The best advertising is FREE advertising, and these are the two best kinds of free advertising that I have found...#1 referrals from past happy customers, and #2 Craig's List. Even better...someone who has found me on Craig's List and then is happy with my cakes, and then keeps referring me. Here's the latest cake that I did for one of my favorite customers, who has also become a good friend. Thanks Michelle!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I needed to use up some sour cream that I had in the refrigerator, so in the middle of baking some cakes, I took time out to make a batch of our favorite cookies...Marbles from Mrs. Field's Cookie Book. They are soft on the inside and chewy on the outside...the perfect cookie.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup white sugar
½ cup salted butter, softened
1 large egg
½ cup (4 oz.) sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300°. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Combine sugars in large bowl; add butter and beat until grainy. Add egg, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl and add flour mixture, blend until just combined. Melt chocolate chips, being very careful not to burn. Pour chocolate over cookie dough. Lightly fold chocolate into the dough. Do not mix completely so dough has marbled effect. Drop onto ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 23-25 minutes. Do not brown.
Friday, May 14, 2010
As I was decorating this cake today, it brought back memories of decorating days gone by...back in Arizona in my baking kitchen when I would decorate 8-10 cakes each day during graduation time. Not that I would want to do that again...I'm too old and too tired. Some of my decorating techniques have changed or improved. For one thing, I'm using fondant allot more. This cake that I did today was done in fondant and buttercream. The silhoutettes and diploma ribbon were done in chocolate fondant, using Hershey's special dark chocolate to resemble black.The diploma was done out of regular fondant, but I added a bit of Tylose powder to it to make it harden slightly. Then I painted the edges with gold highlighter dust that I added clear vanilla extract to. The rest of the decorations were done in dark chocolate buttercream. This was a full sheet, so I put two half sheets together...one was yellow with raspberry mousse and the other was chocolate with peanut butter mousse.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Yesterday, I catered a wedding for 150 at the Air Force Academy Milazzo Center. As part of that, I designed a wedding cake for 230, complete with a brunette Cinderella and Prince Charming cake topper and a glass slipper that we positioned on the bottom tier. The cake was done in fondant with the square tiers "quilted" and scroll work on the round tiers done in my Hershey's special dark "black" buttercream. Not only does it taste great, but it does not bleed on the icing or fondant underneath. Before discovering the special dark cocoa, I would have never even considered using black frosting on a wedding cake. The cake flavors were banana split, chocolate mint with chocolate mint mousse filling, lemon with cream cheese and fresh strawberries, and German chocolate with coconut pecan filling. The catered items included cream cheese chicken over rice, buttered green beans with almonds, homemade dinner rolls, Caesar salad, and a strawberry topiary tree. My friend, Nancy did a terrific job of completing the tree with the 300 doubled-dipped strawberries. It was huge hit with the guests!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
This is a first...an entire wedding cake done in dark chocolate ganache...yummm! The flavor of the cake was yellow with delicious, freshly made, Bavarian creme filling...a great combination. Very simple decorations, yet very elegant. I felt the cake topper was a bit too large for this size of cake, but it still worked. I read somewhere to use double sided tape to give a cake top ornament more stability on top of the mirror or whatever other "platform" you may use. Why had I not thought of that before? It worked great.
A couple of hints about working with ganache...use the lowest temperature you can to melt your chocolate with the cream. It will turn out smoother. Remember, if you get the cream too hot, the ganache will separate, not go on your cake smoothly, and give you a dull finish. Also, make sure you make enough to cover your larger cakes because the ganache will set up very quickly due to the low melting temperature. I always ice the cake in a thin layer of chocolate buttercream prior to covering with the ganache. Let it set up just a bit and then pour on the ganache. This will also help to give a smoother finish.
For an added bonus...the venue for the cake delivery was at the picturesque Craftwood Inn in Manitou...close to Garden of the Gods. I shot these pictures after the delivery and on the way home. This is why we live here...