Sunday, November 8, 2009

To good health

So all this heavy baking has taken its toll on my self control. I've gone from not wanting cake at all to thinking mmmmm a good piece of mudcake would be delicious right now. This behaviour must stop! But I cannot give up my what's a baker to do? Substitute of course!
This week I wanted to try out two healthy substitutes for that sweet tooth fix.
The first comes from everyone's favourite queen of substitutes; Hungry Girl. It's not listed on her website as a recipe but while she was on Goof morning America, she mentioned that if you mix 1 can of pureed pumpkin with any cake mix, you end up with a perfectly good cake, with no pumpkin flavour.....impossible you say?
Well I'd be skeptical too if I hadn't already tried HGs cake substititutions and had moderate success. Plus it made sense.....pumpkin is pretty watery and mild so it would be good in cake right?

I did this on a whim as I had some pumpkin left from the whoopie pie experiment and a box of spice cake mix leftover from Halloween sales. I figured if HG failed me, and the pumpkin flavour did come through, at least the spice cake would be a good flavour companion.
I mixed the cake mix an the pumpkin together and it was thick, which is expected. I decied to mae them into muffin/cupcakes because those are portion controlled. I didn't realise the thick batter would not settle out and form a nice smooth done on the cakes but they have a nice homestyle look to them that I can appreciate. They were also DELICIOUS and not dry at all. I wouldnt use the substitute for anything that needed to be cut/carved or stacked higher than maybe 2 tiers because it didn't have the structural integrity of a cake with eggs, but for a quick dessert it was great. I must try this with other flavours because the pumpkin flavour really didn't come through too noticeably.
So they're not the prettiest....but at 130 cals a pop.....I'll let em time I will smooth the tops down.

So then I thought, what if  I don't really want cake....what if I get a craving for something smooshy and comforting...mmm like a good fudgy brownie....surely pumpkin is a little too watery for brownies right?

So I googled what to use with a brownie mix and I found TONS of advocates for blackbean brownies. You just puree a can of blackbeans (with water not brine) and mix that with any brownie mix and ta da! I had to try. And wouldn't ya know it....brownie mixes were BOGO at Publix this week.
The blackbean brownies are currently cooling and waiting to be sliced but so far they look delish! I sliced my finger making the blackbean puree (note to a food processor!) so that set me back a little. But the process was relatively painless and the warm brownie I tasted (I'm jus testing for doneness...gosh!!) had no black bean flavour and was surprisingly very filling which is an always welcome side benefit of the fiber and protein from the beans.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Macaron Chacaron

I decided I'd split the macaron post into 2 in case you didn't care about the long process to find the ingredients and just wanted to read the long process it took the make the macarons (macaron chacaron *does dance*....dammit!)

So I got all my ingredients together and took a deep breath. From all my reading I knew I was in for a long process, but I attempted pumpkin whoopie pies earlier (they were aight...made me realise for me personally,a cookie should be a cookie and a cake should be a cake....) and the filling melted before I could get a good shot.....damn you Florida.

Macarons were then the only thing left on my October to-bake list. And would you believe it, it's also the October Daring Baker's Challenge...I had to redeem myself....

Using MyFoodGeek's Almost Foolproof macaron recipe (hahaha I couldn't resist with that name) and looking at Canelle et Vanille's blog for inspiration, I began.
I sifted out my almond flour and icing sugar. Then I tried to make a meringue. Imagine my surprise when my maniacal pan to avoid cracking eggs ended when i read on the back of the egg-whites-in-a-box "Not for use in meringues". Awesome.
I tried it anyway, and it fluffed a little but not enough for me to experiment with my $9.99 a pound flour on it so I threw it out. My new plan? Meringue powder! I didn't even make the link between meringue powder and meringue in cooking until that moment. I mixed it up according to the directions and got great super fluffy results when I poured my syrup in. I read somewhere online that they should be stiff enough that a whisk shaped puff off meringue should stay in the whisk attachement when taken out. I then carefully folded the almond flour mixture in using the "macaroner" procedure ( has it's own named if thats not intimidating I dont know what is)
I read also that under-folding folds turn the macaron into a whole different cookie; ironically named the "success" cookie and overfolding results in no ruffly feet. So I made sure to slowly fold my mixture until it "flowed like magma" and got ready to pipe.
So far so good. I piped my little macaron circles and the settled beautifully, but not too much.
I found every pan I had that could fit into my tiny oven and piped all and left them to dry for 40 minutes.

Then I baked them off.....this was the crunch time. I did the whole shebang, timed it to a tee, didnt open the door to peep, put a wedge in the door 2/3 through and you know macarons had feet! I've heard those are the hardest part to acheive so I was so excited. I sent this image to my sister

They have feet!
She responded, I'm guessing that's good?
LOL....yes it is. :)

I was so excited! and after learning a lesson on waiting for macarons to cool before lifting them off the pan (nom nom nom cracked rejects) I ended up with some sweet lookin little french sandwiches if I may say so myself:

hon hon hon macarons! you er not so tuff now eh?? (my very poor french accent sorry)

but you er yummy!

The Chronicle of WholeFoods

So October has come to a close...and as a personal goal, I needed to get some stuff off my to-bake list bfore I thought of stuff to do for November ( Yes, I am indeed aware that I have a problem ok lol)
This weekend became my errand weekeend, I needed to get to a Whole Foods store on a quest to find almond flour. Publix unfortunately, did not have it (and at 9.99 a lb I can see why!!)
Did I mention I have a tendency to get lost a lot? 'Cause this weekend was a whole lotta gettin lost in the right places. I started off on my quest to find Whole Foods. Of course I took some wrong turns and on my way back to square one so I could try again I spotted a Barnes and Noble and quickly made a detour. For the life of me I could NOT find a Barnes and Noble anywhere....nor a Waldenbooks (okay okay I didnt really look for one....sorry Kelly) but I'd been looking for one for a while now to check out the books I had mentioned a couple posts ago. And boy did I.
I spotted the cookbook section an I was like awesome, there's alot. I saw some Pierre Herme books, a couple Dorie Greenspan and I grabbed about 5 and sat down to peruse them. When I was done, I went back and spotted another shelf of cookbooks and grabbed about 5 more. This cycle continued about 5 time, and I had "perused" about 15 books, including the ones I wanted, Baked!; Tartine, Bakewise, Paris: history of Sweets etc. I'm glad I checked out the books before buying them on Amazn because, call me crazy, but I like pictures with my cookbook. I need to know what the end product is supposed to look like. Seriously if i have to google what a St. Honoré Cake is supposed to look like then I might as well go online for the recipe. Pictures=instant reference point.
Anyway, I settled on 3 books, Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Berenbaum- this was a tough choice between this book and The Cake Bible. I figured I would figure out some way to get the Cake Bible on coupon because there were no pictures. lol. I'm glad I chose this one, the reviews say it is amazing....and after glancing it I agree....
Baked! New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis et al.- I'm kind of in love with this cookbook. It is so unpretentious, it makes baking red velvet cake seem like something that all the cool kids are doing. (my fav line: "A brownie with icing is not a's masquerading as cake")

The last book I bought was the Good Housekeeping collection of Best Loved Desserts. I HAD to buy this one. The Good Housekeeping New Book of recipes is a STAPLE at my house and well it was on sale and it had pictures. SOLD!

After spending an inappropriate amount of money buying these I stumbled into a Michael's which just happened to be there. I figured since I was never going to find the elusive Whole Foods I might as well use my 50% off coupons I'd been hoarding. I gave my last coupon away to a lady in line buying student kits for a cake decorating class . :) I figured I'd share the joy....I kno how expensive those things get.

Anyway would you believe it, on my way home to unload my loot, I found the elusive Whole foods...the exact reaction was "holy crap!!! whole foods! whole foods! *swerve*.
And after a little stretching and breaking open of stock boxes, I found the almond flour. Hooray me! I stocked up.....because apparently Whole Foods= Narnia. I picked up some egg whites in a box (muahahahaha no egg cracking for meeee) and I went home.

It's Macaron time!
(I kid you not, I "sing" this in my head everytime I say that. Damn you Spanish Directv)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spoke too Soon

So I moved....yay!! It was so tiring, I haven't felt like lugging my Kitchen Aid out the car...and you know how much I love that thing so you can imagine. Anyway so if you read my last post you would see that yesterday was supposed to be my first dessert decorating and candy making class.....and you'd be right! it WAS supposed to be my first class.
I'm still getting over the exhaustion of moving so I took a short nap and prepared myself mentally for a 3 hr class.....
got into the car and drove over to the high school where it was being held.
OF COURSE I got lost.....I actually drove past where I remembered the school being and thought "huh...weird that school has a playground..never noticed that before....guess I'll keep driving..." Drove right past it thinking it must be a nursery school or something and I must have been mistaken. Turns out the high school is attached to an elementary school. If only I was lucid enough to read the sign lol. Anyway, I called my sister who gave me the correct address and I plugged it into my GPS. After getting myself sufficiently tied up in my GPS cord, I realized I was only 5 mins away. I was already late at this point and I hoped that the people ran on Trini time, which in Florida isn't too much of a stretch.
So I get to the school, late, search around for a parking spot and finally hustle inside.
Ok so I've never been in an American high school, and I'm sorry but at night with noone else around those hallways are SCARY as's all quiet and all you hear is your own any moment I expected some crazed janitor to throw a garbage bag over my head....Glad ForceFlex of course....
Eventually I found myself practically running thru the labyrinth-like halls "Breakfast Club" style trying to find the darn classroom. Every once in a while I would run into a random janitor around a corner who looked at me creepily while mopping....didn't help.
I found one janitor chatting to her friend on her blackberry (lol) and figured she woudn't kill me with her industrial sized broom and stopped and asked for directions to the classroom.
After getting LOST in the maze and somehow ending up on the opposite side of the school, I ran into the janitor again and she actually walked me to the room. There were lights on so I figured I was late and the class was going on.
I knocked on the answer.......
Ran around to the front fact noone was even in the class room.
I was tired and pissed off at this point. So I called the office and left a pretty b*tchy voice mail saying that there's noone in the class and I paid already and I would like to know what is going on. Then I felt kinda bad, I started thinking well maybe it's like the first day of school when u don't do anything really but take roll?
I found the front office and I walked in looking crazy and told them there was noone in the classroom.
"ooooooooh, you're the girl."
"uh ok?"
"You didn't leave a phone number, um....the class was cancelled.....yeahhhh"
"You have my email."
"excuse me?"
"I registered online, you sent me a confirmation, you have my email could have emailed."
"we don't email. We call."
"But I did everything've emailed me before."
"Sigh....Is my money back in my account?"
"uh you have to call to get it refunded"
*awkward silence*
I think they figured i would have left and called to get a refund but I was so confused and angry that I just wasted an hour of my life and stressed myself getting lost to get there to find out
a) the class was cancelled
b)they didn't bother to tell me
c) they didn't even refund my money knowing the class was cancelled.

Anyway so a lady came out and refunded me my money then and there cuz I think it became apparent I was not leaving till I had my $ nor was I calling back the office I was currntly standing in.

I'm LIVID at this point..... I KNOW I left a phone number but're so quick to email me back with a reciept and payment info but you can't scrounge up that same info and email me back saying the class was cancelled...or at the very least say "hey you have to follow this procedureto get ur money back". You don't know how far I may have had to drive or what else I had to do that day bullcrap I didn't leave a phone number.
Honestly if that's the level of unprofessionalism they display I am glad I won't be committed to a 7 week class there.
Publix saved my night tho, with their new bogo deals....I love Publix....their slogan is SOOOO on point.

This weekend I am going to attempt macarons.....cuz I love them, and cuz I need a pick me up

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween's coooming, halloween's coomming

Last night was my fourth and final Wilton Method course......
Our teacher Miss Patty, let us design our own final cake, which was cool cuz the final cakes suggested in the course book are pretty darn hideous.
Miss Patty "gently" suggested we could do a halloween cake because of the date (PS miss patty and I could be BFFs...I kind of love her). I jumped on it. I have an unusual love and nostalgia for Halloween considering it never used to be a big deal in Trinidad. My British kindergarten teacher made it a big to-do every year and bcuz of all the expats in my neighbourhood...we trick or treated every year and went to Halloween parties. I started googling cakes and designing stuff....drafting designs (with colours....cuz we know I have wonky coordination skills)

In the midst of this cakey daydreaming, my landlady told me I had to move, and all I could think was

so the cake became about Halloween while doing some serious downsizing.....using up the stuff i already had (precoloured fondant, icing, marshmallows, cake things)
So I decided on a graveyard scene....I made pumpkins, tombstones and bones ahead of time out of leftover gumpaste and I actually fashioned some nifty ghosts but they didn't make it onto the final cake...I did play with them tho lol
Anyway at this point, I was pretty much dreading making this cake because of all the baking involved in the midst of clearing my apartment. I came up with a good system however. Everytime I used an appliance/bowl/whisk, I would wash it, dry it and throw it into my old TV box (which is now my bakery-in-a-box)
I baked all 5 cakes which came out gorgeously leveled and went to find frosting to "dirty-ice" them (lol cake boss) and in my "downsize" mode I grabbed the leftover magical strawberry filling that the cake elf whipped up last time and decided that would have to do.
"It's a chocolate-covered-strawberry cake now"

However the strawberry filling was not whipped or cooperating with me at all......and I was about to just ice it as one big hunk o cake until i opened my fridge and looked wayyyyy down into the bottom corner.....
"shut the front door"
There was a teeny tub of decorator's icing I had bought for roses back in course 1 (don't worry, it's shelf stable) Lucky me! So I poured all my remaining cocoa powder (yay downsizing!) into the frosting tub and whipped like crazy (I packed my kitchenaid away already..darn)
I had 5 cakes all frosted and filled with delicious fudgy gooness ( I used a little of the strawberry....I liked the chocolate strawberry cake idea ) and ready to be fondanted.
Downsize mode again......My cake was going to have purple in it somewhere.....I bought that massive tub of purple fondant and I was not carting that sucker to my new room.
I used up the rest of the chocolate fondant to make bat like creatures and rats.....and lo and behold, I found my elusive edible pearls (i already bought new ones...don't you hate that) so suddenly my starless night became starcrossed lol.
Heres what I ended up with when all the cakes were covered.

hahah i was playing with the ghosts, till I realised they made a dent in the top of the cake....oops!!
(kinda wish I could have left the cake one tier....but i had to stack it for class)
I am so proud of my fondant smoothing improvement.....I had to go buy a new fondant smoother because sticky fingers obviously dropped the class.....clever little minx.
Anyway i digress I have learned with fondant it's less about the texture of the fondant and more about the smoothness of the cake clothes I guess...
lesson learned: buttercream is like Spanx for a lumpy cake......

Anyway so we were instructed to not stack the cakes yet and bring them to class unstacked.
I must have been on crack or something when I picked out the pans I was going to use because I honestly thought there would be much more difference between the layers. My first two tiers ended up only being like one inch difference all around. When I stacked the cake, you could see the cake board pretty clearly. This made me sad cuz i had put so much thought into how the cake would look at the end, but I couldn't do anything about I worked with it and made a skull border. Sigh, lesson learnt....measure twice cut once.....
Thanks to Darian, the 9 yr old boy who comes with his mom to my class cuz I used some of his bone sprinkles for effect....and thanks for my cupcake :)

Here's the finished product.....

I also discovered, this cake, unlike all my others looks better in person than it does on camera. It's not a photogenic cake because I wanted it to be sloppy and drippy and smudgy for halloween...and it person.....but on camera it just looks.....well sloppy, and drippy LOL

Anyway, I made it very kiddie looking cuz I'm donating it to a childrens home.
(Mom says take the zombie hand away lol)

Anyway so here's the last one:

Sigh......I shall miss you Wilton.
I started off just thinking I would only have time to finish 1 course and here I am 4 months later....still loving it :)

Where do I go from here? LOL I've found myself googling culinary schools that have baking and pastry programs and I just got off the phone with Orlando Culinary who politely told me that they do not offer certificate programs to international students and the A.S program in Baking and Patisserie is (wait for it)

so after that, anything she said was Charlie Brown teacher-speak....mwohmwohmwoh

So I guess till further notice culinary school is deffo out of the question. But I started googling stuff I could do......The Diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts at home is covered by the government tertiary education initiative, so that's a good option. Only issue is the actual curriculum is pretty lame. Or so it it a case of poor description of the program? or do you actually get what you pay for? I don't know. And of course the website is down. LOL

But I have also seen a lot of advocates against culinary school...a lot of famous pastry chefs argue that it's a waste of money an you come out just as unqualified, but with a little more book knowledge.....I'm so used to being in school, it just seems natural to study in one for any career path.
A lot of chefs have no formal training...they learned from the school of hard knocks, which is just as, if not more valuable in something as hands on as the culinary field. It took me a while to wrap my head around that one.
But it makes sense.....if it tastes good, its not going to kill you and looks fabulous, then why does it need a degree behind it? It's a whole different ball game.
I love the recreational classes because they force me to do what I think is the most important no matter what:
practice, practice practice.

God willing, eventually I will be where I need to be and where I'm supposed to be.....until then I'm in Dessert Decorating/ Candy making class on Thursdays :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Have you heard of the Cake Elf?

So the purse cake was a hit at the office.....
they made me cut it.....which was strangely exhilarating ...hacking up something that took 5 hrs to make shouldn't have felt that good(maniacal laughter)

Yeh I need to learn how to cut just looks like a crime scene doesn't it?

But I was told it was delicious once again which makes me happy.
After making that cake on Sunday, I actually still had to bake a cake for my regular class.
I was so tired I could not even look at a recipe for a cake and I didnt think anyone was going to want more cake at the office so I decided to cop out a little and at around midnight I busted out a cake mix (the crackheads next door don't care). In my defense, I did throw in a box of vanilla pudding to make it not so generic.
I also realized I need to invest in 2 of every pan I have because you REALLY do need to split the batter up to bake can't just throw all the batter into one pan and then figure "I'll split it into two later"......It doesn't work....ask me how I know...
Since I only have one borrowed 7 inch pan from my Grandma, I ha to bake each cake seperately which was about 1.5 hours when you add in the whole cake-has-to-cool-before-you-release it thing (again, ask me how I know....)
So I set alarms and did my darndest to not fall asleep on myself waiting for the cakes to bake......I managed to bake and level both layers before I decided to fall asleep at around 3 am.

Now, this next part gets a little weird. My memory is a little foggy but if I recall correctly, I got up at around 4 or 5 to go to the bathroom. I don't know how I was lucid enough to do this but somehow, before I got back into the bed, I managed to fill (with strawberry filling...where did that come from?), frost and cover the cake then hop back into bed.
I woke up around 8 and the first thing I thought was "OH CRAP!....what the hell did I do to that cake???"
And I sprung out of bed and looked at the counter expecting another bumpy-cloud-cake disaster.
Believe me when I say, The Cake (yes it deserves capiltalization) was perfect...I have never covered a cake better...I had to take a picture of it, I was so shocked.
It was level, smooth and covered all around.....thankfully sleepy me realized it was not a good idea to wield a knife while half comatose so it wasn't trimmed up but dang.......if I didn't remember getting up at some point during the night, I woulda sworn there were magical cake elves who did it.
What a good start to the day! I could just come home after work, grab my perfect cake and go to class. is over (I left early shhh)...woo! I get into my car and I notice how quiet it is....hmmm weird...but a quiet car is better than a really loud one right? Isn't that what all the new cars boast? quiet start? Still, I get a little wary with my car so I pulled out my rosary that I keep in my car (hey I'm trinidadian.....) and I tried to hang it fom my rearview mirror...then i realised I don't have one....oops! LOL....

Anyway, long story short, a quiet car does not mean that my 1996 Toyota decided to act like a 2010 means my 1996 alternator decided to go kaput.

Luckily I got a mechanic to come look at it and patch me up so I could drive home, but it was already 7:15 by that time...class began at 6:30
I thought to myself, you know what, I'm gonna go......I'm gonna show up , all disheveled....with my rolling pin in hand(I keep it in the car as a weapon) and learn what to do then try it at home on The Cake.....don't say I'm not dedicated!

I showed up and I swore up and down to everyone that the world's most perfect cake lay on my counter at home and I didn't just flake out on it and sleep last normal people.....

but alas, of course noone believed me, nor cared......they kind of didn't make eye contact with me at all.....hmmmm maybe I looked crazier than I thought...

Anyway, we learned how to do draping and quilting and I was so tired when I got home I couldn't put more effort into The Cake if I tried.

I also poked the sides of the cake in anger LOL so you're gonna have to trust me when I say it WAS perfect....(I'll find the picture)

Onto the last cake of all the Wilton courses next week...I'm no looking forward to it because I have to go to conference, move apartments and bake the cakes all this weekend....but I have to admit I'm gonna be pretty bummed on Tuesday next week...4 months of cakes and classes and now I'm left to my own devices...what shall I do.....
But I'm pretty excited I'll have all 4 Wilton certificates :)

(Oh and I signed up for the Topsy Turvy cake class november that should be a fun post to look out for.. :))

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Purse and Shoe Cake Class Day

If you're wondering, yes this is the third consecutive weekend I've spent in the kitchen....
This class was more fun than I thought it would's always nice to meet up with people who like the same stuff you do. So when I saw people walking in with 20 lb TUBS of satin ice fondant, I knew we would get along swimmingly. LOL

I spent all day yesterday (well not all day, I went to Zumba in the morning...and messed my back up AGAIN wtf?) baking cakes.
I made red velvet again (it's the office's favourite) and a vanilla sour-cream white cake. My intent was to use just half of the white cake batter for my monday regular class cake and use the rest for a cobwebby marble cake for halloween, but upon googling, I realised freezing cake batter is just asking for a cakewreck.
So I used the rest on an extra ten inch layer to go in my purse cake. So my cake was a whopper....3 layers of deliciousness stacked high and frosted in my homemade buttercream...mmm
Anyway, so this morning, I bundled myself (cold front, yes!) and my cake in the car and headed to the classroom with bags of equipment and materials.
I rushed over there too, Egg McMuffin in hand only to realise, I got there a half hour early.
So I set up and chatted with the other girls (I've noticed whenever there's a lull in convo with cake people...the ice breaker is always "So did you cath Ultimate Cake Off/Cake Boss/Ace of Cakes/ Challenge last week?"....resounding "oh was awesome" s LOL)
Do you see that MASSIVE wad of fondant....that sucker is homemade ya'll and tastes SO good. I recently sampled fondarific and looked at the ingredients and while delicious, there was nothing on there that screamed "so exclusive you must buy me!"...especially not for 15$ for 2 pounds.... so I tweaked my fondant recipe with a rolled butteream recipe and it as fantastic! and yeilded like 5 pounds, for about 4$. Everyone was impressed. I explained to them , I give my cakes away and I can't be giving people cakes that have nasty fondant.....I mean hello! trying to get business here!!! LOL

Miss Patty got there and she brought her display cake with her....
cute right? but I swear to you this thing was 3 inches tall....maybe 6 with the handles.....
I stared at my bazooka of a cake and was like uh oh.....this is not going to end well....good thing I made that massive hunk o fondant right?

So the first thing Miss Patty had us do was cut our cakes to form a base, in her cake it was cut halfway through, I cut mine a little further.
(One of the girls who cut her cake cut into little sample was dominican cake....DELICIOUS! and totally something we make in Trinidad..)
I don't really like the semi circle look of the display cake so I asked if it would be ok to level the top a bit....I didn't go to overboard though, because it's a pain to ice freshly cut cake without letting it rest in the fridge and set up first....
Then she instructed us to cover our cakes with our fondant....sidebar: that HUGE hunk of fondant takes a LOT of colour and kneading....
Anyway after FINALLY getting the colour I wanted, I took my burning arms and rolled it out.
I'll let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the process.

I LURVE my equestrian.
Wheww! So that took a long while.....
best line ever (from another girl in class): "I am so over this handle thing.....(throws handle aside)...look, it's a clutch now"

.... I looked at my cake (tiredly) and I felt like it was asking for something LOL
"what do you need...what do you need...."

...the devil is in the details....

And i was done! I love this cake so much, I wish I could actually pick it up and walk around with it like a purse while munching on it to freak people out......

I didn't finish my gumpaste shoes, because honestly, that egg mcmuffin only lasted so long and i was losing always surprises me how much work these cakes take......
Before I post my good pics of my cake, these are my classmates' cakes:

cute shoes......omigod shoes.

cubed dominican cake mmmm
Lolita's Dooney and Burke lookalike....gorgeous...she makes beautiful cakes.

and my fav
Charo's Coach....the colours are SO spot on....I am in love with it...
She made a shoebox for her shoes! cute!
Miss Patty made a small one for her friend who was having a Birthday

And the class busy at work.....

the layered cake in front is my extras! see the colours?
Ok....glamour shots of my cake!
Pose for the camera now

ooh yehhhh

what's this? a makeover?

quilting! I have like a million pics of this cake.....I love it. LOL

P.S. My cake just got "favorited" three times on cakecentral.....omg i may baby steps :D

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cookbook Wishlist!

I just spent an inordinate amount of time surfing through cookbooks on amazon......

I am currently looking at buying:

The Cake Bible - Rose Levy Beranbaum; Hardcover

Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops- Dorie Greenspan; Hardcover

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, and Tina Rupp (Hardcover - Oct 1, 2008)

Tartine - Elisabeth Prueitt

and something by pierre herme thats not 200$!
Oh and this
I Love Macarons - this hasn't come out yet...but hey I do love macarons....and all the other books on them are in french..... (*Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S= "je me plee plooo...toot de la froot" hhha)

But before I try anything new, I must finish some things that have been on my to-do list forever

Pumpkin whoopie pies

that is all. check back for updates :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gumpaste is yummy

Just some pics from class yesterday....gumpaste flowers....
It's difficult getting the ruffling just right on those carnations, but I'm sure with practice (just like the roses) I'll be ok :)
I've also realized I need to visit a florist's shop.....because I'm working from memory on most of the flowers, some I haven't seen really. I'm an islander....when I first started making flowers all my roses looked like hibiscus.....:)

first steps done.....daisy petals an carnation bud...finished carnation!
I put shimmer dust on it...but you can't tell LOL
yay! my daisies and carnation

snug as a bug in an eggcrate (wait...that's not right....) :P
More fun stuff later!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am leaving with a baked good whether you like it or not.

So....FrenchPastries part 2!

My teacher decided that in order to NOT starve us this week, she would let us make something we made quiche...and because i requested it...creme brulee.

Now if you recall from a couple posts back, I'm not a fan of custardy things, I prefer a chewy texture to my sweet stuff. Then why creme brulee?

Because I'm a closet pyromaniac of course. You get to use a blowtorch! And my teacher obviously sensing my pyro-ness, didn't bring a wimpy little kitchen torch...oh no...she brought a industrial size one...ok not really but it was fire extinguisher sized (oh irony....)

Anyway, I feel like my teacher lost her steam and she said since the class was so busy last time that we would just watch her make one....UM NO. I definitely paid money for the class and I intended on leaving with some kind of baked good. But I did it on the sly...

"oh can we each make the pastry dough as well?" "Yes sure"

"Oh as long as I have the dough and we have time, do you mind if i just make a quiche too? I'd like you to tell me what to do if anything goes wrong"

"Uhhhhh....Yeh sure I guess that's a good idea"

Cut to me separating myself from the rest of the class to make a quiche.....while they made creme anglaise....which is a cool recipe but it's pretty basic....

SO I made me a quiche! but i didn't take a picture of it cuz i'm a moron and forgot before my family dug into it, but here's a picture of the teacher's that we all shared...mine looks the same except for the gooieness in the middle because I prefer it firmer.

So onto dessert......

The creme brulee was cool, i can see myself making smaller ones, but because they cook in sturdy cookware, I don't know how much of a sellable item they would be. My little cousin wants to try it cuz she keeps hearing about it so I told her we can make it soon (yay more blowtorching!!)

So here's my first creme brulee! It looks a little burnt... creme brulee means BURNT cream,, but it didn't taste tasted lovely.....and i got much betteron the second one

my fav part was cracking the hard sugar top...such a violent dessert.....torching the top then stabbing it......

oooooh yeh

(oh and it was my idea to bake them in teacups....jus cuz it added a supercute factor....aww)

and the extras...made in bowls.....(not as supercute) the teenage boy in our class came up with that idea)

We made so many, and my teacher just threw away the extras!! I was like WTH? why r u throwing away good food....we even suggested she leave it in foil for the janitors to enjoy but she just threw it away.....sigh.......wasteful.....

All in all fun stuff.....I'm taking a class next week at another campus, where I was told the classes are much more hands on....yay!
EDIT: The class got cancelled ....apparently 2 hands was not enough...sigh

I also have fondant and gumpaste class 2 tomorrow

I just received my free samples of Fondarific....good stuff! not a fan of the melon.....on a cake its a little cloying i can imagine
(hahahah cloying...what a fun word)

The camera loves you! a new camera....LOLI don't waste any time do I?

Actually I needed a camera for work (I know....I work! whodathunkit?) and my plan was to buy it and then return it for Target credit....(yay black friday)

It hink I may just keep the darn thing tho. I need a camera to document my cakery and stuff and it was only 88$. It's pretty decent, I don't want to spend money on a camera unless it's an SLR and is huge.

So anyway I decided to have a photoshoot jus to get a feel for the thing. and since I'm probably going to photograph food more than anything else, than what better to practice on. I took some shots that night then waited till the morning to get some natural light......

and since we are making cupcakes, why not make them pretty :)

natural light
and not:

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Soooo this weekend was fun....
I signed up for a community education non credit course in french pastries at MDC.
I live like 45 mins away from the campus on a good day and the class starts at 9:30am.
I'm a notorious night owl so that time on a weekend would usually be impossible for me. But I literally sprung out of bed all movie like at 6:45 am thinking "pastry class!" To convince myself i wasn't completely psychotic I made myself go back to bed until 7:30.
So after getting appropriately lost thanks to my trusty discounted GPS and my inherited bad sense of direction, I arrived at the classroom at 9:00am...

I walked in and it was *angels chorus* ..a fully functioning professional kitchen. I looked around and i saw walk in fridges, professional sinks, industrial ovens and mixers oh my!

..I was in my personal heaven. I never wished I was a culinary student more than I did at that one moment....
that was the second angel chorus this week....the first was when i found a new cake supply store on my way home that has EVERYTHING and will soon be offering classes. (I 'favourited' it in my GPS....that's the sign of a good find to me)
anyway.....i digress.....
So the teacher was already there (she looked french.....but she wasn't..her name was Debbie...which bummed me out a little I'm not gonna lie lol)
Just me and another lady were there at that time, and we got to talking....she's Colombian and move to the US and became a personal chef. She goes into people's homes and cooks all day and makes meals for the week...pretty clever gig if you ask me. She thought so too....I felt like she was giving me not-so-subtle hints that I should do it as well to cuz it was in demand and paid well. In her words "These americans hate to cook, but are now realizing the benefits of cooking your own food. So they want the home cooked meals.....but they still hate cooking"
It's not just Americans. Trust me. lol.

Eventually a few more people trickled in and we began. So we were doing 4 things that day: Choux pastry, pastry cream, ganache and almond tuilles.
We made the pastry cream first since that had to chill. enter my biggest "fear" in the world....touching raw eggs. The teacher cracked and separated the eggs with her hands and I swear I almost cried. But I didnt want to look like a cooking wimp so I took a deep breath and jus did it...
It's pretty basic stuff, it's just a matter of technique...heat milk then mix milk with flour, temper eggs, mix eggs in, stir till thick, but not glutaneous.
Meh, I hate cstards and the texture of custardy things so I kinda didn't really look forward to that recipe.
So we let it refrigerate in the fabulous walk in fridge (which I want!) then onto the choux pastry.
Choux pastry is a cooked dough that is used to make eclairs and profiteroles (puffs for my trinis)
My mom actually makes a signature dessert that uses choux pastry and it's a staple at every family event (and going on my future menu) so I'm familiar with the technique. And I've made the puffs a few times before so yeh...I got
The recipe was a little funky: it used shortening instead of butter which I believe may actually be a cardinal sin in France. The teacher explained it made it a little more "idiot proof".
what a blight... call me the ultimate idiot cuz for some reason my puffs decided to rebel and refused to 'puff'..I'm going to blame it on the funky recipe tho



I've made them before so I know I can (edit: see bottom of post). I did learn some good tips from the teacher and from the colombian personal chef that I was very grateful for. Example: Did you know if you add eggs to sugar the sugar will actualy cook them? It's a catalyst for the reaction don't add sugar to an egg mixture and just leave it.

We made a quick chocolate ganache to go on top of the finished desserts and got our pastry cream out of the fridge.
Ta Da!

Do we see the stainless steel? Doesn't it just make you happy? no? just me?
So onto our last recipe
Almond tuilles.....
So these were pretty cool....I could definitely see myself using these in future recipes....the technique itself was good to learn as i think it's a pretty versatile the risp almond cookie immediately reminded me of something my mother would request so I mae a mnetal note to memorize the recipe.
I kept thinking of all the other things I could fill these little cookie cups with.....I shall have to experiment
I learned the hard way that the cookies are unforgiving if you let them cool to much and they will harden up pretty damn quick so you have to work fast or they WILL shatter......

here's my best 2

ooh look at the sexy shape

and the teacher's:

I think mine are better....just sayin.... :P

Anyway, i had a great time. Just being in a full size kitchen with ingredients to burn was well worth the money. I have never wanted a kitchen more. I began to think of the SATC movie scene where Big basically proposes to Carrie in her massive walk in closet and thought to myself....her reaction was the only thing I could compare it to.
Google Pioneer Woman's kitchen.....I'm in love.

Oh and just cuz I'm psychotic i decided to try my hand at the famous Bakerella cake pops when I got home...
I've made truffles before as gifts but never with cake and never on a stick lol
I intended to make them into Hello Kitty pops but I realised that the red velvet cake i used gives a reallllllly grotesque image when u bite into the mini cat's I gave them to my crackhead/stoner neighbours....(who are currently singing/screaming/being killed at the moment...)
these took a while to perfect....mostly cuz I suck at reading directions.....

oooh shiny :)
I also practiced piping on them in royal icing but those r meant to be shipped as surprises so I can;t post those pics :)

Tomorrow begins the last Wilton basic course.....course 4!

PS I wish I had a good camera

EDIT: I made the pate de choux again with my own recipe....and ta-da!
they poofed.
I'm not an idiot :)

ignore the edamame in the corner.  :)