Monday, January 31, 2011

White Cherry Blossom Cake

Last month I made the wedding and groom's cakes for a couple of friends in my ward. They wanted an all white wedding cake but requested that I somehow incorporate a "Cherry Blossom" theme into their cake since the met during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.
I went through a couple of designs before I figured out what would look best.

I used a technique called "embroidery" to pipe the white cherry blossoms on the side of the cake and then used gum paste cherry blossoms with gold centers as an embellishment.

The bride and groom loved it...and that's all that matters (don't even ask about the groom's cake toppers...I have no idea what they mean!). :)

Dolphin Encounter

B and I went to the National Aquarium on Friday. We had so much fun looking at the jellyfish, sharks, sting rays and hundres of other fish and aquatic animals. But the best part was the dolphins. The aquarium has a huge picture in which you can view the dolphins. We stood and watched them for a little while and then suddenly one of the dolphins came right up to the glass where I was standing and we started playing. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Love Gerbera Daisies!

Aren't these flowers gorgeous! They are so fall. I love them!!!

Caramel Crunch Bars (warning...these are addicting!)

This weekend my family came to visit so I made a special treat. They were soooo good!
Carmel Crunch Bars
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
For the Base:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used Postum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Topping:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup Heath Toffee Bits
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil.
Whisk together the flour, Postum, salt, and cinnamon.
Working with a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 3 min. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla, then turn off the mixer. Add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. Add the chopped chocolate and mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. Scrape the dough into the butter pan and spread into a thin even layer.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the base is bubbly and puckery. Transfer the pan to a rack and turn off the oven.
Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the hot base and pop them back in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate is soft. Remove from the oven and immediately spread the chocolate over the bars, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and press them down lightly with your fingertips. Place the baking pan on a rack to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate them to set the chocolate if necessary.
Serve with ice cream!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Classic: Vanilla and Chocolate

I haven't done a ton of baking since I have been here in MD. I have a miniature oven and was quite discouraged when I baked my first batch of chocolate chip cookies and found that the bottoms were burnt and the tops raw.

It has taken a little experimenting but I have finally figured out my oven and it works really wonderfully.

For a work picnic, I made a classic Dark Chocolate cupcake and swirled on a "little" Vanilla Bean Swiss-Meringue Buttercream.

I usually don't eat the treats I make because I know how much butter goes into them. But these turned out amazing and were definitely worth the calories!!!

Memorial Day at Arlington

While I missed being in Utah for the annual "Zumbrennen Bike and BBQ", it was a truly amazing experience to be in Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day this year.
Every grave marker had a flag perfectly placed in honor of our fallen heroes.

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was just as fantastic as I remembered.

Love this picture with the flags.

I want the Washington Monument as my grave marker!

This is Senator Teddy Kennedy's cross. He lies very close John and Bobby.

May we always remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Happy Memorial Day!


In February of this year, I was in a little accident. We had a sudden snow fall on a very very cold day. I was late for stake conference and was driving a little too fast. I suddenly found that I was sliding out of control and had two options: turn the wheel and run into the curb or head straight on into a busy road full of traffic. I opted for the first option but cracked my hubcap in half as a result.

With one thing and another, I didn't have the chance to replace the hubcap before moving to Utah. So I drove across the country in what my friends would refer to as a "ghetto car". When I arrived in MD, I ordered a hubcap online and quickly installed it.

Unfortunately, I didn't know that Honda hubcaps have to be bolted on with the lugnuts and not just clipped on like most other hubcaps. I therefore lost my new hubcap only a few miles.
6 months, 2200 miles, and 2 "new" hubcaps later, I finally have a car that my friends will no longer call "ghetto".
P.S. I also got Maryland plates so I am officially a resident!!!