Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Toys!!!!!

 So, about a month ago Joanns had their Cricut Cake Mini on sale again for $99, and of course when I went in to buy it, there was none in stock! Now keep in mind, this has been the case since Thanksgiving , so I was getting a little antsy, to say the least. This time was different, however. This time I went down there and said, "I would like to special order the Cricut Cake Mini," and I had it in my hands within 2 weeks. YAY!!! So... I am excited! Months and months of waiting, and it's finally mine. Anywho, I brought it home, opened the box, and not too much to my surprise, the Cricut Cake Mini is almost exactly the same machine as the Cricut Personal Cutter. What IS awesome about it, however, is that it makes cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc. fabulous by cutting baking materials.

The first day I brought it home I wanted to use it SO badly, but since I was scheduled to be at rehersal in 3 hours, there was no way that was going to happen. As a result, my beautiful machine has been sitting in its box, in the kitchen cupboards for aproximately 2-3 weeks. Well, yesterday that all changed! Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom now, I have the time and freedom to explore my creativity, and to top it all off, it counts as mother-daughter bonding, and expressive play/ art creation! For those of you who didn't study early childhood education in college, this basically means that my daughter is having fun, while learning and growing.... It's a win-win!

Back in January, I wanted to make a really awesome 2 tiered Mini Mouse cake for my daughters 3rd birthday, made with fondant and gumpaste, with polka dots and minie mouse heads all over. Unfortunately, I didn't have my Cricut Cake by then, but now I do - SO, while the birthday is gone and done, I wanted to play around with my new toy, and see what it could do. One of my ideas, along with the 2 tier cake, was to make cupcakes (which my wonderful sister-in-law made) AND to add a 1" homemade chocolate wafer cookie, cut into the shape of Minnie Mouse. Yesterday I pulled out the recipe for the cookies and got to work, to see how darling my idea would have been. By the way... the chocolate wafer cookie recipe is SO good, and SO easy, so feel free to check it out at the Smitten Kitchens blog When making my Minnie Mouse cookies, I followed the recipe to the part of kneading the dough, and then proceeded to follow the instructions for rolling it out onto my Cricut Cake cutting mat. One thing I learned from this experience, is that purchasing the Cricut Cake Tool Kit is probably a good idea, and smart investment. I'm going to have to use my machine again with fondant rather than cookie dough, to see if my tools are any better, but I think that the Cricut Tool Kit would probably be best, and is a fair price for what they provide. My spatula was fine (Cricut's is smaller, which could be nice), but I don't suggest using a full-sized rolling pin... definately invest in a fondant roller!

After rolling out my cookie dough onto my cutting mat (it was uneven, but whatever!) I popped in my "Mickey and Friends" cartridge, and began to cut my Minnie Mouse cookies. This machine is SOOO awesome! Without a hitch the machine began to cut my cookie dough into perfect Minnie Mouse heads.... I was SO excited! Now began the task of removing the Minnie shaped cookies from the cutting mat, which was a long process. When working with cookie dough, you constantly have to put it into the freezer to harden a bit at each stage, which makes this whole process a bit time consuming. If you have a cute cookie cutter, I reccommend using that instead, but if you REALLY want a Cricut image then allow alot of time for making cookies... alot as in, all day! Because the cookie dough softens so quickly at room temp, I suggest putting in the freezer for 10 minutes or so 1) as soon as you finish mixing the dough, 2) after you roll the dough onto the cutting mat, and 3) after the dough is cut by the Cricut machine (this might have to be done multiple times, since the dough may thaw too much while you are in the process of removing the cookies). The dough has to be rolled out to 1/4" thickness on the cutting mat, which my full sized roller didn't do very well. As a result, some of my cookies were a bit thin, but still held their shape and looked super cute! I cooked them for aprox. 7-10 min. and let them cool, and had darling Minnie Mouse wafer cookies! While the wafer cookies aren't super mouth watering on their own (their good, but thin, so the taste doesn't resonate to their fullest potential), they would have been the perfect topper for my daughters birthday cupcakes! Now I know for next time.

My next project is to have my sister-in-law over to make "mini" cakes with, and play around with all of our fondant possibilities. I purchased three 4 1/4" mini cakes pans at Joanns, yesterday, and plan to purchase a couple 6" pans as well. Then I need to find a good fondant and gumpaste recipe, and get started on making these cakes. Last June? July? (When did you get married, Paige?? lol), I made a 3 tiered cake for my sister-in-laws wedding (Seen in photo to the right), and while it was very beautiful, there are many things that I learned through trial and error. First off, each tier is made using TWO 2" layers of cake, yielding a 4" tier. Good to know! Second, while it is possible to decorate a cake by hand cutting fondant for decorating the cake, it would be best to use the Cricut Cake, and get a way more intricate cake design, with A LOT less work! That's why we are going to have our "mini cake baking day", because I would really like to perfect my cake making, and maybe start a mini business on the side.

I'll be sure to take lots of photos of our baking day(s), and blog about our adventures and let you know how it went!

Till then, have fun, and stay creative!


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