Archive for November, 2008

Giveaway Winners & Pie Recipes

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Thanks so much to everyone who entered in the contest and gave me your suggestions…I really appreciate it!  I was so excited for this giveaway because it is such a great cookbook!  So without further ado here are the lucky random winners…# 92 Mary and #108 Susan!  Congratulations!  

To all of you who didn’t win here is a little prize for you!  

Salted Caramel Sauce

adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 cup sour cream

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel.  Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the slat is dissolved.

Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream mixture so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.

Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.  

As a second added bonus I wanted to share some photos from one of my last cooking classes at Prep Kitchen Essentials.  The class was on Pies & Tarts and we had a lot of fun!  The menu was… Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, Coconut Cream Tart with Macadamia Nut Crust, and Pear Cranberry Pie with Gingersnap Crust. The photo quality isn’t perfect, but I tried my best while running around teaching!

The pie was cut when it was right out of the oven so it was a little runny, but was quite delicious anyways!  Here was the favorite recipe of the group…hope you enjoy it!

Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

adapted from Pie

1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (Toast at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes, stirring half way through)

3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 Tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Big pinch of salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter your choice of pie pan and set aside.  Combine the nuts, brown sugar, and flour in a food processor and process in a number of long bursts until the nuts are very finely chopped.  Dump the mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the butter and incorporate well.  Mix first with a fork and then your with your hands, and rub everything together thoroughly to form evenly dampened crumbs.  
Spread the crumbs evenly and loosely in the pie pan, pressing them into the bottom and up the side.  To make mini tarts (double the crust ingredients) and then scoop the crumb crust into mini muffin pans or small pie pans.  Bake for 6-10 minutes.Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.  Place on the center oven rack and bake for 7 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack before filling.  

For the filling: Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium-size, heavy saucepan.  Whisk in the milk and egg yolks.  Place over medium heat and cook, whisking virtually nonstop, until the mixture thickens and starts to boil, 5-7 minutes.  Continue to cook, whisking nonstop, for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.  Whisk in the vanilla, coconut extract, and flaked coconut.  Immediately pour the filling into the cooled pie shell(s) and smooth the top with a spoon.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the filling, leaving no gaps or air pockets, to prevent a skin from forming.  Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the Topping: When you are ready to serve the pie, beat the chilled cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff, but not grainy.  Smooth over the chilled pie.  Sprinkle with the toasted coconut. 
Hope you enjoy the recipes!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!



Purse Cakes Plus “Baked” Cookbook Giveaway!!!

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments about my niece’s birthday cake!  I had a great time doing it and it is so nice to receive such lovely compliments from all of you.  As a fun reward for being such a great blogging community I am going to do another giveaway (the real thanks goes to the “Baked” marketing team for giving me the books…THANKS!!!)  So make sure and check out the end of the post to get all of the details!

Before I share my mouth-watering photos of their salted caramel sauce I made I first wanted to show you the cute purse cakes that my students made last week. These cakes were filled, frosted, sculpted, and decorated in about 3 hours, so props to them.  Also, this was the first time most of them had attempted a carved cake, so I was doubly impressed! Hope you enjoy the photos!

Now onto the giveaway!  I have to say that I am absolutely smitten by the Baked cookbook!  The whole book is filled with gorgeous photos and mouthwatering recipes!  It has been by my bedside for the past month getting looked at over and over again.  I recently had the chance to try out their salted caramel sauce and I have to say that it is my new favorite flavor…this sauce will knock your socks off!  Here are the tempting photos I promised!  I will post the yummy recipe on Monday when I announce the winners!  

I forgot to mention that I am giving away TWO Baked cookbooks so get excited because your chance of winning just went up!  All you need to do to enter the contest is name the type of purse that you think I should make for my new purse cake that I am making next week!  Remember the deadline is Sunday night…can’t wait to hear all of your ideas!


Birthday Cakes & Giveaway Winners

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the Ciao Bella Gelato contest!  We had some great responses and I am happy to announce the three random winners…#13 – Chris, #20 – Bernie, and #41 – Silvia!!! I hope all of you enjoy your gelato as much as I do.  

Well, life has been quite busy for me lately….lots of desserts and lots of business details to deal with! However, last week I had the pleasure of making my little niece, whom I absolutely adore, a birthday cake. She just turned 2 years old and gets cuter and cuter by the day.  I decided I wanted to show off just how cute she is by doing a photo cake, but I didn’t want to do just any photo cake…I wanted to put a modern, girly twist on it. I also decided to put her adorable little face on some sugar cookies because when you are that cute you can’t have enough photos of yourself (at least that’s what her auntie thinks!).  So here is the birthday girl and her cake!

As you can tell from her signature pose, she loves keeping one eye closed when she smiles…I love it!!!  So here is a quick post on how the cake was made.  The cake was a yummy chocolate cake with peanut butter filling.  Then I used chocolate ganache to ice the cake before I covered it in chocolate fondant. 

I then dowelled the cake and covered the second mini tier on top the same way.

Next I cut out fondant circles and printed out edible frosting sheet images of little Kimberly.  I left some fondant circles white, I added the edible images to some circles, and I painted the other circles with a mixture of petal dust, luster dust, and lemon extract (basically an edible painted concoction). 

I then placed the fondant circles on the cake and piped pink royal icing dots around the edges.  And finally I lined the bottom of the cakes with pink ribbon.  

Here are some more photos of the party!

Well, as you can see we had a great night full of fun, family, and yummy food!


Tricks of the Trade – Cake Style

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Have you ever wondered…”How do they do that?”  Well, you are not the only one!  When I saw some cakes in Martha Stewart’s Wedding Magazine a while back I couldn’t believe the amazing design on them and so I did my research and found out how they did it.  They used CAKE STENCILS!!!  You can get these amazing cake stencils online from Designer Stencils.  Definitely check out their site and see all the different designs you can buy.  All you need it some royal icing, a small offset spatula or bench scraper (something with a flat edge), and gel based food coloring if you want the design to have color.  So here is my little “how to” blog for you…hope you enjoy it!

First you need to either cover your cake in fondant or a crusting buttercream.  Let either of them set up a little bit before you use the stencils.  Place the stencil on the spot you want the design at and either hold it carefully or tape it to the cake if you are using fondant…sorry about the bad lighting! 

Next take your royal icing and carefully cover all of the exposed cake/stencil with the icing.  

Then take your small offset spatula, bench scraper, or hemming ruler and scrape off the excess icing.

Then pull off your stencil and look at your masterpiece!  

Then I added a sugar rose to the top corner and called it a day!


Student Cake Designs

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

So as some of you might remember a while back I told you about the classes that I was going to teach at MiraCosta Community College in Oceanside.  Well, we are done with two out of the three modules and I thought that I would share some of my student’s work with you. Most of them came with little to no knowledge of fondant, gumpaste, royal icings, etc and just six classes later turned out stunning three tiered cakes.  Our first module was about the basics…filling, frosting, smoothing, and basic decorations.  My teaching style is to show students a variety of methods and techniques for decorating, but then let them use their creative minds to come with the design…of course I am there to help along the way, but I like them to let their inner cake artist come through.  My favorite part of the modules are the last class when you see the finished cake that the student never thought they would be able to accomplish…everyone surprises themselves!  So here are some photos from the first module…

Now onto the next module photos…wedding cakes/specialty cakes!  After just three more classes these are some of the cakes that they designed.  I was so excited to see their finished cakes and thought they did a great job!  The next module is one sculpted specialty cakes!

I just had to put a close up of these adorable fondant love birds!

So drop these ladies a comment and tell them which cake you loved!

Ciao Bella Gelato Giveaway & San Fran Photos

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

I am so excited about today’s post because I am having such a fun giveaway!  Ciao Bella Gelato contacted me after my last post of my travels in San Francisco and wanted to give my readers a taste of Ciao Bella for themselves.  They are by far my favorite gelato and sorbet company and supply for top restaurants all over, are at your local Whole Foods, and their Blood Orange Sorbet was recently featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list.  Their flavors are sooo unique and full of flavor!  So my lucky readers three of you will be chosen as the winners and receive four pints of Ciao Bella’s favorite flavors.  To enter the contest you simply need to visit their site and let me know which flavor sounds the best to you.  The contest will run until next Friday night!  Here are some lovely photos they sent me to wet your appetite! They are Blood Orange Sorbetto, Maple Ginger Snap Gelato, and Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto.  

Now onto the last set of San Francisco photos.  These photos are from my trip to I Dream of Cake, which is probably one of the most amazing cake design studios out there.  Definitely stop by and check out their website…it is AMAZING!!!  Also here are some of the photos I took of their storefront.  

The second spot in the day was to Kara’s Cupcakes which is located in Ghirardelli Square. I have read numerous things about Kara’s Cupcakes and couldn’t wait to try them for myself.  

I ordered their Passion Fruit Cupcake & Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Ganache Cupcake…both were quite delicious!

Definitely a happy day in San Francisco!

I also wanted to say THANK YOU to The Bumbling Baker for my E for Excellent Award and Piece of Cake for my Kreativ Blogger Award!!! Thanks so much ladies!



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