Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Foodportunity a Delicious Success

November 5, 2009

Monday evening my family and I attend Foodportunity in Seattle at the Palace Ballroom.  We had sooo much fun as we sampled, schmoozed and snapped our way around the ballroom!  And now I have sooo much to blog about!  

Of course I started with the spirits.  Here’s Mark Newton of DiStefano:

I tasted Domenica, a Bordeaux style Merlot-Cab blend.  I’m not usually one for strong reds, but this well-balanced red wasn’t overly tannic (as Washington wines usually are) and it’s full-bodied taste was matched by an alcohol content that didn’t pull its punches either.

Next was the highlight of the event, for me, anyway.  Cupcakes from Wink!

This red velvet with cream cheese was the. best. cupcake. i’ve. ever. had.

Did I mention Tom Douglas was there?  It is his palace, after all:

My son and husband’s favorite food of the night was Farro Fries with Duck Egg Aioli at the Bluebird Grain Farms and Emmer and Rye booth.  Farro, also known as emmer, is a type of wheat mainly grown in mountainous areas.  It was prepared polenta style and then toasted on the grill.  I have some emmer to try and some notes on this preparation, so I’ll let you all know how it turns out when I try it myself. 

Beecher’s Cheese also had a really interesting dish they were serving.  It was hominy and poblano smothered in their flagship cheese sauce.  I found the recipe for flagship cheese sauce  and their signature mac ‘n cheese on the Seattle PI website.  The texture of the hominy was very similar to potatoes, so I didn’t believe it at first and had to go back for seconds.  : )

Foodportunity had such a diversity of people from the food industry.  There were food photographers and videographers, restaurant owners, grocers, farmers, makers of food products and accesories and bloggers.  I even got to meet Robin Leventhal from this season of Top Chef!  I have some crackers from Fieri (same makers as Croccantini) I’ll be reviewing soon as well as restaurants and spirits to try out.  If you’re really into food and didn’t make this event, I highly suggest you mark your calendar for the next Foodportunity!


Whipped, Layered and Glazed: Twenty-one Cakes

August 12, 2009

Dessert heaven. During my trip to Germany last month, I attended the wedding of friends who had 21 cakes at their reception.  The more amazing thing is that the groom’s mother made ten of them. What a phenomenal woman. The funny thing is she kept insisting that she wasn’t a professional baker. Whatever. I’m going to try to interview her for the blog, but in the meantime and without further ado here are the photos.


Bûche de Noël: My favorite cake of all time made in the traditional way with Genoise rolled with espresso buttercream.

How did I miss this one?

Just as beautiful on the inside:

Oh yeah, and then they served dessert.  Raspberries and strawberries in Quark with white chocolate leaf:

A blessed union:

Sunshine Lemon Cake

June 22, 2009

Sunshine Cake 1

Sunshine Cake 2

Here is a sunny dairy-free cake I made for my friend’s birthday.  I used Bob’s Red Mill lemon poppy seed cake mix, the icing recipe from the back of the packet, and garnished with fresh lemon slices in the shape of a sunshine.  It’s a whole-grain mix, but still lighter in texture than most from-scratch recipes.  Here’s the lemon glaze recipe (I subbed Earth Balance DF Margarine for the butter):

“Whisk together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp. melted butter, and 3 Tbsp. lemon juice.  Pour glaze over cake immediately.”

What’s the filling?  Ha, ha.  Well, I thought I could use a vanilla pudding mix with rice milk and just add some lemon juice and zest.  I use rice milk with this brand (Dr. Oetker’s) of chocolate pudding all the time and it comes out fine, but the vanilla pudding wouldn’t set.  Not having enough time to run to the store for ingredients for another filling, I just added gelatin.  It worked  out okay – although I wouldn’t do it again – and made for a very jiggly cake!

Safari Cake

February 4, 2009

Safari Cake

We celebrated my niece’s eighth birthday at the Rainforest Cafe, so I thought a safari cake would be appropriate.  There wasn’t much time to make it since my in-laws were in town, so I did a simple chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and Wilton animal figures.  The sides are dusted with cocoa powder using a powdered sugar shaker.  The tastiest part was the chocolate frosting I used for the writing.  I wish I had written down the exact recipe, but, like I said, I was in a hurry.  It went something like this though:  Lots of powdered sugar, lots of butter, lots of cocoa powder and a little milk and vanilla extract.  

Haley was so delighted at the ambiance of the Rainforest Cafe, where you sit among the trees and mechanical swinging apes and every few minutes there are “thunderstorms”.  They even put a sparkler in the cake for her.  The food is overpriced, but I felt it was worth it.  We had fun.

Hello Kitty Cake

July 15, 2008

This Hello Kitty cake was for my niece’s 7th birthday. I was so excited when I heard she wanted a Hello Kitty theme, because I thought it would be super fun to do and it was!

To make the cake I followed instructions and used a template from DLTK’s craft page. The template basically just gave me a guideline for cutting the oval for the head and triangle ears. On top of the chocolate cake that I cut out, I spread chocolate frosting. Then I used Wilton fondant to cover the frosting. I’ve actually been wanting to try a recipe from one of my cake decorating books for the fondant, because the Wilton one doesn’t taste good, but the home-made version isn’t pure white, which was important for the kitty. Decorating the fondant was the fun part. I used sour candy ribbon for the bow, jelly bean eyes and licorice whiskers. Fun, fun, fun! I attached the candies with royal icing (A.K.A. Baker’s glue). I highly recommend this cake for a first sculpted and fondant cake. It was my first and it was so quick and easy to put together. Thanks so much to DLTK for the ideas!!

(A note about the photo: The shot is skewed a bit. The eyes and nose were actually further down than they look in this picture, which is accurate for Hello Kitty.)

Hello Kitty Cake

Chocolate Log Cake with Fantastic Chocolate Filling

July 15, 2008

This is a cake I made the other night to take to a friend’s house for dinner. It was super simple and super quick. My husband didn’t think I’d even get it done in time, but because it is baked thin on a jelly roll pan it cooks fast and cools just as quickly. It helped that I had a fantastic box mix on hand – Dr. Oetker Organics. (I’m still looking for a light, fluffy recipe for making chocolate cake from scratch! Please let me know if you have one!)

After the cake cooled, I spread chocolate frosting across the entire top, sprinkled chocolate pieces on, and rolled it up using the parchment paper I lined the pan with before cooking. What you see in the picture is only about half of the cake. I cut off each side at an angle to make a nice log shape. I then poured chocolate icing on the top (using the recipe I used for the petit fours, below), sprinkled with cocoa and decorated with chocolate pieces. This was really the best tasting chocolate cake I have had in a very long time.

Here’s the frosting recipe that I filled the cake with. It’s from the back of a Bob’s Red Mill cake mix package:

– 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

– 3 cups powdered sugar

– 1/2 cup earth balance butter

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/3 cup rice milk
Microwave chocolate in small microwavable bowl until melted. Cool 10 minutes. Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in melted chocolate until well blended. Immediately frost cake. Frosting will begin to set up after about 15 minutes.

Chocolate Log Cake Top

Chocolate Log Cake Front

Petit Fours for Christmas

July 15, 2008

These are the petit fours I made to take to Christmas dinner at my parents’ places. What I thought was really nice about them was the fillings. I made a cashew filling for the chocolate cakes by soaking a cup of the cashews in water overnight, then draining them, adding 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and mixing in the food processor. I did a similar thing with the almond filling for the lemon poppy seed cakes, but with more sugar proportionally and using a mix of powdered and white granulated sugars. I think I added vanilla flavor as well. The leftover almond filling was fantastic in croissants the next morning.

I used Bob’s Red Mill cake mixes for both. The nice thing about Bob’s mixes are that they’re mostly whole grain and still quite tasty. I don’t think anyone noticed a difference once they were filled with nut spreads and covered in icing. The toppings were a really nice lemon glaze and a chocolate icing. I got the lemon glaze recipe off the back of the cake mix package. The chocolate icing was great. Here’s how I made it:

Melt 2 T earth balance butter and 2 T semi-sweet chocolate pieces together.
Add powdered sugar and rice milk until you reach the desired consistency and sweetness.
I think I used about a cup of sugar and a quarter cup of milk.

The peppermint petit fours were frosted with a Wilton recipe royal icing and then dipped in crushed candy canes.

Lemmon Poppy Seed Petit Fours Top

Lemmon Poppy Seed Petit Fours Top Close

Peppermint and Chocolate Petit Fours Front

Peppermint and Chocolate Petit Fours Top

Yellow Audi Cake

July 15, 2008

Here are some pictures of the cake I made for my husband’s birthday. It is an ode to his beloved horseless S4 carriage. The cake is chocolate with a raspberry coulis and whipped cream filling (recipe: whip cream then mix in raspberry coulis and enough gelatin to give body, cool to set). The frosting is typical Wilton method. Both the rings and the “30″ are cut from fondant and painted with silver food powder mixed with raspberry vodka. It smelled so fantastic while I was painting!

Audi Cake Top

Audi Cake Side

Audi Cake Top at Dinner

Audi Cake Side at Dinner

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Cake

July 15, 2008

Here is the ice cream cake I made for Louise’s baby shower. It is chocolate with Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream and no-butter icing. I learned a ton while doing this one. Putting the cake together was actually very easy. Malissa made the cake, cut it in half and gave it to me. I lined the bread pan it was made in with plastic wrap, leveled the top of the cake off and put the bottom in the pan. Then I put the ice cream which had been sitting in the fridge for a while into a bowl and stirred it until it was smooth (1 & 1/2 pints). I spread the ice cream over the first layer, added the top and squished it down. I then froze the cake overnight.

Decorating was where it got difficult. Most recipes online say to decorate with ice cream. I didn’t know why, so I used regular frosting, which I thought would be easier to work with. So I put the icing on top, which looked great and proceeded to ice the sides. Then came the avalanche. All the icing on the sides slid down to the counter. Great. So, apparently frosting doesn’t stick to ice cream. Lesson learned and no frosted sides for this cake.

Were I to do this again I would also find a deep freezer to keep it in. I was only able to have it out of the freezer for a few minutes at a time before it would melt, but at Malissa’s house, where she has a proper freezer, after two hours in there it could then be left out for 20 minutes before melting.

Ice Cream Cake Top

Ice Cream Cake Side

Giant Cupcake

July 15, 2008


Here is the giant cupcake I made for Anna’s 1st birthday last week. The mold was a cake pan Anna’s mom, Malissa, found online. It was two pieces – one for the top, one for the bottom and served about 12 people. It was a really fun one to decorate. I made a filling from raspberries and cream. To do this, I made a coulis, added a handful of berries, whipping cream and a partial packet of geletin and cooked for a few minutes. Then I chilled it for an hour, whipped it up, and put it in the cake. I added too much gelatin, but other than that it was excellent.

You can buy the cupcake pan at Target or Sur la Table. Click the Sur la Table link for pics of professionally decorated giant cupcakes. I wish I’d seen those before I made mine.

Update April 4, 2009:  You can also buy this pan at Amazon: