SOURCE: Wilton Products

April 18, 2011 05:00 ET

Celebrate Baking Every Day With Wilton!

Bake-and-Decorate Projects Made Easy

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Apr 18, 2011) - (Family Features) Did you know that everyday baking is almost as popular as holiday baking? Wilton recently released the results of its bi-annual Celebration Report on How Americans Bake, Decorate and Celebrate. In it, 73 percent of the respondents said they bake for everyday enjoyment and treats, while 78 percent said they bake for holidays.

Decorated Cakes Are #1!

Decorated cakes are the #1 favorite celebration dessert, according to 90 percent of those polled for the Celebration Report.

Floral Fondant Bouquet
Makes 12 to 15 servings

1box (18.25 ounces) yellow
cake mix
2containers (15 ounces each)
part-skim ricotta cheese,
divided
4eggs
1/4cup water
1/4cup vegetable oil
3/4cup confectioners' sugar
1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2cup miniature semi-sweet
chocolate chips
1cup thawed non-dairy whipped
topping
1package (10 ounces) Vanilla
Whipped Icing Mix

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1 container ricotta cheese, eggs, water and oil with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes or until smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake 32 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cakes cool in pan on cooling grid 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Meanwhile, for filling, place remaining ricotta cheese in food processor; pulse several times until smooth. Add sugar and cinnamon; pulse until just combined. Scrape cheese filling into medium bowl; fold in chocolate chips and whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble cake, cut both layers in half horizontally, forming 4 thin layers. Place one layer on cake board or serving plate; spread 1/3 of filling onto layer. Repeat with remaining 3 layers and filling.

Prepare icing mix following package instructions. Spatula ice cake. See sidebar for options to create or purchase Flower Decorations. Position flowers on top of cake; fill in with leaves. Arrange additional flowers and leaves along bottom border.

Cake Flower Decorations
Choose a cake flower decorating option.

1. I'm up for creating my own fondant flowers and leaves!
Make fondant flowers and leaves in advance, allowing for plenty of time to dry.

Purchase:
1 package (4.4 ounces) Neon Colors Fondant Multi Pack
1 package (4.4 ounces) Pastel Colors Fondant Multi Pack (green used)
Flower and Leaf Cut-Outs

Roll out neon pink, purple and orange fondant 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Using medium Flower Cut-Out, cut flowers. Shape on thick Fondant Shaping Foam using ball tool; place in Flower Formers dusted with cornstarch to dry. Roll small balls of yellow fondant; attach to flowers with damp brush. Roll out pastel green fondant 1/8 inch thick; cut leaves using varied sizes of Leaf Cut-Outs. Place on thin foam. Using veining tool, mark vein lines. Dry completely; if desired, dry in flower formers dusted with cornstarch.

2. I'm a budding novice!

Purchase: Pre-made royal icing flowers and leaves.

Decorate: Position and arrange flowers per recipe directions.

Decorated Cookies Make Every Day Special!
The report showed that cookies are America's most popular baked treat, according to 82 percent of respondents. A variety of cookie cutter shapes and colored icings turn these treats into a celebration.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

3/4cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2cup granulated sugar
1/4teaspoon salt
3egg yolks
1teaspoon vanilla extract
2cups all-purpose flour
2/3cup finely ground pecans (about
2 ounces)
1can (16 ounces) White Decorator Icing
1can (16 ounces) Chocolate Decorator
Icing
Rose, Lemon Yellow, Kelly Green
or other desired Icing Color

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla; mix well. Add flour and pecans all at once; mix just until combined. Press dough into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Let cold dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured work surface. Cut with cutters into Butterfly, Blossom, Round and Square shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove cookies to cooling grid; cool completely.

Tint icing as desired. Suggested decorating ideas:
-- Outline and fill in cookies with tip 3; smooth with finger dipped in cornstarch. Add contrasting colored dots, dot flowers, swirls, or lattice as desired.
-- Pipe tip 7 dots in center of Flower Cookie. Decorate petals with tip 3 or 7 outline, smoothing with finger dipped in cornstarch, or tip 3, 7 or 16 zigzag.
-- Cover Butterflies with tip 16 stars or zigzags, or tip 3 or 7 lines. Add tip 3 or 7 dots and elongated dots.
-- For Squares, pipe tip 7 ribbons and tip 3 bows or pipe lattice and dots using either tip.

Cupcakes Are Tops for Kids!
Celebration Report respondents favored cupcakes as a baking and decorating activity for kids' parties. Start with a cake mix, and bake up a batch. Then, get the kids involved! Take cupcakes to new heights with a fancy icing swirl and a shake of colorful sprinkles or sugars. Make them extra special with fun themed Wraps 'N Pix. Get more cupcake tips at www.wilton.com/cupcakes.

Look for fondant, decorating tools, pre-made icing flowers and Wraps 'N Pix at craft and hobby stores, or order from www.wilton.com.

Visit Ask Nancy to subscribe to the "Ask Nancy" video podcast series for more great tips on baking and decorating. Wilton has been the industry leader in cake decorating, quality bakeware and food crafting for more than 80 years.

Americans Bake for Holidays and Every Day

78%Holidays
73%Everyday Enjoyment / Treats
71%Birthdays
69%Non-Holiday Family Events
37%Gifts
22%Small Business / Favor to Others
5%Other

The biannual Celebration Report by Wilton is an extensive online survey conducted by a third party.

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