Category Archives: Tutorials and Videos

DIY Cake Release

Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

Cake release, also known as cake goop, is kind of a bakery secret. Ever have a cake stick in the pan even though you sprayed an entire can of cooking spray before baking? You could brush butter, then coat with flour. That will definitely do the trick, but then you may have a coat of flour on the outside of you cake, not to mention the mess involved in the process. Cake release is a mixture of equal parts shortening, oil, and flour, used to coat any baking pan before filling with batter. I always keep a jar of it on hand, ready to use to coat any baking pan. It kind of seems like magic when my cakes just slide right out of their pans.

Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

The recipe is equal parts oil, vegetable shortening, and flour. I add 1 cup of each into the bowl of my mixer and beat until smooth. It takes a bit of time to work out the lumps but it’s necessary. Once smooth, store your cake release in a jar or container until ready to use. It can be stored at room temperature for a few months. I use mine all the time, so it never lasts that long.

Brushing Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

To use, just take a pastry brush and coat your entire pan. Easy peasy! Hope this helps take your baking to the next level!

Valentine’s Day Slice and Bake Cookies {Video + Recipe}

Valentines Day Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

I’m pretty obsessed with this cookie style right now. I’m so obsessed that I’m posting them twice in a row!! They are basically my signature slice and bake cookie as far as I’m concerned. I first came up with the idea when I was trying to think of a rainbow dessert that wasn’t full of tons of food coloring. I’m in no way against food coloring, but sometimes you feel the need to lighten it up! So I came up with these rainbow swirl slice and bake cookies. After coming up with those I realized that these cookies would be perfect for so many occasions and holidays! I made them for Super Bowl 50 and swirled the team colors inside while wrapping the edges in matching sugar crystals. And only a week later I’m back with a Valentine’s Day version. These cookies are simple to put together but to make the process super clear, I made a video tutorial to help! So grab my recipe, and follow my pictorial or my video below.


Valentine's Day Slice and Bake Cookies {Video + Recipe}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • gel food color
  • sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the shortening and powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. The dough will be crumbly.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until dough forms.
  4. Follow my blog tutorial or youtube video for coloring and forming dough.
  5. Freeze your logs of dough for at least ½ hour.
  6. While your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Slice your dough into about ½ inch wide slices.

Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

I am freaking out over these cookies right now! I know that rainbow desserts are sort of trending right now, and I wanted to come up with my own version. I wanted my dessert to be rainbow colored but elegant and easy to do. I did not want to separate batter into 6 different bowls to mix up each color of the rainbow. I didn’t want to bake 6 different cakes, or knead challah dough into 6 different colors and then braid the rainbow. I’ve seen people dye cookie dough into rainbow colors but something about that looks like play-dough to me and I just couldn’t do it! These tender cookies are my cute and simple rainbow treat. They are not too sweet and the texture is perfect for eating with tea or coffee. Kids will devour these, because of the fun colors and the rainbow sprinkles! The sprinkles are definitely optional but I love the added color and texture they bring to these cookies. This was my very first try making these cookies, I may add a bit more gel food coloring next time. I may also add a dot of white icing in the center to make them look like more of that traditional bakery style cookie. I love how easily these can be customized, you could mix and match the colors of the food gel and the sprinkles to match any party theme or occasion. I took a bunch of progress photos to show you how I made these, They aren’t the best but I hope they will be clear-please ask if you have any questions on the process! Applying gel food color to cookie dough

Mix your cookie dough (recipe at the end of the post). Roll out your dough or since it’s soft, press it out flat and square onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Mine is about 11×11 inches. Using gel food coloring (I use Americolor brand) take a food only paintbrush and paint vertical lines of each color you want to include. I painted about 1 inch lines of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I left spaces in between each color so I wouldn’t get any blending but next time I may paint each color up until the next color to get some blending. I cleaned my brush of in between painting each color.

Folding the cookie dough

Lift up your parchment or wax paper and fold the cookie dough over 1/3 of the way making sure to match up your colors, (You want your red folding down on the red, orange on orange…)

Remove wax paper

Peel the parchment or wax paper back onto your work surface.

Folding cookie dough again

Lift your paper and fold the bottom of the dough over 1/3 of the way to close up your dough and seal the food coloring inside.

peel paper back

Again, peel back your paper.

Dust with powdered sugar

Dust your cookie dough with flour or powdered sugar and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Roll out your cookie dough

You only want to roll out the dough in one direction, in the same direction that your vertical stripes are going, towards you and away from you. Do not widen it by rolling it left to right. Try to roll it to about 12×12 inches. At this point, I folded the dough the same way as before: from top to middle about 1/3 of the way down matching your vertical stripes, and then bottom up to form a rectangle. I then rolled it out the same way, towards and away, not left to right.

Rotate your dough and roll up

Now rotate your dough 90 degrees by turning your whole piece of paper. The colored lines should now be horizontal. Lift your dough from the bottom by lifting your paper (I started from the purple color) start rolling your dough into a log.

Rolling your dough into a log

Keep lifting the paper to allow it to roll up making sure to peel the paper away.

divide your dough

Once your dough is rolled up, divide it into 3 equal pieces (or as equal as you can get it-no need to measure). Cutting will make the dough easier to handle.

swirly rainbow cookie dough

Once you divided your dough, you will be able to see the cool swirly effect! Take each log and lengthen/ thin it by rolling it to about 8 inches long. You may feel some air inside the log. That’s okay, just squeeze the dough a bit to remove those pockets and continue to roll into a smooth tight log.

roll in sprinkles

This part is optional, but I couldn’t skip the rainbow sprinkles! Spread out some rainbow sprinkles and then roll your dough in the sprinkles. You can leave the ends bare since they will get sliced off anyway.

cookie dough covered in sprinkles

Once your dough is covered in sprinkles, tightly roll it up in wax or parchment paper and chill it in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour. (At this point you could store it in the freezer for up to 3 months, I would just store it in a freezer ziplock bag. Just slice and bake when needed).

slice your cookie dough

After your dough is chilled it will be easier to slice. Using a serrated knife, slice your cookies about 1/2 inch wide. You should get 12-15 cookies from each of your 3 logs.

ready to bake

Arrange your cookies cut side up on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. You don’t really want to see any browning, you just want the cookies to look dry on top. If you brown them too much they may not be tender.

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

You did it! Hope you enjoy making these impressive cookies. They really are easy to make-I can’t wait to see your cookie designs! Here’s my easy dairy-free recipe.

Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}
Serves: 36 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • gel food color
  • rainbow sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the shortening and powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. The dough will be crumbly.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until dough forms.
  4. Follow my blog tutorial for coloring and forming dough.
  5. Freeze your 3 logs of dough for at least ½ hour.
  6. While your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Slice your dough into about ½ inch wide slices.
  8. Arrange your cookies cut side up on cookie sheet, spacing them apart because they spread.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies no longer look wet.
  10. Enjoy!

Airplane Cake Topper {Tutorial}

Planes Trains and Automobiles Cake

Remember this cake?  I made it a few weeks ago for a special 1 year old birthday.  It was such a fun cake to make.  I love making cake toppers, I think it really brings more height and interest to any cake.  I used to design my cake toppers from paper templates but now that I have my 3D printer, I can create cutters to simply create any design I like.  I actually used a paper template to create this topper, but I still wanted to design the cutters so I could easily replicate this in the future.  First you will need my airplane cutter set which can be purchased here.

Airplane Cutter Set | Lil Miss Cakes

I just realized how cute this would be for cookie favors or even a cookie cake topper!  Okay, let’s focus on the fondant/gum paste cake topper for now.  Here’s how to make this cute topper using my cutter set.

Roll out fondant or gum paste | Lil Miss Cakes

If using fondant I would recommend adding some tylose powder to add extra stability and help the fondant harden and dry faster.

Cut out 3 airplanes | Lil Miss Cakes

Use any colors you like, I thought it would be fun to display a more girly looking airplane here.

Trimming the airplanes | Lil Miss Cakes

You can use a straight edge to cut the airplane pieces or just do it by eye.

Cutting airplane wings | Lil Miss Cakes

I like the look of 4 wings on the airplane.  When assembling the airplane, one larger wing and one smaller wing will be rotated and attached behind the airplane so it looks like it is on the other side.

"Propeller and windows | Lil Miss Cakes

I think that on the original airplane I used an even smaller piping tip to cut the circles for the windows.  Just use whatever round cutter you have on hand, or leave the windows off.

Pieces needed for airplane topper | Lil Miss Cakes

I like to let the pieces dry overnight.  If you are in a hurry, you can turn turn on your oven light and place the pieces inside your OFF oven.  The heat of the oven light bulb will start to dry your pieces out.  When removing your pieces, they will be warm to the touch.  Allow them to cool down for a few minutes before handling them.  If you do this trick, PLEASE put a piece of tape over your oven controls!  The last thing you need is to accidentally bake your airplane!

How to assemble airplane topper | Lil Miss Cakes

To assemble your airplane use royal icing or sugar glue and follow the arrows for placement.

Finished Cake Topper | Lil Miss Cakes

I used my airplane as a cake topper, but you could just as easily place this on the side of your cake.  You can purchase the airplane cutter set here!

How To Decorate 3D Menorah Cookies {Video}

3D Menorah Cookie

I hope you get really creative when decorating the 3D menorah cookies I designed.  Get the kids involved, they will absolutely love decorating their own cookies and truly enjoy standing them up!  Here’s a simple way I decorated my cookies…I made you a little video!

For a picture tutorial and my sugar cookie recipe, go here.
Head to my shop for the cookie cutter I designed for this project.

Standing Menorah Cookie {Tutorial}

3D Menorah Cookie

I’m so excited to share all my tips and tricks for creating perfectly rolled sugar cookies. All these tips will help to create these super cute menorah cookies that stand on their own! This is the method I use to roll out all my shaped sugar cookies.  Rolling out the dough my way takes a little more time, but each shape will be exactly perfect, the days of crooked cookies are over!  I definitely recommend using my recipe (which can be found at the bottom of this post) since that is the only recipe I have ever used; it’s tried and true.  But if you have a favorite recipe, go for it!  My method will still help create perfect shapes.

Floured parchment paper

Cut a piece of parchment paper about the size of your baking/cookie sheet.  Place your parchment paper on your work space and lightly dust with flour.  You want your dough to stick a bit to the parchment paper!Cookie dough dusted with flour

Place a round piece of dough on the lightly dusted piece of parchment paper and dust with flour.  Using a rolling pin, roll out your dough making sure you do not roll over the edges.Rolling out sugar cookie dough

Rolling out cookie dough

Do not lift your dough off the parchment paper!  Turn your whole piece of parchment paper 90 degrees and continue rolling out your dough.  Turn your dough 90 degrees again and continue until your dough is your favorite thickness.

Tips for rolling out cookie dough

To make the standing menorah cookies, your dough needs to be 1/4 inch thick or less.  If it is too thick, the pieces will not fit together.  The menorah cutter can be found here.Measuring your rolled out dough

Once the dough is rolled out, dip your cutter in flour, shake it off and press your cutter into the dough; pressing down firmly.  Lift the cutter off of the dough, slightly jiggling if the dough is stuck.  If the dough lifts off with the cutter, place your shape back into place.Cutting out sugar cookies

Continue cutting your shapes out, making sure not to cut too closely or the cookies may bake and stick together.Cookie spacing is important

Once your cookies are all cut, carefully remove the excess dough from around each cookie. Be careful not to disturb the shapes of the cookies.  The cookies should be sticking slightly to the parchment paper which helps in keeping their shapes.Remove excess cookie dough

Carefully remove the excess dough

When all the dough is removed, lift the whole piece of parchment paper and place on your baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for exactly 8 minutes (if you are using my recipe).  If using your own recipe, follow the baking time listed.Cool baked cookies on wire rack

Once the cookies are baked, they should be slightly puffed and light brown on the bottom and edges.  Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before removing them from the parchment paper.  Once cooled, your cookies should be exactly the shape you intended!  To assemble the standing menorahs, simple fit the slot in the base cookie into the slot of the menorah cookie and stand!

Troubleshooting:

  • If the cookie base doesn’t fit into the menorah you may have baked your cookies too thick.  Simply use your finger to press down the cookie in the spots where the cookies fit together.  Make sure to do this when the cookies are slightly warm so the cookies don’t crack.Pressing down puffy cookies
  • If the cookie base doesn’t fit into the menorah, the slots may have moved too close together.  Use a sharp knife (I like using an xacto knife) and trim the slots slightly larger.Trimming cookies
  • If your cookies are too thin, they may not stand up so well.  Simply add some frosting or royal icing to help attach the base cookie to the menorah.  The cookies should have a lot more stability this way.  Adding some frosting or icing also helps if you are planning to travel with the cookies. Filling the gap
  • I like my sugar cookies puffy and fluffy and that is how my cookies bake up.  If you are decorating them with royal icing and need the cookies to be completely flat, bake as usual.  Once they come out of the oven, wait one minute, then place a clean piece of parchment paper over the top of the hot cookies and place a second cookie sheet directly on top of the cookies.  You want the flat bottom of the baking pan pressing down the tops of the cookies.  Allow the cookies to cool like this.  Once the cookies are cool, they will be completely flat but they will still have kept their shape and they will still taste perfect!  Here’s my simple, favorite, dairy-free cut-out sugar cookie recipe:

Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the shortening, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt all at once and combine.
  5. With the mixer running at low speed slowly add in the orange juice.
  6. If the dough is very sticky, refrigerate before trying to roll out.
  7. When ready, roll the dough on a floured surface so the dough doesn't stick. You can also roll the dough directly on a sheet of parchment paper. The dough can be rolled thinner to create a crunchy cookie or thicker for a soft and chewy cookie.
  8. Cut shapes out using your favorite cookie cutter.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for exactly 8 minutes until just barely light brown at the edges.
  10. Cool on wire rack.

Check here to purchase my custom cutter!
Want to learn how to decorate your menorah cookies? Check out my video tutorial here!

{Video} Tips On Forming Perfect Hamantaschen

I have always loved shaping hamantaschen for the holiday of Purim.  There is something so calming about trying to create perfect little triangles.  I have to say, I think I got my method down to a science.  In this video you can see how I fold the circles and pinch just the seams.  If you want my no-fail recipe, you should try my recipe for classic hamantaschen.  If you are more adventurous, I have a great recipe for peanut butter and jelly hamantaschen and pina colada hamantaschen as well.

Here are some tips I can offer on forming good looking hamantaschen.

  • I like to roll my dough out directly onto a floured piece of parchment paper so I can transfer the whole sheet onto a baking sheet as soon as the hamantaschen are formed.  It’s a lot less handling of the dough.
  • Make sure to use enough flour when rolling out your dough, or the dough will stick and the cookies will lose their shape when you try to work them into cute triangles.
  • I don’t use water or egg wash to keep the hamantaschen together, I just keep pinching the seams until they are sealed.  Try not to pinch the corners, just the top seams.
  • Use a pastry bag and straight round tip (or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) to fill the hamantaschen.
  • Do not overfill the hamantaschen with filling. The filling puffs in the oven and will bust your perfect little triangles open.  Use about a teaspooon or two, but it really depends on how large your round cutter is.
  • For a medium sized hamantaschen, I use a round cutter that is 2 3/4 inches in diameter.  Anywhere from a 2 inch to a 3 inch round cutter will yield nice sized hamantaschen.
  • Be gentle with your dough.  Try not to stretch out your circles of dough or your hamantaschen can look misshapen.

If you have any questions or other tips, let me know in the comments!  Happy Purim!