Fluffy Friends

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cake-a new twist on a old favorite

Is it Summer yet? I can tell you that here in Missouri it sure feels like it's the middle of July! We hit a high today of 94, but thankfully the humidity wasn't super bad, mainly because we haven't had any rain to speak of for a couple weeks.

So what goes better with hot weather than the traditional strawberry shortcake??? My family has eaten this fresh and light delight ever since I can remember. Now me, not so much. Although I think strawberries smell wonderful and are so pretty with their bright red colors, I just cannot eat them. I know....gasp, how can anyone not like strawberries??? I don't, never have, never will.............well I have to admit I do like them in a nice daquiri or margarita, but I think it might have something to do with the alcohol. lol But one of the main reasons is the seeds, can't handle them, they are nasty and get stuck in your teeth. I have a thing with seeds. lol  Green beans is another things....big yuck, those seeds are disgusting. But I digress...............:D

So what even made me think of a cake covered in my enemy??? A order for a birthday cake and the birthday person loved strawberry shortcake. But they wanted a CAKE. So my brain was whirling quickly trying to think of a suitable alternative and then it hit me...why can't I make a strawberry shortcake CAKE???? I had never had one (of course. lol) but I was sure my thought wasn't an original one. So I told the lady that I thought I could make one of these, two layers of a white cake filled with strawberries and fluffy frosting with a strawberry drizzle. So after I said I could do it, that's when I went to our greatest resource....Google! I typed in Strawberry Shortcake Cake and up popped a bunch of recipes. See I knew I wasn't the only sheep in the flock to see the wolf. I saw The Pioneer Woman's blog and there it was, right there for me to try out. So I stopped at Aldi's to buy a couple quarts of 99 cent strawberries as well as sour cream for this soon to be master piece.
I whipped up the cake last night. I did everything by the book....this time :)  It was a
pretty simple recipe..see it at her website....just type in strawberry shortcake cake by Pioneer Woman and it should take you right too it. Sorry, it wouldn't let me copy the link.


Like she said, this cake bakes a nice golden color, it's just the nature of the beast. It's not burned so don't worry. The reason you use the offset spatula is because this cake DOES NOT dome on top like a normal cake. Not sure you can tell the color or not as this picture was taken after I split the cake in half.

Since the lighting in my house is terrible for taking pictures, I often head to my patio to take pictures. Hope you don't mind :)  There is almost one quart sliced and soaking in sugar in the bowl to create some wonderful juice. I saved out 4 large berries to slice for the top of the cake. Once the berries soaked for awhile it created quite a bit of juice, so I went ahead and smashed some of them up. I strained out the berries and put the juice in a sauce pan along with a bit of water and a couple tablespoons of corn starch. Since the juice is pretty pink once it's thick, I always add a bit of red coloring back to the glaze to return it to the original red color. I put both the berries and glaze back in the fridge to cool it completely before assembling the cake.

Once the cake was split into two layers, I went ahead and and made my favorite Fluffybutt fluffy frosting. You can find that recipe on my Facebook page www.facebook/fluffybuttcookies.com, look under the notes section to find it. Trust me, it's yummy and everyone thinks it's to die for :)  I spread a thinish layer of frosting on top of the first layer. This is where I started my rebel ways from the way PW did hers.

I then took half of the glaze and the strained strawberries and mixed them together. I piped a frosting damn so that the strawberries would stay confined and not try and sneak out.

Looks tasty so far doesn't it???  :D

Next comes the top layer of cake. Just take it and lay it gently onto your first layer, then do a nice crumb coat all over you cake. Set it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes, just so the frosting is nice and firm. Finish frosting the cake.

Now it's time for my favorite part.........making it look as good as it tastes! I took the remainder of the glaze and carefully spread half of it in the middle of the cake, then took the rest and randomly let it drizzle down the sides. I tried not to do too much, just enough to make it pretty. Once I was satisfied with that, I sliced the 4 strawberries that I had reserved and arranged them on the top of the cake, then piped frosting borders around the bottom and the top. Topped the sliced berries with a squirt of frosting and one whole strawberry with the leaf and stem still on.

So there you go. Summer at it's finest....or Spring really I guess since Summer technically is still a month away. If you try this recipe let me know what you think. I know it's a fairly impressive looking gem when it's finished. My presentation is quite different from The Pioneers Woman's, both are pretty in their own way. It's just a matter of visual taste which direction you choose to take yours!!!

Enjoy and remember to keep the cats away from the frosting....they love it!

Tammy (Fluffybutt Cookies)
pioneer womans strawberry shortcake cake

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fluffybutt Cookie Emporium: Packaging..........are you impressed with nice pac...

Fluffybutt Cookie Emporium: Packaging..........are you impressed with nice pac...: This issue has recently come up in talking with another cookie person. We were discussing packaging and just how important is it in selling ...

Packaging..........are you impressed with nice packaging or not?

This issue has recently come up in talking with another cookie person. We were discussing packaging and just how important is it in selling your cookies, cakes, etc.? First off let me say that I try to be very economical with my packaging and try to come up with creative ways to make inexpensive items look custom made. But how do you feel? Do you feel that your decorating and cookie flavors are the most important part of your business and the packaging isn't a big concern? I'm not saying there is anything in the world wrong with this, because it's true, if the product inside the fancy smancy packaging isn't well done or tasty then they won't be dialing or emailing you again just because it came in a cute little package.

To me it's a very important part of the service I offer as I feel it's just as important as the product. I want to take almost as much effort with the first thing they see as I do with what's inside. I've always been that way. Just ask my family how my Christmas packages are always wrapped, sometimes the package looks much better than what's inside. lol  The gift might only have cost a couple bucks, but by golly the wrapping and bow are going to look gorgeous.

Recently I was asked to make 80 truffles, 20 packages of 4 truffle's each. Originally I was asked if I would be putting them in boxes or bags. Not thinking when she asked I said boxes, because at first it was just 10 orders and I thought I had them. Then it went to 20! I knew I did not have that many so then I started to panic. Just what WAS I going to package them in. I knew from our conversation that they were to be gifts to teachers on the last day of classes so I knew they had to be a bit more special than just throwing them into a bag and tying a bow on them. So off to Michael's I go in search of something that doesn't cost a lot because I put a pretty big discount on the order to begin with since she was trying to keep it in a budget and because she is a loyal and frequent customer. Needless to say I found nothing that was even feasible to put them in. I don't consider 3 boxes for $4 to be very reasonable for this order, so I was left with trying to figure something out. Kim from the Cookie Puzzle suggested that maybe I could find a template to make truffle boxes on the Internet. Immediately I got online to look and sure enough I found some. So back to Michael's I go to buy some cute scrap booking paper because as luck would have it was on sale....5 for $1.00....SCORE!!!  I buy some that I think would make cute packages for teachers, you know like school buses, alphabets and things like that. She also wanted little stickers that said Thank You on them and since I couldn't find them, I thought why not just print out some from Clip Art.  I found some really cute ones and emailed her and of course she picked the ones that looked nothing like the scrap booking paper I bought. lol  No big deal, I really liked these better anyway. I made several boxes and they are cute, really cute, but they still didn't satisfy my idea of pretty packaging or at least they aren't my style.

Here is what I came up with!

I think they are pretty darn cute....I still have to do the label for the green ones but I am happy with them. I really think I need a Cricut or something. Not because I want to do scrap booking but because I want to be able to make more of my own packaging. It's such a personal touch and shows that you really put a lot of thought and effort into making their purchase just for them. In the past I've used bags with bows, boxes with bows and ribbons and they were pretty, I did put effort into them and everyone always complemented the packaging. So I think it's worth it.

The bags you see above were $2.99 for 12 of them and I got them 40% off and then another 20% off that total as they were having a special that week! Then I bought 4 pieces of scrap booking paper and a couple card stocks...for like $1.00 and I still have some left over for additional bags and 50 cents for the ribbon. So you see, it was cheap packaging and I think it looks really cute. Yes it took me some time to do it, but you know what???? I enjoyed it! I've always been someone who likes to do crafty things so this is up my alley.

So before you ask the obvious question here.....I will tell you. I have cute little cups for the truffles and then I am going to individually heat seal each one and then will put two in the bottom of the bag and then two more on top of those. I feel it will work just fine :)

I am gong to try and ask more questions of my customers as to how they want their items packaged and then that will be figured into the price. I know if it's just for them, just because they want a tasty treat then they probably don't mind them just bagged and put into a box or platter, but if it's a gift then I think they are willing to pay just a tiny bit more to wow their friend, co-worker etc. with a package that's just as pretty as the gift within.

So there you have it.................what is your opinion? Packaging, does it matter, does it impress you or not? Say you have two identical sets of cookies, one is in bags with no ribbons or anything and put into a plain white box, the next one comes sealed in bags as well, closely cut off to the cookie, sitting on shredded paper that coordinates with the cookie colors, also comes in a box and tied with a bright ribbon, label and a thank you card. The price is just a bit more expensive....couple bucks. Which one would you pick?

Me..............I'd take the prettier one, just because color and packaging attracts me, and makes me feel like I am getting something much nicer when in reality I'm getting the same product, but it makes me feel happier buying the one that is happier looking.

I welcome your feedback, good or bad :)  I'd love to hear what some non-business people have to say as well as other cookie/cake people. Just want to be sure that you know I'm not saying my way is the right way, there is no right way, it's whatever makes you and your customers happy.

Have a great weekend!

This is my little not so helpful helper. Whenever I'm in the kitchen, he is in there with me. Not such a good pic of him but he's a pretty little guy :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oops....I'm a week late with the Buttercream transfer

First let me start this post by saying I'm sorry it's so late. I believe I promised I would post the how to on buttercream transfers last week and things got so crazy busy I never got the chance. But here is the promised post!

Okay people, listen up................I must confess that my buttercream transfer was a dismal failure! Failure, failure, failure, I don't know what else to say. It wasn't pretty..well it was as pretty as writing can be until I put the background buttercream behind the lettering and that my friends is when it all went to pot or should I say smoosh city. I think the lesson here is that buttercream transfers do not work well on any design or writing that has no give and take. At first I thought it was because maybe the frosting was too soft and that made it smoosh, so bright chick that I am, I thought, hey, I will put just the lettering in the freezer, firm it up, THEN put on the background buttercream and it will be perfect, no flaws and it will work like a charm..hmmmmmmmmmmpppppffffffffffff, guess I am not as brilliant and innovative as I thought, it didn't make a difference, it still smooshed and was unusable. So here are my pics...

First person that guesses what this is ......wins, one million dollars! Just kidding, don't start spending that money already! Okay, okay it's just plain white buttercream, nothing exciting :)

First step after making your frosting is to get your image ready. Print out your image or whatever picture you are using. Make sure the paper is thin enough to see through as you need to turn the image over and trace it so that the image is backwards. You could actually just put parchment paper over your image and trace it, then turn it over when you are ready to pipe. I didn't have any parchment paper and until now, I never thought about using it.............I used wax paper. Since I used wax paper, I placed my image under the wax paper  and taped both of them to a piece of plexi-glass with the wax paper on top, as that is what I was piping on. The reason I used plexi-glass is so that I could look under it and see what the image was going to look like when it was completed. (The frosting you see looks like a royal blue but it actually was a bit darker). Next, let the piping begin!

Hold onto your socks, it's starting to get exciting here....lol   If you have a image that has a outline on it, that will need to be done first. Think of it like you are getting dressed. The outline is first, which is you shape, your eyes, nose and body parts are the next to go on, the parts that are seen anyway (well, you know what I mean...right?), then clothing and finally your shoes. I hope that makes sense.

Ta Dah! This is the completed image before I put the buttercream on the back and ruined it.

Here I took a picture of the image without the plexi-glass behind it and below, with the original image still on the back. The one below is what it should look like on a white cake.

See above is the beginning of the end of my transfer. You plop it down and spread it lightly over your image. I guess I was so irritated and disappointed that I didn't take a picture to show you what it looked like after I put that frosting on..........but believe me it made the letters go all wonky and they ran together, not pretty. I just folded it all up together and trashed it!
After you successfully get the buttercream on the back of your image you then stick it in the freezer for at least a hour, preferably overnight. Be sure you are ready to put it on your frosted cake because it doesn't take long to thaw and you want it still firm when you place it on your cake and remove the wax paper. Peel the wax paper back slowly so you are sure not to tear your transfer. Smooth out the background with your cake frosting!

Hey what's that little guy doing in here? Crazy Angry Bird! Actually I just wanted to show you a picture of one that did work. This was a practice one but it did work out pretty good.

And this is the final Angry Birds cake with buttercream transfers. The images moved a bit but not much. So see, it can work, just not with letters.

Here is the final product for the Columbia College graduation cake. I had to just go and do it the tired and true way of just piping it onto the cake by hand and do the best I could with it. I should have tried doing the hat as a transfer but I was running out of time so I just drew it on the cake.

So there you have it. My grand tutorial on transfers. The good, the bad, the ugly, failure and success! They do work so don't be afraid to try your hand at it, I'm sure you will succeed!

Happy baking!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tomorrow night................how to make a buttercream transfer!

Tomorrow night I will be working on a buttercream transfer to put on a graduation cake order I have for Friday delivery. It's actually going to be a simple one, but that's good right? I will just show the basics and then you will be able to make them on your own! This will only be my second one I've attempted so I'm a newby at this as well but you can learn from my mistakes and take whatever good you find from it when you do your own. It's not hard at all, just intimidating at first :)  So tune in tomorrow night! The final product will not be posted until Friday night, but at least you can see the transfer and how to do it before you transfer it onto your cake. YOU can do any picture you want, believe you can and you will.

Fluffybutts say..........beware of fleas, they bite

Later my friends,