Saturday, November 13, 2010

belated bday loot

This post has been a long time coming. When I went home a couple of months ago, one of my closest and dearest friends surprised me with a bunch of goodies! Want to see?

Let me explain this first one. When I started living by myself, I was on a missing to decorate my bathroom blue and yellow with a rubber ducky theme. My friend and my mom would find little things to help add to my collection. And just so you know, my bathroom is still the same to this day!


Rubber ducky cupcake liners! Wouldn't these be cute for a baby shower?
I need to find a creative way to use these, maybe some GIANT cupcakes?

[large] Flower cupcake liners! Maybe something for Mother's Day?

And now a nod to my two favorite things in this world: heels and pastries. If you see me on a daily basis, you are used to me in jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and a ponytail all sans makeup. But ask anyone that's seen me dressed up for a function (oh let's say a wedding) you'll be told that I always rock a pair of fantastic heels and I have yet to wear the same pair.

High heel cake server (heel is magnetic).

Thank you K for such wonderful and thoughtful gifts! I miss you!!

What's up doc?


I've never been a carrot cake fan. I know, how can I not like carrot cake? It's a cult favorite. I think it's because I had bad carrot cake once and I was scarred for life. Most people like really sugary frostings, the cream cheese icing is heavy handed with the sugar. I also remember the cake I tried was dense, hard, and flavorless. So now you know where I'm coming from.

I was talking with a colleague about what type of frosting would go best with his carrot cake. I recommend the mascarpone/cream cheese frosting that I use on the pumpkin cupcakes. He wasn't too sure about it's ability to hold up. I told him that I would experiment with his cake recipe and my frosting and report back.

W.O.W. I know love carrot cake. I apologize for not having taken pictures, it just disappeared before I remembered to document it.

Carrot cake (adapted from colleauge):
2 c sugar
1/2 c + 1/3 c cooking oil
1/2 c applesauce
4 eggs

Mix/beat together in 1 qt bowl until well blended and sugar is dissolved.

2 c sifted flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Mix together, in separate bowl, then gradually add to sugar mixture, stirring until thoroughly blended.

3 c grated carrots (about 3 carrots)
1/2 to 1 c finely chopped walnuts (adjust to your taste)

Fold into mixture and pour into greased & floured pans. Will make layer cake or enough for 9x13 pan. I used 2 9"in cake rounds and only covered the bottom using parchment paper. Baked at 350 F for 45 minutes, but you might want to scale down the bake time and check it. (Mine was completely done at 45 min. I was afraid it would be dry, but the cake came out super moist.)

Colleauges notes: I like to use butter in the pan and I mix a bit of cinnamon into the flour in cup then flour the pans with that mixture. Bake in preheated 350° oven for ~45 min or until done. (depends on your oven)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Season

It's Autumn! That means it's pumpkin season!

Pumpkin pie cupcakes:
Pumpkin cupakes
Mascarpone/cream cheese frosting
Cinnamon/sugar pie crust and fresh grated cinnamon stick for garnish


All photos by me.

Cupcake (adapted from Penzey's Spices recipe for frosted pumpkin bars)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
1/2 c cup vegetable oil
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
2 cups sugar
1 15 ounce can plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and pumpkin.

2. Gradually add dry ingredients and blend well. Divide batter into 24 lined cupcakes and bake for 30-40+ minutes till toothpick in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack and frost.

Mascarpone/Cream Cheese Frosting (from Joy of Baking)
1 1/2 (360 ml) cups heavy whipping cream
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

In your food processor, or with a hand mixer, process the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and process until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. With a large spatula, gently but quickly fold a little of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream, in two stages. Cover and place the frosting in the refrigerator for an hour or two, or until it is firm enough to spread.

Sweet Surprise

*This is a dual post between this blog and my other blog.

Our photographer and his family are pretty amazing. I can't tell you how many questions and favors I've asked them over the last year. I'm amazed that they've put up with me, and we're still 9 months away from the wedding. Woah, 9 months! Crap!

Anyways, I wanted to thank them. What better way than a tasty treat? How about a tasty treat in the form of their logo?




Our photographer is Jason Angelini. Look them up, they're AWESOME!

These traveled well. I made them the night before we left to keep them as fresh as possible. Placed them in tupperware to keep them moist (at least that was the hope), frozen them, packed them in ice in a cardboard box, and then placed it in the fridge as soon as we got to FL. I was really worried about the heat and humidity, but as it turned out, Florida was experiencing record low temperatures.

Candy Logos

You asked, now it's my turn to deliver. I've tried to document my method on how to make custom candy logos/monograms to the best of my abilities for you. Keep in mind that is a relatively time consuming project, but a rewarding and tasty project.

Tools:
logo/design
printer
wax paper
silicone mold - I use the square Wilton brownie mold, each square is approximately 1 3/8"
pastry bag
round pastry tip
coupler
color candy melts (you could use white chocolate and food coloring, but chocolate needs to be tempered properly to avoid crystallization).

Step 1: Manipulate your logo or design. Size it as close to the size of your mold as possible. And then the magic trick, you'll need to flip the image along the horizontal axis. I use Adobe Illustrator to edit my designs. You'll want to print multiple copies of the image on a single sheet of paper. Just be sure to leave space between each image.

Step 2: Now that you have your design printed on paper, cover it with a sheet of wax paper. I suggest either taping it directly to your print out (at multiple points across the paper) or use small dots of melted candy. This will help keep the wax paper flat and thus your design flat. I tried taping both the print out and wax paper to the counter, but I found that I like to move the paper around when I pipe the candy.

Step 3: Piping the details. It just happens that both candies I've done to date had letters. I melted white candy melts and used a piping bag, coupler, and a #1 round Ateco pastry tip. I also have a candy melter, but you can definitely put the candy melts in the pastry bag (prepped with coupler if needed) and stick it in the microwave. Here's a tip with the candy melter, careful when stiring. You can incorporate air into the melted candy and it will result in bubbly results. Once the candy is prepped, trace your design. The tip size will depend on your design. You might not even need a fancy pastry tip. Always make extra (unless you are really good) in case some don't come out right. Once you have a sheet completed, let it set up. If it's warm in my kitchen or I'm being impatient, I'll slide the wax paper onto the backside of a cookie sheet and place it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. I use the backside of the cookie sheet in order to keep the wax paper as flat as possible during transfer.

'N^2' piped backwards.

Step 4: Release piped design from wax paper. I push on the backside of the wax paper so that I'm not pulling the candy off. This is probably more because letters are delicate. Transfer letters to the brownie tray.

'N^2' situated in the brownie tray.
Step 5a: Melt more candy to fill. I found the easiest way is to use a pastry bag. The trick here is to make sure that your candy isn't too hot that it'll melt the delicate letters, but that the candy isn't so cooled down that it doesn't give adequate coverage. I usually fill a few at a time.

See the uneven edges and the voids near the 'a'? I whipped too
much air into the candy when melting it and the candy was a
touch too cool so coverage was spotty in the small areas.

Step 5b: I use the small end of a chopstick to help distribute the melted candy. I dip the end of the chopstick in the center (not too deep that you move your lettering around) and move the chopstick in small circles moving from the center towards the edges. I'll push the chopstick deeper at the corners to make sure the candy gets in the corners. Then I swirl back to the center and lift the stick. This step is completely optional, I'm just anal retentive about details.


Step 6: Let candy it set up. Time will depend on how thick your candy. Again, if it's warm in my kitchen or I'm being impatient, I'll slide the tray onto the backside of a cookie sheet and place it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.

Step 7: Pop them out and eat or use as garnish!


N^2 logo I created with the help of the other bridesmaids for a friend.

Jason Angelini Photography's logo!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

B-A-N-A-N-A-S

While perusing Bakerella's blog on my DROID in LAX, I came across her recipe for banana pudding. Instantly, it brought back memories from my childhood of when my mom used to make banana cream pie from scratch. Mmmmm, drool. I can almost taste it!

The recipe is easy and pretty fail proof. I did modify the recipe just a touch though. I had a large box of pudding mix and was too cheap to go get a small box. So I improvised and added more liquid in the form of skim milk. My pudding also didn't set in 5 minutes like the recipe says. Next time I make this, either I'll halve the amount of Coolwhip or use real whipped cream. 16 oz of Coolwhip is a lot. It tasted just fine, a lot lighter than people would have initially thought.

Also, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the more banana-y it'll taste. The pudding set better over night, less goopy, more structure.

Banana pudding trifle - personal photo


Friday, September 17, 2010

Baked Jewel

Cupcakes have been taking the nation by storm. Cupcake shops in most cities, cupcake print aprons and shoes, cupcakes on notebooks, and even jewelry. Yes, there is a cupcake charm. How freaken adorable is this?

via Bakerella

I would be too afraid to wear it, but I wouldn't hesitate to show it off. For more pictures, check out Bakerella's post and giveaway. Oh yea, I've already entered it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"C" is for cookie


I have a monster hankering for cookies lately, but I've either been too lazy or too busy to make them. Oh and not to mention, it's been god awful hot. I also have an aversion to making them from scratch.

In high school, they would sell fresh baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies during morning break. For $1, you'd get 3 hot, ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies. They were the best ever. Sadly, I graduated and went off to college where the cookies were sub-par. I started trying to perfect the tollhouse cookie recipe (it was always too flat for my liking). I had it, but of course I didn't write it down. Then, mom my discovered Otis Spunkmeyer's at Costco. *Chorus singing* $10 got you a box of frozen cookie pucks. You popped them in the oven and 15 minutes later you'd have fresh baked cookies. *drool* Now, I'm on the East coast and Costco out here does not carry them! ARRRRGGGGG!!!!!

I came across an article that discusses the 36 hour cookie recipe. Basically it's the tollhouse recipe, but the trick is the keep the dough refrigerated for 36 hours before baking. I'll report back once I find some time to try out the recipe. The next couple of weekend are ridiculous. We've got 4 weddings and a wedding rehearsal to attend over a span of 6 weeks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Surprise Engagement Ice Cream Cake


Suprise engagement cake for Ria and Jim. Edy's Slow Churned Peanut Butter Cup ice cream sandwhiched between layers of Devil's food cake. I was lazy and covered the cake in Smucker's Magic Shell.

Message written in homemade peanut butter buttercream.

Congrats Ria and Jim!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cupcakes?...on a Truck?... in Boston?!?!

From The Boston Globe:

There will be no shortage of cupcakes on demand this summer when The Cupcakory and Kickass Cupcakes A-Go-Go Mobile hit the streets. “I’ll be baking fresh homemade cupcakes in the morning and loading up the truck,’’ says Diane DeMarco, whose itinerant Cupcakory sweetens the urban jungle in mid-July.

Made with eggs, buttermilk, and fruit from New England farms, The Cupcakory’s cream and green Dodge Aeromate will be zipping through Boston, Brookline, Canton, Milton, and Dedham with a string of ginger and red velvet cupcakes in its wake.

Kickass Cupcakes, of Somerville and Wellesley, plans to put the pedal to the metal by summer’s end.

It's about time that Boston got with the program. NYC has been pedaling cupcakes via trucks for over a year now. Click here for CNN's article.

4th of July Tart

I drooled on my keyboard as soon as I laid eyes on this picture:


The photo and tart are by Sara Gray, a Pacific Northwest based wedding photographer whose blog I have been stalking. I love seeing her pictures and being able to identify the city and the location she shot in.

I made the tart for 4th of July celebrations at Jake's parent's place. Very festive and fitting don't you think? I didn't follow the recipe to a "t" as I do not have the means to make the crust, i.e. I don't have a food processor. GASP! Say what? I don't have a what? That's right people, I don't have a food processor. Well, I did for like a week, but then I made Jake take it back because it wasn't the right model and haven't replaced it since.

So how did I make the crust without a food processor? I cheated and used store bought sugar cookie dough. I should have baked it for less time, but it worked. The other thing I had to improvise on was the custard. The flavor is amazing, but I took it off the stove too soon so it was a bit on the runny side. Never fear, Jake's mom to the rescue! She suggested that we put the tart in the freezer and have frozen custard. Genius! By the time we dug into it, the berries were nicely frozen, but that was a refreshing by product as it was so hot and muggy out.

The recipe can be found on Sara's baking blog called Everyone Loves Pie.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bridal Shower

This was my first major event and second largest if you count Jake's 30th where I baked 8 dozen cupcakes and a 6" mini cake.

I thought the shower was going to be your typical bridal shower. You know, the type where approximately 20-30 people (mostly women) show up. Well, it was a bit more than that. It was a Jack and Jill bridal shower with 100+ people, including children, rsvp'ing! Between the two of us, (myself and fellow bridesmaid E) we made 12 dozen cupcakes for the event. At the end of shower we still had 5 dozen left! We were trying to give them away by the dozen.

Top row, left to right: Step 1 - hand pipe N^2 backwards on wax paper. Step 2 - tranfer N^2 to bite sized brownie tray (silicone). Step 3 - fill with melted candy. Second row, left to right: Finished candy monograms. Lime green polka dot cupcake liners, the bride's favorite color! My fridge packed full of cupcakes (you'll note the beer stayed nice and cold). Third row: Finished cupcake complete with candy monogram garnish. Green tea cupcakes frosted with buttercream and  garnished with white chocolate melted into fun wedding shapes and vanilla-lemon cupcakes. Bottom row: Cupcake tower at the shower. Bridesmaid E and me proudly posing with our creations.

N^2 cupcakes: vanilla cupcakes with fresh lemon zest, frosted with lemon zest buttercream, and garnished with a handmade vanilla candy monogram. The logo N^2 comes from the bride and groom as both their names start with "N." There's more details on my other blog that give greater detail on how N^2 originated.

Now the candy monograms were a true labor of love. As described in the caption above, I hand piped every N and 2 backwards. I think I piped out over 12 dozen N's and 2's. Luckily I was smart enough to space them out over the course of a week. I would make approximately 2 dozen a night. I loved the way they turned out. They look pretty darn professional if you ask me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

I won't blame you if you stop reading right now. I completely forgot to take pictures of this creation before we ate it.

For Jake's birthday this year, I decided to make a Boston Cream Pie. He LOVES Boston Cream donuts from Dunkin's. I kicked it up a notch by adding orange zest to the pastry cream. I stole this idea from Sweets. We tried their Boston Cream Pie cupcake once and have not stopped raving about it. Seriously, if you are in Boston or Cambridge, go get yourself one.

A few learnings: Joy of Baking has a recipe for Boston Cream Pie. Use the recipe for the sponge cake, but skip the recipe for pastry cream. Instead, use Martha Stewart's vanilla cream recipe. Martha uses this recipe in her version of the Boston Cream Pie cupcakes.

For the chocolate glaze, I cheated (I was lazy!) and used canned forsting. Just heat it up in the microwave and pour over cake. Done!

Traveling Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Folsom, CA to celebrate my friend's wedding. It was a great opportunity to see close friends that I hadn't seen in awhile too. Most of them drool over all the cupcake pictures that I post, but haven't had a chance to feast on them. I took the initiative and came up with a robust recipe that would travel well, not require refrigeration, and be allowed on a plane via hand carry. 

I actually called the airport security and asked if I needed to check frosting in my luggage or if I could just carry it on board. I was told that the only way that I could transport my cupcakes is if they were dry, aka, no frosting and no filling. BAH! As it turns out, everyone at the airport (ticket counter and security) told me that I could have with absolutly no issues! Lesson learned. Next time I won't pay $25 to check a ziplock bag of frosting. 

This batch of cupcakes traveled pretty far: from Massachusetts to California and then from California to Texas! I brought so many that we didn't eat them all. One of the guys took the left overs home to his wife. I heard she ate a few on the car ride home from the airport.

Vanilla and orange zest cake and orange-vanilla buttercream frosting (in the baggie).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cupcake Chucks!


O.M.G. How freaken adorable are these?!?! Think I'm going to run to the mall during lunch to see if Journey's still has them.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blondies!


YUUUMMMMMMMMM! I was literally drooling at my desk when I saw this over at Bakerella. I went home and made them the first chance I had (which was a few days later). I kick myself for not taking pictures of my version, but my pictures would pale in comparison to Bakerella's.

I followed her recipe almost to the "t." The only thing I changed was the chocolate chips and omitted the peacans. Instead of a full package of milk chocolate chips, I used 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 2/3 cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips (Ghirardelli) + 2/3 cup peanut butter chips. Are you drooling yet?

There's one other place that I deviated, the bake time. I still had raw cookie dough in the middle of my pan after 30 minutes. I must have been hungry when I pulled them out of the oven, because I let them kind of cool, ate some of it, inspected it some, then put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. I'll have to experiment with the bake time some more and report back.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cupcake Camp - Boston


As described on their website, "CupcakeCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment." There are cupcake camps all over the world. I first heard about it through Abby, a local bride/renouned blogger/wedding coordinator/cupcake lover. I've been following her blog mostly for wedding inspiration, but she also blogs about other things as well. One day, she posted that Cupcake Camp was coming to Boston!

Cupcake Camp Boston was calling all bakers and cupcake afficiandos in the area. I immediately signed up and told them that I'd bring a couple dozen of my famous Oreo cupcakes. I was super excited. Bakeries from all over Boston and beyond were going to be at one place. I could finish the cupcake crawl we started last year! But alas, the day came and I never made it. It had been one long (and bad) week at work. I just didn't have the energy to make cupcakes. I could have gone empty handed, but I really didn't have the energy to make the trek into Somerville on a week night or standing in line (if I had brought cupcakes, I woulda have gotten to skip the line).

Oh well, there is always next time.

Banana Chiffon Cake FAIL

As a kid, I never really celebrated my brithday; it was just another day. But the one thing my parents did do every year was get me a Banana Bavarian Cake from Kienows (until they went out of business). This year I decided to bring back the tradition, by baking one for myself.

I'm not entirely sure where I went wrong, but the cake didn't come out light, airy, and fluffy like it's supposed to. I watched it rise in the oven really well, but then it deflated. Just imagine a failed souffle, that was my cake. There's something about the flavor of the cake that was off too, I just can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe the bananas weren't ripe enough. Maybe the batter was too thin. Maybe it's because I omitted the xanthum gum this time around. Maybe my baking soda and baking powder are inactive. Maybe it was the cake strips that I used, but those are supposed to help with heat distribution!

I must say, I did do a fantastic job leveling out the whipped cream frosting on the sides and top of the cake, but there is far too much frosting on the sides as you can see in the picture below. I need to be careful when using my extra large icing tool.


It's not the first time I've made the recipe, so I'm quite perplexed. I'll just have to try it again

Spring Bake Sale

For the bake sale this time around, I made both Oreo and Reese's cupcakes. The first day, it was just Oreo. Truth be told, I actually forgot about about the bake sale and threw a batch together at the very last minute.

Day two of the bake sale I made a larger batch of Oreo cupcakes and a small batch of Reese's. Not to toot my own horn, but my cupcakes are a hot commodity. Them suckers are usually one of the first items to sell out. I half joked (half serious) that the bake sale team should raise the prices on my cupcakes. Hey, it's all for charity, and there is a demand for them. They agreed!

The bake sale was successful (as usual) and raised $1000 over two days. I'm proud to say that I helped contribute almost 9% of the total.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcakes

This year's Easter cupcakes weren't quite as festive as last years. OK, there is absolutely nothing about them that remotely even hints Easter. But they sure were tasty and that's all that matters.

Introducing the Reese's:


Cake: Devil's Food
Filling: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Frosting: Peanut Butter buttercream (it's actually super super light and fluffy)
Garnish: Chocolate ganache drizzle.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What's New, Cupcake?

I'm sorry for neglecting ya'll; my blogging energy has been focused on my wedding blog lately.

Over Easter, I received a new book to add to my cupcake library. Check it out:


What's New, Cupcake? is from the same people that created Hello, Cupcake! Unlike my previous book, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, whose focus is on recipes, this series is all about presentation. There are a ton of tricks using candy, nuts, donuts, twinkies, and etc. for decoration.



How perfect would these projects be for Mother's Day? The mums are made from marshmallows and licorice. The flower pot makes use of a handful of different cookies, Runts, jelly beans, Froot Loops, M&M's, pretzel sticks, and coconut. Now that's just crazy talk! 

Thanks Mom and Buddy for another awesome present! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Facebook!

Delightful Cakery has joined the Facebook community! Stop by and become a fan.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday! (or would it be Blog-iversary?)

Delightful Cakery is a year old today! Whooohooo! Can you believe it's been a year already?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Branding!

No, not like a cow. I'm talking about brand for product or services. Look up. What do you think? I've been meaning to punch it up a bit and make it vibrant and fun. The last logo I had was OK, but it didn't make me say "ooo-ooooh!"

Here's the first logo to jog your memory:


Now let's look at the branding in action shall we?

Labels printed and ready to rock n' roll.

Cupcakes packaged and ready to be delivered to my guinea pigs, Brendan and Carolyn.

I need to work on my packaging next. There's a lot going on with the cupcakes on the box, my label, and the bakers twine. As cute as the box is, I think I'm going to move to plain ones, either plain white or plain kraft boxes with the window.

What are your thoughts on the new logo?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Taste the Rainbow

*Recipe updated on 11/10/2010.


How awesome is that? Here are a few of the responses I received from my friends:

"Did you have to kill a Smurf to make it?"
"Cool!!! I love the purple centers."
"Wow I think I just licked the computer screan so see if I could taste it!! how did you do that?? my girls would think that was so cool."

I saw the photo below on a wedding blog that I follow and  was completely inspired to make it, but in cupcake form. For some reason, I thought that it would be easier to make cupcakes, but after making them twice now, I think the cake version might be easier to make. But it might just be a wash since cupcakes are probably a lot easier to frost.


Here is my semi-homemade recipe:
Cupcake:
1 Box of white cake mix (Betty crocker will result in a thinner batter, Pillsbury yields a thicker batter, but both give the same end result)
Gel food color

Sift cake mix to remove all lumps. This will ensure that the color is evenly distributed. Follow cake mix instructions on the back of the box. Distribute the cake mix evenly among bowls. The first time I tried this, I was very adamant about having all seven colors: ROYGBIV! Next I used toothpicks dipped in the gel to color the batter. I used gel color for two reasons, 1) because that's what I have, and 2) other people's research has shown that gel colors will give you much more vivid colors. Mix colors into the batter evenly. It might take awhile to get the shade you want, so be patient. Drop batter into lined cupcake pans one spoonful at a time. Following baking instructions on the box.


Lemon Zest Buttercream (you'll need to double it to have enough frosting for 24 cupcakes):
1/2 c egg whites
dash of salt
1 c sugar (I usually put in just a touch less)
18 tbsn butter (room temp) (can be reduced to 12 tbsn, but your kitchen must be cool)
zest of 1 small lemon (can be adjusted to taste: 1 tsp for just a hint of citrus)

Continually wisk eggs, salt, and sugar over a double boiler until sugar is completely disovled, but eggs are not cooked. Transfer mixture to a mixer and mix with a wisk attachment until shiny and peaks are stiff. Change to a paddle attachment and mix in butter at a low speed, couple table spoons at a time. Once all the butter has been added, mix on medium-high until mixed. If frosting looks like its separating and watery, it's OK, just continue beating until it comes together. Mix in lemon zest.


Let me know how this turns out for you!

Cake.

After visiting a potential wedding venue, we were on a mission to find a Starbucks. There are no Starbucks in the vicinity of the venue so we had to go a few towns over. We ended up in a cute neighborhood of Lexington, MA. While exploring, we stumbled upon Cake. I have to give Jake credit for finding it.

There's no way that you can show me a cupcake joint and not expect me to walk away with at least 2 cupcakes. We ended up with 1 standard sized cupcake and 4 mini cupcakes: 
  • Peanut Butter - chocolate cake iced in a peanut butter butter cream and garnished with a reese's peanut butter cup
  • Mocha Express - Bittersweet chocolate cake iced in a cappuccino buttercream and garnished with a mocha espresso bean
  • Black Tie Affair Sweet vanilla bean cake filled with our own pastry cream and dressed in ganache
  • Red Carpet - Smooth, deep red velvet cake laid out with a decadent cream cheese icing
Sorry, we completely forgot to take pictures before we devoured them. Overall, the cupcakes were pretty tasty in terms of flavor. The cake part was a bit dried out, probably because they were mini cakes and had been sitting in their fridge all day (and sat in our fridge for additional time). The frosting wasn't bad. They use American buttercream (butter and powerdered sugar), but it wasn't overly sweet. A definite plus in my book.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Sweet Engagement

Big shout out to fellow 2011 bride Val! I wanted to do something to surprise Val and Matt. Knowing that she loves chocolate ganache, I conjured something tasty up. I wished that I had taken pictures of the cake before I tried to add the wording. I tried to use the frozen buttercream transfer technique, but since I didn't put enough chocolate in the ganache, it never set up properly. The ganache stuck to the wax paper and thus the smooth top was no longer smooth.

What is this frozen buttercream transfer technique I speak of? It is a method used to apply an image to a cake. Basically you are making a plaque made of buttercream. First you make a copy of the image or graphic you want, but in reverse (think mirrors). Second, you outline and fill in the image with buttercream, much like you would coloring a picture. Step 3, freeze the image. And lastly, place image on cake surface. For step by step instructions go → here. Now onto the cake...

My first [surprise] engagement cake: Devil's food cake, filled with whipped chocolate ganache, and then coated in chocolate ganache.

Since the cake was only a 6 inch cake, I made cupcakes with the remaining cake batter and ganache. Amanda, my personal trainer, recently had a birthday. And as she is a chocolate fanatic, I thought it would be a pretty sweet gift.


Isn't that the cutest packaging? Want to see what's inside?

Devil's food cake, frosted with whipped chocolate ganache, and finished with chocolate ganache drizzle.