Archive for August, 2009

Tiered Wedding Cake with Two-Toned Fondant Roses

Twenty-eight hours of my life! It took me that long to make this cake and that is why wedding cakes are expensive!  I am not kidding!  For those of you who know me as being someone who cannot stand to do the same thing over and over again, I actually managed to control myself and do roses over and over again.  Of course,  it also helped that I had to finish the cake to ensure I get the Wilton Course 3 Certificate, otherwise, my four Saturday afternoons would have been for nought.

The Wilton Course 3 covers Fondant and Tiered Cakes.  You learn how to layer cakes and do more complicated accents and borders and flowers.  For our final cake, we were asked to do tiered cakes and it was left to us to choose our own design, for as long as we have fondant roses in our final cake.  Why do we have to have roses?  It’s because making the fondant rose is sort of your gateway to sugar crafting.  I did not want to do the usual cascade of flowers design and thought that this cake would suit me.  For roses, I prefer blue or yellow.  I thought yellow would be good for a cake and I’ve always been attracted to two toned roses.

Tiered Cake Fondant Roses Top View

Our course instructor kept warning us to manage our time and to plan ahead especially since each rose took 15 minutes.  Well, she was not kidding.  For a newbie like me, the first few roses took 20 minutes and I managed to bring it down to around 12-15 mins for a rose that has fully bloomed.  It was natural progression I think considering I eventually made 60 roses.  Some of it were rosebuds so that took less time.

I also decided that I would use real cakes to cover and decorate rather than use dummy (styrofoam) cakes as I wanted to experience the actual and real problems when I layered the cakes.  Better face the problems now that I can still ask the instructor rather than experience it later on when I have no one to ask.  To achieve the standard American height of not less than 3 inches per layer, I had to make 4 cakes (two for each layer).

We had to do the assembly and the finishing touches in class.  One of the things advised in the class was to assemble your cakes in the venue as an assembled cake is difficult to transport.  Humps on the road are just tiered cake destroyers.  I was thus faced with the problem of transporting my cake home after assembling it in class.  My teacher’s advise — put the cake in front of the front passenger seat, drive at 20 kilometers per hour with your emergency lights on and drive with extreme caution especially when going over humps.  I did try to follow that at first but it will just take me ages to get home so of course, I did not follow my teacher’s advise.  The result… my tiered cake became a tired cake when I got home.

It didn’t really matter in the end as I had already planned to slice up the cake before giving it away and that was just what I did.  Someone suggested to me beforehand to try posting the cake on (local equivalent of eBay) just to see if some desperate bride would try to purchase it online but with being occupied in making and putting together the cake for 28 hours, I didn’t really have the time for that.

Quick Bits:  Fondant Icing

Fondant is a smooth, malleable and dough-like icing made of gelatin, sugar (s) and water (among other things).  You can roll it to a uniform thickness to cover cakes (as in the cake above) or use it to make flowers (the roses above) and other cake decorations.  I have never tried making it myself as ready-made fondant is usually available and I hear that it is quite messy to make.  If you are interested in making it yourself, a number of recipes can be found in the web or in cake decorating books, one of which is the Wilton fondant recipe.

Talking about fondant, I was watching an old episode (Season 1) of the TV series “Burn Notice” (Burn Notice is about a spy who got a, guess what? — Burn Notice) last night and in that episode the spy actually highlighted another use for fondant which had nothing to do with cake decorating.  I don’t want to elaborate though.  Hint:  Something to do with something that goes kaboom.


August 27, 2009 at 8:18 am 1 comment

Filling Cupcakes and Decorating with Ganache

Ganache Covered Cream Filled CupcakesOld recipe, new look!  I have a layered cake recipe with creme filling and ganache frosting that takes 6-8 hours to make (including chilling time for the filling and chilling time for 2 coats of the ganache).  I always get asked to do this cake that I thought I could try to make it into a cupcake and break the monotony.  I also thought it would reduce all the chilling time.

Ganache Covered Cream Filled Cupcakes Closer View

I remembered that I had the Wilton Tip 230 for injecting/inserting the filling.  The Wilton Tip 230 is part of the Cupcake Decorating Set of Wilton.  That was what I used to insert the filling.  It was the first time I used this tip so had to do a bit of trial and error in the first two cupcakes to ensure that I managed to inject the right amount of filling to maintain the balance between the chocolate cake, the creme filling and the ganache.

August 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Chocolate Revel Bar

Revel Bars

I tried this out at my husband’s request.  My husband is not a sweets person, not a dessert person and not a chocolate person , which is a shame as I am starting to do quite a bit of baking.  I find it a bit of a challenge then to find something to bake that he would love as well.

I was in the office a few weeks ago and I got this email from him containing a link to a revel bar recipe with a note asking me to bake this for him.  Apparently, he has fond memories of the Chocolate Revel Bar.  He had tried it when he was in his teens and used to order these bars from his schoolmate in college.  Unfortunately, she migrated to the US and that was the end of his Revel Bar days.  Years later, he found out that these bars were the specialty of one of the northern regions in our country and he used to get some everytime he travelled to that region for work reasons.  Of course the bars were not fudgy anymore and were actually quite dry as he could not buy them fresh.  Come to think of it, I remembered that he brought me a canister full of these bars years ago when we were still dating.

Revel Bar UncutI would say that the chocolate revel bar can actually be called a chocolate oatmeal bar.  It is fudgy and very rich.  You would like to think of it as healthy (oatmeal?  dark chocolate?), but then again, maybe not.  I brought some to work and got a lot of requests that I made a 2nd batch last weekend.  I had to cut it into smaller pieces though (half of the original size) which suits me better.  I got a special request from my officemate today — if I could make a batch for her for her upcoming birthday.  If it is really her birthday, why not?  …Apologies for the skepticism, it’s not the first time someone told me it was her birthday to get a cake out of me.

Going back to my husband, I was dreading (a bit) his comparison of my revel bar against his memory as a lot of times memories can be unbeatable (i.e. watching a 90’s movie and realizing that in your memory the movie was so much better than it actually is).  And he did challenge me to make my revel bar better than his memory of it.  I was so relieved that he thought it was!!  I can now add this to the short list of baked goodies my husband likes which are Dutch Apple Pie, NY or Blueberry Cheesecake, Sans Rival and Mascarpone Filled Buttermilk Cake.

August 22, 2009 at 6:59 pm 3 comments

Oreo Cupcakes

So how did I end up making Oreo Cupcakes?
Oreo Cupcakes

My friend and officemate discovered the Lindt Lindor Limited Edition White Chocolate which is only available a few months every year during spring time.  She went crazy over this chocolate that she emailed Lindt to get more information about it  and they actually sent her a few boxes when it became available this year.  When it no longer becomes available in Dubai, we try to get it for her when we travel to other countries in the Middle East and Europe.

Lindor White Chocolate Limited Edition

So one day, we were talking about cupcakes and I mentioned coming across an Oreo Cupcake recipe but I was not too sure if I would make it or not.  She came up with this idea that the Oreo Cupcake might be the nearest thing to the Lindt White Chocolate she loves so much.  I was looking for a new project and was also curious if it would taste similar to the chocolate so I ended up making the cupcake.

Overall, the cupcake turned out well although I’m not done with this recipe yet.  I will probably try to do a bit more experimentation the next time I make it and I plan to try using a cookies and cream frosting instead of vanilla buttercream.

Did it taste like the Lindt Lindor Limited Edition White Chocolate?  Not really.  I got another suggestion to use Maltesers instead but I am drawing the line here.  I think this is a new excuse to encourage me to make more cupcakes to bring to the office!

Quick Bits:  Oreo Cookie

The Oreo Cookie was developed and produced by Nabisco (USA) in 1912.  The original version consists of two chocolate disks with a creme filling in between.  Today, the Oreo Cookie has different versions (i.e. Double Stuf, Reduced Fat, Peanut Butter Creme, Mini Bite Size, Halloween Orange Creme, Milk Chocolate Covered, etc) and is said to be the biggest selling cookie in the US. You may go to the Nabisco website for nutritional information on the Oreo Cookie.

August 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Baby in a Pram

Baby in a PramThis Baby in a Pram cake was made for my god child’s first birthday.  My god child is adorable!!

I used 3 types of icing (1) Color flow for the baby’s head and features (2)  Royal Icing for the daisies (3)  Buttercream for the basket weave, the leaves, the rope and shell borders and to cover the cake (yellow).  The cake itself is a moist chocolate cake.

I had just completed Level 2 of the Wilton course and thus learned how to handle color flow and royal icing.  I found this design in the course book and decided to test how much I’ve learned in that level.Baby in a Pram Closer View

It didn’t really take much time but planning is the key.  I was tempted to apply the  Critical Path Method (CPM).  Color flow takes around 2 days to dry and harden so I had to do that 3 nights before (after drying the face, I had to apply the features and dry that as well).  The royal icing flowers also had to dry so I did all the flowers 2 nights before.  They ended up dry and sturdy on the day of assembly.

Assembling everything was exciting and felt like putting together a puzzle (but one where you knew where each piece fit).  Completing the cake was rewarding and so was the look on the kids faces when the box was opened.  There was hesitation when the cake was about to be cut but, a cake is meant to be cut.  It would not have fulfilled its purpose if it were not…

Quick Bits:  Color flow, Royal and Buttercream Icing

I made the color flow icing from the Wilton color flow mix and used the Wilton recipe. The Color Flow Mix is mainly made of dried egg whites and a whipping agent and Color flow icing is used to make detailed decorations or drawings.  This icing crusts very quickly but it takes a few days to dry so factor this in when planning your decoration.

Royal icing is made from meringue powder (used to replace fresh egg whites), confectioners’ sugar and water.  A number of people use fresh egg whites but I have never tried doing that.  I have used the Wilton recipe for this as well. This icing also crusts quickly and can take several hours to dry.  It dries to a smooth, matte finish.

Most people are familiar with buttercream, of course, which is mainly made from butter/shortening/margarine, confectioner’s sugar and water/milk. I had a blog a few days ago on the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream Icing recipe which I have used a number of times, but for this cake, I also used the Wilton buttercream recipe. By doing that I knew I would get the consistency i was aiming for for this decoration.

August 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Devil's Food CupcakesThese are Devil’s Food Cupcakes I made for an Easter party (2009).  Not your typical pastel colored dessert for the occasion but I wanted to come up with a dessert for the adults, as my friend, who was hosting the party, was coming up with Easter cupcakes mainly for the kiddies (she made vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing using the Wilton grass/hair tip and placed egg shaped chocolates on top).

I got the Devil’s Food Cake recipe from my office mate (who aside from giving me this great recipe also gives great legal advice) and I used the Chocolate Buttercream recipe from Magnolia Bakery to frost the cupcakes.  I used two toppings — chocolate jimmies (see first two rows of the picture) and chocolate shreds (see cupcakes in the back row).  I had planned on doing chocolate shavings but it didn’t work out quite as I planned so they became chocolate shreds instead.

I was very happy with the overall result.  The cupcakes came out really well!  It was moist and airy as Devil’s Food cupcakes should be and the sweetness was just right.  The frosting complemented the cupcakes.  All in all, it got great reviews from my friends who attended the party.  Since Easter, I’ve done this recipe twice and it has been a hit everytime!

Quick Bits:  Devil’s Food Cake

Devil’s Food cakes (or in this case cupcakes) are moist and airy chocolate cakes.  It’s supposed to be the chocolate counterpart of the angel food cake.

Quick Bits:  Cocoa Powder

The recipe recommended the use of natural or non-alkalized cocoa powder which is hard to find in Dubai so I ended up ordering online and having them shipped to Dubai.

Non-alkalized cocoa powder has a stronger chocolate taste although it is more acidic and lighter in color.

Most of the cocoa powder sold in shops is Dutch-processed or alkalized cocoa powder.  An alkali is introduced to the cocoa powder which neutralizes the acid in the cocoa.  It has a milder taste, less acidity and it is darker in color.  It is also easier to dissolve in liquid.  It is called Dutch-processed as the process was developed by a Dutch chocolate maker.

August 17, 2009 at 9:34 pm 3 comments

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