My former Wilton student, Denise, made this gorgeous cake for her daughter's birthday this week! She made the orchids using sugar paste (aka gum paste) and baked the cake in the shape of a flower pot.
Denise will soon be joining me to teach Wilton Method cake decorating classes, and you can see why! She is a passionate decorator. Best of all, she has become my friend. Great job, Denise!
My friend Diane gave me a Nordic Ware "Stump de Noel" cake pan. I used it to bake an adaptation of the Golden Grand Marnier Cake from The Cake Bible. I call this version my "Tipsy Orange-Almond Cake." I made two glazes to suggest "bark--" again from The Cake Bible, the Chocolate Cream Glaze, one batch with bittersweet chocolate and a small batch with milk chocolate. The "dirt" is brown sugar and shaved chocolate. Sugar paste (aka gum paste) leaves and cranberries add color.
How many years have I said, "I want to make some of those meringue mushrooms...." I finally got around to it! They are so cute! So much fun to make, just pipe the caps and stems separately, then attach them with a little bit of extra meringue. When they're dry, a sprinkle of cocoa powder gives them a realistic look. This is a recipe from Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
Two batches of Chocolate Cream glaze (yep--from The Cake Bible again). One batch made with bittersweet, one with milk chocolate to add different shades of "bark" to the tree! The "dirt" is brown sugar, but I did add chocolate shavings at the end. This was so much fun to make!
I sent one of my Tipsy Cakes to my brother Sam and his wife Abby in Louisiana for Christmas, and gave one to my friend Julie also. I love these cakes, they are delicious!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
As promised, I am giving away a new favorite kitchen gadget. I had two "Crack 'Em" egg cracking thing-y's to give away, so I drew names from everyone who commented on my blog last week. The winners are both on the Rose's Alpha Bakers panel, baking through the new Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. (See the tab above for more details!)
Vist Mendy at "Greenstein's Bakery" http://greensteinsbakery.blogspot.com/
Stop by and see Jill at "Fabulous Sweet Fillings." http://fabuloussweetfillings.blogspot.com/
I am so lucky to become acquainted with these new friends as we share this baking adventure! Thanks to everyone who commented!
I was invited to decorate Christmas cookies with Diane, Grace and Michelle this week. Diane and Grace have taken my cake decorating classes and Michelle is Grace's mom. Diane describes her beautiful home as "one bedroom with a kitchen!" And what a kitchen it is! She had everything we needed to decorate cookies--sprinkles, colored sugars and icing. We ate pizza and drank spiced cider and had a great time!
Diane bakes often and she has this habit of showing me a plate of delectable-looking treats or cake and asking, "do you want to try it?" What a silly question!! You would think she would know by now that answer will always be an unqualified "OF COURSE!!"
I baked one of our family favorite Southern-style pound cakes and took several little cakelets to share with Diane and Grace and Michelle. The pound cake recipe is found here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Elvis-Presleys-Favorite-Pound-Cake-232642 It's a cold oven pound cake--the pan is placed in a cold oven, rather a preheated oven. Not sure why this is important, but it's a good recipe! I made a big batch of this pound cake and gave some to my daughter for her Christmas party, and shared more with other friends.
Thanks, Diane, for hosting such a fun evening in your beautiful home! I love my new bundt-style "Stump de Noel" cake pan! I will be sure to bake a cake and post a photo of it!
GIVEAWAY THIS WEEK!!
Rose’s fans probably remember that she posted about the Crack ‘Em, a little spoon rest with a built in ridge to make cracking eggs quick, clean and completely foolproof. I really like this little gadget, and thought it would be fun to share one with a fellow baking enthusiast! So, everyone who leaves me a comment anywhere on my blog until Saturday, December 20 will be entered to win a Crack ‘Em. Thanks for visiting and good luck!
Among my many blessings are five wonderful friends, and over the past 20 years we have become sisters to one another. When we were raising our children, we gathered every year for dinner and a Christmas cookie exchange. Now that the children are grown, the cookies are optional, but the dinner is an annual event not to be missed.
For this year's dinner, I made Rose's Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart for dessert. I love hazelnuts, so this recipe in the new Baking Bible immediately caught my eye. However, I will save the details for the day that the Alpha Bakers bake this recipe together.
All went like clockwork baking the crust, making the truffle-like filling, glazing it with the chocolate ganache...until I made the optional carmelized hazelnuts. Matthew Boyer from the Beta Bakers suggested this lovely and delicious enhancement. Now I remember why I hate making candy!!
Until that step, all was calm, all was bright. Then I became as inept as a six-year-old in the kitchen. The sugar syrup continued to boil even after I poured it into a bowl and started dipping the nuts. I was afraid it was burning, so I put the glass bowl--not the saucepan--into a bowl of ice water and promptly cracked the bowl.
Dipping the hazelnuts was pretty simple....until I went to poke the toothpicks into a block of foam. The sugar syrup dripped no matter how much I tapped and twirled. I emerged with a beautiful batch of carmelized nuts, a broken bowl, and three blistered and very painful fingers. However, the tart was delectable!!
Which brings me to the part about odd-sized baking pans. I love anything out of the ordinary, and have several unusual pans in my collection. I baked this tart in my new strip pan ( not exactly an exotic shape, but I have run into this problem before). I also have an extensive collection of dishes, glassware and serving pieces. I pulled out FIVE rectangular plates and not one of them would fit the tart! I ended up serving the tart from a cutting board.
But the tart was so wonderful, it wouldn't have mattered how it came to the table, especially to my dearest friends. Moral to the story---figure out the serving plate before you bake with an odd-sized pan!
Coming next week:
I will give away a new kitchen favorite, so stop by again!!