Touching Bases

July 17, 2014

I’m counting my blessings and quite thankful that my little blog is not a business and a steady income generator.  I’m also pretty sure that Personal Paid Leave of Absences are not a benefit for self-employed business bloggers. After having taken the past three months off for just that purpose, I’d sure be in dire straits if I was counting on revenues from The Vanilla Bean Baker!

In any case, I’m back to blogging, part-time for now and though I haven’t been *here* since Easter, things have been busy, both with the cookie decorating and with family.  Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe that we are looking at the last two weeks of July already?  It’s been a lovely summer so far, August is already showing signs of being a hectic month but we are going to squeeze all the goodness we can out of the coming weeks.  Eat all the fresh local fruit that we can, stuff ourselves with local corn on the cob, enjoy sunset bonfires and roasted marshmallows with the grand-kids, get together with family through little road trips and start planning for Fall canning.  Ooops, just kidding, I don’t can anything!  Preserves…I’m too chicken.

On another note, I missed a wonderful opportunity this month to meet up with fellow blogger and friend Lupita who blogs at  Her and her family were visiting Toronto all the way from Texas.  Regrettably, my schedule did not permit me meeting her in person and I was very disappointed.  How often does a friend from Texas come within a 4 hour drive from me?  I hope that Lupita and her family enjoyed their time in Canada and I really hope that another opportunity for us to meet in person comes around sooner rather than later.

Thought I’d share some cookies I’ve done (some of them months ago) but I never did post here.

Thomas the Tank Engine 1st Birthday CookieThomas the Tank Engine – Little Boy’s First Birthday – Edible Image

Simple Colourful Thank You Cookies

Client Wanted Very Simple But Brightly Coloured Thank You Cookies

Relay for Life Edible Image Cookies

Relay for Life Cookies for Local Relay – Edible Images

Maple Leafs Personalized Baby Onesies

Personalized Leaf Fan Baby Onesies for Baby Shower

Happy and Scared Teeth Cookie for Dentist

Happy and Scared Teeth Cookies for Dentist

Happy Teeth with Pink Cheeks

Happy Teeth Thank You Cookies for Dentist

Monogrammed Hearts, Proposal and Save the Date Cookie Collection

Bridal Shower Cookies, Included Monogrammed Hearts, Proposal and Save the Date Cookies

Finally for now, not another cookie but a pie I baked months ago.  It was an Apple and Chopped Pecan pie with Cinnamon.  The crust was from Jennifer Perillo’s book Homemade with Love.  Her Foolproof Pie Crust Recipe includes cornmeal and it was delicious.  You can find it on page 178 of her book.

Jennifer Perillo's Pie Crust with Cornmeal

Jennifer Perillo’s Pie Crust with Cornmeal

Baked Apple and Pecan PieApple and Chopped Pecan Pie

I hope to be back here again soon.  Hope all of you are well and enjoying your summer.  Have fun and stay safe :)

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Well, the long Easter weekend is almost over and I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable time with family and friends.  It was not the warmest Easter on record but given the long and very harsh Winter we had, it was just delightful to finally be able to spend time out doors without several layers of bulky clothing.  The rain has held off all weekend and Easter Sunday was bright and sunny.  Spring has arrived and while not all the landscape is in full bloom, new life is slowly becoming apparent all around.  The first shoots of my hostas and lilies are showing and the burning bush plants as well as our magnolia tree are starting to show their buds. In keeping with Easter season being one of new beginnings, I decided to make an Easter cake this year that featured a little chick hatching out of its egg.  Rather than bake just one cake and carve it as an egg shape, I chose to sandwich two egg-shaped cakes together so that the egg would be free standing.

Free Standing Easter Chick Hatching from Egg Cake

I wish I had a video of the grand girls when they saw this cake.  They thought that the chick was pretty cute and when I told them to turn the cake around they really got a kick out of his little behind breaking out of the egg.

Side View of Easter Chick Showing Chick's Tail

This cake was made using a yellow cake recipe which can be found on Gail Dosik’s site One Tough Cookie NYC.  It’s a delicious cake as I’ve mentioned before (see Ron’s Ski Hill Cake I made) and the texture is perfect for carving your cake into whatever shapes you require.

The following is a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make and decorate this cake.

1.  Bake two yellow cakes.  I used 2-10″ round cake pans.  Let cool before carving.

10 Inch Round Yellow Cakes Recipe from One Tough Cookie NYC

Using a template of an egg printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, carve the cakes with a sharp knife. You can discard the cake scraps, use them to make cake balls, or just snack on them!

Egg Shape Template

Yellow Cake Carved in Egg Shapes for Easter Chick Cake

Draw crack lines on both the upper and lower sections of the egg templates, then cut.  Lay the top section of the egg template on your cakes and score a line along the pattern.  Do this on both cakes.  Repeat with the bottom section of the egg template on both cakes.  Then cutting into the cake, about 1/4″ deep, score out the shell pattern.  Cut off the bottom of each cake so you have a flat edge.

Scoring Egg Pattern

Egg Pattern Cut

Turn over one of the cakes and ice with buttercream icing.  When frosting has been completed, place the other cake on top of the iced cake, press together lightly and stand the egg cake up with the widest edge being at the bottom.

Center of Easter Chick Egg Cake Iced with Buttercream Icing

Easter Chick Egg Cake Layers Sandwiched

You will need black, blue, yellow and green buttercream icing to decorate this cake.  First,  apply a then layer of yellow buttercream in the center of the cake.  Follow that up by filling in around the yellow iced area with black buttercream icing.  Then you can dirty ice the egg portions of the cake with blue buttercream.  Repeat this process on the other side of the cake and dirty ice all around the edges of the cake with blue buttercream.

Easter Chick Cake Dirty Iced in Yellow Black and Blue IcingFront Side of Easter Chick Cake Dirty Iced

Back Side of Easter Chick Cake Dirty Iced in Yellow Black and Blue Icing

Rear Side of Easter Chick Dirty Iced

Set the cake in the fridge for about twenty minutes.  Prepare to pipe the details of the Easter Chick with yellow buttercream and a #78 tip.  Fill in the entire yellow section of the cake by piping yellow buttercream icing.  I used candy eyes (filling in the white section with a black edible marker) and for the chick’s beak I used an orange gummy bear, cut in a triangular shape.  I later changed the layout of the beak.

Easter Chick Face Piped with Yellow Buttercream, Eyes Added and Nose Added

Turn your cake around (hopefully you have a turntable for decorating) and fill in the *rear* of the chick by piping yellow buttercream with your #78 tip.  To add the tail, layer your icing using the #78 tip and then shape a little tail with your fingers (wear nitrile gloves if possible).

Chick's Tail Piped on Back Side of Egg Cake

Using a #30 tip and blue buttercream icing, pipe in all the egg area of the cake.  Use green buttercream icing and a #233 tip to frame the bottom of the cake with *grass*

Egg Section of Easter Chick Cake Piped with Blue Buttercream Icing

Repeat this decorating on the back of the egg and along the edges.

Easter Chick Cake Piped with Blue Buttercream on Egg Section of Cake

When I had finished making this cake my husband asked *How are you going to cut it?*  Good question!  Come time for dessert however we had it figured out.  I just cut down into the cake from the top, a few inches and then cut across to start the slices.  They weren’t uniform sizes but they were delicious!  Happy Easter everyone :)

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Hearts and Shamrocks for Friends and Family

March 15, 2014

Ron and I have been in Florida for six weeks now and in just over two weeks times we will be heading back home.  We are hoping that all the snow will be gone by the time we arrive back in Perth but given the Winter that we left behind for sunnier and warmer climes, […]

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Bachelorette/Bridal Shower Lingerie Cookies

February 19, 2014

Lingerie cookies have long been a favourite choice for bachelorette/bridal shower get togethers but until January I had never been asked to make them.  After a phone call from new client Kim, that changed.  She was attending a shower in February that was being held at Disney in Florida (lucky gals!).  Long way to travel […]

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Ron’s Last Run

January 12, 2014

We are almost two weeks into a brand spanking New Year and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas season.  May 2014 treat you all well, may you stay healthy and may your friends and loved ones remain forever close. Starting off blogging this year not with a cookie post but rather with a special […]

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Frosty the Snowman

December 23, 2013

The gifts are wrapped and under the tree, the baking is done and in the freezer.  The house is ready for company and we are relaxed and waiting.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and so I have come to my last post of the year.  Before I share with you how I made Frosty the Snowman […]

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Glitter Snowflake Cookies and Stuck Santas

December 22, 2013

We are coming to the end of three days of snow, rain and freezing rain.  It’s very white outside and the trees are glistening encrusted in their coating of ice. Today seems to be a good day to share with you my glitter snowflake cookies and as we are so close to Christmas, I’ll be […]

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Santa and the Grinch

December 19, 2013

Today I’m sharing with you how I made two of the more popular sellers at the Artisan’s show.  Children and adults alike had special smiles for these two decorated images. Before I get into the tutorial, I want to thank Thyjuan of Inspirations by Thyjuan for the excellent Grinch cookie that she did freehand and […]

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Decorating Christmas Cookies Using Edible Images

December 16, 2013

I did four different edible image designs for the Christmas Artisan’s show.  Today I’m sharing with you two of my favourite.  There are so many Christmas and Holiday images to choose from but since I live in the country, I narrowed my choices down to images with a cute country theme. Creating cookies decorated with […]

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Hello Christmas Kitty!

December 12, 2013

Earlier I shared with you a picture of my new apron embroidered with my Vanilla Bean Baker logo and I told you that I had been working on something for a month that I hoped to be able to share you with soon.  Well, *soon* came and went on Saturday, December 7th.  I attended my […]

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