Archive for July, 2008

Movie Premiere Cookies & Yet Another Giveaway

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Well, I’ve finally managed to get up my second post in one week…something that I haven’t achieved in a while! As I said in the last post I recently did a huge cookie order for a movie premiere here in Hollywood. The movie was, The American Mall, and it premieres on MTV August 11th.  This was quite an exciting order for me since it was 500 cookies and my largest order to date.  This was the first time that I tried doing a sugar cookie with a printer on image too.  This is definitely a cool technique that I have wanted to try for a while.  I have lots of ideas for future cookies and can’t wait to share them with you!  But for now, here are some photos of the LONG process…500 sounds like a large number until you actually produce and decorate them and then the number seems even larger!!! 

Here are some photos of the process so you can get an idea of how the cookies were made.  Hopefully within this next month I will be making a video on sugar cookies with all my tips and techniques, so if you don’t understand everything right now hold on and you will!

Now for the edible frosting sheets.  First I printed the custom logos on the frosting sheets and then all 500 have to be hand cut to have the logo fit just right on the custom cookies.  

Then I adhered the frosting sheets while the cookies were still a little wet and finally piped a border of royal icing on the edges and dipped them in sugar.

And that was just one shot of one of the boxes full of cookies…believe me when I say that there were a lot of cookies!

Now for the giveaway!  The wonderful people from Beau-Coup decided to give one of my readers a free $50 gift card to their wonderful online store.  They have the most adorable favors and gifts for your next bridesmaid, baby shower, birthday or wedding event.  All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is to check out their website and then leave me a comment telling me what your favorite item they are selling is.  The contest will end at midnight on Friday.  Can’t wait to here your responses!

 

 

Cookbook Winner & Wedding Photos

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Well, another crazy week has passed by!  This week I had the largest cookie order that I’ve ever done…500 sugar cookies for a movie premiere!  I was so excited to do this order and everything went great (of course there were some mishaps along they way, but overall it was a success!) More info on that order will be up later this week…I promise I will be blogging more this week so come check back.  But enough about me, I need to talk about you guys and especially the lucky blogger winner who won Sweet & Simply Party Cakes. The winner by a random number drawing was Rebecca from the Lovell Family Farm Website.  So just email me and I will send you off the book.  There will also be another giveaway this week so stay tuned.  

Onto the wedding I did two weeks ago!  Like I said in the last post, I catered a wedding for 200 people.  I didn’t do the full meal, but rather the appetizers and the cake…which was definitely enough for me.  The bride and groom’s colors were dark chocolate brown and turquoise.  They wanted a chocolate ganache covered cake with chocolate cake inside and chocolate ganache filling and fresh strawberries…can you say yummy!  They also wanted to cut the cost a little so we did a smaller size wedding cake with two other kinds of sheet cakes.  The other two kinds of cake were almond cake with lemon cream and fresh raspberry filling and lemon cream cheese frosting AND hazelnut cake with raspberry cream cheese frosting with fresh raspberries and raspberry buttercream.  So without further ado here are some photos of the cake.

As for the appetizers, I did Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Dressing, Fruit Kabobs, and a full Cheese and Bread Platter.  I didn’t get that great of photos of the event since I was working the whole time, but here are a couple photos (sadly I didn’t get a single photo of the Salmon Cakes, but believe me when I tell you they were great!).  

 Well, thanks for taking a look!

Another Tutorial & Book Giveaway!!!

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Well, I survived this week, but barely…I just finished catering a wedding for 200 people!!!  I did the wedding cake and all the appetizers (pictures will be up soon).  This was my first time catering a wedding for so many people and boy was it a lot of work.  I was absolutely exhausted, but I thought that I owed my loyal blogger friends a good post and another giveaway, so here it is!!!  For this tutorial I thought I would show you how to make easy sugar flowers that are simply gorgeous.  You just need a few tools of the trade and your flowers will turn out beautifully.  The giveaway book, Sweet & Simple Party Cakes, by May Clee Cadman has a lot of great photos and techniques for decorating cakes and I thought that this book in particular would be a great tool for any baker/cake decorator to have.  So to enter the random drawing for the book just leave a comment before Wednesday night and you will be entered.  Good luck!

So to start off making these flower decorations you need to mix together 50% fondant and 50% gumpaste. The fondant helps with the smoothness and the gumpaste helps you to be able to roll out the dough very thin and it also allows the dough to harden quicker. 

Then you can color the dough any color you would like.  Next roll the dough out on a flat surface with a little cornstarch to prevent sticking.  You need to roll it out very thin so that you have nice, delicate petals…about 1/8″-1/16″.  Then instead of using a petal cutter you can free hand some petals of your own. Just use a sharp small knife or an exacto knife and cut out some teardrop shapes about 3/4″-1″ tall.  

Next you need to take each petal and use a balling tool to thin out the edges of the petals and give them a more realistic shape.  You do this by placing the petal on a soft surface and gently rubbing the tool back and forth.  (As you might notice in my pictures I didn’t have my balling tool with me, but this tool did the same job basically) Now if you don’t have this tool try using the back of a spoon to achieve the same effect.

Now you need to continue doing this to all five petals for the base layer.  Place some plastic wrap or paper towels on a concave surface, like a tiny bowl, to create the forming shape for the petals.  Lay each petal down, overlapping slightly and adhering them to one another with a dab of water.  You can also use the aide of tiny pieces of paper towel or plastic wrap to help create the dips and curves of the petals while they are drying.

After the base five petals are down cut some more and thin them out too.  Then place the next row of flowers on top.  You can use your judgement with how many petals to add, but always do it in odd numbers…it makes the flower look more realistic.  Again, use the aide of paper towels or plastic wrap to help give your flower realistic curves with it is drying.

To finish off the flower, cut a small round circle out and thin it out just as you would a petal.  Place it in the center of your flower and as always adhere it with a little water.  Now let you flower dry until it is completely hard…a couple hours or overnight.

Once the flower dried I used different colors of luster dust to give it a more realistic look and because Iike the shiny look of it.  Just dust on the luster or petal dust however you want, but be minimal…you can always add more, but you can’t take it off.  I then tried two different centers…for one center I brushed yellow luster dust and then added one single pink dragee.   For the other center, I put one sugar pearl and added more yellow luster dust to make it look like it had pollen on it.

Now just place your flower decoration on top of a cute cupcake and enjoy your beautiful creation!

 

The Cookbook Winner Plus More Cupcakes

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

So sorry it has taken me so long to announce the winner…life is busy as normal.  But before I congratulate the winner I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the contest.  I was absolutely blown away with how many people left comments.  Not only did I get a lot of comments, I got really nice comments…THANKS!!!  I was so happy with this last cookbook giveaway that next week I will be doing another one so make sure and check back with me.  Well, I have delayed enough…the winner from the random drawing is MANDY SESSLER!!!  Congratulations Mandy!  Please email me your address and I will send the book off to you so you can start the baking!  

Today my friend from pastry school is having her 40th birthday party and she asked me to help out.  For the dessert she wanted cupcakes of course.  She said she wanted to keep it simple so we went with vanilla cupcakes with chocolate mousse buttercream and chocolate cupcakes with Chockylit’s cream cheese frosting (aka Vanilla Bean Frosting).  Both of these are simple delicious!  The vanilla cupcakes I tried for the first time are from Vanilla Bakeshop.  They gave the recipe away on the Martha Stewart show and I knew I had to try it.  The chocolate mousse buttercream is from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey which is a fantastic book that I recommend.  This is probably my favorite chocolate frosting right now…definitely worth a try.  

As you can see I topped the pearls with little balls of goodness!  On the chocolate mousse buttercream I sprinkled Pearlized Ivory Dragees from Surfas.  On the cream cheese frosting I sprinkled Valrhona Chocolate Pearls from Surfas too (You can also get them at a lot of Whole Foods too).  These are a fun topping that also taste delicious!

 

Flower Cupcake Tutorial…Plus A Free Cookbook!!!

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

This is definitely going to be a very packed post!  I have some announcements, thank you’s, a tutorial, and a FREE cookbook to give away…so get ready to have some fun!  After teaching my cupcake class a few weeks ago I had a lot of readers wanting to know how I made the flower cupcakes without a pastry tip, so I thought I would share my “secret” techniques with you, my loyal blogger friends.  I took a lot of photos of the process so that you would be able to “see” the process instead of just reading about how to do it.  So let’s begin!  

First you need a plastic disposable pastry bag.  Then you need to cut the pastry bag straight across. The higher up you cut the bag the wider the petal will be, so just play around and try cutting it at different heights.  I would roughly recommend cutting it about 1″-1 1/2″ up.  

Then you need to cut a triangle or bird’s beak shape out of the bag.  Start at one end and cut up to the center of the bag…about 1/2″ up.  Then make the same cut on the opposite side of the bag. Now you have created a bird’s beak.

Now you fill the pastry bag with a swiss, french, or italian style buttercream that you have colored to the shade you want your petals.  Next you need to cover the base of the cupcake with frosting.  You can color it green if you want it to look like the grass the flower is sitting on…completely your preference.  Once the base is covered, you need to position you pastry bag on the cupcake so that the tip is like an open bird’s beak (the seam line should be up and down, not side to side when piping).  Pipe the petals by putting pressure to the bag while slowly pulling away.  Then when you get to the end of the petal stop giving pressure and pull the bag away quickly…this will give you the pointed tip at the tip of the petal.  Now remember, practice makes perfect so don’t expect perfect petals your first time around!  You can pipe as many petals as you want around the base.

Now you pipe on a second layer of petals on top of your first layer.  Then you can color some of the buttercream a different color and use it to pipe the middle of the flower.  You can use a small round tip for this or just cut off a small tip of the plastic pastry bag…both will work.

One tip about the petals: to achieve a smooth petal that doesn’t have tons of air pockets you need to make sure and mix the buttercream well before using.  You don’t want to whip it to make more air bubbles, but rather smooth it out with a spatula or spoon.  

Here are also a couple more photos of flowers that I have done in the past.  To make the ladybug you just color the buttercream red and black and fill pastry bags with #2 tips.  Pipe a red dot or body first.  Then pipe a smaller black dot at the top of the larger dot to make the head.  Next, pipe a line of black from the head to the bottom of the body.  Lastly, pipe on some small dots of black for the ladybug spots.

I made these for Christmas time to look like Poinsettias.  

You can also use this tip to make large leaves for a flower.  Of course stores also have pastry tips for this, but if you don’t have one you can use this technique.  

Now for the announcement!  One exciting event that has happened lately is that I was written about in a feature article in the blog AisleDash.  They were so fun to work with and I was really happy to share my thoughts and opinions on this wonderful career as a pastry chef with them.   

I also wanted to thank Bellissima Vita for featuring one of my cakes on their website!  

And last, but certainly not least I wanted to thank Mimi on the Move and Picky Palate for the sweet blog awards they gave me!  They both have fantastic blogs and I highly recommend you check them out!

 

As a thank you to all of my readers I wanted to give away another free cookbook.  Now this isn’t just any cookbook, it is one of my new favorite cookbooks…Warren Brown’s new book Cake Love!!!

So just leave a comment below and I will select a random winner Monday night…so make sure you enter by midnight!  Thanks again to all my loyal readers…I appreciate your support more than you know!

 

 

 

Prickly Pear Margaritas

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Well, as promised I am sharing this delicious, refreshing, addicting drink!  So get ready to get some chips and guacamole, a margarita glass, and some salt because here it comes!!!

I combined a couple different recipes that I found and came up with this one…it’s a keeper! Just for those of you who are still wondering what prickly pears are they are actually the fruit that grow on top of the flat cactus pad.  Some say that they taste like a cross between a melon and a fig…I say they taste AMAZING!

Prickly Pear Margaritas

serves 6

3 1/2 cups crushed ice

3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

3 oz. frozen limeade

6 Tequila

4 1/2 oz. Cointreau

3 oz. prickly pear cactus juice

3 T. sugar 

Lime wedges and kosher salt for garnish

In a blender, add all of the ingredients (minus the garnish) and pulse it until the ice is completely blended. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.  

Rub some of the lime around the rim of the glasses and then dip the glasses into the salt.  Pour in the drink and garnish with a lime.  Enjoy!

Here are a couple links to where you can buy prickly pear juice.  Dessert USA or Perfect Puree of Napa Valley 


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