Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

We provided some goods for an event for PS89 this past week.  Since the event was Hawaiian-themed, we thought coconut cupcakes would be entirely appropriate.

These were made of coconut cake, filled with coconut pastry cream, and topped with a pillowy Italian meringue frosting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A very personal wedding cake

My little brother, the baby of the family, got married this past weekend.  (They grow up so fast!)

This half of PattyCake had one of the most nerve-wracking culinary experiences imaginable - I was charged with making and transporting his wedding cake from New York to Monterey, California.  And when you spend hours baking and assembling a cake for the most important day of your little brother's life, it is VERY difficult to watch the tightly packed, icepack-stuffed box of buttercreamed cakes roll down the checked luggage conveyer belt into the bowels of JFK.

Luckily, everything turned out okay - the cakes survived, including the extra sheet cakes made for the indeterminate amount of wedding guests (turned out there were about 30), and despite some last-minute nervousness and quick scrambling, the cake was still pretty.  And delicious.  And perhaps most importantly, the bride was happy.

*Chocolate cake with vanilla custard and vanilla buttercream
*Vanilla cake with raspberry mousse and vanilla buttercream

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anniversary Cake, part II

Last year my lovely fiance's coworker, An Inspired Husband, requested my assistance in recreating their wedding cake for his wife as a surprise for their fifth anniversary. This year, similarly inspired, another coworker, let's call him Thoughtful Hubby, asked for us to do the same for his wife.

The cake below is a vanilla-vanilla cake, with raspberry buttercream filling, a la the original from Sweet Lisa's in Connecticut.

Their wedding cake was a massive tower of hexagonal and circular tiers, and despite being much smaller (it was meant for only two people after all), it was a little more challenging and time-consuming to cut and cover the hexagonal layer without the aid of a shaped pan. Nevertheless, it turned out well - Thoughtful Hubby told J. that his wife thought he'd gone back to the original bakery!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So much has happened over the last couple of months! In a nutshell: an internship, a new job, and an engagement! Meaning there hasn't been a lot of time for my lazy ass to really do a lot of baking at home.

Thanksgiving, however, was a different story. Since we couldn't go home, we decided to cook up a storm here in the city, making everything from a 14 lb bird (more than enough for our party of three) to homemade cranberry sauce, and of course, pumpkin pie.

I wanted something a little different than the traditional pumpkin pie though, and tried adding some cheesecake - hence the white and orange swirls above. While the effect was pretty, the pumpkin flavor was really so strong that if I'd eaten it with my eyes closed, I wouldn't have missed the cheesecake.

Anyway, some bourbon caramel, candied deep-fried pecans, and good old vanilla ice cream rounded out the dessert plate. Yum! (Forgive the iPhone photo, my camera decided to be stupid and stop working.)

Happy holidays!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the last vestiges of a long gone summer

I was talking to Jade a while back and, per usual, our discussion veered toward food, desserts in particular. When I mentioned I recently used the last of the peaches for my take on an after dinner drink: peaches soaked in white wine, surprise surprise! Jade had just made the very same thing. Great's my take:

6 ripe peaches or nectarines, sliced very thin
5 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 bottle sweet white wine

Combine all ingredients, chill for at least two hours, preferably overnight and serve - preferably in a pretty glass - with plenty of crème chantilly (whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla).

Cin Cin!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summertime Pie

As the weather gets cooler and berry season is coming to an end, it's time to make the most of the few weeks we have left of summertime flavors.

Last month after graduating and leaving my former job in pursuit of more culinary adventures, I spent a week in D.C. visiting my family. My Dad has a very particular sweet tooth - he's not crazy about cakes, cookies, or chocolate, but he does love pie. He will take a pie warm or cold, big or small, and with any type of fruit. It's amazing for me to watch my normally stoic middle-aged father turn giddy as a little boy at the site of baked fruit encased in crust.

Knowing this, I did a lot of pie baking while at their house, and was particularly inspired by a bottle of limoncello my parents had received as a gift from a friend who'd recently returned from a trip to Italy.

Not that I wanted to bake a lemon pie, but rather thought that the limoncello would be a great compliment to the sweet and rich cherries my Mom had picked up from the farmer's market. Toss in a couple of blackberries for small bursts of intense flavor, and you have a great pie filled with the tastes of summer.

I used a linzer dough recipe from Food Network Canada (replacing almonds for the hazelnuts), and about a pound of cherries with a pint of blackberries. Just bloom and melt about a teapoon of gelatin in about 3 tablespoons of limoncello, toss with pitted cherries and blackberries and a 1/4 cup of sugar, and bake for about an hour. (I prefer to taste more fruit than sugar in my pies, but if you prefer something sweeter add more sugar.)

The crust is flaky and buttery to offset the sweet, tart cherries, and the hit of limoncello brings out the deeper berry notes. It's not simple, but it is definitely worth making before we have to say adios to warm weather food for the winter.

Friday, September 4, 2009

a very belated wedding cake post

Well here I am, almost a month after graduation (gasp) and finally, finally posting my wedding cake project photos. As Jade mentioned earlier, the theme was Marie Antoinette in a modern day setting. I used the location's (Tavern on the Green) flamboyant ceiling as the palette inspiration and covered my cake in yellow fondant, wrapping the bottom of each tier in pink and placing blue bows amid the sugar paste flowers. Royal icing piping and gold dragees add a festive touch. I also stacked the tiers in a less-than-conventional fashion to give the piece movement and playfulness.