount of sweets for events or when I am lazy to bake anything. Most of all, it is really a good way to start for beginners who just entered the joy of baking world.