Orange Cinnamon Buns

Bakery, Pastry

still have some hazelnut macarons, and made myself stupid sick on eating fistfuls of caramel, so I figured that if I made a breakfast thing this time, I’d at least eat it slowly enough that I wouldn’t end up feeling like death.


It wasn’t as cinnamon-y as I’d hoped, but I was happy with the addition of pecans and raisins. I figured that it would make it a slightly healthy breakfast .


I mean….There’s orange (extract) in the icing. That’s Vitamin C, right?

I wasn’t super-thrilled with the icing though. I mean, yes, it’s good, but it’s basically a buttercream with orange extract, and overrides the flavor a bit. I suspect if I’d had a heavier cinnamon filling it might’ve paired well, especially if I’d made an orange icing that wasn’t just….sugar and butter.

Overall it’s good, but definitely not quite as cinnamon-y as I’m used to with baked goods.



Cookie Dough Icing

Cake, Sweets


This was just a chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday – with cookie dough frosting, rather than the usual, with semi-sweet chips all over. The big thing I learned from this, was to weigh my flour, rather than simply measure it. Before that, the icing had come out far too thick (which was used for the filling, in the end). In the future, I’ll stick to mini-chips as well. Though it was well-loved, my wife pointed out that the larger chips would be more likely to simply fall off the cake when cut, and not everyone would be OK with gulping handfuls of chocolate chips after a slice of cake.

Swirled Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


Recently, I discovered that one could purchase decorating dips individually at the JoAnne’s nearby. I was…unprepared for this discovery, to say the least – and by that, I mean I found myself dancing back and forth through the isles when I saw exactly how many very specific decorating tools they had. I’d been resigned to buying a set of tips that I didn’t really need that had the jumbo tips I actually wanted, and was thrilled beyond belief when I saw I didn’t have to.

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Even before this miraculous discovery, however, I’d decided I wanted to give another go at decorating cupcakes. Nothing fancy, but the last time they hadn’t come out as nicely as I’d hoped (mostly because A, the tips were too small, and B, the icing had bits of cookie in it, which made for uneven piping). I’d also noticed that much of the time my flowers and swirls would fall flat (though it being summertime in a small kitchen, I’d just been chalking it up to the temperature), and hoped that a different recipe would help.

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Actually, my wife and I’d just celebrated our two-year anniversary a few weeks ago, and as part of that, I bought some cupcakes from the Fairy Cakes Cupcakery, who’d provided the “cake” (about 200 cupcakes decorated with our wedding colors) for our wedding. I asked one of the bakers how their frosting always stayed so stiff and beautiful, and while they admitted it was partially because they kept the store rather cool, their frosting had more powdered sugar than normal.

With this as my guide, rather than my usual, I made a batch of icing to use with the newly-purchased jumbo tips. First off, the vanilla extract gave it an ivory/cream color, rather than pure white. It didn’t affect my plans at all, but I simply kept that in mind, should I ever purposefully want it. Also, I was worried that the added sugar (an extra cup from what I was used to, bringing it to 4 for the batch) would make it too sweet, and leave it with a distinctly “powdered sugar” taste.

Instead, I found the vanilla was strong enough to counter the extra sweetness. It was still quite sweet, but it didn’t taste any different from the icing you’d get if you had buttercream on a store-bought cupcake. After a few hours in the fridge, though, was when I could tell very clearly that it was going to be a much stiffer icing.

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The design was just a swirl, nothing fancy, with sprinkles on top. Still, the real test came when I left a plate of them out at room temperature when I had some friends over. By the end of the night, they barely showed any signs of wilting, and those I’d left in the fridge were – to my joy – as firm as the one’s I’d bought from Fairy Cakes.

Chocolate-Banana Cake


I gave in and bought a trio of mini springform pans recently. I’d had my eye on them at Target for a while, and finally gave in and decided to do something with them. I didn’t make the cupcakes, though I did use the banana buttercream recipe.

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The chocolate mini-cakes came out wonderfully (I didn’t take photos, but the top parts I cut off became a lovely whoopie-pie), though I finally came to the frustrating conclusion that no matter what, the next time I want to decorate a cake, I need to buy a lazy susan (or put something together that fulfills the same purpose. That, and I need to start doubling my icing recipe when I know I’m going to be decorating as well as coating.

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Overall, I was still quite pleased with how it turned out – a lovely little chocolate banana cake.

Lily-pad Cookies


This week I wanted to try something a little more extravagant than I usually make. The cookies I used don’t actually have any extra sugar top them, something I was quite pleased with. They ended up being very dense, and while folding them, felt more like a brownie than a cookie.

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They tasted wonderful, and were the perfect pairing top the rather large (for the size of the cookie, anyway) amount of icing I was going top use.

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Honestly, this was the first time I’ve ever made icing flowers. I used a #104 tip, and an icing nail that, frankly, I didn’t even know we had.
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As you can tell from the photos, the icing got warm fairly quickly. Not so warm that I couldn’t use it, but near the end the flowers were getting sorta wilted. I’m still pleased with how they turned out, though it was a good reminder that a cramped kitchen in 85 degree weather wasn’t the best setting to be doing multiple flowers at a time.
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Still, the finished cookie came out just as I’d hoped. The dark chocolate cookie was meant to be mud, essentially, and the blue butter-cream being the water. The flower and leaves on top would complete the lily-pad cookie.

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In the future though, I suspect using a cookie cutter to make uniform shapes for the base would be best, rather than simply smashing the cookies flat. Also, the next time I’m curious to see how it would look with “water” fondant, and perhaps a green fondant pad, to really bring the look home.

Margarita Cookies


Truth be told, I was a tad wary of this recipe – I’ve tried making cookies from there before, with disappointing results. This time, however, I was quite pleased.

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I’m not a huge fan of tequila, and the thought of the larger salt crystals gave me pause. I’m glad I went through with it though. Aside from being an easy recipe, the final result was quite tasty, even without the icing (though to be fair, the icing, and extra sugar/salt mix sprinkled on after baking really made it a step above the rest).  The dough also didn’t spread much, though I’m unsure if that was because I baked them right from the fridge, or just the recipe itself.

Oreo Cupcakes


I’ve been trying to find more and more uses to use the icing tips, ever since the cake I made a few weeks back, and I decided on this. Though cupcakes are quite easy, there were still some new things to learn. Mainly that when the recipe was instructing me to mix apple cider vinegar and milk, that buttermilk (which could simply be bought in a store) was what they were looking for, and also, how to make buttercream icing.

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I was wary of the icing, as I’d made something similar before, though it turned out far too sweet for my liking. However, this tasted exactly how I’d hoped, and firmed up nicely in the fridge.

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The aggravating learning experiences with decorating the cupcakes were that I should give strong thought into purchasing the larger tips, and also the realization that I didn’t take into account the cookie bits that were mixed into it. More than once I had to change tips, or use a toothpick to dig out some stubborn bit of cookie, which make any attempt at designs misshapen at best.

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Some of the nicer-looking ones were managed once I did away with the tips altogether. Though they didn’t come out quite as pretty as I wanted, I am very pleased with the overall product.