Month: July 2009

Dinosaur Cake

I saw this dinosaur cake in a magazine and just HAD to make it. But the question was: who would I make a dinosaur cake for? The answer was easy. My friend Amelia, who loves dinosaurs just as much as I do, is moving to Utah. I decided to make the dino cake as a going-away present of sorts.

You can find a full set of instructions at, but here are my tips and tricks for how to make the cake.

  • You don’t need a dinosaur shaped pan. Just bake two 8″ or 9″ cakes and cut out the pieces. One cake is used for the body – and the head and tail are cut out of the other cake. You can do this freehand, or you can download a template here.
  • Use Hershey Kisses for the spine & assorted chocolate candies (M&Ms, large nonpareils, chocolate chips, etc) for the spots.
  • I used store bought frosting on this cake. If I could do it all over again, I would make homemade buttercream (or something even thicker). The store-bought frosting ended up running down the sides of the dino, as you can see in the photo above. Even with refrigeration, it still ran down the sides.
  • Another helpful hint: freezing your cakes before you frost them makes it SO MUCH EASIER. It is much easier to frost a frozen cake. You can even do a crumb coat of frosting before you freeze it – meaning that you slap on a thin layer of frosting to lock the crumbs in, freeze it for 30-60 minutes, and then frost the cake again to make it look presentable.
  • If you’ve never frozen a cake before, fear not, it’s super easy. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap – I usually wrap it twice, just to lock in as much moisture as possible. After the plastic wrap, you can also wrap the cake in aluminum foil to ensure that no moisture is lost. Make sure your cakes are COMPLETELY cooled before you freeze them though!

Almond Butter Cookies

Isn’t the rainbow background just precious? ;) But really, I think these cookies are deserving of such a magical background. They are buttery and just melt in your mouth. These little nuggets of deliciousness are also called Mexican Wedding Cookies and can be made with either pecans or almonds.

Almond Butter Cookies
Recipe credit: Taste of Home & my Grandma Baivier
Print Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flower
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add flour and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the almonds and shape into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 13-16 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before moving to wire cooling racks. Once cooled completely, roll in remaining powdered sugar.

Mini Black & White Cookies

Pardon the crappy photo. It was about midnight when I finished these and didn’t have any natural light to work with! These cookies turned out really well. The cookie tastes more like cake. New York bakers used to make these cookies in order to use up their extra cake batter — just add a little extra flour to the cake batter and viola, cookies appear! And I like the duality of these cookies — you can have the best of both worlds: vanilla AND chocolate.

Mini Black and White Cookies
Recipe credit: Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Print Recipe

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon water, plus more if needed
1 Tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
2. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar; mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk.
3. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls; drop onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheet halfway through, until bottoms turn golden – about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks.
4. Make the icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add more water, if necessary, to achieve a consistency slightly thicker than honey. Transfer half the icing to a small bowl. Stir in cocoa powder; thin with water if needed.
5. Spread white icing on half of each cookie and cocoa icing on the other half. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Triple Citrus Cupcakes

Happy 07.08.09! I am here to bring you yet another Martha Stewart Cupcakes recipe. I just can’t help it. Another useless piece of trivia about me is that my favorite color combination is orange, yellow, and green (yes, I’m enough of a color freak to think about color combinations). So I was pleased to make something with oranges, lemons, and limes.

Triple Citrus Cupcakes
Print Recipe

3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons finely grated orange zest
3 Tablespoons finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large eggs, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zests. Reduce speed to medium and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on countertop once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean — about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool.
4. To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish as you’d like. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Citrus Glaze
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh citrus juice, plus more if needed (I used fresh lemon juice)

Whisk together ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add more sugar to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze. Use immediately.

I tried a bite of one of the cupcakes and they are VERY citrus-y, which is a good thing in my opinion. The glaze has a very strong flavor due to using fresh lemon juice.

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

I saw this recipe of Paula Deen’s and just had to try it. Paula can do no wrong, in my humble baking/cooking opinion. And even though I’m not a huge fan of raisins and walnuts, I figured the brown butter icing that tops these cookies would woo me. And sure enough, I was right.


Paula’s Loaded Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe Credit: Paula Deen for Food Network Magazine
Print Recipe

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
* 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
* 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
* 1 cup raisins
* 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Brown Butter Icing, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 1 or more cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is light in color. Add buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Brown Butter Icing.

Brown Butter Icing:

* 1/2 cup butter
* 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 to 4 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency. Drizzle on warm cookies.

Yield: enough to ice 5 dozen cookies