Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ready, Set, ENTER!

"Week 1" giveaway (March 26 - March 31) is over, but... 
Come enter our "Week 2" giveaway (April 2 - April 7) HERE.

FINALLY!  It's time to enter for Week 1 of our month-long giveaway!
This week's sponsors!


This week's drawing will take place on Sunday, April 1st. Two (2) winners will be drawn for the following two (2) prizes:

Prize Package #1 - “This Aint No April Fool’s Day” prize package (Sorry, this prize package is open to U.S. residents only, must be 18 at time of entry):

*Custom cookies by Casey's Confections will be awarded as her schedule allows. Final design and delivery date will be determined by Casey at her sole discretion.

Prize Package #2 - “Cakey Bakey” prize package (YAY, open to anyone, anywhere in the world, must be 18 at time of entry):

Win this hedgehog cutter and you could make your very own cookies to look just like our sponsor'sSweet Tweets!


Congratulations to our winners:

  1. Colleen Saylor of Indiana
  2. Virginia Ogilvie of Oshawa, Ontario

It’s SUPER easy to enter! This week you will have seven (7) chances to win! Just follow the simple directions using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post.  Good luck!

~ Peggy

BORING STUFF (Contest Details):
  • Winners will be chosen randomly and will be contacted via email on April 1st.
  • If any winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
  • See Terms and Conditions HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Finally Here: Peggy Does Cake Big 10K Giveaway!

I’m super excited to announce a giant month-long celebration that’s dedicated to YOU!

I created my blog in March of 2010 (before I ever baked anything in my life) as a place to post my "someday" photos, as I had just started a brand new hobby: cake decorating

As I tweaked dozens upon dozens of recipes, researched ceaselessly (can you say "one track mind"?), and practiced away, I thought surely there must be others "out there" like me, trying to learn how to do this on their own. After 8 months of flying solo, in November of 2010, Peggy Does Cake was born on Facebook as a means of interacting with people who actually knew what they were doing. Sixteen months and 10,000 followers later, this has turned into something pretty cool.

Thanks so much to each of you for your support! I’ve made so many friends and met so many talented artists in the last two years. I’m grateful to you for the hand holding, the virtual pats on the back, the reassurance that I am not crazy or obsessed *cough*, and the confirmation that although I may be all my myself in my kitchen at 3:00 a.m. on a Friday, there are thousands more just like me all across the globe, all doing the same exact thing, and none of us are alone in that.

As a way to celebrate YOU, I have been joined by 29 fabulous sponsors (click HERE to check them out) for a massive month-long giveaway! Every Sunday in April, beginning Sunday April 1st, I will draw TWO (2) winners! Prizes retail at $225 or more each week - and the total retail value of the entire Big 10K Giveaway (all 5 weeks’ worth of prizes) is more than $1,100!

Remember, we will have 2 winners every Sunday the entire month of April. Each week is a brand new Giveaway and you'll have to enter every week to be eligible.

This week's drawing will take place on Sunday, April 1st. Two (2) winners will be drawn for the following two (2) prizes:

Prize Package #1 - “This Aint No April Fool’s Day” prize package (Sorry, this prize package is open to U.S. residents only, must be 18 at time of entry):

  • $120 gift certificate from Fondarific
  • $50 set custom cookies from Casey’s Confections
  • $26 Tutorial DVD from Design Me a Cake
  • $20 custom t-shirt from

Prize Package #2 - “Cakey Bakey” prize package (YAY, open to anyone, anywhere in the world, must be 18 at time of entry):

  • $16 custom hedgehog cookie cutter ( from Sweet Tweets
  • $12 cakey bakey kitchen potholder/towel set from Peggy Does Cake


Contest opens Monday, March 26, 8:00 AM EST and ends at midnight, March 31 EST. Drawing is Sunday, April 1, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will be announced on this blog as soon as he/she is confirmed.  

It’s SUPER easy to enter! This week you will have seven (7) chances to win! Just click HERE and then follow the simple directions using the Rafflecopter widget provided at the end of the post!

Good luck!

~ Peggy

BORING STUFF (Contest Details):
  • Winners will be chosen randomly and will be contacted via email on April 1st.
  • If any winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
  • See Terms and Conditions HERE.

Peggy Does Cake Big 10K Giveaway: 30 Awesome Sponsors!

I’m preparing to announce all the details for my Peggy Does Cake Big 10K Giveaway!

You could win a fabulous prize or prize package from: Baked, Beater Blade, Cakes by Dusty, Cakes by Kerrin, Cakes by Raewyn,, Casey's Confections,, CorrieCakes, Design Me a Cake, Dillicious Cakes, Fondarific, House of the Rising Cake, Lil Red Wagon,, Not Just Cakes by Annie, Peggy Does Cake, Royal Bakery, Smidge N Pinch, Sugarbelle, SugarMommas Custom Cakes, SugarEd Productions, Sweet-T Cakes, Sweet Tweets, Sweetopia, The Baking Sheet, The Designer Cake Company, The Little Salmons Bakery, Torta Couture, and/or Way Beyond Cakes by Mayen!
Keep an eye open for full details coming TODAY!

~ Peggy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big 10K Giveaway Terms and Conditions!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions

Unless otherwise noted in the giveaway post:

1. HOW TO ENTER: Follow Rafflecopter instructions on the post.

2. ELIGIBILITY: Prize Option #1 (retail value approximately $225 each week) is open to legal residents of the fifty United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Prize Option #2 (retail value approximately $25 each week) is open to anyone world-wide who is 18 years of age or older at time of entry.

3. WINNERS SELECTION: Winners will be selected within 24 hours after the close of the event from among all ELIGIBLE entries received during the Giveaway. Winners will be determined at random using Rafflecopter or Winners will be announced on the giveaway post and contacted via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected.

4. PRIZE/APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE: Prize value is listed on each individual giveaway. Odds of winning prize is dependent upon the total number of eligible entries received.

5. GENERAL: Subject to all federal, state and local laws/regulations. Neither Peggy Does Cake, the Sponsors, nor any affiliates will have any liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by any prize or resulting from acceptance, possession, use and/or misuse of any prize or participation in these promotions. Acceptance of a prize shall be construed as and signify the winner’s agreement and consent that Peggy Does Cake or the Sponsors may use the winner’s name, voice, likeness and/or prize information, without limitation, for promotional purposes without further consideration, review, approval or payment, where allowed by law. By participating in this promotion, entrants agree to be bound by the decisions of Peggy Does Cake and the Sponsors, which are final and binding in all respects.

6. INTERNET: Neither Peggy Does Cake nor the Sponsors are responsible for electronic transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission or alterations of entry materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive entry information by Peggy Does Cake or the Sponsors on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof. If, for any reason, the promotions are not capable of running as planned for any reason, Peggy Does Cake or the Sponsors reserve the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Giveaway and select the winners by random drawing from among all eligible entries received from all methods combined up to the point of the action taken by Peggy Does Cake or the Sponsors.

7. SPONSOR: Peggy Does Cake is the host of the giveaway and is in no way to be considered the Sponsor, unless the giveaway specifically discloses that Peggy Does Cake is the Sponsor of a particular prize component. The Sponsors are deemed to be the parties providing the products for the giveaway. The Sponsors are responsible for shipment and delivery of giveaway products, unless otherwise specified.

8. DISCLOSURE: Peggy Does Cake may or may not have received the same prize and/or compensation in order to facilitate a review for giveaway purposes. The comments made within the post are in no way reviewed, edited or influenced by any parties, including any Sponsors. All opinions are 100% that of Peggy Does Cake.

Oh yeah, baby! Chocolate. This will be a very short blog post, as there is only so much you can say about a simple little cake like this. Double chocolate chip cake filled and iced with whipped all-butter chocolate buttercream and then covered in ganache and decorated in whipped ganache. Even the piping (writing) is ganache. This is my little girl's favorite cake flavor (she loves ganache) and she literally whimpered when this cake left us. Lucky for her, we'll be doing her birthday cake in about 4 weeks!  Woo! 

If you like the cake board on this cake, check out the tutorial for using scrapbook paper to cover a cake board found HERE.

Oven's on - I'll be back soon!

~ Peggy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cake Update! Parker's Circus Cake!

Parker is an old “regular” of mine. I made her Dora cake last year and was excited to do her circus-themed cake this year, when she turned the big OH FOUR. 04. Yes, for half of her life, I have been making Parker’s birthday cake. Woo!

Man, this cake was way harder than I had anticipated. Trying to get that concave look in the "big top" nearly did me in. I had to stack A LOT of cakes, and ended up carving most of it away. Oh the waste. Oh the carnage! 

Parker’s cake was WASC (white almond sour cream) with vanilla bean ABC (American butter cream) filling and icing. I smoothed it using the viva method (read all about ABC and the viva method HERE) and covered it with red fondant stripes, pink fondant borders, and pink buttercream accents. The flag was gum paste (fondant with tylose added) for added stiffness, but it was so hot and humid the day of the party, you would have sworn it was made from wet noodles. Thankfully, it held up, but wow, just barely.

If Parker isn’t the cutest thing, I don’t know who is. Look at this little face just beaming, and then tell me that this isn't the BEST part of making a cake. I could just squeeze her!

Her mom, my good friend, Amanda, has an amazing knack for putting things together and is always just blowing the roof off with her party plans. Read more about her HERE, and if you’re local to the Jackson/Brandon, MS area, check out her sweetest “Little Occasions” party rental HERE or on Facebook HERE.

Happy birthday, sweet Parker!

Oven's on - I'll be back soon!

~ Peggy

Recipe: Crusting American Butter Cream Icing

For me, 2012 has been the year of SMBC (Swiss meringue butter cream). In fact, you can read all about that HERE. I've just recently met SMBC and fallen madly in love with it – but I must confess: love affair or not, I still couldn't live without my trusty ol' crusting American butter cream.

Very different tastes, very different textures, very different techniques - but each has its place in my cakey bakey world. I know ABC is an enigma to many, and with that…

Peggy Does Cake Presents
Crusting ABC: American Butter Cream

Shortening/Butter Recipe (see below for an all-butter version)
1 stick of salted butter (4 ounces/112 grams)
1.5 cups shortening
1 two-pound bag of confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup liquid* from list below (more can be added for desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

Cream butter/shortening until white and fluffy. Add 1/8 cup of water, mix. Add sugar all at once, cover mixer with lid, wet towel, raincoat, giant beach umbrella, etc., as you will have a bit of dust and mess, mix on low. Add more liquid as necessary to attain desired consistency. Mix on high for a quick minute until well blended. Scrape sides, mix again. Add extracts.

If you triple this recipe, you’ll have a VERY full bowl, but your icing level will be above your paddle attachment and if you mix on high until all visible air bubbles are eliminated, you’ll be creating the smoothest, most perfect butter cream ever.

See the Youtube video by Sharon Zambito on how she makes her butter cream HERE for more information on this “air removing” technique. Although my icing recipe is completely different than Sharon's, I use her exact technique. I use it because it's brilliant and can’t be beat. Ha! No pun intended. 

I always try to triple this icing recipe whenever possible for this very reason - a big, full bowl of icing means no air - and that means the most beautiful, smooth consistency you can imagine from a crusting ABC.

This icing is perfect for smoothing via the Viva method, found HERE. Here's a photo of an undressed (indecent!) cake finished with this exact recipe (the shortening/butter version) and smoothed using the Viva method.

All Butter Recipe (this is definitely my taste preference, but it's not as stable as icing with shortening in it)
2 sticks of salted butter (8 ounces/225 grams)
2 sticks of unsalted butter (8 ounces/225 grams)
1 two-pound bag of confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup liquid* from list below (more can be added for desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
  *Ideas for liquid options:
  • Water
  • Skim milk
  • 1% milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
  • Half and half
  • Heavy whipping cream (my favorite!!)
  • Flavored liquid coffee creamers (I’m partial to the French vanilla and hazelnut, but don’t bother with the sugar free, as they leave a bit of after taste in the icing
  • Extracts beyond or instead of vanilla and almond
  • Anything else you're brave enough to try; I think I've tried it all!
If you try it, give me a shout and let me know how it worked for you.

Oven's on - I'll be back soon!

~ Peggy

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Recipe and Picture Tutorial: Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Icing

Peggy Does Cake presents…
SMBC (Swiss Meringue Butter Cream)

(Click any photo for an enlarged, "close-up" view.)

The first time I ever tried SMBC, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. To me, it was a mouthful of gently sweetened butter. It didn’t taste like icing. It tasted, and worse, it FELT, like butter. Constantly hearing from my cakey bakey friends that it was earth shatteringly delicious, I was sure I was missing something.

Then a brilliant cake friend of mine shared with me that the traditional structure of SMBC (which calls for 1 part egg whites, 2 parts sugar, and 3 parts butter) was too buttery for her, too. Tweaking the recipe down to only 2 parts butter was the perfect remedy. This icing has completely revolutionized my kitchen and I can’t believe I was living in a world without it for 45 years. Ok, I exaggerate, as I’ve only been baking for just under two years. Still, I can’t believe I was living in a world without SMBC for 2 years even! With a few little tweaks to the more traditional recipes you’ve probably seen and tried, you COULD become a believer, and this icing could rock your world.

  • Pan of shallow hot water, simmering with no visible “boiling” air bubbles
  • Your Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, clean and oil free
  • Spatula, clean and oil free
  • Candy thermometer
  • Digital Kitchen Scale
  • 8 large egg whites (or cheat like me and use them straight from the carton) – about 250 grams
  • 500 grams sugar (granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, or a combination of both)
  • About 6 sticks (690 grams) of cool butter, chopped into tablespoon-ish sized pieces (5 sticks unsalted, 1 stick salted)
  • 1 tablespoon best quality vanilla extract
When I begin making SMBC, I take my butter cold, from the fridge, and let it sit out while I cook my egg whites and sugar. As they cook, I unwrap the butter and chop it into tablespoon(ish) sized pieces. By the time the sugar mixture is ready, the butter is about the right softness: softened a bit, but still cool.

Always start SMBC right in your Kitchen Aid bowl – but make sure it’s perfectly clean and oil free or your icing could fail. Wipe your bowl clean with a paper towel or a cloth dampened with vinegar or lemon juice to ensure it’s squeaky clean. 

Note: As long as your ratios are 1/2/2-ish, you can make any amount of SMBC you want. When I first began making it, I was always more comfortable making small batches, so this recipe is written as such. Just know that you can begin with any amount of egg whites - as long as you keep your ratios in tact.

Add 250 grams of egg whites to your mixing bowl (whether you’re using egg whites from a carton or using 8 large eggs, when you're learning, you should always weigh your ingredients until you get the hang of this). I still weigh mine, just for thrills. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, get one. I happen to have this one from Ozeri and LOVE it. If using real eggs, reserve the yolks for another use.

Pour your weighed sugar into your KA mixing bowl with the egg whites and whisk together. Simmer whisked mixture over a pan of hot water. Do NOT let water boil, as you don’t want to cook the eggs. Make sure that your mixing bowl is NOT touching the water. You want to use the steam from the hot water to heat your pan. Use a candy thermometer and cook, whisking regularly, until the temperature reaches 150°. This is hot enough to make the eggs safe for consumption and will melt the sugar. At 150° the sugar should be completely dissolved and if you test it by rubbing it between your pointer and thumb, you should NOT feel any sugar grain. Once you’ve reached 150°, move the mixing bowl back to your Kitchen Aid and using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium for about 2 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, turn your mixer to high and let it run for about 7 minutes. Before you know it, you'll have yourself a bowlful of the most gorgeous meringue you've ever seen.

But you're not ready to make icing yet. (Although at this point you could use the meringue for other recipes that call for meringue...) Next, you'll turn down your mixer to low and mix until the meringue is cool enough so that it won’t melt the butter when it's added. 

 This will take another five minutes or so, until the mixing bowl, when touched with the palm of your hand, has become neutral to the touch and is no longer warm.  You can't tell that it's no longer too warm by looking, but here's the meringue, room temperature, and finally ready for the butter!

Once your meringue is perfect and no longer warm, swap to the paddle attachment and turn your mixer back to medium speed. Drop in the cool butter pieces one at a time until incorporated, moving quickly. I just toss them in one after another, as fast as I can go really. Mix on high until you reach a silky smooth texture. This has taken me anywhere from three (3) to eight (8) minutes. If your icing curdles or looks soft and gooey, keep mixing and it will come together.  Here's a picture of my icing BEFORE it's ready.  See how it's grainy and won't hold onto the paddle blade?
One of the coolest things about SMBC is that you can actually “hear” when it’s ready. The mixer changes pitch and takes on a noticeable, pleasant slapping sound. You can’t miss it if you’re listening for it. Here's the same batch about 4 minutes later, now ready. See the paddle blade? And see how thick and full the icing is on my spoon compared to the photo above where it's looking a bit flat and limp?
Once your icing is lush and perfectly smooth, you can add your extracts or other flavorings. Be careful to only add room temperature liquids though. (Ask me how I know…) If you’re adding, for example, fresh strawberries or strawberry puree, you definitely do NOT want to add them unless they are room temp. Cold additives to your SMBC will cause the butter to curdle and separate. As long as your flavor additives are room temperature, you can add just about anything:  preserves, nutella, chocolate ganache, tempered chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, etc. The sky is the limit.

If your buttercream is too runny, your butter may not have been cold enough. Place the entire KA bowl in the fridge for about ½ an hour and then try beating it on high again. If it’s still too soft or runny, add more butter a few pieces at a time, continuing to mix on high, until it comes together. Icing is ready to use immediately, but keeps well in the fridge for several weeks and freezes beautifully!  No more wasted icing! 

If you haven’t tried SMBC yet, I hope you will. It’s so easy, so fast, totally mess-free, and the taste is utterly and completely amazing!  Let me hear from you!

Oven’s on – I’ll be back soon!

~ Peggy
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