Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A CSN giveaway - Halloween edition

When I was asked by CSN to host another $40 giveaway, I was thrilled. CSN is truly a one-stop shopping place where you can find everything from dining room chairs to fabulous rain boots.
With Halloween right around the corner, I found a few ways to spend the money if I were the winner...
Like this fantastic 3d cookie cutter set

these adorable jack-o-lantern plates

who (whoooo) doesn't need cool owl chocolate molds?

Whether you want to be practical or frivolous, CSN truly has it all!

Two ways to enter (leave a comment for each entry):
1. Visit CSN and let me know how you would use your gift certificate.
2. Become a fan of Cakewalk on Facebook and share with your friends and let me know.

Enter now through Wednesday, October 6th at noon. I will announce the winner that evening via email.

Open to US and Canadian residents (there may be international shipping charges to Canada)

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The great chocolate (frosting) debate

I posted to Facebook the other night about my quest for the perfect fudgy chocolate frosting recipe. I usually make a Swiss meringue buttercream and add lots of melted chocolate, but I've been in search of old fashioned recipe that tastes like store bought frosting - only better. I received a lot of great tips and was inspired to try some experimentation of my own. I chose 3 recipes to pair with vanilla cupcakes for the official tasters - me and my son.

The first recipe I used was Hershey's "perfectly chocolate" chocolate frosting. It's super simple to make and while it was my least favorite of the three, quite good. I added a tablespoon of coffee to the recipe per the suggestions of my Facebook friends and I think it added a nice touch. I felt that the color was a little anemic and might look nicer using dutched cocoa powder. Maybe adding some melted chocolate would boost the chocolate flavor?

I found my second recipe from Cooks Illustrated found on Chowhound. It's basically made like a ganache with the addition of some powdered sugar & lots of butter. I used a 60% bittersweet chocolate because it was what I had in the house. The result was delicious, but a little too sophisticated for what I had in mind. The recipe calls for 20 oz of chocolate which would make it quite expensive if a large quantity was needed. If I made it again, I would use milk chocolate for a mellower flavor.

My final and favorite was adapted from this recipe . I didn't have any unsweetened chocolate in the house, so I used my 60% bittersweet chocolate and cut back on the powdered sugar. The result was just perfect - fudgy (it gets a little crusty when it cools, just like fudge), not overly sweet with great chocolate flavor. Now I just need to find the perfect chocolate cake to go with it!

Cakewalk's "better than the can" chocolate fudge frosting:
5 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz unsalted butter
12 oz powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz whole milk

Melt the butter over low heat and stir in the chocolate until melted
Combine the powdered sugar & vanilla in large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) and add chocolate mixture.
Add the milk, a little at a time until the desired consistency (thick & creamy is reached). The frosting will continue to thicken as is cools.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Be there or be square...

I am totally honored and thrilled that Becca of Birthday Girl graciously offered to design Graham's party invitations. I gave her a few ideas and she ran with 'em - creating the perfect invite to set the tone for our 'fair' theme and way exceeding my expectations. Thanks again, Becca! I owe you a fabulous 1st birthday cake for Caitlin!

Paper & envelopes (paper bag, red) - Paper Source
Address labels (kraft) - Online Labels

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One tablecloth, four ways

For my son, Graham's "County Fair" party, I want the dessert table to have a rustic, homespun feel. I love vintage tablecloths and thought using one for different elements would tie things together nicely. I searched Ebay for "cutter" tablecloths (with stains or little holes) and found this beauty for less than $10.00. So far I have used it for the center of the prize ribbon favor bags and little flags inspired by Melanie of you are my fave. Next up, bunting and fancy prize ribbons to adorn the cakes.
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