Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coconut Macaroons: Baking in Augusta GA

Well, fancy seeing me here!

It seems as if lots of people are still checking in on me, so I feel I need to give something to read (or at least drool over).

I have been incredibly busy with other ventures, but as fall rolls around, I cannot help but turn my oven back on. As most of you know, Augusta is brutal during the summer, and baking just doesn't seem right (or lawful, even). But as I stroll through the grocery store, bins full of shiny apples bid me "come." So it's into the kitchen, and again to you.

And today, it's easy, goopy, and delicious: macaroons.

Coconut, condensed milk, egg whites, a splash of vanilla, and a pinch of salt are all it takes to make this old fashioned treat in your kitchen. Chocolate? Who needs it? Oh... ok. We do. Grab some chocolate, too.

So scrape your ingredients together, and make this crunchy, chewy, perfectly sweet treat.

Coconut Macaroons

1 14 oz bag of shredded sweetened coconut*
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites, whipped but not too dry
pinch of salt
1 t vanilla extract

Combine the extract, salt, milk, and coconut in a large bowl. Fold in the egg whites, trying not to delate them.

Preheat the oven to 325, and place rounded spoonfuls of the mixture (1.5-1.75 inches in diameter) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Melt some chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle on top.

*I toasted my coconut first. Not a necessary step (although a delicious one).

Friday, May 18, 2012

A busy girl... Cake in Augusta GA

Hi, all! I recognize it has been quite a while, but with a move and other ultra business, I haven't the time to spend in this space right now. I am dropping by to show you some pics of my last wedding, and then I am off to the kitchen to prepare for another!

My husband actually photographed this wedding, and despite the usual stress surrounding such an event, we had a wonderful time.

White, black, and hot pink were the only instructions given, so I went with Beatty's chocolate cake, Marshmallow Frosting, and pink and black flowers.

Of course I used the airbrush to add some sparkle. Despite using it heavily for makeup, I do clean it out on occasion to make it acceptable for shimmer. What a difference a little shine can make!

And this is my ombre Fender pick cake (aka the groom's cake). It took everything out of me not to airbrush it.

And this weekend I leave at 9am to do 10 makeup applications in Lincolnton, and then back to Evans to pick up 160 cupcakes and a cake to drive over to Appling by 5pm. It is a busy one, but I do plan on coming back to invest into this space soon.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

God is faithful- Hair, makeup, and cake in Augusta, GA

Hey, all!

Yes, I am still here, still doing hair and makeup, and of course: baking.

I have another wedding this weekend after a long weekend of prom do's and the like last weekend. My mother is in town this week, and I am actually going to send my child with her to the zoo in Columbia today (nervous). Despite baking for a cake and cupcakes for 200 for Friday (and then assisting my darling hubs with the photography), a girl still needs to do some hair, and pack not one but TWO households for a move next week (still in Augusta, y'all).

Yes, I know that God has been very generous to me, and although I find his logic confusing at times- I am so grateful. Philippians 1:6 reads that He who started a work in us will be faithful to complete it, and I am leaning in on his promises like never before.

He is faithful!

So, here are some pictures of a wedding I did last month (hair+mu+cake). The cake was lemon with lemon curd and lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream.


Airbrush Makeup in Augusta GA

Airbrush Makeup in Augusta GA

Bird Wedding Cake in Augusta GA

Bird Wedding Cake in Augusta GA

Bird Wedding Cake in Augusta GA

Gorgeous. I think, anyhow.

All photos courtesy of Callie Murray Photography.

Love to you all! I'll be back!

Rachel Bee

Friday, April 6, 2012

The cool kids call it "SMBC:" Cake in Augusta, GA

I have been up to a lot lately, which is really nothing new except we are adding 'moving" to our repertoire this month. I am sure we have all been there, but I must say that my house is in a continual state of scramble (and will be for at least the next month).

But outside of moving, I have been baking all sorts of cakes and cupcakes for different events that I realized I haven't ever shared with you, and I suppose now is as good a time as any....

Breakfast at Tiffany's Cupcakes
I made these cuties for a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed breakfast at my church.

Fist Birthday Cupcakes
And I made these for a 1st birthday party. They are quite possibly the most precious cakes I have ever made.  Don't you think?

Ruffle Cake
And a ruffled smash cake to go along with them.

I also had a wedding cake, which I will show you next week.  It showed up on the right day, even (for those of you who get that reference).

For special events: events when I know that cakes might be sitting out for a while, I always choose to use Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Sure, it is a lot of work, but its silkiness and staying-power cannot be reproduced. And the flavor: velvety smooth, and not overpowering next to a well baked cake. It pipes beautifully, and I venture to say that it almost sparkles.

Take some time to make some this week, but don't if you don't have a stand mixer. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be without one.

Refer to my very first blogpost: here for a recipe.  Enjoy, and if I don't see you again, have a lovely Easter.

Rachel Bee

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Community Cupcakes; Cake in Augusta, GA

I worked on these for last week, but couldn't get them finished.  So here they are: a week late, and so very quickly as the show is about to start.

Pierce, Annie, Shirley, Chang, Abed, The Dean, Troy, Jeff, and Britta

Yes, they are a bit dorky, and outside of Pierce look nothing like their characters; but it is all I can do to say, "thanks" to whomever is responsible for bringing the show back.  My husband and I relate to so little, but we seem to fit right in at Greendale.

E Pluribus Anus

Rachel Bee

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eat... don't think! Cake in Augusta, GA

It's going to be a long week of baking and wedding hair and makeup, but I thought I would drop in to tell you about something I made last week.

Zebra Cake in Augusta, GA
Yes!  I made this cake (well, with God's help)!  Please don't mind the horrible piping; it always seems like a good idea before I start.

Despite the grandiose exterior, the real treasure of this cake is on the inside.  The young lady who ordered this cake wanted a "Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Filling." Ordinarily I would make a cream cheese frosting, but this time I decided to make a from-scratch no-bake cheesecake filling. And then I filled some cupcakes with it.

Cheesecake filling
Chocolate Cake, Whipped Ganache, and Cheesecake Filling.  Don't think about it too much, just eat.

Cheesecake filling
The tart filling is perfect in this otherwise very sweet cupcake, and there is just enough to enjoy the textural decadence, but not enough to make you regret (if you are prone to such an emotion as I am).

Cheesecake filling
To finish, top them with some crushed chocolate cookies (I had graham crackers), and they become altogether divine.

No-Bake Cheesecake Filling
2 blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract
juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed

Cream the cream cheese in a bowl until... well, creamy.  Beat in the sweetened condensed milk an mix until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl on occasion.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Use as desired.

As far as a chocolate cupcake recipe, I used this one.

Enjoy, and have a really, really good day.

Rachel Bee

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hummingbird Cupcakes: Cake in Augusta, GA

Good morning!

It has been a busy couple of weeks in my home, but especially in my kitchen.  Cupcakes, cakes, my first ever cream puffs, and hair and makeup (of course) have all but saturated the landscape of my weeks lately.

I am dropping in today to share with you my very favorite cake recipe: The Hummingbird Cake.

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Pineapple Flowers
Actually, it isn't my recipe at all.  It is actually Rosie's recipe.  She is one of my biggest inspirations, to be sure.

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Pineapple Flowers
Hummingbird Cake is very reminiscent of Carrot Cake, in my opinion.  Pineapple, banana, pecans, and a touch of cinnamon combine to make this cake incredibly moist, flavorful, and fragrant.  Top with Cream Cheese frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and create a rustic and warm treat for what little is left of our winter.

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Pineapple Flowers
But of course, what makes this cupcake a showpiece are the pineapple flowers that I placed on top.  I discovered these while perusing Martha Stewart's site a year ago or more, and I decided to give them a go.  What I discovered is that I really have to like someone to feel an obligation to forge these little beauties, because a toasted pecan works fine for me.

They are a pain in the... train.

But if you are (as I am) a glutton for punishment, grab a few pineapples and slice away!  I place the flowers in muffin tins while they were still warm in order to set them in more of a floral shape.  And they actually do taste really delicious.  I must give an additional warning: you need a very sharp knife for this.  And no fresh scissor wounds on your knuckles.

Just saying.

Love to you all.

Rachel Bee

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day, and I am not yelling!

Happy Valentines Day, my friends!

I hope you all have a sweetheart as kind, warm, loving, handsome, talented, thoughtful, and extra cute as mine!  If you are instead celebrating Single Awareness Day, please enjoy it!  Don't think of what you would be doing if you were married or dating, but instead think of all the things you can do because you are single!

So many exclamation points!  I am not yelling!

Ah-hem... I know I promised a post more thought out than yesterday's, but truly: this is not that post. I baked three cakes last night, and I need to frost and deliver them this morning.  I frantically dipped these early in the evening, and then I cut the creative process short.  No fancy plate, no ribbon, no explanatory set-up; just cake balls.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Balls

Strawberry Champagne Cake Balls, to be specific.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Balls

And photographic evidence that I am no good at dipping cake balls.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Balls

But this is true: they taste delicious.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Balls
And if I told you my 3 1/2 year-old dipped them, you'd think they were perfect.

I would give you a recipe, but I think I am going to save it for when I make the Strawberry Champagne  Cake again.  It was a spectacular cake, to be sure.

Enjoy your day!  God gave you hands to make beautiful things.

Rachel Bee

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'll never be a hand model...

Tomorrow I will have a more serious V-day post, but today I give you...

... evidence that I will never be a hand model.  And a Valentines "Dump-Cake."

I can't really give you a recipe for these, as I made them from leftover chocolate cupcakes, leftover chocolate and coffee frosting (I mixed them together), then I coated them in Girl Scout cookie crumbs that were still in my freezer from last year, and finally filled them with leftover whipped cream from making ganache. I threw it all together and came up with a Valentines Day post, aka Dump-Cakes!

What are you making this Valentine's Day?  I am making quite a few cakes this week, but tomorrow I am making something very sweet for my sweetheart.  It is quite a bit more intentional, and completely devoid of pink hearts.  OK.  Maybe one pink heart.

Have a lovely day, and I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow.

Rachel Bee

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unseasonal bread for unseasonal weather...

In my corner of the globe, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are exceptionally inexpensive right now, as if it was the middle of summer.  And considering that Wednesday it is set to be 75 degrees here (@24 for other people around the globe), it sure is feeling a bit like the start of spring!

Now, my husband and I are about as green as we can possibly be, and I recognize that these berries are pretty tired by the time they get to Georgia.  But they are so stinking fragrant, and as I walk by their temporary grocery store homes, I determine that they need to be in muffins, quick bread, and then in my belly (oh, and cherries- is there a "Santiago, SC?).

So as I couldn't help myself, here is a quick berry bread recipe that is really, very much worth baking.  I know, because I have baked it twice.  The photo below is Sunday's successful attempt.

And this happened a month ago...

I was in a hurry.  I tried to dump it out of the pan too early.  We ate Starbucks that morning instead.

The crumbs were delicious.

Anyway, here it is.  Try for yourself:)

Mixed Berry Cream Cheese Bread
(adapted from My Baking Addiction)
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
4 oz.  cream cheese
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek)
1.5 cups mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare a 9x4" loaf pan with butter and flour.  If you do not have a 9x4" pan (as I do not), fill the pan to 2/3 full, and then make some muffins with the leftovers.
Cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add a third of the dry mixture to the butter mixture, and blend until incorporated.  Now, add 1/2 the yogurt, and mix thoroughly (scrape down the bowl between additions).  Now add half of what's left of the dry and mix in, then the remaining yogurt. Mix thoroughly and scrape down between additions.  Add the remaining dry, and stir to incorporate a few times.  Add the berries, and then stir everything together until just mixed.
Pour into prepared pan (or muffin tins), and bake for @50 minutes to an hour.  Enjoy warm!

Have a great day, y'all!

Rachel Bee

Monday, January 30, 2012

In Memorium Lamingtons...

My husband and I did a photo shoot last summer with a very unique couple.  She is a client of mine, and he, her quirky husband: an apparent medical marvel as he battled through his second bout of cancer.

Among all of the things that made him very cool (whip fashioning, boat building, cancer butt kicking, etc.), he was also Australian, and a son to Italian immigrants to that country.  Sydney, where a large part of my heart still resides (somewhere on George Street, I believe), was his home town; and in a city like our current one, treats like Tim Tms and Lamingtons brought us together in a special way.

I speak of him in the past tense as he chose to find rest last week, and I say it that way because that's actually how it happened.  As the beast ravaged his body, the man was still in charge; and held onto hope so much longer than anyone expected.

So when it became time to develop a recipe for Mr. P at Delicious Delicious Delicious for his annual "Reinventing the Lamington" contest, I thought it appropriate to give the Australian treat an Italian makeover.

Cue the Lazzaroni...

Cannoli Cake

Cannoli Cake

The Cannoli Lamington!

Two slices of butter cake are brushed with amaretto, and then sandwich sweet marscapone and ricotta cream that is studded with chocolate chips.  I then dipped it in melted bittersweet chocolate, and coated it in toasted almonds.

Labor intensive, but lovely...

Cannoli Cake

Cannoli Lamingtons
one recipe White Butter Cake, baked into a 13x9" pan (do not add the suggested citrus zest)
Amaretto Liqueur

1 container of Marscapone
1/2 c whole milk ricotta
1.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

10 oz bittersweet chocolate (for dipping)
*1 c toasted sliced almonds

Bake and cool your cake.  Honestly, You only see two lammingtons because I made mine from a 6" round I had in my freezer lest over from a previous project.
Take a square cookie cutter (or simply slice into squares), and create an even number of level squares.  Brush the squares with the amaretto Liqueur and set aside.

Blend the Marscapone with the ricotta until smooth.  Mix in the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla, and blend until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon an even layer of the cream onto half of the cake squares, and smooth gently (you don't want to agitate too many crumbs).  Top with the remaining cake squares, and work to make all sides even.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and let it cool slightly so that it thickens up some.

There is no way to do this easily, but spoon, spread, dip, or squeeze the chocolate onto the sandwich, covering all sides (I did not cover the underneath).  Coat in the toasted almonds, and place in the fridge to harden and cool.

*to toast nuts, spread the nuts in an even layer onto a sheet pan, and place in a 350 oven.  Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly changed in color.

I hope to make a Cannoli cake soon.

You will be sorely missed, S.

Rachel Bee

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A January warm enough...

It's January, and it is so very warm.  One lady told me yesterday that it is a sign of the end times, but I think it's because Jesus loves the Biestmans; and He knows the Biestmans hate to be cold.

About a week ago I told you that I had a special shin-dig to attend last weekend, and it was wonderful.  I baked 175 cupcakes for the event, and afterward my husband took me to the beautiful Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast.  The following morning we did a wee photo shoot in and around the inn.  I had a little bed-head, but when one is dealing with someone as great as my husband, it really doesn't matter...

This is from my phone.  A third of the way through putting them in their boxes, I thought, "Crap!  A picture!"

And here is cupcake in the candlelight.

And here I am...

Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast

Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast

Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast

Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast

Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast

He is so sweet, and I like him lots.  Check his other work out here.

Have a great day, everyone.

Rachel Bee.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old Hollywood with a smidge of rock n' roll: hair tutorial...

Tomorrow is the volunteers' banquet at my church, and I would officially like to add about 8 hours to today.  However, since extending hours is not an option, I am up early to bring you another hair tutorial.

Last year I brought you this perspective on curling hair, and I still stand by it for the most part.  I do, however, want to give you a more glamourous option for the evening.  

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

  This is my modern take on an old Hollywood style: a ton of glamour, and a little rock and roll.  

Lets get started!

Start off with freshly blown out hair, prepped with volumizing mousse or spray. Dry with a wide side part.

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Part off your fringe area at an angle, and pull it down toward your face.

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

At 0 degrees (do not lift your hair up!  You don't want volume in the fringe), curl your hair halfway up the hair shaft, and pin in place.

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

You can get a big box of these clips at Sally's for not very much at all.  

Do the section behind in the same fashion.  

Old Hollywood hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Start on the other side, angling toward your face.  

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

And continue around the sides...

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Here, I have wrapped the hair around, and as I feed it through to be curled, I have the piece that I am feeding through on the bottom of the iron.

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

And I am doing the same thing on the other side.  Do not feed it through on the top.  

Continue curling and pinning all the way around, but curl horizontally through the back.  Curl and pin until you look awesome, something like this...

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Keep your hair in the pins until the hair is completely cool to the touch.  Then pull out your pins, starting from the bottom.  You should reveal something like this...

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Now, brush through all of your curls, repeatedly.  You will not ruin them if you began with clean hair.

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

You are trying to form the curls together, giving them one, seamless line of curl.  
At the to of your hair shaft, push your hair up with your palm to form waves.  

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

Even pick up a section of hair at the top (if your hair is layered), and brush it together for more waves at the top.  

The end result should be this...

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

We could leave it here, but a southern girl needs some volume.  

Take your fingers and rake through your perfect coif.  Push it up...

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

... and really get your hands in there.  

Old Hollywood Hair Tutorial

And done!  I hope you enjoy playing with this one! 

Have a great day, and I'll see you on the other side.  

Rachel Bee