Friday, June 30, 2006

Cake for 200

Well this is the weekend... 4th of July... I am determined to make my Colette Peters' 4th of July cake.

If I can find a way to make photographs along the way, I will. Found the camera, (Underneath a pile of yet to be sold items on ebay), but alas, no charger. Must find charger.

Anyway, I have had quite a culinary experience this week as a dear friend came to town. Her father, from old world Spain, has a family that loves to cook and I was given many recipes. I tried a few, was inspired to cook a little more and will do so.

As usual, I find my forte' is in main courses, savory items, and not the desserts. My cakes look pitiful. The taste is very good. I am proud of the taste... but so ugly they look as if they were beat with an ugly stick. Well, maybe not THAT bad, but less than the professional touch I desire.

Monday, June 26, 2006

About Me

While my cooking is on the back burner, I thought I would post this little tidbit. Recently, I was asked about my hobbies, what I do in my spare time, and to describe myself. Found this little questionaire on a website and thought I would answer:

5 items in the freezer
1. Lobster tails
2. Shrimp
3. Cheesecake
4. Ice (with strawberries)
5. homemade ice cream container

5 items in my closet- I have lots of closets.
1. Two Tiffany Style Lamps
2. Dishes
3. Golf Bag
4. Clothes and Shoes
5. Craft Supplies

5 items in my car
1. Books to sell
2. Shoes
3. Magnolia Leaves
4. Ribbons
5. Booklet ready for printing

5 items in my purse
1. Gym ID
2. Rebate Check
3. Envelope to mail
4. Favorite Pen
5. Sunglasses

5 items I wish I had
1. Portable Magellan talking roadmate

2. Porsche SUV
Porsche, иллюстрация Auto Moto und Sport

3. Chocolate Sheeter or 5 pounds of Santanders Chocolates
Santander 70% Dark Columbian Chocolate with Espresso

4. La Girolle

5. Pilates Reformer

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Perhaps later I'll again be in the mood to

Regards to all this Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You'll awake with a tummy ache.

If pictures are worth a thousand words, then this puppy expresses my home's collective sigh.

My house has been riding on the "goodship Lollipop" while I've been testing strawberry recipes. Though the new stove has yet to arrive, I still prepare frostings. The house is filled with the now obnoxious scent of strawberries and cream. We have had our fill.

Sweet trip to the candy shop? NOT!
If I never smell strawberries and cream for a while... I'll be a happier camper.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, today is Sunday. Father's Day.

Generally our family gathers together for every kind of holiday, including something like groundhog day. But, no gathering today. Long story for another post.

One interesting point I will make... It has been raining where I live like cats and dogs. After phoning my mom and dad's house, I found they had interesting visitors during the night.

Two skunks.

I thought my burnt stove was a story to tell. Skunks trump fried wires anyday. The fuzzy creatures seem to have found their entrance through a brand new dryer line. (Mom and dad's beautiful home sits on 5 acres and highlights a pond with island...and an assortment of creatures great and small.) The rain has been relentless, and the warm, alluring scent of fabric softner sheets must have been very enticing to the skunks.... Clawed their way right through the sheetrock.
Happy little creatures.
My mom said they were cute. Confused.
Didn't spray.
Things okay.

Think I'll make a cake and celebrate.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Martha Stewart Distraction

Well, as my oven is not working, I decided to complete a MS project. The
project was
Tissue Blooms in a Bouquet.

Her bouquet instructions require about twenty-five flowers and ten leaves. I crated 5 flowers adn two leaves. I'll continue later. Once I have arranged them, I'll cover the stems in wide ribbon. Here is a photo guide of how to complete a Curly Petal Flower.

Curly Petal
Cut a 16-by-3 1/2-inch strip of tissue paper; make 2-inch-wide accordion folds. Make 3-inch-deep snips in tissue to create fringe. Wrap unfringed end around floral wire. Secure with floral tape. Run scissors blade along pieces of fringe to curl; fluff.

The motivation to create this colossal use of tissue paper is an upcoming wedding. Nooo, not mine.

If I can ever find my Digital Camera I'll snap a photo of the bouquet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Burnt a Fuse

Title indicates the recent news. While attempting to temper my chocolate, the stove popped and "poof" ... no more electricity. Not a single bit of electricity is going to either the stove or oven. I'm going to have to replace it. My oh my.

On the left is a 1785 New England farmhouse oven and stove whatnot. Though the stove was recently purchased, after the electrical pop, it now is vaguely related to the one in the photograph.

Needless to say, the chocolate covered strawberries did NOT get completed. The white chocolate seized and became slightly grainy. I posted on Cakecentral the question, "Does glycerine make chocolate seize?" but received no response as of yet. I'm just wondering if I pushed the heat up too fast.

I'm sleepy, tired and going to bed now. Night all....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Well today I made a lemon cream cheese frosting. The choice was made because I had a spare lemon, extra confectioners sugar I wanted to discard, and a few chips of white chocolate that were unwrapped.

I used the following recipe which will yield about 4 1/2 cups

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until just firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

What I did different was half the recipe. Added the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Created a white chocolate ganache from some white chocolate pieces that needed wrapping. The ganache turned out excellent. Texture was rich and creamy. Using the ganache in the cream cheese frosting worked out fine. It covered a white cake.

Made in about 35 minutes.

Fondant Cups

So I acquired this new book entitled
pretty party cakes.

The photographs are stunning and each design is accompanied by instructions. I followed the instructions for the fondant cups. (not pictured here.) For the mold, I used a can of... now, .....don't laugh, a can of Ensure. It did more good as a cup mold than drinking that stuff...those drinks are loaded with corn syrup. Anyway, back to the fondant cups. The method is simple. Take fondant, wrap it around a cylindrical object. Secure the side. Sit the result on more fondant. Cut the bottom. Secure the bottom.

Easy, yes? Well, no. I strongly advise using food molds with sharp edges rather than food cans. Most food cans
have a dip on the bottom and top of the can. This allows food can openers easy access. But, all it does when set upon fondant is leave an unwelcomed impression.

After unmolding the cup from the can of Ensure, seeing the ugly marks on the lid and bottom of the mold, I hesitated. Why leave the fondant to harden to be a cup with which I am not pleased? So I wrapped the fondant to be used again for another day. I'll recreate the cups later this week. If I can find a camera, I'll make a photo and post.

All in all, I think this book is well worth the price. I'm still acquiring the equipment and techniques needed to make beautiful cakes.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Late Night Laugh

Found this little quote while I was surfing... My kind of math.

"Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate." -- Sandra Boynton

Friday's Chocolate Fantasy


It is chocolate cake time. I like rich, decadent chocolate. No time for the kiddie stuff or cheap chocolate, I'm talking Valrona, Callebaut, Scharffen Berger, and I tried this new one from Santander labled ... Dark Columbian Chocolate with Espresso! It is 70% Cocoa...

Can you image? This chocolate is so delicious. It beats the Hachez 88% Cocoa and Valrona by a longshot.

Welcome and Hello


This little blog is to record my adventures in cake baking. I will test recipes and record the results.

I baked Toba Garrett's Buttermilk White Cake recipe and Dede Wilson's Essential White Cake Recipe. Now, both of these bakers are very experienced. They have published recipes and received accolades for their achievements. However, when I baked the recipe, the cake was less fluffy than I had hoped. This said, I can account for some of the damage myself. While attempting to remove Toba's buttermilk version from the oven, I burned my hand. As I was shrieking from the pain, I noticed the cake falling. Though I can't be quite sure, because the whole world appeared out of focus for just a moment or two. But to Toba's credit, I think my dropping the pan back into the oven hurt her cake. Dede's was fine, white, clean, but there appeared a pudding or custard type result on the bottom of the cake. This too is a result of the baker, not the recipe. When a custard like streak appears through the cake it is often a result of overbeating or too much liquid or underbaking. I probably overbeat the thing. I have a Kitchen Aid professional 6 quart and I let it run as I read the directions after including each ingredient.

I also baked a genoise cake. It was a little coarse for my taste. Of course it was dry... kind of suppose to be. These cakes are made specifically to be easy to cut, and their moisture is maintained through the use of syrup being added to each layer while stacked. The cake was moist enough, but one could discern the moisture was from the syrup, not within the cake itself.

Perhaps the Duncan Hines conundrum remains. Oil within cake batter actually helps keep the cake moist. No home baker can replicate the ingredients (or would want to) and some of the taste America has associated with these cakemixes. The mixes are quite moist. More so than any european mix which has been around for ages. Our processed, preservative mixture has created a palette only we Americans tend to associate with the "perfect" cake. Kind of like training our palette to prefer boxed mashed potato rather than the real thing.

My next White Cake Recipe may be Colette Peter's.

In an emergency, I used her recipe once and added Pillsbury White Cake recipe to the mix. Mixed and placed in a 99cent disposable pan, the cake turned out very well. I usually use Wilton pans, or for smaller 8 inch rounds, I use the Kitchen Aid silicone mold. These work very well. For that emergency I used the disposable tin. Surprisingly, the cake turned out very tastey. I received several compliments on the taste. (And why not, two good recipes.) Duncan Hines has a product which the novice homebaker cannot damage.

As for my candy making... I recently acquired a huge piece of marble. Approximately 4x6 in size it is HEAVY.