"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cakes in Bloom

When starting out a few years ago learning how to decorate cakes, my absolute favourite thing was learning how to make flowers.  I first started to learn how to pipe flowers using royal icing.  I made countless pansies, daffodils, roses, sweet peas.  It made my heart sing!! The more flowers I could pile on a cake, the happier my soul.

After playing around and practicing with royal icing and piping I was very interested and eager for the next step: the world of gum paste flowers.  The first flower I learned to make was a pansy and simple 5 petal flowers of varies sizes.   Then I graduated onto a small rose, then onto daisies and hydrangeas.  I love how realistic they can be and what they add to a cake is like nothing else.

Recently, I saw that Peggy Porschen came out with a new book, Cakes in Bloom and I HAD to have it!!  I own most of Porschen's baking/decorating books. For me, she is the queen of cake.  If you love to decorate cakes and haven't heard of her before or seen what she does, please check out her site www.peggyporschen.com.  She is amazing! I love her style, so inspirational.  Based in London, she was very successful early on and has done many cakes for celebrities.  I have taken so many ideas from her and dream about opening the same pink Parlour that Peggy has in London.  She also has a Cake Academy, hopefully i'll make it there one day.

Here are some of her exquisite flowers:  

This English Garden Rose is spectacular!

Peonies...*sigh*....so beautiful

This Dahlia is so elegant 

The book is over 200 pages of step by step instruction on the art of sugar flowers and also has a section on baking and icing basics

This book is definitely not for beginners but I do think that it can spark the desire to learn and experienced cake decorators to expand their repertoire of what they can create. Thanks Peggy for another great one! Another book from you to treasure.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chocolate Mistake Cake

As I've already mentioned on this blog, I have a slight obsession with cookbooks.  I love reading them,  drooling over recipes I know I definitely want to try and admiring the way the food was styled in the photographs.  I love having them and holding them in my hands.  Some may ask, "are you really going to cook everything in all these books?", well no...not every single one, but I do cook from them.   They do inspire me and keep me excited about cooking and baking.

Today I wanted to share a recipe with you from Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell.  Paternell is a professional chef who enjoys cooking and baking cakes with his family.  I can't tell you how much I adore this book.

I love that the book started as a small project by the author to get his son set up with some good recipes to take with him as he was leaving home for the first time for College.  I love how Peternell was so concerned if he had taught his son well enough to cook for himself.  He wonders if he has absorbed enough knowledge about things like how salty the water should be for cooking pasta or not to let the garlic get too brown while making a sauce.

The book is less about highly stylized photos of food,  and more about the basics of really simple, family style, straight forward, homey food.

I decided to make the Chocolate Mistake Cake because I love chocolate and cake and I make mistakes all the time and was curious why this yummy cake could ever be one.  Peternell writes that sometimes mistakes are a great thing because something wonderful can come as a result.

I also love that you will need only one big bowl and a whisk to make this recipe and minimal ingredients too.  No buttercream to worry about here either.  Paternell suggests serving with whipped cream.  Ice Cream would be nice too or just plain with a little sifted icing sugar over top would be pretty too.

This was my bowl and whisk of choice for today.
For this recipe you will need:  1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 table spoons) of butter, 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 4 oz (113g) bittersweet chocolate chopped or chocolate chips, I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate

Cut up the butter in chunks and throw it in your bowl then add boiling water to the butter.  While that starts melting chop up your chocolate into small pieces and add that into the butter and hot water and leave aside to melt.

Next, you will need 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift them all together in a separate medium size bowl (so maybe you need 2 bowls after all...) Set aside.

Add 2 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 2 teaspoons of vanilla to the butter and chocolate mixture and whisk until everything is well combined

Next whisk in 3 eggs, one at time.  Whisk well after each addition.

Add half of the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until just combined.  Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is nice and smooth.

Pour the batter into a well buttered 9 inch cake pan.  bake at 350, start checking the cake around 25min mark.  Mine was ready after 35 min
hot out of the oven

I highly recommend this book.  It is great for people who want to learn to cook or for people who are seasoned cooks looking for inspiration in the kitchen and wish to get back to good, simple food.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sweet Inspiration

Beautiful hydrangeas from the garden....

inspire pretty sugar flowers to be made 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cute as a Button

Here is a birthday cake that I made for a little girl's 1st birthday.  I made an 8 and 10 inch vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing.  The theme of her party was Cute as a Button.  I was very happy with the result as were the parents and party guests.

Here is a pic of some of the bows and buttons I made for the cake.  I used pre coloured fondant and mixed it with gum paste to get the desired colours I wanted for the cake.  I have a round cutter set in graduated sizes and used that to cut out buttons in small, medium and large sizes. I used a pointed gum paste tool to create the holes and decided to make some bows with button centres 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Easter Cake

Here is a really delicious chocolate cake recipe that I made for Easter.  The recipe is enough to make two 8" cakes.  For this cake I only used one of the layers and froze the other.  It actually freezes really well and stays nice and moist whenever you want to take it out to serve.

I only iced the top with vanilla buttercream and decorated with marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury Mini Eggs

Chocolate Cake

1 cup hot strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup Cocoa powder ( I like Perginotti available at Williams- Sonoma)
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar

  • preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • prepare two 8" round cake pans.  You can grease and flour them or I like to spray Pam for Baking in them just before I pour the batter in
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until nice and combined ( I usually use my stand mixer but you could also use a hand held mixer or even just go old school with a whisk and spatula)
  • next slowly stir in the hot coffee until combined. Turn off mixer 
  • In another large bowl sift together all the dry ingredients and with the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined
  • pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops spring back when gently poked with your finger

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mia's 6 Months old!

Today my beautiful niece is 6 months old!! She is the sweetest!!!!  I had to make her an extra special cake for her half birthday…so I made this half cake (with some cupcakes too)

I made one 8in round cake, cut it in half and sandwiched the two halves together  

The dots are made from fondant and I used a small round cutter to make the dots and mini marshmallows for the clouds

I had a lot of left over batter so I also made some cupcakes and used rainbow sprinkles for the top and the cake and cupcakes

I'm already thinking about what her 1yr cake should be :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baptism Cake

This is the most special cake I have ever made.  I made this for my sweet little niece for her Baptism.

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