Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I am calling surrender on soft/sticky doughs... No matter what I tried - these just didn't work for me.

They were chilled for three days and then repeatedly during the rolling/cutting process - they still stuck to everything...

They were pasty white; an egg wash didn't even give them a a nice brown finish...

They didn't puff - not one...

There wasn't even one that was worth taking a photo of.....

They were still on the plate this morning....

I think it is time for a tart.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Congratulations Tonya!

Tonya was named "Employee Of The Year" and will be representing the clinic in the statewide "Employee Of The Year" competition.

This called for a celebration and celebrations call for cake!

  • Two 9x13 layers of Yellow Layer Cake from Baking Illustrated was a terrific starting point - it was very moist, dense and delicious.
  • Caramel Buttercream Frosting between the layers from a cookbook called "cupcakes" by Shelly Kaldunski - this could become one of my new favorite frostings!
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from seriouscakes on YouTube - this is definitely one of my favorites (it pipes and holds up well without being too sweet)!
  • Homemade caramel was drizzled between the rosettes and in the small rectangle in the center of the cake.
  • A few milk chocolate chips topped the rosettes and added just a little bit of color.
My thought was that this would be a great afternoon snack - there was only one piece left by 11:30.....

Good luck Tonya on the statewide competition - I'm thinking another cake will be in order.....

Wilton Cake Decorating Class - Fondant Cake

Having been on the fence re: taking this class - I decided to give it a go and see what happened....

The last class was about royal frosting (which I really really don't understand - it's just not good to eat). This class is piping, fondant and 80's style stacked (very useful technique though -I think - right?!) cakes.

First cake of the class - the "Package Cake".....

  • I actually enjoyed working with the fondant.
  • It was a challenge though - the white fondant shows/picks up EVERYTHING!
  • The flowers were easy and "fun" (note - I am not using the word "cute")...
  • I learned how to "marble" the fondant - I think it looks very cool...
I decided to play on the back half of the cake - after all, how many flowers do you need to cut out for a practice cake?

  • Once again - a little Cornelli Lace...
  • A little better picture of the "marbled" bow...
  • I actually think this looks sort of cool and very 2000's... ha ha ha
This is fun process and I am looking forward to working with it some more - like this race car for a friend's baby shower cake.

Blue = copy of the invitation

Yellow = practice version

Monday, September 14, 2009


This was a love/hate/love project for me....

I loved the idea of apples in "crust" of some sort - this screams fall, football and comfort. The weather Saturday was perfect for the mood.... gray, dreary, breezy, random rain showers..... Fall was in the air!
The idea quickly turned ugly when I started working with the dough. I had nothing but trouble rolling and working with the first batch. It was very sticky and seemed to tear every time I tried to move it...... ugh!

Taking a break - I had (what is in my world anyways) an inspiration and did a couple things differently with the second batch of dough. A little flour on the bottom sheet of waxed paper and letting the dough set a few minutes before rolling made this batch much easier - I would almost say "fun".... almost - to work with. While it wasn't quite love yet, at least we were back on speaking terms...

The first batch was pretty much by the book.

The second batch had some very stiff home-made caramel gobbed on top of the apple mixture.

I was quickly back in love..... the buttery flaky crust was delicious and would be great as Dorie suggests with any variety of fresh seasonal fruit! Toasted nuts would be a tasty addition too!

A little bit of left over dough and apples made a tasty - if not pale - tart that complimented a scoop of carmelized bacon caramel ice cream....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good + Good + Good <=> Great (or even Good)

I was cleaning out the fridge/freezer - again (it seems like I do this way too often)...

What to do with a frozen Queen Of Sheba cake, milk chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache, almond swiss butter cream and a small amount of orange marmalde?

Combine them expecting something great - of course!

Slices of cake split with marmalade between the layers.

A little bit of icing went a long way...

Tight/closed borders are very important when filling an area with chocolate glaze...

A successful attempt at a pastel frosting color. I like the brown/blue combo.

You can't hide an unsteady beginner's hand with that glaze!

These were way too sweet - the combination of cake, frosting and marmalade was too much for all of us!

The same cake, glaze and marmalade but no frosting. It was still a little sweet, but much better!

That is a little ganache piped around the base - but it was easy enough to pick around...

The consensus was that this entire project was a waste of a very good cake - it is too good to bury under frostings, fillings and glazes...

Other than the glaze I made for this project - I wonder what I will find in the fridge in a couple weeks?!

Baby Shower Cake

Some of the girls "at the office" have asked me to make a baby shower cake for a co-worker.

I didn't want anyone to be disappointed - so I made an approval sample...

The cake was Classic White Layer Cake from BI baked in a 9x9 pan (left over batter was used for cupcakes).

I cut the finished cake into 4" wide strips so they would fit on that cool rectangle plate.

  • White chocolate and milk chocolate ganache was striped onto the first layer.
  • They were suppose to taste like caramel - they didn't.
  • The texture and flavor were good
  • The white chocolate ganache found its way into some ice cream - this was not so good.

  • A swiss butter cream frosting with almond flavoring.
  • The Cornelli Lace technique is from class - I like the look but need to refine it...
  • I think all the borders "over-accessorize" this cake - I seem to do this often...
The cake got the necessary seal of approval - a final version is needed on September 25th.

NOTE - the cupcakes mentioned above were not too popular. They were very very soft and had no body (they actually did not get eaten.....). I don't know if that was a user error (ie - me) or the particular batter. The texture of the cake was, however, excellent!

"Easy" French Bread

We love bread and eat more than our fair share.

I came across this french bread and had two questions.....
  1. Would it be "easy"? (I am a skeptic)
  2. Would it be "good"? (More important than "easy")
Using two small pans I experimented with a couple different finishes....

Kosher Salt

Sesame seeds and "Sicilian Seasoning" (I don't know what "Sicilian Seasoning" really means - it was in a jar in the back of the cabinet....)

Other than the shape - I am not sure this is technically correct French Bread but it is easy and good.... there were no leftovers!

1 package quick-acting yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup water - add to sifted flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Add second cup of water (dough will be sticky).
Cover and set bowl aside to let rise until doubled.
Punch dough down and knead twice. Place on greased loaf pan and cover.
Let rise until reaches top of pan.
Brush lightly with melted butter (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc can be added here)
Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Note: I thought this dough was too sticky so added about 3 teaspoons extra flour. I might try it next time without this addition.


The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means "to blow up" or more loosely "puff up" (thank you Wikipedia) - I never knew this but it makes sense...

Even though I've had the opportunity to travel many places and eat at many "fine" restaurants - I've never eaten a souffle. I'm not sure why...

Saturday's French-food-theme (Country French Stew, French Bread, Cabernet) needed this dessert so the timing was perfect. I was surprised how easy this mysterious dessert was to make (even if it didn't come out quite right).

I was hoping that it would raise more - a few things might have contributed to this...
  • milk chocolate took the place of bittersweet chocolate,
  • egg yolks were added after about 1/2 the whites were folded in (why were they across the kitchen near the coffee maker?!) and could have caused some over-mixing,
  • maybe the rim wasn't clean and they "got stuck",
  • powder sugar was added before baking.
Unfortunately, nobody really cared for these immediately out of the oven - maybe because of my mis-steps? There was, however, a fight for the leftovers - especially with some Creme Anglaise poured over the top!

I will try these again - just for the leftovers if nothing else!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

An interesting thought.....

Once upon a time - I came across what I thought was a word (starting with a "t" for some reason) but have since discovered that it is really a phrase.......

mise en place

[MEEZ ahn plahs]

A French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION

What a great concept!

Based on this definition - I think this is how it should work...

This is how I feel it works in my kitchen...

I have a new goal that doesn't begin with a "T" - ha ha ha!

NOTE: These are not my pictures and I would give credit where it is due - if I could find the sticky note that had the information.......