Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DIY Pan Release (Baking Spray)

Hey everyone. How are you all doing this week? For some reason it feels to me like it should already be Thursday or Friday, but unfortunately it's only Tuesday night. I guess I should be thankful since there are still quite a few things on my to do list before the weekend gets here. We're having what is *hopefully* the last cold snap of the spring here in KC. They're predicting some snow tomorrow, but it isn't supposed to stick. Then by this weekend it should be warm, so I'm thankful for that. Joe and I are ready to get our garden plants in the ground! Joe went around and took some pictures of our plants so I'll share a post on our garden plans soon. I know that I've also promised to show y'all the updated dining room, but the window frame STILL hasn't been painted. I'm waiting for some nice weather so I can have the window open while doing it since I have to paint the window sashes as well. Oh well, it will get done eventually. 

Our half marathon was last weekend and we both survived! Joe finished in 2 hours and 2 minutes and I came in at 2 hours and 18 minutes. I think we both felt pretty good during the race and definitely  had that running "high" when we were done. Then the pain set in. haha. Overall it was a good race and we both said that we'd like to run more half marathons in the future. If anyone is thinking about training for a race, I would definitely recommend a half marathon, but maybe try a 5k first :) They're fun and fast. 

I guess I should get to the point of this post now. As I'm sure you know, I bake a lot of cakes. (Just call me Captain Obvious). One of the most important things for me when I'm baking cakes is that the cakes turn out of the pans with out getting stuck. I've had several cakes get stuck and it can be very frustrating. For a while, I would use Crisco to grease the pan then line the bottom with wax paper. Then I'd grease the wax paper with Crisco and dust flour over the whole pan. That was a little tedious but it did the job. Then my Grandma told me about some baking spray sold only at the Dollar Tree that worked great so I decided to try that out. The spray was awesome and gave perfect results, but then they stopped selling it! I've checked several Dollar Trees but haven't had any luck. So I went back to the Crisco, wax paper, flour method. 

Just before making the elephant baby shower cake I saw a post on a blog called I am Baker talking about some homemade pan release "goop" that promised perfect cake turn outs every time. The process sounded simple enough so I gave it a try. The recipe is pretty simple:

Mix equal parts of the following:

- Vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- All purpose flour (you may want to sift it, but it isn't necessary)
- Vegetable or Canola Oil

Whisk them together until smooth. Done! Keep in an airtight container. 

I used this on the baby shower cake and it worked great! It was very simple to "paint" it into the cake pans with a pastry brush. I actually just used one of those silicon bristle brushes. In my rush to get the cake made, I didn't take any pictures to show how the pan release goop worked, so that mean I HAD to make another cake this weekend to show you :) Instead of using a simple square or round pan, I thought I would test it in a bundt pan. If the goop works on an intricate pan like that then it will be good in just about anything. 

Bundt pan, pre-"goop".

Ready for cake batter!

The turn-out off the bundt cake from the pan wasn't absolutely perfect, but it was way better than most other bundt cakes I've made. Here are some pics.

I just had to include a picture of my pretty vintage bundt pan :)

This was right after turning the cake out of the pan after letting it cool in the pan for 30 minutes as instructed by the recipe. Like I said, it wasn't perfect, but I think it's pretty good. 

I think the white spots are where there was a little too much goop, but the cake got covered in glaze, so they got covered. 

The cake I baked was delicious too so I'll be sure to post about it separately. I know that this goop probably isn't something that is practical for everyone to have around, but if you do bake often, it might be worth it. Using a good baking spray will obviously be easier, but sometimes it just isn't enough for some of the larger cake pans. If you do try it, let me know if you like it! Maybe start with a small batch like 1/4 cup of each part or something. 

I guess that's it for now. Have a great night! Or day depending on when you're reading this :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Personalized Wedding Dress Hanger

Hello! Are you all excited for the weekend? I am, but I'm also nervous. The half marathon is this weekend and Joe and I are both kind of nursing running injuries. My foot has been hurting since a run on Monday and Joe's knee is hurting him. Hopefully we can push through and make it 13.1 miles on Saturday though. I'm not sure if the rest of the weekend will be productive, but we'll see. This past weekend, I headed to Wichita on Saturday for a bridal shower and bachelorette party for my good friend, Chase. I've know Chase since our freshman year at Rolla. We lived on the same dorm floor then eventually shared a house with 3 of our other good friends. It was really fun to meet her new Wichita friends and relive some of our college days :) See you next week for the wedding, Chase! I drove home from Wichita on Sunday and spent most of the day recovering from our Saturday night out. Then sand volleyball started on Sunday night! I'm excited to be playing again.

This little project I have to show you is a present I made for Chase. I've seen these special coat hangers before in lots of wedding photo shoots but I'd never really thought of making one myself. You can buy one on Etsy and I think they run around $30. A couple weeks ago, my friend Shayna made one for a bachelorette party she went to and it got the wheels turning in my head. She gave some instructions on her blog and you can see them here. Based on her instructions, I went and bought a 100' spool of 14 gauge wire, and some wooden coat hangers. I didn't trust myself to just sketch out the name that I wanted to write with wire, so I searched for a couple more DIY instructions and one of them mentioned a free font you could download that had nice loopy letters that could be made with wire. That tutorial can be found here.

I started by taking the crossbar off of the coat hanger since the name would be going there. Then I downloaded the free font and printed out "Mrs. Hobbs". Next I used some needle nose pliers to start bending the wire. It took me a couple tries to get started. Bending the wire was harder than I expected. It took some practice to get it bent at the right spot. I also didn't clip the wire until I was done with the name. I think next time I'll use some round objects like pens to get nice smooth curves.

Once the name was done, I had Joe drill a couple holes partially through the coat hanger. Then I spray painted it navy blue and glued the wire name in place with small dabs of super glue. The final step was to add a little yellow bow. I think it turned out cute!

Some other variations I've seen are the bride and groom's first names with a heart in between (like my friend Shayna did), or maybe the wedding date or just "I do" instead of names. This would also be really cute if you got the small children's coat hangers and added the name to hang a special dress on. I have 2 coat hangers left from my pack of three and I just so happen to have 2 sisters getting married this year. So Mary and Sara, if you'd like a personalized wedding coat hanger, just let me know and I'd love to make you one :)

I guess that's it for tonight. I wish I had better "how-to" pictures for you guys, but I don't think they would have shown very much. Wish us luck on the half marathon this weekend! Oh, and happy birthday to Aunt Sharon (today) and to Dad (tomorrow)!

p.s. I try to keep things pretty light-hearted on the blog, but I just wanted to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Boston marathon bombings, and also those affected by the explosion in Texas. It's sad to see the pain and panic, but inspiring that there are always people willing to rush in to the chaos to help a stranger. I'm thankful for those everyday heroes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Elephant Baby Shower Cake

Well, I think it's been about 3 weeks since I last wrote on here and all I've come up with to show you is another cake :) It's not that Joe and I haven't been doing other things, in fact it's quite the opposite. We've been busy around the house and we've also been out of town the last two weekends. I hope you all had a great Easter last weekend and got to spend some time with your family and friends. Joe and I spent Easter in Ohio with my family and it was great to see all of my grandparents as well as Mom, Dad, Grace, Mary and Michael. Needless to say, it was a full house :) We were only missing Sara and Andy. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip there and back, but we had a great time seeing everyone! On our drive back home to Kansas City we stopped in St. Louis to have Easter dinner with Joe's family. Then we headed back to St. Louis this Saturday to celebrate with Joe's family again with a baby shower for Joe's sister, Abby! Joe and I are SO excited for Abby and her husband, Albert, and we can't wait to meet our future niece or nephew this June!

We were supposed to drive to St. Louis on Friday night like we usually do but I was making a cake for the baby shower and there was no way I was finishing the cake on Thursday. After 5 or so more hours of working on it Friday night, we were ready to go first thing Saturday morning. The cake made the trip just fine and I got it set up without any issues. That's always the most stressful part for me and it worked out just fine this time. Since Abby and Albert aren't finding out ahead of time if they're having a little boy or girl, the baby shower was all decked out in blue and pink. The elephants on the cake come from the theme Abby picked for the baby's nursery. Joe's Mom, grandma, sister and aunt did a great job with all the food and decorations for the shower. Everything went smoothly and everyone had a great time!  Here are a few more pics of the cake. The top layer is homemade funfetti cake with vanilla bean buttercream, the middle is chocolate cake with chocolate, oreo buttercream filling and chocolate ganache crumb coat, and the bottom layer is lemon cake with lemon curd filling and vanilla bean buttercream. The white covering on the cakes is marshmallow fondant and the pink and blue parts are modeling chocolate.

The scalloped part on the top was not supposed to be all uneven like that. We'll just say it's "rustic"... or something. 

I used the wax paper transfer method again for the elephants and chevron stripes. 

Joe's sister, Maria, made those cute little elephants out of baby blankets! So cute!!!

As I said earlier, we really have been busy the last few weeks, but I feel like I don't have a lot to show for it! Once I paint the window trim in the dining room, I'll have some pictures to show you of that. I think we're FINALLY done with the snow and our flowers are starting to pop up. As usual we have more house projects that I'm hoping to share with y'all, but they seem to take longer than I'd like. We've got a couple more weekends out of town coming up, and the 1/2 marathon in two weeks (yikes!) so I'm not sure how many blog posts I'll be able to turn out, but we'll see. What have you all been up to? I wish I could keep up with you all better and I'd love to hear what you guys have going on!

I hope you all are having a great spring and either looking forward to a relaxing summer or maybe relaxing before a crazy busy summer. Have a good night!