baking. juicing. cooking. food tripping.

baking. juicing. cooking. food tripping.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Little Pony Cookies and How to Start Piping a Cookie with Royal Icing

My Little Pony Cookies for Sale  P45/piece

They're made-to-order, and like all our cookies, made with lots of love!

PRICE: P45 / piece. Up to 5 designs. The cookie is 3 inches in diameter. Individually wrapped with acetate and ribbon (they come in blue, pink, yellow, and white)

We do meetups for orders in all LRT 1 / MRT Stations, Trinoma, Munoz, Monumento, Balintawak (handling fee is P100). But for orders of 250 cookies or more, we deliver for free right at your doorstep. :-)

You may contact us via our FB Page, The Sugar Mommy Cookiery for inquiries, or Viber/text us at 0915-989-6965

So how did we make these My Little Pony Cookies? No, we didn't draw them freehand. I could draw on ONE cookie freehand, but to draw on 50 cookies? I wish I could have that kind of a "robotic" hand! Even if I tried, all the ponies wouldn't look uniformly similar to each other. And it would probably take me 10x as long if I didn't rely on some, erm, "tools".

But before we get around to discussing those "tools", let's start with the basics.

What do you need to make a cookie decorated with royal icing?

1) A baked (and cooled) sugar cookie.  Here is one recipe for a sugar cookie
2) A generous amount of royal icing. Here are a few recipes for Royal Icing.
3) Piping bags - here in the Philippines, I use peotraco piping bags-- they're sturdy. And cheaper!
4) Round piping tips (#2 and #3) --- Just go to your baking supplies store and say Round tip #2 and #3--they'll understand what you mean.
5) Couplers --so that you can easily switch from #2 to #3 without changing piping bags
6) Water Spritzer
7) Toothpicks and/or a scribe tool

With all those basics, you're ready to start piping!

Once you have all the things you need, the first thing to do is outline your cookie. Using toothpaste-consistency royal icing,  pipe in a "border" around the shape of your cookie, and let it dry. This line (ideally, we use #3 piping tip for this, but #2 will do) will serve as a "dam" or a "fence" for your icing later on.

Let the outline dry for at least 15 minutes (faster if in front of a fan or air-conditioned room). Then, with slightly thinner icing (consistency is similar to ELMER'S GLUE or HONEY), fill the "hole" inside your "dam".

If bubbles come up to the surface, quickly pop them with a toothpick.

The key to achieving a smooth, even surface on your royal icing-filled cookie is to QUICKLY fill the "hole" within your "dam" while the icing is still wet. Royal Icing dries very quickly--- once it has started to dry, you can't do much to achieve that smooth, even finish (at worst, the surface of your iced cookie would look "madumi", uneven and bumpy).

So long as the icing is still wet, you can do what you want to do with your cookie's royal-icing filled surface. From my experience, a simple "cookie shake" (I gently shake the cookie sideways so that the icing will settle evenly) will ensure a smooth even finish.

That's the most basic way to design a cookie with Royal Icing. Usually, this forms the base of any cookie design. In the case of My Little Pony, my first step was to outline the pony with stiff white icing. Then, I filled it with glue-consistency icing, and let it dry for several hours.

If you're using different colors, and using them side by side (like in the picture--- white and blue) you will have to wait for one color to dry before you apply the other color. Applying a second color while the first one is still wet might make the colors bleed onto each other--- which ruins the design.

More "learnings" to come, soon! Back to my kitchen!

My Little Pony Cookies

Pinky, My Little Pony Cookies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Birth of the Sugar Mommy - Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing

I've always loved baking cakes. But for the past 6 months, here's what I've been busy with: decorating sugar cookies.

Last October, I was asked by a former childhood friend if I could bake some christening cookies for her client. The question came out of nowhere, the order was unsolicited. I asked her--- how did you come up with the idea of approaching me for this? I wasn't selling any of the things I was baking, just kept posting them online. She said, she had simply assumed because of my baking posts on facebook.  That amused me to bits. 

So I took that as a challenge, to try to learn decorating cookies with royal icing. I was horrible at it. To quote my husband, the stuff I did looked like "a child's doodles" on cookies baked in Home Economics class. Ouch. That hurt. I had wanted to give up. I had wanted to cancel the order and be up front about my capacities--- I wasn't a pro at this, my hands weren't steady enough, I couldn't control the icing, couldn't make them obey what my mind wanted to  do.  

But my husband taunted me--- "and you kept saying baking was what you really wanted to do. now you're quitting?" THAT did it for me. I was challenged. I wanted to  show him that I really loved what I was doing, that I was serious about baking and wasn't going to quit any damn time. 

My first decorated cookies, October 2014:

Pretty awful, right? The lines were wobbly and uncertain, the line weights were inconsistent, the colors were bland, and overall...just very madumi--- not very neat to look at.  

But from that very first order, I didn't stop practicing--- on the job, so to speak. After 2 or 3 orders, my piping started to improve. Thanks to google, youtube, and other available tutorials and informative sources online, I rapidly learned a lot about decorating cookies with royal icing and applied what I learned to the cookie orders I'd been getting. 

So that showed my husband that his wife was no quitter--- and apparently he seemed convinced, so much so that he actually JOINED me. Last December, we unofficially put up an online cookie shop , The Sugar Mommy Cookiery.  December was a great time to begin this kind of business, with people giving all kinds of goodies as gifts.  I was juggling baking cookies with the day job, and with the help of my husband--- who learned how to bake and fill my outlined cookies--- I've managed to keep the juggling going (many times though, sleep, social life, and even time with our daughter had to be sacrificed just to meet the deadlines).

But all in all I'm thankful, because I've found something I am truly passionate about. I can decorate cookies all day and all night, really. I love doing it so much. So many designs I want to make. So many techniques I still want to learn. We always have orders (thank God!), sometimes even two or three in a week (and for us, that's quite a lot already---since we're a two man team and minimum order is 40 pieces)

Our cookies prices start at PhP 35/piece (simple design, less than 3 inches). And each and every piece is made with lots of love. I do this because it's my passion, and when you do something because of passion, I believe it  will reflect on the work.

So, from here on, I think you'll be reading a lot about decorating cookies with royal icing. I'll regularly post pictures of our cookie creations, and if you are in the Philippines, you may place your orders here, too. 

 I will also post tips and "learnings" I've had from this ongoing cookie adventure, for readers who want to learn how to decorate cookies with royal icing, 

So let the Decorated-Cookie Chronicling begin! :-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake

Fudgy. Sweet. Salty. Layer after layer, after layer (after layer).
Another recipe for chocoholics out there-- say hello to the Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake.
It’s the salt and the caramel--a delicious pairing--that sets this chocolate cake recipe apart from all the rest. And that the cake is unusually tall, with rich, creamy butter caramel filling, sprinkled with a little salt on top. (I've experimented with the toppings quite some-- aside from salt, I've tried putting in chocolate shavings, chewy homemade caramel, and pecan nuts)

My, you're tall - 3 layers of chocolate fudge cake with thick buttercream filling
I can’t say it’s one of those quick-and-easy recipes—it might take up an entire afternoon, from dough to filling to frosting--- but when you’re done with it, you’re guaranteed to feel a sense of accomplishment. Because this one ain't no piece of cake. This Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake recipe is one of those special ones that one would usually whip up for special occasions (and for special people!)
Fudgy, caramel-creamy with a hint of salty-  CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FUDGE CAKE
But of course, that doesn’t mean you wouldn't want to bake this on ordinary days. If you’re feeling like you’re up for the challenge, or wanting to reward your loved ones (or yourself) with something special, then this is just the cake to bake.
Rich chocolate fudge frosting for CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FUDGE CAKE
There are three things to make for this cake:
1) The Chocolate Fudge Cake
2) The Salted Caramel Buttercream Filling
3) The Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Happy Baking!


(Makes one 6-inch, 3-layer cake)
1) Making the Chocolate Fudge Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g/6 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g/ 10 oz) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90 g/3 oz) dark unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL/6 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL/4 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL/5 g) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL/2 liquid oz) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (190 mL/6 liquid oz) buttermilk (Can't find buttermilk in grocery stores? Make your own buttermilk)
  • 3/4 cup (190 mL/6 liquid oz) hot brewed coffee (Concentrated instant coffee will do)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds and cocoa powder. Tap out excess.

2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients and add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared pans. If possible, use a digital kitchen scale and weigh divided batter in pans for even layers (or do what I did--- visual approximation!)


 Batter will be liquidy.

Ideally, you divide the batter into three separate identical pans. But in cases where you only have 2 identical pans (or just 1 pan), approximate the even distribution among three pans. I know this is hard-- but for a non-OC like me, visual approximation does the job. 

But if you want your three layers weighing exactly the same: weigh your dough, then divide the weight by three. The quotient should be the weight of the dough in each of your pans.

If you have 2 pans, bake the first 2 cake layers. After they're baked, reuse one of the pans to bake the third layer.

3. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 30 minutes. Try not to over bake. (Tip not to overbake: keep the temperature a little below the prescribed temperature-- if the recipe says it's 180 degrees Celsius, bake at a little over 170 degrees Celsius)


4. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

2) Making the Salted Caramel Buttercream Filling

Yield: ~4 cups

  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g/12 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites (120 g/4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

The first step is making the salted caramel (you can also do a non-salted caramel by omitting the sea salt), to set aside to cool while you make the Buttercream.

You then add the cooled caramel sauce it to the buttercream as the very last step.

1. Place 130 grams (5 ounces or 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan to a boil over medium heat. Brush down the sides of the pot with a dampened pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Stop stirring and cook until caramel is dark amber, gently swirling from time to time. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking by hand until smooth. It will splatter, so be careful. Whisk in sea salt and vanilla. Let cool.

2. Place butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or if you only have a hand mixer like me, the whisk attachment will do) and beat on medium speed, until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer clean with lemon juice, and place egg whites and remaining sugar into bowl over a pot of simmering water (not boiling–you don’t want to cook the eggs). Whisk occasionally and gently until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160° on a candy thermometer (or if you don't have a candy thermometer, whisk on low heat for 5-7 minutes)

4. Remove the bowl from heat, and place back onto the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form (about 5-6 minutes). Once the bottom of the bowl is neutral and no longer warm to the touch, reduce speed to medium-low, and add beaten butter, one cup at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Add butter to beaten egg whites and sugar
 5. With mixer on low speed, add cooled caramel, and beat until smooth (about 3-5 minutes).

6. Prepare to taste the most incredible buttercream you will ever encounter.

3) Making the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Yield: ~5 cups

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (45 g/1.5 oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 mL/3 oz) boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/341 g/12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (63 g/2 oz) confectioners’ (icing/powdered) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (454 g/16 oz) good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1. Combine cocoa powder and the boiling water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, and stir until it cocoa has dissolved.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater-- but I use whisk attachment), beat the butter, the icing sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until it is pale and fluffy–about 5 minutes.


3. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add melted chocolate (cooled), beating until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well incorporated.


1. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

2. Before using, bring to room temperature (usually overnight on counter does the trick), and beat on low speed until smooth.

Now comes the most fun part-- assembling our Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cake!

1. Trim any doming from the tops of your cake layers with a sharp, serrated knife and place first layer, face up, on your cake board, pedestal, or plate.

2. Using a small offset palette knife, spread approximately 3/4 cup of the caramel buttercream evenly on the top.

3. Repeat this 1-2 until you come to the final layer, which you will place face down on the top of the cake.

4. Place cake on a turntable (if possible), and using a small offset palette knife for the top of the cake, and medium straight palette knife for the sides, cover the cake in a thin layer of chocolate frosting (or chocolate buttercream, if using) to mask (seal in crumbs).

Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or more). This does not need to be perfect, as that will come with the top “coat” of buttercream.

5. Repeat step 4, and, for best results, use bench scraper held at 90° against the side of the cake, slowly turning the turntable and keeping your hand steady–let the turntable do the work. Clean up edges with your small offset palette knife.

6. Chill cake to set. Bring to room temperature before serving–about 2+ hours.

7. Sprinkle with salt on top (On top of salt, I have tried adding chocolate shavings, homemade caramel, and pecan nuts. Experiment according to your own taste) 

8. Place any remaining buttercream/frosting in airtight containers and refrigerate up to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months, bringing back to room temperature before rewhipping to smooth consistency.

9. Serve at room temperature, and slice with a long, thin-bladed, sharp knife. Rinse knife with hot water and dry before each new slice, for best results.