I’ve been on a bit of piping train lately CHOO CHOO -if you can’t tell! I’ve always loved vintage buttercream piping techniques but I am really into this buttercream rose meringue kisses cake with its mix of modern meringues and “old timey” piping vibes. Crispy chewy sweet meringues give such a nice textural element to this cake, along with not-too-sweet buttercream.
I used my Swiss meringue kisses recipe for the pretty meringues. With meringue making, you want to go low and slow. Don’t open the oven to peek at their cuteness while baking, as any sudden temperature changes will crack your meringues. I like to bake them at night, and then after the baking time is up, I’ll turn off the oven and leave them in overnight to thoroughly dry out.
These meringues were particularly dry and crisp but still chewy – the perfect dryness to accompany buttercream roses. If possible, place meringues on a buttercream cake only a few hours before serving, to prevent any wilting of the meringues and to help retain the meringue crispness.
I like my buttercream “not too sweet” – my go-to simple vanilla buttercream recipe is two cups of unsalted butter at room temperature, four cups of sifted icing/confectioner’s sugar, two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and a teensy pinch of salt. Beat the butter, then add the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla and salt. Beat this on high until the buttercream has doubled in volume.
I tend to be wildly overzealous with the leaf tip piping bag but I kinda like the look – it gives it both a leafy and ruffly look, and the leaf tip is awesome for filling in any “bald” spots. If I’m already on a piping roll, I like to use up any extra buttercream by piping tons and tons of buttercream roses to save in the freezer for future use. Lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes; then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.
Happy baking, cake pals!! xo Lyndsay
Seniors Are Cool: Shako Club + Mini Cupcakes Decorating Workshop
I made this CAYOOT piped rainbow buttercream flower cake for another local school’s cake walk – one of the teachers follows me on Instagram and has asked me for a few years now to make a cake – so this year I rolled up ye old sleeves and power-piped out this cake. It was supposed to be a three layer affair but wuh happened was, I stayed out *late* the night before because my dear pal Amy was in town from NYC. Therefore, karaoke. Therefore, old man Winter L Sung went to bed later than her usual. Therefore, Teddy wakes up at his regular 630am “the sun is up!!” time and it doesn’t matter that L Sung went to bed at 2am. Therefore, bleary-eyed, and still humming “Live To Tell” – I dropped one of the cake layers onto its poor freshly baked face, just as they were coming out of the oven. Fart. Other bangers we belted out included “Wonderwall“, freaking Cranberries “ZOMBIE” … haha… I went for it with a little Boyz II Men “End Of The Road” (um, not in my range – those boyz can SING!) and so many more. Phil Collins “Easy Lover” also mighta snuck in there…
I used a few of my favourite piping tips for this: good old classic open star tip Wilton 1M, plus it’s brother from the same mother 4B, and a sweet little leaf (sweetleaf??) tip, which I like to use to fill in any “bald” spots. I pretty much just piped where the wind took me – and tried to step back and make sure colours and patterns were a bit balanced. My only real thought was: cover this muthah in bright frosting to entice a CHILD to choose it. I hope it worked. xo Lyndsay
Party Cat Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake Strikes Again!
I was never certain I wanted to be a mom. It was hard to imagine it or picture it for me. I didn’t have adamant feelings either way – I kind of thought I would have a kid one day, but “one day” kept creeping up, and in my 30s I thought, shoot. I’m still not totally sure… but maybe I better start trying?? I wasn’t sure, on Christmas Eve morning, when I peed on the stick and two prominent lines appeared. I still wasn’t sure, waddling around at 9 months pregnant, my stomach housing a somersaulting alien. Then, birth day arrived, a hot summer day in August, announced with my water breaking at 6:30am, a splash of tinged-pink fluid on the bathroom floor. Hours later, waves of contractions and moaning and pulling at my hair. Quiet in-between moments in the bathtub at the hospital. Then, counting down from 10, like a football game – cheers from my team: “you can do this Lynds!!!”… gushes of fluid, an insane feeling of physical pressure in your lower body, an absolute and primal urge to shit out a watermelon - and suddenly, that final push. Out came a waxy-covered baby with tiny bits of old-man balding pattern hair and what looked like a wide nose and cute little eyes, a little baby boy plopped onto my chest. I gazed at him in utter shock. Suddenly I was a mother.
Almost 5 years later, life with my Teddy is wild and hilarious. He is a pretty easy guy to be around – he is sweet natured, funny and mischievous. It is the hardest thing yet the most amazing thing. I feel so lucky I get to be a mother. If I had waited a while longer, it could’ve easily never happened.
To make this buttercream flower typography cake, you will need one recipe for your favourite cake, such as this Martha butter vanilla cake. I don’t recommend a box mix for this, as you want a cake that has a sturdier crumb. You will also need 1 recipe for vanilla buttercream, and gel colour in a few shades to tint the frosting. Piping bags fitted with an assortment of tips will also be your friend: I used Wilton 1M, Wilton 4B and a small leaf tip. The sneaky thing about this buttercream flower cake is, there are no flower nails needed – just easy piped rosettes and drop stars. Thank you Milk and Water Baking Co for the cute piping inspiration!
Make the cake batter according to the recipe instructions; prepare a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet by spritzing it with vegetable oil cooking spray and cutting a piece of parchment paper to size. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread batter to edges. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake is springy to the touch and has pulled away from the edges of the pan. Carefully run your offset spatula along the edges of the cake, then let cake in pan cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Transfer to the freezer to power-chill it. This will make it easier to trim out the letters, but be careful not to freeze the cake – you just want to firm it up.
While the cake is chilling, make the vanilla buttercream from this recipe. Divide the buttercream in half; divide one half into three smaller bowls, tinting each bowl its own colour – blue, purple and green. Colour the remaining buttercream pink. Then, cut out a template for the letter “M” using a piece of paper – mine is about 5 inches tall. I used a 4 inch round cake ring to punch out the letter “O.” Remove the cake from the freezer and place template on top, trimming out carefully with a sharp paring knife.
Arrange the first layer of letters on a piece of parchment paper.
Using the pink buttercream, fill the cakes using an offset spatula.
Place the second layer of cakes on top.
Frost the entire cakes in the pink buttercream. Once finished, place in freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
Fill your piping bags with assorted decorative tips and start piping!
Drop stars are simple to make – squeeze the piping bag in a short burst, release then pull upwards.
Rosettes are made by squeezing the piping bag and rotating counterclockwise in a a tight circle.
The piping bag fitted with the leaf tip is great for filling in any naked patches and adding bits of greenery to your buttercream flower patch.
Crank some tunes or a podcast and start piping! HOT TIP: Once I finished piping the letters, I chilled the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes to set the buttercream – then I used my sharp paring knife to trim a bit of buttercream floral overhang in the indents of the M’s – to define the letter shapes a bit more. You’ll want to do this when it’s frozen so the buttercream is solid and easier to pare.
Now cut yourself a slice, mama! Or make this for your own mama, a favourite Auntie, or a strong female figure in your life, or someone who just wants to eat some freaking cake. This concept would also work as a monogram cake, a number birthday cake or wedding initials.
I also want to give a special shout out to my sweet friends Erika and Robyn – who are celebrating their first Mother’s Day with their adorable two month old baby Olympia! I am so happy for you guys and your amazing little family! Strong as a muthah. xo Lyndsay
Rose To The Occasion: How To Pipe Buttercream Roses
This party dog pink penguin cake was inspired by Pingu’s lil sis, Pinga. Damn cute little simple-faced simpleton penguin. PINK! Why not. I’ve been on a bit of a video-making kick lately because… because … to be honest (or as younger folks acronymize – TBH) – I am bored to shit of my usual cake making, photography, etc. Existential blog crisis time, which I have a few times a year at least. A decade ago I graduated with a degree in Integrated Media from ye olde local art school – Integrated Media being a catch-all phrase for anything that wasn’t painting, I guess? So I kinda rediscovered that I liked video, and was capable of some lite-video-making. So be prepared for some video-ish type things coming up. Nothing major, and it will always be a little silly.
You Will Need:
One 8 inch round cake of your choice (baked and cooled completely)
4 cups of vanilla buttercream of your choice
Two piping bags, one fitted with a large multi-opening grass/fur tip; the other with your favourite open star tip
So what does one do when they are approaching the ripe and refined age of 40? How about HAVE A CHILDREN’S STYLE BIRTHDAY PARTY!????? Yeah. I turned 40 on November 15th! An age I was anticipating with both fascination and dread. For months I was hemming and hawing over what to do. My first idea was to have a ginormous 100+ person bash at our house, catered by a taco truck with the theme “Fruity Forty” and everyone would wear bright colours and I’d make a bunch of cakes that looked like fruit. Then, my second idea was to bury myself in blankets and cry and not want to do anything because 40 just sounded so OLD to me. Then, my third idea was to slap myself and remember that I could have easily not even lived to be 40. Then, my fourth idea was to think: “What do I actually even like doing right now??”
1. I like basketball
2. I like playing the drums
3. I like karaoke
So I decided to fuggedabout having a fancy-ass party. No expensive new dress, champagne and canapés here. Instead, a homemade SNACK STADIUM, a Dairy Queen Garfield ice cream sheet cake (!!!) and some of my dearest friends and family running around like 5 year olds in a gym.
Once the theme of Sporty Forty was established, it made perfect sense that this would be the moment in time by which I would finally make my own SNACK STADIUM. There are many examples of these on the interweb – slabs of meat-filled sandwiches stacked high around a guacamole field center; brand-name logos and trays of taco fixings. We based our snack stadium on a mix of this tray-based one and the cuteness factor of this foamboard non-guacamole-field one.
A trip to the dollar store around the corner yielded these amazing brightly coloured sheets of foamboard for $2.25 each. I also picked up a few $1.25 packages of aluminum mini loaf pans in two sizes. Gather together a pencil, a utility knife/box cutter and a glue gun too. Rich traced the loaf pans onto the foam board and used the utility knife to cut out the shapes. He then cut brackets out of the foam board to elevate it into “stadium stands.”
While Rich was constructing the stands, I worked on the washi tape pennant garlands – fold washi tape over baker’s twine, then trim the tape into the pennant flag shape with sharp scissors!
I wasn’t too keen on a guacamole field, for fear of it turning brown and looking icky – luckily I found this bright green foam board which acted as the base for the stadium. We added strips of white paper (not very accurate at all, oops!) and I cut out a little brown football to place in the middle because … sports????
I loved the scoreboard – Rich’s idea to make the score 4-0. Heh heh. The HOME and AWAY are stickers I found at a craft superstore. I just have a collection of this stuff lying around as I’m a craft and typography hoarder. You could totally draw the letters/numbers too but I love the clean look of the letter stickers/stamps.
Annnnnd I drew this MASCOT. GO BEAVERS! Hehe. To add a little more sporty flair to the snack stadium.
Sung Stadium!!! Customized!!
And the stadium filled with snacks!! The stadium was kinda pretty much more for show – we had bowls of other snacks and food beside this guy. It’s almost like it fits just enough snacks for 2 actual people to munch on.
I used Crush because they had the cutest cans and colours. Duh.
I added my late grandfather’s old golf trophy too… because I thought it gave it a nice aesthetic and also golf + football = MAKES SENSE??
Hehe! FUN. Extra special props to my cousin Mike (and his little guy H) who drove up from Seattle to surprise me, just for the party!
I also wore my actual jacket from grade 9 and I got the green basketball jersey from a vintage shop. Pardon the VERY SWEATY look here – we really did play sports! I’m so glad I followed my gut (literally and figuratively) and went for the sports party. It was such a blast. (Special thanks to RT and my sisters for all your help!) 40 is a piece o’ sh*t! Not really! xo Lyndsay
I made these Asian bowl cut sugar cookies for Cynthia, to celebrate the birth of her INSANELY CUTE new little baby boy. Why?? Because every Asian has a picture of themselves as a kid with some variation of an Asian bowl cut… because, stick-straight shiny black hair makes the most beautiful, perfect no-fuss bowl cut …snip snip… hehe. Cynthia, you know Luke will be rocking one of these cuts in a few years while he’s wearing a mini tuxedo playing the piano like the Asian prodigy he will be!!
To make these smiley faced Asian bowl cut cookies:
2. Let cookies cool completely; frost cookies with a very thin, smooth layer of your favourite buttercream recipe or canned frosting.
3. Colour a small amount of white fondant with “copper/skin tone” gel food colouring, or whichever skin shade you want to make them. Colour a small amount of white fondant with black gel food colouring, or pre-purchase a small container of black fondant. Roll out the “skin” fondant to 1/8 inch thickness; using the same round cookie cutter, punch out circles. Gently place fondant circles on top of frosted cookies and press lightly into frosting to adhere.
4.Next, roll out the black fondant to 1/8 inch thickness; using the same round cookie cutter, punch out circles. Using a sharp knife, cut the black circles in two to create the bowl cut hairstyle. Using a small amount of frosting, stick the black hair onto the fondant face.
5. Finally, create by hand eye and mouth shapes by making tiny black fondant balls and pressing down lightly to create flatter circles. Alternately, cut out the shapes using the tips of open circle piping tips to punch out mini circles. Adhere with a toothpick’s tip amount of frosting or a teensy amount of water.
I have adored Cynthia for years now. Not only because she is an incredibly talented photographer and writer and maker of crazy-good-looking food - but because she has become a dear friend, like a cherished childhood pen pal, a woman who when I receive an email from her, or a comment on my blog, (or even a package in the mail to cheer me up with RAINBOW SPRINKLE BROWNIES!) – her thoughtfulness, intelligence, sweetness and sense of humour just radiates, and I always say out loud – “DAMN, THAT CYNTHIA IS SO NICE! I JUST LOVE HER!” Cynthia, I am so pumped for you on the arrival of your lil boo! SO much beautiful, crazy, insane-making, poo-filled, drooly, love-explosive and hilarious goodness ahead. He will change your life in ways you never knew, as I know he already has in just his first few days! What a guy! So much love to you, mama! xo Lyndsay
Lookie! All of the epic #threeredbowls blog posts by some seriously talented folks (thank you Steph and Alana for hosting!):
I made these cutie hilarious blue Totoro cookies for TOTORO WEEK! I love how they look like slices of crazy-eyed, stunned sky blue toast. Remember when I got really into making sugar cookies there for a hot minute, inspired by Holly, Vickie and Patti?? Yeah, they’re still the best at cookies. Then I discovered Kikko’s freaking adorable sugar cookies over at Meet Me At Mike’s. I loooove how perfectly CUTE but also edgy and weird they are – a complete fantasy wonderland of sugar cookie magic. I am still hovering around a C+ for effort with my cookies but darn it the results are always pretty satisfying!
HOT TIPS: I used an R2D2 cookie cutter for the Totoro shape and then used the triangular cone tip of an ice cream cone cutter to punch out ears, then simply pressed the ears into the R2D2 toast shape before baking. I feel like you could use any simple shape like a circle cutter or square cutter to make a Totoro cookie – making them “Totoro” is all in the decorating – crazy eyes, whiskers and a tummy! I chilled the cookies for 10 minutes in the freezer before putting them into the oven. I don’t think that step made a damn bit of difference this time but oftentimes it helps to maintain the shape of the cookie. For the whiskers, nose and eye dots, I used royal icing coloured with Dutch-process cocoa powder. I added a fair amount of cocoa powder, and then added tiny amounts of water as needed to get it back to piping consistency. I liked this idea much better than colouring royal icing with black gel colour!
I’ve never ever used that word before – on fleek. I remember seeing it for the first time a few years ago and being like what the fugoli does that even mean. Irritated at the teens who keep updating this foreign lexicon and even more irritated at the too-old people (like me) who tried to use it. However, I have been known to be proudly, extremely late to the game. Do you even know what a VHS tape is? Yeah. Held on to those for YEARS. I still have my copy of The Hunger, starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve, on VHS. No VCR vessel to play it on but… I don’t even know. All I know right now is Loaf Pan On Fleek. Mini rainbow party cakes CUTENESS!
How To Make These Mini Rainbow Party Cakes:
1. Bake up your favourite cake recipe in something like this mini loaf pan. Let them cool in the pans for ten minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire racks.
“Princess Bakery Emulsion” makes me think of Ursula from The Little Mermaid stealing Ariel’s voice – like this emulsion is some swirly, golden essence rising out of a voice box! I know, I’m weird. BUT THIS CAKE IS SO GOOD.
Tessa is the Martha Stewart of 2016 and beyond. HONESTLY. I’m like the Chinese frumptown Guy Fieri compared to Tessa’s clean, modern and precise style and skill. Her recipe and vid for vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, well it should be in every baker’s back pocket to whip up on a dime. So delicious!
That first picture. Just put me in a Duran Duran video circa 1985 in a one piece bathing suit and POUR THIS OVER TOP IN SLO-MO. Sheesh. Sexiest looking beverage of the year. And I hate describing anything as “sexy”!