12/31/2009 0 Comments
This cake gave me the opportunity to try a whole bunch of new things so I was excited to do it right away! First off, I have never done a burger cake before. Also, I felt it would look better if the top bun of the burger was off to the side but that involved leaning a cake up on its side which I have also never done before (but thankfully worked first try!).
Then there was the recipes... the burger itself was a Tahitian Vanilla Butter Cake with Caramel Buttercream (as was one of the two additional cakes made to serve the number of guests who would be attending the party). This is a recipe I've been wanting to try for awhile and I had to source out vanilla paste for the recipe (which is $18.99 a bottle and this cake took a whole bottle!).
The second cake was a Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake which was white chocolate cake layers filled with a strawberry mousseline buttercream and iced in a sticky chocolate frosting. I've only had the cookbook about a month that this recipe was in but it was one that caught my attention right away!
Here is what it looked like before it was iced in chocolate-y goodness...
I attempted to make a gumpaste replica of the birthday person to sit on the top of the burger based on a photograph. I'm happy with the little guy but wish it looked more like the actual person. The glasses made from florist wire were especially challenging with this one! If you look closely, there is a pen in his shirt pocket - this was done at the request of the family ordering the cake.
Having sampled both new recipes, they are both good but by far the Tahitian Vanilla Butter Cake with Caramel Buttercream is my favorite of the two - yum!
12/27/2009 0 Comments
Star Wars Christmas Cake
This cake is one of my favorite ones I've done in awhile! It was a vanilla
buttermilk cake with brown sugar buttercream which is a combination I haven't done before (and it was yummy!)
Yoda was handmade with gumpaste and I was a little bit worried that I wouldn't be able to pull off making him. I was happy with the end result though... although if I am to be my perfectionist self I could say that he looks like a baby Yoda... but I won't do that this time!
The Christmas tree was made with rice krispie squares covered in fondant and decorated with silver lustre dust and strings of silver fondant (garland) and red and blue balls of gumpaste.
The Star Wars lettering and the stars on the cake were done with fondant. The Christmas lights (and plug!) were made with fondant and stuck into a string of buttercream. I think the Christmas lights were my very favorite part of this cake!
A TIE fighter and an X Wing made from fondant painted with black food coloring were added to the back of the cake.
I think this cake ended up looking almost as good from the back as it did from the front!
12/23/2009 0 Comments
I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for awhile now. It took me awhile to source graham flour which is needed for the cake batter. Health food stores carry it and it adds an unusual (but not unpleasant) texture and flavor to the cake.
The cupcakes are topped with a semisweet chocolate ganache. If I make these again, I will substitute bittersweet chocolate in the ganache as this wasn't my favorite ganache ever.
Once the ganache was set, I piped a swirl of marshmallow frosting on to the
top of the cupcakes and then toasted it briefly under the broiler. A kitchen
torch would have been perfect here but I don't own one yet so the broiler had to suffice.
The recipe is out of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book and I will just say here
that I found her marshmallow frosting recipe was a disaster. I used another
marshmallow frosting recipe I found on the web in place of it. The batch of
frosting from Martha's recipe, I threw out. If you attempt her recipe, I wish
you better luck than I had with it!
12/21/2009 0 Comments
Caramel Pecan Bûche de Noël
This is a caramel pecan Bûche de Noël (pecan sponge cake rolled up and frosted with a chocolate-caramel-Bourbon frosting). The cake is dusted with icing sugar and surrounded by chocolate meringue mushrooms.
I added a few fondant holly berries and ivy leaves to give a little color!
This is a traditional holiday dessert that I've been wanting to try for some
time now... I like the way it looks so now all that is left is to taste
12/21/2009 0 Comments
Sugar Flowers - Magnolias!
This is the first of several courses I'm going to take over the next few months on making sugar flowers. The course was taught over two days and I am very very happy with the result!
I had a great time learning how to make the flowers and as a result, want to spend lots and lots of money buying the fantastic tools and supplies that we used making these flowers!
And here is the second kind of magnolia I learned to make (after learning what it was having never seen one before!) - a Star Magnolia!
These flowers make beautiful arrangements to display around the house in
addition to being able to put them on cakes!
I love how real the leaves look!
I believe roses are next followed by peonies (my favorite!) and then crocus, tulips, iris, and daffodils! Can't wait!!
This is a pear ginger cake with whipped cream and a rum-caramel glaze. Since I'm not a fan of ginger, I did reduce the amount in the recipe as it called for 1 cup of finely chopped candied ginger, which I think would have been excessive.
This cake received some very nice compliments from those who tried it and,
although it is not my favorite, that rum-caramel glaze is addictively delicious!
12/16/2009 0 Comments
I have wanted to make eggnog cake and icing for years now but never got the chance.... until now! At my day job, I am supposed to buy tins of cookies for various departments on campus around the holidays as a thank you for all they do for us. However, since there is no money left in the account this is supposed to come out of, a back up plan was needed. I could think of two options: (a) do nothing or (b) bake something for them instead and anyone who knows me would know which way I'd fall on this one!
These are eggnog cupcakes with eggnog mousseline buttercream and each cupcake was topped with a fondant snowflake. I especially like the silver foil wrappers on these too!
The snowflakes were all different sizes too! It was my first experience with
doing a mousseline buttercream and it turned out well although I was quite
certain several times while making it that I had ruined it and would have to
And there were mini cupcakes as well for those who want to try to stick to their diets! I recently got mini cupcake pans as a gift from a friend and I love them to bits! Mini cupcakes are so cute... although truth be told I prefer eating the bigger ones!
These are chocolate peppermint cupcakes with Peppermint Schnapps buttercream. Each cupcake is topped with a fondant ivy leaf and holly berries and there is a red swirl running through the buttercream.
This was my first time making buttercream using egg yolks, as previously I've always used only egg whites. I didn't have any problems making it and it is definitely yummy!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
12/14/2009 0 Comments
Although I mostly make only cakes these days, I was very excited to receive a request for four cookie recipes for someone to give away as holiday treats!
The first cookies were Lemon Drop Sandwiches which are meringue cookies
sandwiched with a sweet lemony frosting.... yum! I will preface this by saying
that I'm not a huge lemon fan and I normally don't like meringue much either but for some reason, these cookies are irresistable! You can't eat just one!
The second "cookie" is an Austrian Chocolate Walnut Bar. There is a crumb base covered in apricot preserves topped with a goeey chocolate walnut layer and covered in a sticky chocolate-rum frosting.
Then there were the macaroons... recently, I discovered French macaroons on a course at the Pacific Institute for the Culinary Arts and it was love at first bite for me. Before making them for the first time, I went to Thomas Haas in North Vancouver and bought some so I could see and taste what the finished product should be... and let's just say I fell "a little" short of the mark. They taste great (although not as good as the patisserie-bought ones!) but they do not look right at all. I will master this eventually and refuse to be beaten by a little French cookie!
First, there were the raspberry macaroons filled with raspberry preserves.
This is the second attempt at these... the first was dismal to say the least!
The batter came out so watery that it made one big flat wafer!
And then there were the chocolate macaroons filled with a bittersweet chocolate ganache... this was the second attempt at these ones as well. The first attempt at chocolate macaroons, they cracked all to pieces.
I'm going to wait a bit before attempting the macaroons again because I am tired of sifting ground almonds for now but there will be another attempt at some point I can assure you!
12/14/2009 1 Comment
Until recently, I had not heard of this cake. A British co-worker told me about
it about two months ago saying it was very good and she hadn't had one in ages. I was given a cookbook for my birthday after that and it happened to have a recipe for Battenburg cake and so I decided that I had to make it.
Battenberg cake is a light sponge cake which has a distinctive two-by-two
checkerboard pattern. The cake is covered in marzipan. These coloured sections are made by dyeing half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow. The cakes are sandwiched together with apricot jam. The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenburg, with each of the four squares representing each of the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.
Marzipan is normally made with almond paste but I made a pistachio marzipan for this cake. I've never made marzipan before and this was the first recipe I found in one of my trusted cookbooks. I thought it was fitting since the cake was a Christmas gift to have a pinky-red cake and green marzipan - how festive!
I will say that this cake was a lot more work than I was expecting but after
eating it, it was worth the effort! Pistachio marzipan is delicious and the cake
is yummy too!
This is a Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows. I found the recipe in a magazine and have been wanting to try it ever since... a coworker's birthday seemed as good a reason as any!
The cake is very fudgy and the frosting has 2 cups of cocoa and 6 ounces of
Callebaut bittersweet chocolate! So it is very rich and not for those who don't
have a sweet tooth!
I have been meaning to try making homemade marshmallows for several years now too and this recipe also allowed me to do that! They're quite easy to make, although time consuming to get out of the pan since they are so sticky. I'll definitely be keeping this recipe and using it again!!
Happy Birthday Emily!
This blog will follow my adventures with cake, pastry and all things sweet!