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inspirations

Chef Toba Garrett’s Almond Paste Cake
with French Vanilla Buttercream

Courtesy of International Culinary Institute

Almond Paste Cake
Yields: Two 10" cake layers or three 8" cake layers

Ingredients:
9 oz (255 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 oz (170 g) almond paste
24oz (680 g) granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 ½  tsp almond extract
12 fl oz (340 g) whole milk
18 oz (510 g) cake flour
1 ½  Tbsp baking powder
¾  tsp salt

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 350F (175-177C).  Vegetable spray and parchment line three 8" (20.32 cm) cake pans. Set aside

2) Cream the butter, almond paste and sugar for 4 minutes.  Stop, scrape the bowl, and cream for 60 seconds more.

3) Add eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture. Beat in the almond extract.

4) Sieve together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. Ladle the mixture into the baking pans. This is a thick batter.

5) Carefully smooth the batter with a metal offset spatula.  Hit the pan against the counter to burst any air bubbles.

6) Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until the cake slightly shrinks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7) Cake can last for 3 weeks in the refrigerator if wrapped well and can be frozen.

French Vanilla Buttercream
Yields: 2 ½ to 3 lbs (1.13 to 1.36 kg)

Ingredients:
12 oz (340 g) of granulated sugar
6 fl oz (177 ml) whole milk
1½ Tbsp (3/8 oz) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 fl oz (85 g) heavy cream
1¼ lbs (57 kg or 568 g) unsalted butter (cut-up)

*Recipe can be multiplied 5 times for a 60 quart mixer.


A buttercream cake from Chef Toba Garrett’s book Professional Cake Decorating.

 

 

 

 

French Buttercream Instructions
1) Make custard by heating milk and sugar over a double boiler until sugar crystals dissolve.  Remove from heat and add flour and salt and whisk until flour is incorporated.  Place over an ice bath until the custard has slightly cooled.

2) Pour custard mixture in mixer bowl with paddle attachment. Add cut-up butter and heavy cream.  Mix on LOW speed to fully incorporate ingredients or until mixture starts to thicken.

3) Mix on NEXT highest speed until mixtures starts to look light and fluffy. This can take 7 to 10 minutes or longer if making larger batches.

4) Store and refrigerate buttercream in an air-tight container.  Freeze for up to 2 months.

Note: If the buttercream curdles, it will just take a longer time for the butter to warm-up. Continue beating until the butter softens and the mixture looks light and fluffy.


Pastry Live Bonus Recipe: Nov/Dec 14
Rose Geranium Cake by Jessie Anne Reilly,
Take the Cake Decor, for Pastry Live 2014

“This cake has a lovely flavor and is very dense, perfect for carving and sculpting,” Jessie explained. “There are two ways to get the wonderful floral essence of the rose geranium—one by infusing the butter and sugar with the cleaned, dried leaves and the other by allowing the leaves to bake with the batter and then removing them after baking. For the competition, I chose the second option, because I wanted a more subtle floral taste for the cake. Infusing the butter and sugar resulted in a cake that overpowered the other flavors I wanted to highlight—but was delicious with just a simple buttercream!”

Rose Geranium Cake
16 to 18 rose geranium leaves. Jessie notes: I purchased my rose geranium plant on Amazon.com. Do not use a regular geranium! If you can't locate a rose geranium, you can use rose water instead.

Rinse and pat dry your geranium leaves. Lay them out on a flat piece of parchment paper, place another peice of parchment on top and put a book on top of so that the leaves dry flattened.

3 c/330 g cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 tsp salt
1 c/8 oz/230 g unsalted sweet butter room temperature
2 c/454 g granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/4 c/10 fluid oz/300 ml buttermilk

1. In a medium bowl sift together the flour,baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. Cut the butter into 1" pieces and place them in the large bowl of a stand mixer, fit it with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter three minutes on medium high speed until the butter is light and creamy. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for another minute.

3. Add the sugar, a little at a time trying to beat between each addition about a minute. Add the egg one at a time making sure they are blended between additions.

4. Reduce the speed of your mixer. Stir the vanilla into buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients into butter/sugar/egg mixture alternating with the butter milk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix another 15 seconds longer.

5. Lay the dried rose geranium leaves into the bottom of your prepared cake pans. Jessie notes: Butter and flour the bottom and sides then then line the bottom of your cake pan with parchment paper then spray the parchment paper with cake spray. Then place your geranium leaves uniformly around the top of your parchment paper, in your cake pans. For easy release of the geranium leaves, spray them also, after you place them in your cake pans. Spoon the batter into your prepared pans and smooth the top with a knife. Lift up the pan and let it drop onto the counter to burst any air bubbles allowing the batter to settle.

6. Bake your cake in the lower third of the oven. Use regular bake in your oven. Estimated baking time 40 to 50 minutes.

7. Let your cake cool about five minutes in the pan, then turn onto cooling racks. Remove the geranium leaves. Jessie notes: When making a regular geranium infused cake you wrap your butter in geranium leaves then place the butter into a freezer bag and refrigerate over night. You also measure your sugar for your cake and place it into a freezer bag and place one geranium leaf into your sugar. The next day remove the geranium leaves from the butter and from the sugar before using.

I did not use this method for my competition cake becauseI found the geranium overpowered the other flavors I wanted for my Italian butter cream--peach, mango and banana pepper.

One of the interesting techniques Jessie used on her cake was what she referred to as an “old-fashioned” approach to sugar work. “I used natural granular sugar with water and vinegar for the ocean surface, the moon and other casst sugar elements. This result of this method is very strong and resists changes in temperature and humidity.”

To create the colorful gravel on the bottom, Jessie took pieces of colored fondant and let them air dry overnight, then put them into a food processor and ground them up. This mixture was then dusted with regular and antique gold lusters, with larger colored chunks, coral and other decoration placed among them. “The large coral fields were duplicated them with pastillage rolled out as in tree-like form and then wired and let it dry. Then I wet the pastillage after it was dried and rolled it in rocksalt. The jellyfish is a blown ball of sugar turned inside out and then colored after it dried. The feet were added after, from pulled sugar.”

The turtle was hand painted fondant with gumpaste accents. The octopus, iceberg and the killer whale were both carved from styrofoam (the rules allow for this, as long as the design can also be executed in edible materials) and then covered in fondant. The polar bears and seals were both hand modeled in chocolate clay.


Individual “Apple Pies”
by Franci Cohen

Although seasonal treats are tempting, they don’t necessary have to be sugar bombs. Certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist, Franci Cohen, shares her recipe for “apple pie” that emphasizes the fruit, while cutting down on the sugar and fat.

Ingredients:
Pie crust
6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the filling:
1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut off the top of 4 apples and remove the inside with a spoon or scooper. Be very careful, as to not puncture the peel!

3. With the 2 additional apples, remove the skin and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will be the filling for the mini apple pies.

4. Throw the apple slices in a blow and mix with sugars and cinnamon. Scoop mixture evenly into each of the 4 hollow apples.

For the topping:
1. Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. Note: You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture and sweetness to the pie.

2. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips.

3. Place apples in an 8×8 pan and add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.

4. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.


Cinnamon-Chocolate Spekkuk
from Sweet & Southern, a new cookbook by Ben Mims

Another new release for fall 2014 is Sweet & Southern by Ben Mims. Subtitled Classic Desserts with a Twist, Mims takes down-home staples such as cobblers, upside-down cake, red velvet cake and cornbread pudding updating them with fresh flavors and international influences. With a background as both a food editor and a recipe developer for publications such as Saveur, Southern Living and Every Day with Rachel Ray, Mims ably mixes precision and detailed process information with history and encouragement.

I’m eager to try his version of a Red Velvet cake, made with pomegranate juice to achieve a rich, maroon-ish color, intead of more familiar red-food dye coloring. Along with the color difference, he writes that the juice adds a refreshing tartness. And my friends are urging me to make the Peanut Butter Cup Smith Island Cake. I however, have fallen in love with the Cinnamon-Chocolate Spekkuk, a favorite of James Oseland, Saveur’s editor and where Mims first learned to make this cake.

Cinnamon-Chocolate Spekkuk
excerpted from Sweet & Southern Classic Desserts With a Twist, © Ben Mims. Photographs © Noah Fecks, with permission from Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.

Spekkuk is an Indonesian cake based on baking traditions introduced by Dutch colonists. Its distinctive stripes are made by baking thin layers of batter—here, one cinnamon and one chocolate—on top of one another. This cake will take about 2 hours of baking time. Although it seems like the first layer would be burnt by the time the last layer is baked through, I assure you it won’t be. The subsequent layers insulate the first ones and with all the breaks from heat going in and out of the oven, it never gets a chance to burn. The edges will be slightly dry and crisp, but that’s a boon here, lending it a cookie-like texture at the edges. The high egg content gives the cake a dense, moist interior.

3 cups cake flour, sifted
4½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2¼ cups (4½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 ounces dark chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

Heat the oven to 325°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan evenly with baking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.

 

Divide the batter in half and stir the melted chocolate and cocoa powder into one half until smooth.

Pour one quarter of the chocolate batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly over the bottom, and bake until it springs back when lightly touched, about 14 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully pour one quarter of the plain batter over the cake; repeat the baking process. Repeat
the pouring and baking process with the remaining batters, using a quarter of each at a time, until all the batter is used and the cake is done.

Let cool completely. Run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert it onto a cutting board. Invert again and cut into large squares.


First Rise: ACD Sept/Oct 14
Ryan Stipp’s Signature Plated Dessert recipes

Ryan developed his Smokey Mountain Peaches And Cream recipes for the 2014 Pastry Live Signature Plated Dessert recipe—and he generously shares all the steps with ACD.

Download a PDF of all the components:
* Goat cheese mousse
* Toasted almond breton
* Smoked peach bourbon sorbet
* Dark rum raspberry sauce
* Raspberry gelée
* Peach lemon thyme compote
* Crispy almond florentine
and the assemble instructions.

.


Showcase: ACD Sept/Oct 14
Bacchanalia’s crystallized chocolate truffles

The creative culinary team at Baccanalia—Mark Ebbels, Kostas Papathanasiou and Ivan Brehm—were kind enough to share their innovative procedure for crystallized chocolate. Mark says: “This mousse is very creamy and smooth, so it is easiest to set it in the freezer, once it is hard, roll it into balls, then dust in the crystallised chocolate.
 
Chocolate mousse
500g/17.6oz 65% dark chocolate
450g/15.9oz whipping cream
70g/2.5oz trimoline
110g/3.9oz espresso coffee
3g/.1oz salt
 
1. Melt the chocolate gently over simmering water.

2. Combine the cream, trimoline, coffee and salt in a pot and bring to a simmer.

3. Once the chocolate has melted mix the warm cream mixture into it in 4 stages (the mix will separate initially, but after adding the second batch of liquid it will come back together)

4. Allow to cool to room temperature, mix well, Pour into a tray and store in the freezer.

Crystallized chocolate
Mark says “Once you make this recipe a few times you will begin to see how quickly the chocolate and sugar react together and you will start to improve your technique, It is a great deal of fun to produce! Here we are using it to coat a coffee mousse but it is extremely versatile  and can be used for a lot of things, a great recipe to have in your repertoire.”

300g/10.6oz castor (superfine) sugar
150g/5.3oz water
175g/6.2oz coco nibs
250g/8.8oz cocoa mass (100% chocolate) roughly chopped
25g/.88g sea salt
 
1. Finely chop the chocolate

2. Blitz the coco nibs in a food processor until a fine powder.

3. In a pot with high sides combine the water and sugar and bring to 150'C/302'F  (you may need to tilt the pot slightly to get an accurate temperature reading)

4. One the sugar mix reaches 150'C/302'F remove the pot from the heat and immediately Add chocolate and whisk continuously

5. Quickly change to using a wooden spoon, Immediately add coco nibs and continue to stir, after only a few seconds of mixing the sugar will start to crystallize.

6. Pour onto a tray and allow to cool. Once it has cooled down it can be used to coat the mousse.



Showcase: ACD Sept/Oct 14
James Rosselle’s ganache-filled dessert cups

For the Dessert Buffets and Small Bites showcase, James Rosselle created a tiered display featuring four different versions of ganache-filled dessert cups—coffee, salted caramel, raspberry and Key Lime.

Coffee Ganache Cups
2 tbs powdered instant espresso
1/4 c boiling water
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup
2 2/3 c finely chopped dark chocolate

1. Stir together the instant espresso and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.

2. Combine the cream and the corn syrup in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the espresso.

4. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and let sit, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is very smooth. Allow to cool.
 
6. Place cooled ganache in a piping bag.

7. Pipe coffee ganache into chocolate cup (available from Barry Callebaut) and fill approximately 3/4 of the cup.

8. Top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with dark chocolate curls (also available from Barry Callebaut).

9. Chill until ready to serve but allow to warm to room temperature for serving, as that’s when they taste their best.


Get the recipes for James’ raspberry, salted caramel and Key Lime dessert cups by downloading this PDF.


Share Your Love: ACD Sept/Oct 14
Ariadna Martinez Imbert’s gluten- and sugar-free
Red Velvet cupcakes

This now one of Ariadna’s go-to guilt-free recipes.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour. If not gluten-free flour would do just fine.
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 eggs whites
2 tbs bio/organic butter
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla stevia
7 drops red gel food coloring

Frosting:
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
2 ounces bio/organic butter
15 drops vanilla stevia or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180C/360F.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and powdered buttermilk. Set aside.



3. In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, Melt, buttermilk or water, and stevia. Mix on low speed with a hand blender until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well, beginning on low speed and increasing to high, for about 2 minutes, until well-blended and no lumps remain. Blend in food coloring until desired color is achieved.

4. Divide batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.


To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and Melt until fluffy. Add a tsp of stevia or to taste.


Test Kitchen: ACD July/August 14
Joseph Cumm’s Apple Stack & Brandy Ice Cream

Joseph Cumm shared two of the recipes he tried using the Rave Review! Culinary Spirits, including one of the ice cream recipes he felt worked particularly well with the product.

Brandy and Vanilla Ice Cream
1 pound, 12 oz whole milk   
1 pound, 4 oz heavy cream 
(NOTE: yes, Chef Cumm confirmed that these two measurements are by weight, not liquid volume)
8 oz egg yolks         
8 oz granulated sugar 
1 vanilla bean
3 oz Rave Review! Brandy

1) Heat milk and cream until just boiling.
2) Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until combined.
3) Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and mix with egg mixture.
4) Temper hot cream into yolks.
5) Place mixture back into pot and heat until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon (165ºF). Make sure you are stirring slowly and constantly.
6) Remove from heat and chill a minimum of 4 hours.
7) Add brandy and churn.
8) Serve immediately or return to freezer.

Apple Stacks
2-3 Braeburn apples                     
8oz unsalted butter                      
8oz brown sugar                         
8oz apple cider
4oz Calvados                               
8oz Rave Review! bourbon
1 vanilla bean
2oz sour cream
3 sheets phyllo dough
Small amounts of melted butter and cinnamon sugar

1) Layer phyllo sheets with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350F until lightly brown.
2) Remove from oven, cool, then cut into squares slightly larger than apples will be.
3) Peel apples, core and slice evenly about ½" thick.
4) In saute pan, heat butter and brown sugar until both have melted.
Once melted and bubbling, add cider, calvados, bourbon and seeds from vanilla bean.    
5) Place apples in mixture and cook until tender.
6) Remove apples and reduce sauce.
7) Once sauce is reduced whisk in sour cream.

To assemble: Alternate apples and phyllo starting with apple. Use reduction as sauce for plate.


Test Kitchen: ACD July/August 14
Rave Review! Brandied Peach Crisp

Rave Review! Brandy is featured in this recipe that highlights one of summer’s signature fruits.

3 pounds fresh peaches
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup Rave Review!™ Culinary Brandy™
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon (or cardamom)
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cold butter

Directions
1) Peel and slice peaches into a medium bowl and lemon zest.  
2) Pour Culinary Brandy over and set aside.
3) Preheat oven to 350 and butter a medium baking dish.
4) Mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl or in a food processor with the dough blade.
5) Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour mixture either blending with a fork, a pastry cutter, or pulsing in the food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
6) Add peaches to baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture on top.
7) Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes.


Top 10 Pastry Chefs
2014 Dessert Professional Awards

Here are some of the desserts presented after the 2014 award ceremony by the winners.

Joshua Johnson, executive pastry chef, Vanilla Patisserie, IL
In front: Chocolate mousse cremeaux with cherry compote, chocolate pound cake. In back: Coconut cremeaux with strawberry, topped with litchi.

Cher Harris, executive pastry chef, The Hotel Hershey, PA
Mandarin and chocolate hazelnut sponge cake, ginger caramel macaron, smoked hazelnut crumble and mandarin foam.

Della Gossett, executive pastry chef, Spago, CA
White chocolate “crottin” with Suriname cherry preserve

Ebow Dadzie, pastry chef, NY Marriott Marquis and pastry instructor, Monroe College, NY
Coconut lime daquoise, mango olive jelly coconut mousse, mango pineapple compote, banana lime sorbet

Georges Berger, MOF, Owner, Chocolate Fashion, FL
Pistachio dacquoise, white peach mousse, pistachio brittle, cherry coulis cherry mascarpone

Jennifer Yee, executive pastry chef, Lafayette, NY
Assorted mini eclairs

Ghaya Oliveira, executive pastry chef, Restaurant Daniel, NY
Chocoalte financier, chocolate mousse filled with cherry compote

Derek Poirier, École du Grand Chocolate pastry chef ,Valrhona USA, NY
“To the Five Boroughs”—hazelnut dacquoise, prailine, Opalys, Bahibe and coffee


Candy-Decorated Cakes:
Super-Sweet!

Here’s the link to the candy-themed pattern from Sweet n Fancy.

Plus, check out more candy-themed ideas on this Pinterest board.


by Joshua John Russell via Craftsy


A rock candy design via Kara’s Party Ideas


Another rock candy design, this one from The Sweet Boutique via The Cake Blog.


Candy corn design as seen at Make Fabulous Cakes


Jelly bean swags from Martha Stewart


Sophisticated licorice from Martha Stewart


Graphic gumballs by Truli Confectionary Art


Beverly Hills Birthday Cake
A Collaborative Effort

To help celebrate the city of Beverly Hills’ centenary, Donald Wressell, corporate pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate, pulled together a dream team of cake and pastry professionals to create an enormous celebration cake. Participating professionals included Sally Camacho Mueller, Sherry Yard, Ewald Notter, John Kraus, Scott Green, Marina Sousa, Josh Johnson, James Rosselle, Della Gossett, Keegan Gerhard, Lisa Bailey, Yvan Valentin, and Mike McCarey. Kraus, Green and Johnson are all part of Team USA, competing for the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon, France, January 2015. And Sousa, Rosselle and McCarey are of course, very well known to the cake community.

Unveiled at the block party on Rodeo Drive on April 27, the cake stood approximately 10-feet high, 15-feet wide, 20-feet long, and weighed approximately 4,000 pounds. Marina Sousa, Mike McCarey and James Roselle were kind enought to answer a quick Q&A on the experience.

ACD: Can you tell us a little about how you got involved in this project

MS: Donald Wressel asked me to be a part of the event a few months ago when I stored a cake in his refrigerator for a Los Angeles cake delivery I was doing. We got the cake all settled in the fridge and he said "if you have a minute I'd like to show you something" He pulled out some drawings and that was that!

MM: I’ve known Donald Wressell for the past 10 years. He is one of the most respected and accomplished pastry chefs in the country and for assistance with the BH100 cake he sought out individuals that specialized in the different aspects that make up this type of massive project. For me, that meant specific building details, based on my past experience on making accurate, to-scale architectural cakes.

ACD: Wha specifically was your role in the design and production of the cake?

MS: Development wise it was really all Donald! I certainly tried to provide alternate views on some things. It's really interesting, the different approaches a pastry chef and a cake designer have. I just tried to point out things that I thought could save time!

Donald asked James Rosselle and I to focus on the "shopping bags/buildings" that lined Rodeo Drive which lead up to City Hall.

JR: The shared role Marina Sousa and I had was to work on the decor for the bags. The bags were to look like building fronts from the side and shopping bags from the front. The thought behind this was to recreate Rodeo Drive shops to look like shopping bags. Each bag was embossed and painted by hand. No bag looked alike. I also made large diamond rings and large jewels for the bags. The whimsy of the bags brought the cake to life with color.

MM: Donald needed help with the ornate details that happen around windows, doors and at the tops of walls. My biggest contribution was making the cupola and dome that topped the tower. For the other details, I sculpted masters of each ornamental part of the building and from those, I made flexible molds. These molds allowed Donald and his team in Los Angeles to create all the trim and other parts they needed to apply to the building as they worked.

ACD: What was the trickiest/most nerve-wracking aspect of the project?

MS: I think it had to be the morning of the event. Just waiting to make sure everything was going to fit together- but really I never questioned it. In addition to being an extraordinary pastry chef, Donald is an extraordinary craftsman. He built the structure and designed every detail so it just all slid into place. The only reason things went so smoothly was because if his planning.

JR: Transporting each and every individual piece from the Guittard chocolate studio to the luxe hotel. I made several trips to the hotel and every trip was just as tricky because of the fragile items. There was a room designated for the cake. Can you believe a cake had it's own room at the luxe hotel with three room keys just to get access? An experience to remember.

MM: The aspect of the project that worried me most was when I shipped the finished cupola 5 days before the event.  It was 3 feet high, and had to go on a specific flight, due to cargo door limitations.  The airline failed to put it on its scheduled, once a week flight, so we had to get creative and reroute its trip through San Francisco to find a plane with a big enough door.

ACD: How did you and the rest of the team work together?

MS: Donald brought in chefs (friends) from all over the country. People came in for a few days at a time to do preliminary work and then everyone came back together for the event itself. It was really one of those rare professional moments that felt a little magical! Everyone who was there was extraordinarily talented and highly recognized- but you'd never know it. When it came down to serving the cake everyone was happily in the trenches cutting 15,000 pieces of cake!

It was really one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.

ACD: How long was did the planning and production take?

MS: Altogether it took about seven months, with Donald working on it practically full time. I drove down to LA a couple of weeks before the event and worked on the cake for a few days and then came back a couple days before the event.

JR: I spent several weeks on the bags, magnolias and large jewels for the cake. The bags were various sizes ranging from 24"x22"x14" to give you an idea of the scale.

MM: The mold creation process took about 2 weeks and I spent 3 days making the cupola.  Donald would send me his to-scale basic structure drawings and the photos he took of the building details.  From there, I produced each part and mold, paying strict attention to the dimensions in the drawings, so what I sent from Seattle would line up with what they were doing in Los Angeles.

ACD: Why did you decide to participate?

MS: Because Donald asked :) He is one of those people who is always there and doing things for everyone else and it was really a pleasure to be able to help him out in a small way.

JR: I participated because Donald is a great chef and person. I was happy to help out Donald and work on the cake. This was going to be an experience that would not soon be forgotten. Working with the talented chefs that were involved in the project was worthwhile.

ACD: What's your top memory from the experience?

MS: There are so many! But if I had to pick one it would be being in the middle of Rodeo Drive airbrushing! Donald had built out a kitchen for us to do all the finishing touches. Chefs were pulling sugar palm leaves, melting chocolate and cutting cake that was stored in a refrigerated truck--all in the middle of Rodeo Drive. It was kinda crazy!

JR: My top memory from the cake (aside from how amazing the finished cake looked) was the deconstruction of the cake. Pulling the cake apart, piece by piece was fun. Mike McCarey, his daughter Olivia and I had fun pulling sheet cakes from the structure to the cutting stations. By the end of the evening our arms were covered in cake and buttercream. A tasty mess if you ask me.

MM: The finest moment,when our “team” really all came together was on Sunday, when all the separate elements that so many different people had a hand in, came together to form Donald’s single vision.  Of course, due to Donald’s master planning ninja skills, the assembly was perfect.

The team also rose to the occasion when it came to taking Donald’s vision apart and serving it.  It was all hands on deck with 50,000 people in attendance and over 15,000 servings were handed out.  To say it was crazy would be an understatement.  People get a little nuts when free cake is involved. On a side note, this was a special trip for me, because my 12 year old daughter came to help and hang out on Rodeo Drive.  It was a bonding time for us and I was one proud papa as I heard compliments and praise given to how hard she worked and how helpful she was during the whole process.  Of course, we fit in as many side trips as LA traffic would allow.

ACD: What would be your advice to a cake designer thinking about getting involved in a project like this for the first time?

MS: I love collaboration of any kind so this was right up my alley. Advice? I'd just say to make sure you go into it with the end result in mind and check your ego at the door. There is a comradery among pastry chefs that has a very different feel than the cake world that I really enjoy. Cake feels more competitive. There's nothing more fun than a group of like minded people working towards a common goal. It was really awesome not to be in charge and just focus on making things look beautiful.

Learn more:
Marina’s Facebook page
Marina’s Instagram
Mike’s Facebook page
Jame’s Facebook page
Jame’s Twitter


Cake Design: Italian Style
Highlights from Milan
As part of our research into international cake design for the May/June issue, we asked Kathleen Lange for some recommendations, as she taught in several European cities throughout the second half of 2013. One of her teaching hosts was Silovoglio Kitchen in Milan, a full-service cake decorating academy that had just opened in Feburary of that year. (Seriously, take a look at some of the photos online...who wouldn’t want to take a class in such a beautiful location!)

The Silovoglio team also produces Cake Festival, a rapidly growing cake show that’s committed to bringing the art of cake decorating to a broader audience. There are two shows planned for 2014–in Rome on May 31-June 2 and in Milan October 4-5. If any ACD readers are going to be in either cities during those dates—let us know.
Here are some photos from the most recent Cake Festival, in October 2013, as an example of what to expect!


















Paris Pastry Tour
Easter Treats

When we left Paris in early March, most pastry chef and chocolatiers were only beginning their preparations for Easter. But here are some examples of both some current, Easter 2014 creations, as well as looks from previous years.

Café Pouchkine: Chickens in white, dark and milk chocolate that open to reveal even more treats inside.



Café Pouchkine: Elegant metallic luster eggs.


While the “Easter Bunny” is gaining popularity in France, the hen is the more traditional figure for delivering Easter treats. This version was dubbed Hélène.


Dalloyau: Whimical chocolate eggs.


Dalloyau: An lovely robin’s-egg blue surrounded by sugar birds and a striking gold honeycomb.


Hediard: Renaissance inspiration


Jardis et Gourmande: Street art eggs, love the spray paint!



Jean Charles Rochoux: Squirrels and hedgehogs



Patrick Roger: Hens in different styles from three different years.


Le Burgandy: An abstract bunny family on chocolate grass.



La Maison du Chocolat: A chocolate pastry workshop that’s a family affair.


Hotel Shangr-La: A stacking chocolate egg, with each disk flavored differently.


Paris Pastry Tour:
Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Cream

via Dorie Greenspan

One of the most amazing aspects to Pierre Hermé’s lemon desserts that were the specialties in his Paris shops earlier this month is this amazing lemon cream (curd) that is used as the filling in his tart au citron. It also shows up in some way, shape or form in other items such as the macaron, the lemon buche, a lemony cheesecake, etc.



And this is what is extraordinary about the PH lemon cream, according to Dorie:

It has all of the ingredients you find in a traditional lemon curd, but the way you make it changes the cream's texture—Pierre's lemon cream is tangier, lemonier and, I think, lighter on the tongue, than traditional lemon curd. The secret is in the way the butter is added. In a curd, all the ingredients, including the butter, go into a pot and you cook, cook, cook and stir, stir and stir and then, when the mixture cools, it's curd. With Pierre Herme's lemon cream, you cook and stir everything—except the butter—then, when the ingredients have thickened, you put them into a food processor or blender, let them cool a bit, then whir in the butter and keep whirring. Essentially, you make an emulsion. And, because the butter doesn't melt and re-firm, as it does with curd, the lemon cream is silky, luxurious and yes, extraordinary”

Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Cream
1 c sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
21 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

1) Have a thermometer, preferably an instant-read, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at the ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

2) Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.

3) Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180°F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

4) As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.

5) Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

6) Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 4 hours or overnight. When you are ready to construct the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into a prepared tart shell
.


Last Bite: ACD March/April 14
Janice Wong’s Cassis Plum Dessert

Dissatisfied with how desserts were never the highlight of a meal, Chef Janice Wong actively sought to change this perception with the opening of 2am: dessertbar in 2007. Her never ending passion for culinary art has propelled her forward to test the limits of dessert making, including constantly blurring the boundaries between sweet and savory. Ultimately, Chef Janice Wong maintains a distinctly Asian identity through the incorporation of ingredients and childhood memories from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The creations plated at 2am:dessertbar are sweet treats to be savored, particularly when matched with specialty wine-pairings.

Cassis Ball (makes 15-20)
10g (.35oz) gelatin
300ml (10.14oz) water
200g (7oz) white chocolate
400g (14oz) cassis puree
4g (.14oz) xanthan

1) Heat puree, water and bloomed gelatin in a pot until gelatin has dissolved.
2) Add xanthan and blend until smooth
3) Melt the white chocolate and combine with rest of ingredients. Sieve well.
4) Place all ingredients into siphon and charge with two cream chargers
5) Pipe into sphere molds and freeze

Umeshu Jelly
200g (7oz) choya shiso (plum liquer)
280ml (9.5oz) water
8g (.28oz) gelatin

1) Combine all ingredients over medium heat
2) Sieve well and reserve in a chilled environment

Teriyaki Sauce with Bamboo Shoot Pastilles
200g (7oz) bamboo shoots
200ml (6.75oz) soy sauce
50g (1.7oz) brown sugar
50ml (1.7oz) mirin
10g (.35oz) grated ginger

1) Combine all ingredients except bamboo shoots over medium heat and stir until incorporated
2) Sieve well. Dice the bamboo shoots in the marinade for 24 hours in a chilled environment.
3) Sieve well and reserve bamboo
4) Dehydrate the bamboo at 60C/140F for four hours. Coat in granulated sugar after first hour.
5) Reserve at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use.

To Plate:
Carefully crack the top of a Cassis Ball and fill with the Umeshu Jelly. Decorate plate with the bamboo shoots and some Umeshu Jelly glaze.


European Pastry Cup Champions
Winning Looks from The U.K. Pastry Team
Inspired by “The Lion King”

The U.K. team of Barry Johnson of Rococo Chocolate and Nicholas Belorgey, a teaching chef at Le Cordon Bleu in London, took first place in the European Pastry Cup, with a series of desserts inspired by The Lion King. The two had only three months to train together for the competition.
The plated “Circle of Life” dessert combines chocolate, raspberry and lemon flavors.

The sugar showpiece featuring Zazu, and holding a version of the team’s tropical-influence cake, shown right.


The chocolate showpiece based on the concept of Simba as a man, holding one of the team’s plated desserts.


Last Bite: ACD Jan/Feb 14
Nate Winner’s Chocolate Chess Pie

Nate Winner, a graduate of the French Pastry School, has made a name for himself as the NOLA Pie Guy. Combining appearances at local markets, food-truck rallies and other foodie pop-ups, along with an online presence, Nate has developed a thriving business in New Orleans, delivering freshly-baked pies to local addresses. For his online store, he partnered with Good Eggs, a San Francisco-based business that provides a platform connecting local food vendors with buyers in their market. Currently Good Eggs is operating in San Franscisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York.

“The Good Eggs platform has allowed me to market my pies and build out the business easily.” said Winner. “I have even networked with bakers from other cities like San Francisco who have also used the Good Eggs platform to seek advice on how to increase sales.”

“I started NOLA Pie Guy because I wanted to combine two things that I love, Pie and New Orleans,” said Winner. “I always make sure to incorporate local products into my recipes as often as possible.” For example, his Chocolate Chess pie recipe, also known as his Dark n’ Stormy pie is made with Old New Orleans Rum’s three year Amber Rum and their Gingeroo, a spiced ginger beer, for the whipped cream.

Chocolate Chess Pie

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 ounces butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tblsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1/2 milk (or heavy cream)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1-2 tablespoons of rum)

1) Melt butter and chocolate.
2) Mix sugar, corn starch and salt.
3) Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla (or rum).
4) Combine chocolate and sugar mixture. Add milk mixture. Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.



Profile: ACD Jan/Feb 14
Icing Smiles stories from some the “Sugar Angels”

Anne Heap,
Pink Cake Box, Denville, NJ

“Bizzie's family probably had the largest impact on us at Pink Cake Box.  We created a birthday cake for the 3 1/2 year old after she
was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. She was a sweet happy little girl, and we were heartbroken when we learned she passed away just three months later.  When the family reached out to us to create a 7th birthday cake for her brother
passed away, we were more than
to the grieving family. Jeffery’s mot
I quote her directly as I can’t parap


Jeffrey, just weeks after Bizzie
happy to try and bring some sweets
her wrote us the most beautiful note.
hrase her words:

 “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the “most awesome cake EVER” (direct Jeffrey quote). As you may recall, my daughter Bizzie was the lucky recipient of a pinkalicious bday cake a few months back. Bizzie passed away on 1.15.11. Bizzie talked about her cake all the time, and even the day before she passed away was looking through pictures of that day pointing to the cake. It was a very special memory for her.

Jeffrey’s 7th birthday party was today. We did not want to cancel it, so amid all of the craziness in our house we managed to plan a party. Jeffrey is not easy to impress, but impress him you did. He was SO in awe that all four Hogwart’s houses were represented in detail on the crest. He’s been through a lot these past nine months. Thank you for helping to make this day so special.”

Bob Brougham,
The Cakery, Inc., North Aurora, IL

My first cake Icing Smiles cake was for Emilio, he wanted a Lego Star Wars cake. When they placed their order I knew immediately what I was going to do for him— standing characters with lit light sabers. The whole time i worked on the cake I was thinking about Emilio and his family .With three children of my own, I tried to imagine how hard it must be for his parents and siblings. 

I was so worried on pick up day—I into a sad event. When they arrived ran and hid around the corner of the thanked me dearly and off they went smiles, Icing Smiles. 

 

didn’t want to cry and and turn it Emilio was very shy and actually
shop. His mom thanked me
 This was not a day for tear, but for


Mayen Orido,
Way Beyond Cakes, Phoenix, AZ

My second Icing Smiles was for a
seven-year old boy, Jovani, who
had opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome, a very rare neurological disorder that occurs 1 in 10 million. He was in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center when I brought his cake over. Jovani was there with his whole family, his parents Evie and Henry and his big brother Armani. He was hooked up to his treatment treatment that day, and
the moment he saw his cake, his fa the world and he started to move ar

ce broke into the widest smile in
ound, forgetting he was hooked up.

This was my second Icing Smiles cake and it made me see how the cake can affect the entire family of the child who is sick. I saw, in eyes of Armani, who was only nine, the deep love of a brother who understands. All the attention and gifts were pouring in for his little brother and he was there handing it to him, hugging him. Icing Smiles also celebrated the siblings of the kids who are sick, and in that moment, I understood why. My husband Jim, who is a nurse, joined me for this delivery, and we were so happy he got to see this side of caking that is most important to me.

 

 


In My Kitchen: ACD Jan/Feb 14
John Krause of Pâtisserie 46

It may seem strange to some that a bakery owner should be as proud of his blast freezer as his is of his ovens, but these two videos of John Krause explaining how much his Irinox freezer can accomplish should change your mind.


By the Book: ACD Nov/Dec 13
François Payard’s Soufflé of Puff Pastry with Orange-Scented Pastry Cream, Candied Pecans and Caramel Butter Sauce

In the Nov/Dec issue of ACD, our By the Book column was on Payard Desserts, where many of the recipes are contemporary versions of French classics, such as this “Soufflé of Puff Pastry with Orange- Scented Pastry Cream, Candied Pecans and Caramel Butter Sauce.” We featured Chef Payard’s recipes for Puff Pastry and Pastry Cream, but here’s the full dessert those two components contribute to.

Chef Payard notes: “Daniel Boulud always had a preference for classic French desserts, so I developed this recipe for the lunch menu when I was pastry chef at Daniel. The dessert itself is very simple: We bake an undocked, thick round of puff pastry, letting it puff up high, and serve it hot, filled with Orange-Scented Pastry Cream and topped with a buttery caramel sauce and a few Candied Pecans. The puff pastry rounds should be baked à la minute, never ahead of time, though the dough can be rolled out and cut in advance, and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a day. Sometimes the best desserts are the simplest.”

Components
Orange-Scented Pastry Cream(see the Nov/Dec issue of ACD)
Caramel Butter Sauce
Candied Pecans
Puff Pastry Rounds (see the Nov/Dec issue of ACD)

Caramel Butter Sauce
1½ Tbsp (12 g/0.42 oz) cornstarch
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (500 g/17.6 oz) water
1 cup (225 g/8 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
2 Tbsp (30 g/1 oz) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp (15 g/0.5 oz) Myers’s dark rum

1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons (30 g/1 oz) of the water.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and remaining 2 cups (470 g/16.5 oz) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, whisking, for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, salt, and rum. Keep the sauce warm until serving, or refrigerate it, covered, and rewarm before serving.

Candied Pecans
1¼ cups (125 g/4.4 oz) pecan halves
¼ cup (60 g/2.1 oz) water
¼ cup (50 g/1.76 oz) granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the pecans in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, just until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup over the pecans and toss until combined. Spread the coated pecans on a half-sheet pan and bake for about 8 minutes, tossing once during baking, until browned and fragrant.

Puff Pastry Rounds
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a half-sheet pan with a silicone baking mat.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the puff pastry out to a thickness of ½ inch. Using a 3-inch round pastry cutter, cut out 10 rounds from the dough. Arrange the rounds on the prepared sheet pan and top with another silicone baking mat and half-sheet pan; this will allow the rounds to rise evenly. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rounds are browned and nicely puffed. Remove the top sheet pan and baking mat. Preheat the broiler and dust the rounds liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Place the rounds under the broiler until they are caramelized. Assemble the desserts immediately.

Assembly
While the Puff Pastry Rounds are still hot from the oven, split them in half. Scoop out any undercooked dough from the center of each half and pipe a generous amount of cold Orange-Scented Pastry Cream on the bottom half of the puff. Replace the top of the puff. Place the dessert on a plate and spoon some Caramel Butter Sauce on top of the warm pastry. Garnish with some Candied Pecans.


Apple & Passion Fruit Crumble

In the Sept/Oct issue of ACD, our Madelaine interview was with James Satterwhite, the executive pastry chef at the Charlotte Country Club, who mentions that two of his favorite flavors are apple and passion fruit. It turns out this is a very popular combination in the Southern Hemisphere with lots of recipes to choose from originating in New Zealand and Australia. Now that apples are coming into season here in the U.S. we thought it might be worth mixing up some of our old apple standbys with this Down Under flavor combo. And don't worry if you can't find fresh passion fruit...lots of the recipes we spotted included a note that canned or jarred pulp was a perfectly acceptable substitution.

The following recipe is taken from ....it pleases us an sister-in-law blogging team based in Melbourne, Australia. But go ahead and do a search on apple and passion fruit...you'll be amazed at all the variations that show up!

 

Apple & Passion Fruit Crumble
5 apples
3 passion fruits (or more to taste)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
100g/3.5 oz sugar
(optional, depending on how sweet you like your dessert and how sweet your apples are)
100g/3.5 oz rolled oats
(or your preferred crumble topping, if so, ignore this and the rest of the ingredients below)
100g/3.5 oz brown sugar
50g/1.8 oz flour
70g/2.5 oz butter
50g/1.8 oz macadamia , roughly chopped (optional or use any other nuts)

1) Preheat oven to 180C/350F

2) Core and roughly chop the apples

3) Place apples in a baking dish with lemon juice, lemon zest and passion fruit pulp. Add sugar to taste

4) Mixed the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and nuts for the topping, or use your own.

5) Spread the topping over fruit mixture

6) Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.

7) Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt.


Chef Hayden Groves Recipe Follow Up

We featured a recipe by Chef Hayden Groves, one of the finalists in the 2013 Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year competition, in our Sept/Oct issue, but didn’t have room to include his final two elements—the strawberry yogurt espuma and the selection of garnishes. So we’ve posted both of them here.

Strawberry Yoghurt Espuma
200g (7 oz) Strawberry puree
350g (12.3 oz) Greek yoghurt

Mix together and charge with one cylinder. Alternatively, a less long-lasting foam can be made with an immersion blender or whip.

 

Garnishes
1 Tbsp Fresh Origins Herb Crystals® Basil
50g Caramelized White chocolate chunks, with sea salt
Fraise des Bois, and coulis (optional)
Micro Basil
Dried strawberries
White chocolate for micro plane

1. On the panna cotta, position some dried strawberries and place a portion of sorbet.
2. Make a little pile of white chocolate chunks and place the croquant.
3. Embellish with random dashes of espuma, coulis and strawberries.
4. Finish with micro basil, grated white chocolate and the crystallized basil.


Xanthe Milton, owner of Cake Girl, developed a cult following in her Notting Hill neighborhood for her beautifully iced cupcakes. She ran basic and advanced piping workshops on all three days of the Cake International show. Limited to six people each session, the workshops were both training exercises and mini-competitions, with Xanthe choosing a winner from each time slot for a special prize. She shares her recipe for Red Velvet cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes

140g (5oz) All-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 fl. oz Buttermilk
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Red food coloring past
170g (6oz) Sugar
55g (2oz) Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F

2. Line your muffin or cupcake tray(s) with your choice of liners.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bow. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring together until blended.

4. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Ad the egg beating until well mixed. Beat in the flour mixture, a third at time, alternating with a third of the buttermilk mixture everything is well mixed.

5. Spoon or pour the mixture into the lined cups. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
110g (4oz) Cream cheese, room temperature
85g (3oz) Butter, room temperature
12oz Confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod
1 tsp Vanilla extract

1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla seeds and vanilla extract.

2. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a star nozzle (or the tip of your choice) and frost the cupcakes, starting from the outside and work towards the middle. Decorate with your choice of designs to complement your liners.


Ice Cream Cupcakes

In the May/June issue of American Cake Decorating, Carla Bruno of Carlas Cakes Online spoke about how her love of travel sparked the idea for ice cream cupcakes, as she sampled gelatos and ice creams at destinations around the world. She sent in her process and suggestions for flavors.

Ingredients:
12 cooked cupcakes
Your favorite ice cream
Any toppings (example: chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, chocolate chips, sprinkles, marshmallows, your favorite chocolate bar, peanuts, fresh berries etc)
A piping bag*
1M icing tip*
Carla notes: if you don’t have a piping bag or icing tip, you can use a zip lock bag and cut a small whole in the corner for piping.

1. Get your pre-cooked cupcakes and make sure they are completely cooled. Put the 1M tip into your piping bag and fill it with your favorite ice cream.

2. Pipe the ice cream onto the cupcake in a circular motion (as you would normally pipe icing).

3. Drizzle with some candy sauce, and top with your favorite toppings and immediately put into the freezer. Repeat steps 1-3 until all cupcakes are covered and topped. Freeze for about 4 hours or over night before serving.

Some great flavor combos from Carla:

Caramel Peanut Butter Crunch:
Vanilla Cupcake with Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream topped with some chocolate chips and Butterfinger Chocolate Bar with Caramel Drizzle.

Sweet Berry:
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Strawberries and Raspberries and Strawberry Drizzle.

Rainbow:
Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Smarties and Rainbow Sprinkles

S’mores:
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Ice Cream Topped with Chocolate Chips, Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Crumbs

Cherry Pie:
Vanilla Cupcake with Cherry Ice Cream topped with Cherries and Graham Crackers

Melting Cheesecake:
Chocolate Cupcake with Strawberry Cheesecake Ice cream topped with fresh Strawberries and Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce.

Cookies and Cream:
Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Chopped Cookies and Cookie Crumbs.

Rocky Road:
Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ice Cream topped with Marshmallow, Chocolate Chips, Walnuts and Chocolate Sauce



Jo Malone London has released five new limited edition scents based on popular English desserts. Known her balance of gourmand scents in her fragrances, these are the first to explicity evoke certain flavors, but even so, none of them are overly sweet or cloying. Check out all five scents from her Sugar and Spice collection and get the scoop from pastry chef (and creator of Estella Cupcakes) Natalie Estella Seldon on how to make these tasty treats. We’ve shown her Lemon Tart recipe below.

Lemon Meringue Tart
Makes 6 tarts

INGREDIENTS:
1 and 2/3 cup sweet shortbread pastry (recipe not included)
14 ounces lemon curd (recipe not included)
3 egg whites
2/3 cups refined sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 small lemon, cut into four wedges
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry to 1/8 inch thick and line mini tartlet tins. Trim excess off by using a rolling pin over the top, then allow to chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Line the crust with baking paper and fill with pastry weights. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove weights and paper, then cook for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden. Spoon in lemon curd to fill the tart cases and return to the oven to cook for a further 6-8 minutes or until the filling is just set. 

Meanwhile, make the meringue by placing egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time — whisking between each addition — being careful not to over beat. Whisk in the cornstarch, then add the remaining sugar as before until smooth and thick. When the tarts are ready, remove from the oven and, using either a piping bag or a spoon, place the meringue at the center of each tart (either as a piping swirl or peaks). Before serving, add a slice of lemon and a dusting of powdered sugar. Best eaten on the same day.


Derek Aimonetto of Sweet Life Bakery in Madison, WI, worked with us on a vanilla article for the March/April issue. He developed two recipes that uses layers of vanillas in different ways. For his Vanilla Cheesecake Indulgence, you’ll need to check out page 42, but we’ve shared his variations on beignets below.

Vanilla Beignets
Makes 24-30 beignets

INGREDIENTS:
2 c whole milk
1 large egg
3 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp baking powder
6 c vegetable oil
½ c vanilla sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, vanilla extract, and sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined and until the sugar is completely dissolved. In another bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder—stir together. One cup at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until the batter is smooth after each addition. Prepare a separate bowl with the vanilla sugar.

In a heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Carefully spoon the batter into the hot oil, cooking three beignets at a time. Test the temperature of the oil frequently to ensure it stays between 350 and 360 degrees, adjusting the burner to compensate for variations in the heat. Gently roll the beignets while they cook to achieve a golden brown color, approximately four to five minutes. Remove the beignets from the oil and drain briefly on a paper towel. While still hot, roll each beignet in the vanilla sugar until coated. Let rest for one to two minutes. Serve warm.


Charred Orange Sorbet with Warm Rum Sauce & Spiced Cookie Bars

From the 2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast, as detailed in the January 2013 issue of Slice, comes this light, but richly flavored dessert.
Prep Time: 30 minutes • Cook Time: 45 minutes • Refrigerate: 2 hours • Freeze: Overnight • Makes 16 servings.

CHARRED ORANGE SORBET:
1 seedless orange
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 cup Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
1/2 cup half-and-half

SPICED COOKIE BARS:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons black rum
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

RUM SAUCE:
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons black rum


DIRECTIONS:

1. For the Charred Orange Sorbet, grate orange peel. Set aside. Remove white pith from orange. Cut orange crosswise into 6 slices. Place on foil-lined baking pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly charred. Cool orange slices then coarsely chop.

2. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar and reserved grated peel in blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until well mixed. Add orange juice, coconut milk and half-and-half. Blend until sugar is dissolved. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in chopped orange.

3. Refrigerate 2 hours or until well chilled. Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

4. For the Spiced Cookie Bars, mix flour and allspice in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, rum and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Spread in greased foil-lined 8-inch square baking pan.

5. Bake in preheated 375°F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 4 squares then cut each square crosswise into 4 triangles.

6.  For the Rum Sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Place orange sections in skillet. Sprinkle sugar around oranges. Cook 10 minutes or until sugar begins to caramelize, gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add orange juice and rum. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Serve Spiced Cookie Bar with a small scoop of Charred Orange Sorbet and drizzle with warm Rum Sauce.











 





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