Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Several months ago, a lovely friend of mine was expecting her first baby girl (after three boys) and was in need of a baby shower. We went crazy with the theme of a Mad Hatter 'super-girly' tea party. Here is the Cake:

An amazing photographer and friend, Tamera Orduna Photography, was in attendance and snapped a couple photos of the refreshments and decorations. I love how she made even the simplest things look epic!

Traditional crustless tea sandwiches:
Chicken and Thyme was served on buttered white bread with a filling of chicken breast, mayo, dry mustard, lemon juice, worcheshire, thyme, and salt & pepper.
Cranberry Chicken was served on lightly toasted raisin bread and spread of homemade cranberry cream cheese. The filling is chopped sauted chicken, toasted pecans, craisins, alfalfa sprouts, and a small amount of mayo to bind.)

Petite Cucumber sandwich requires only whole wheat bread, cream cheese, Major Grey's mango chutney and cucumber medallions.

These Fresh Fruit Tea Tarts have a crust of pate sucre (3 c. pastry flour, 1 c. butter, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 eggs, salt and vanilla) and a filling of lemon curd (12 egg yolks, 2 c. sugar, 1 c. lemon juice, and 1 c. butter). A little fresh fruit and glaze completes the treat.

Tea was served, of course (don't you just love these cups!?)

The decorations, not provided by myself, were gorgeous and sooo fun! These centerpieces and hanging orbs were made from tissue paper.

Alternatives to Cupcakes

After a long silence, I am posting a couple of the tasty things I've made in recent months. WhenI had the business, I was often asked to provide gluten/dairy/or egg-free desserts. I don't particularly enjoy using cake-y substitutes for flour and dairy like 'garbanzo starch' or 'soy silky dream'...they never quite taste like the thing they're pretending to be. Instead, it is fun to make a 'safe food' cleverly disguised to look like festive birthday fare.

This little cupcake is made out of jello. Following the recipe for "Jigglers", I layered the various flavors to make a fun rainbow. The reusable silicone cupcake wrappers that you can find at any cake store or craft store featuring Wilton products work well, and can be unmolded easily after properly chilling. The icing is a non-dairy whipped topping, sprinkled with dark chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

These cupcakes served along side their egg, dairy, and gluten filled counterparts were actually the first to go.

These little morsels are made using chocolate and ice cream. One could easily substitute sorbet or fresh fruit, and not non-dairy whipped topping to accommodate other allergies.

To make the pho-cupcake base, use melted chocolate chips (in this cake dark chocolate) and apply with a pastry brush to the inside of parchment cupcake liners. All to harden in the cupcake tin to keep the form consistent. When solidified, peel away paper. Now the form is free to fill with ice cream, mousse, fruit, or sorbet, and top with something creamy. In this example I used heavy whipping cream and raspberry jam, accented by upside down chocolate chips for polka dots.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nanny Libby

So, I have been making the occational cake for friends and family. Saturday, we had a baby shower for a friend with a great sense of humor. We constructed a replica of her Boxer, Libby. Libby is very excited to assist in the nurturing of the new little arrival.

I have included a couple of pictures to give you an idea of how this cake was made. The basic shape of the cake began with a stack of 6" hearts on the bottom, followed by 8" ovals, and the neck used 3 1/2" rounds. The head was constructed using foam balls and modeling chocolate (this cake needed to be kosher for religious reasons, so the typical medium of rice cereal and marshmallows could not be used)

Now that I am not baking for the general public, Sonya is allowed in the kitchen to watch.
The cake is covered in "stucko" after carving, which is a mixture of mousseline buttercream, filling, and cake crumbs. It allows for a smoother surface to ice.

The next step is a thick and very smooth layer of ganache. At this stage, you add the subtle details like muscle tone, brow ridges, etc.

Now, you can add the fondant, food coloring paint, ears and eyes.

The finishing touch of a matriarchal-looking lace cap and, VOULA! Instant Nanny!

Which one is the cake? Who knows- they both look soooooo excited!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So, what did I do on the first day of the first year without my cake business....?

...I made a cake, of course!!!

This was a wedding cake for the little sister of my very good friend, Rebecca. The request was to have an Oregon Forest-looking waterfall with a little bench and outhouse incorporated. I followed instructions. In the picture, the water looks black...weird lighting, I guess; but I assure you the waterfall was a dark blue.

You can see, in the background of this picture (in my kitchen just before delivery) that I used icecream cones to form the trees. I also mashed up fresh brownies to form the boulders, and poured gelatin to give a running water look.