Friday, May 24, 2013

Homemade Pan Release

Everyone I know in the cake world raves about homemade pan release. I've always used cooking spray and a piece of parchment cut to size. It was just my personal preference. Notice I say "was".  In an effort to save my pans from the icky layer of residue that cooking spray leaves behind, I whipped up a batch of this stuff. Let me say, I am a believer! This stuff is like magic. Every single cake comes out perfect! Even the sides bake beautifully! And the best part- all of these items are probably already in your pantry!

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shortening

Simply mix together ingredients and use a pastry brush to distribute generously. I prefer a silicone pastry brush. The cheaper brushes often leave behind pieces of fiber. No bueno. 

Take a look at this side by side comparison of pan spray and the homemade stuff:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chocolate Ganache

There are tons of recipes out there for Chocolate Ganache. There are also tons of uses for it. You can glaze a cake, whip it and frost cupcakes with it, and use it as a filling in a cake. The list goes on and on. This recipe I've developed and tweaked over the years, works great for all those uses.

Supplies needed:

  • 1 lb Milk Chocolate
  • 1 lb Dark Chocolate
  • 1 2/3 cups Half n Half
  • 1/3 cup Light Karo Corn Syrup
  • Chop up chocolate and set in a large bowl
  • Set the half n half on the stove to boil. DO NOT scald it. Once it starts bubbling up, remove it from heat. 
  • Pour it over your chocolate. 
  • Let it sit for about a minute, and then begin whisking it until all the chocolate has melted. You could also use an immersion blender.
  • Take a spatula and run it along the sides and bottom of your pan to ensure you mixed everything together. 
  • You can use it immediately for glazing. Or cover it and set it to the side to set up, and use it for filling or icing a cake. 

Here is another example of how I use ganache for my Boston Cream Cupcakes: 

***Some recipes you'll find do not call for corn syrup, but I find that it helps the Ganache maintain it's shine when being reheated after sitting in the fridge. *** 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to Make your Own Cake/ Cupcake Box- Tutorial

Every bakery I've worked at, has always had that classic pink box to package their cakes in. As a home baker, buying in bulk can be quite expensive. Not to mention, most boxes come in one size, with little room to give. I thought, "There must be another option". After much trial and error, I found a way to make a box that not only holds my cakes, but also displays them just as well as a professional box would. And the best part is- it costs around $1.00 and you can customize it to each order! I chose blue poster boards because it matches my logo stickers perfectly! This is my first tutorial, so please forgive me if I don't do it well.

Supplies Needed:
  • 2 poster boards 
  • clear gift wrap
  • hot glue gun
  • exacto knife
  • ruler
  • a piece or cardboard, or a fancy craft mat (to protect your table from cuts!)
  • the cake board you will use for your cake/ cupcakes (not pictured)

Step 1: Take one poster board and lay the cake board you will use for your cake and measure around it. Give a little freedom, about 1/8-1/4 inch. I like to use this fat ruler because it is the perfect height for most of my small cakes. It measures about 4 1/2 inches. 

Step 2: Lightly score the poster board. DON'T cut it all the way through. Just make a nice line that will make for a clean fold later. Do this with all 3 sides. 

Step 3: Place the cake board back on the poster board and measure where the last side will start. Lightly score this line as well. I do both sides of the ruler so I can cut off the excess later. 

Step 4: Fold all sides

Step 5: Cut off the excess with your exacto knife. 

Step 6: Cut ONE slit on each corner to make a flap. 

Step 7: Using your hot glue gun, apply a liberal amount of glue. I like to put a lot so the flaps don't catch on each other when you put the lid on. 

Step 8: Hold the flap to the inner part of the poster board for a few seconds until it sticks. 

Step 9: Repeat step 8 for all 4 sides. 

Step 10: Take your second poster board and repeat steps 1-6. The only thing you want to do different, is make the sides about 1/4 of an inch shorter. This allows the top to close smoothly over the bottom. You can see in the picture that I adjust my ruler just a little bit. 

Step 11: Once you've done the three sides, and you need to finish the last side, use the bottom box you've already made as a guideline. Make sure to also give about a 1/4 inch space. 

Step 12: Cut ONE slit in all four corners of this one as well. However, do not jump to the glue gun just yet. 

Step 13: Cut a square out of the middle. You can make this as big as you like, but I usually go with about 2 inches from the edge where it's folded. 

Step 14: Measure out a piece of gift wrap that will cover the hole. Leave about and inch all the way around. 

Step 15: Attach the piece of gift wrap with a thin line of hot glue, all the way around. 

Step 16: Repeat step 7 by using your hot glue gun to attach all the corners. 

Step 17: Place lid on top of the bottom. Congratulations! You just made your very own cake box! 


If you can tell from this photo- the scoring of the board is just a thin line, DON'T cut all the way through. You just want to make it easy to fold, not fall apart. Which I have done several times! 

If you don't have a fat ruler like mine, just use a regular ruler. Make marks along all the way across of the size you want for the sides and line it up with your ruler.

Also, hot glue guns have the tendency to make strings of glue. Do a quick spot check to make sure you don't have any strings hanging off your box. 

For cupcakes, I don't use a insert that holds them all in place. I simply attach the cupcakes to a cake board with small dot of butter cream. 

Here are some photos of some boxes I have made recently in various sizes: