When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Daring Bakers’: Fresh Fraisiers July 27, 2011

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I was actually really excited to make this recipe because 1) it is pretty and 2) I have the Tartine Cookbook and have been wanting to make something out of it for awhile 🙂  I decided to make this recipe over a two day period.  I was going to space everything out, but once I got started making the base components (which was easy) it didn’t take me long to complete it.

All of the base components are pretty straight forward to make: Sugar Syrup, Pastry Cream, and Chiffon Cake.  The only thing that would seem different is that you make the pastry cream in advance, but you wait to finish it (add the gelatin and the whipped cream) until you are ready to assemble your fraisier.  I say this because you want the pastry cream filling to firm up after you put the fraiser together and not before because the consistency of the filling would not be the same.

I also don’t advise using all of the cake.  The cake for the recipe baked up so high that I knew it wouldn’t fit in my mold and the proportions of cake to filling would be completely off.  To fix this I sliced the cake into thirds and only used the bottom and middle slices.  I saved the top for a snack 🙂

On day two, I assembled the fraisier.

While assembling the fraisier, I had some concerns about using almond paste for the topping because of the high content of almonds, the oils in the paste would break down when being handled.  Which is what ended up happening while I was mixing red coloring into the paste.  I would recommend using marzipan for this, the only difference between the two products is that the marzipan has more sugar which makes it easier to form and roll out 🙂  I used the almond paste and it just didn’t look right on top of the cake.  I ended up pulling off the almond paste and rolling out white – vanilla fondant for the top, which made it look much more elegant.  You actually don’t have to do either, the cake looks just as pretty dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a strawberry.

As of typing this I have yet to unmold the Fraisier because we are taking it to my in-laws for dessert.  I plan on unmolding it there and taking pictures, which I will post tonight.  Hopefully nothing goes wrong and it turns out pretty :crosses fingers:

UPDATE: The Fraisier turned out great and everyone loved it 🙂

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Adventures in Wilton Cake Decorating: Fondant and Gum Paste Class 4 February 26, 2009

When life gives you lemons…

Don’t leave them in the fridge to get all moldy like I did.  Make a lemon cream tart or a cake; then everyone will be happy.

100_1983Yesterday I finished my final Wilton Cake Decorating Class, Fondant and Gum Paste.   Our instructor gave us a choice on which final cake that we wanted to do that was in the book.  At first I was going to do a square cake and make the colors black and white, but then I accidentally made an 8-inch round cake so I ended up picking another cake and decided not to change the colors.  The cake I made was a Red Velvet box cake mix.  I made a cream cheese icing filling and iced the cake in Vanilla Italian Buttercream and covered it with Fondant.

When we started off class, we all rolled out our fondant to cover our cakes.  This weeks I decided that I wasn’t going to make any of my fondant because I didn’t have time so I just used the Wilton pre-made stuff, even though it tastes like crap.  I rolled it out pretty thin because I was starting to see through it and I knew that it shouldn’t get any thinner.  I placed the fondant on my cake and started to work it around the cake and it started to tear.  I didn’t even pull on it or anything.  My instructor came up and told me it was rolled a little too thick.

CRAP.

I keep working with the fondant and it is going pretty well and then another side tears, and the fondant is starting to get hard.

What is going on?

Meanwhile, all the ladies at my table are having tear problems with their fondant, but the other 10 people in the class are doing just fine.  I think our table is cursed because alot of us didn’t have this much trouble covering our wedding cakes.

My instructor comes up in the middle of my disaster and feels the fondant (it started to get hard) and asks what I was using (Wilton).  I also tell her that it is a brand new package and I just opened it at the beginning of class.  She leaves and comes back with a free box of fondant for me because apparently I had a bad batch….grrr.

I finished covering my cake, tears and all.  I wasn’t too worried about all the imperfections because I knew that the handkerchiefs and the band around the bottom would cover most of the crappiness.

Our instructor went over how to make a favor box, inlays, and different borders.  Then we were to finish our cakes.  I actually finished my cake before class was over, but I had one more problem.  The instructions for my cake said that I needed to cut out 8 handkerchiefs .  When I was about to cut them out I realized I forgot my pastry wheel at home so I had to borrow someone elses.  For my entire table, one of us forgot something so we were actually sharing everything 🙂  I cut out the 8 and then start to place them on the cake…..

Well I actually needed 8.75 handkerchiefs.  I told my instructor and she asked if I cut out the right one (yes) and if my cake was the right size (yes).  So I added another one to the back of the cake so  you can’t see the crappiness of it 🙂  From then on it was easy sailing.  I put the favor box on top with the daisy and then I finished off the cake with the bottom border.

While taking pictures of my cake Theoden decided to watch and hope for a piece.

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There is a rumor going around that later this year there is going to be 3 more classes added to the Wilton Cake Decorating lineup, but no one knows what they are or when it is going to happen.  When the classes finally get announced, I will take a look at them to see if it is anything worth persuing.

 

The recipes that I promised February 2, 2009

100_1933Okay, so below is a list of the recipes that I used to make my tiered cake last week.  After tasting the cake with one of my friends, I ended up giving all of it to DrFaulken to take to a bunch of his friends at the comic book shop.  It turns out that they all really liked the cake.  So that made me happy.

In addition to the cake that was made.  I also took the left over cake from leveling the tops of both cakes and made mini cakes.  The leftover buttercream is currently residing in the freezer until I need it for another cake.  The leftover lemon cream was used to make mini tarts.  I used Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough recipe to make the crusts.  I then filled the bottom of each tart with raspberry puree and topped it with lemon cream.  When the cream had set I piped rosettes with the leftover raspberry buttercream. (more…)

 

Adventures in Wilton Cake Decorating Course 3 Class 4 Final January 29, 2009

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I finally finished the Wilton Course 3 class.  Next month, I start taking the fondant and gum paste class.  So I am not done yet, and rumor has it there will be two new classes coming out 🙂  I guess they really want my money 🙂

Final class went by pretty smoothly.  I didn’t random scream any cuss words 🙂

I have been preparing for this cake since Saturday/Sunday. (more…)

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Berry Surprise Cake January 20, 2009

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This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie was chosen by Mary Ann of  Meet Me in the Kitchen, she chose Dorie’s Berry Surprise Cake located on pages 273-275 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

For this cake I actually decided to kill two birds with one stone and use it as my cake for my Wilton Course 3 Class.  I ended up baking it in a 8 x 8 x 3 inch square pan.  The first cake didn’t rise enough so I baked a second cake and it rose enough for me to divide into two layers.  I brush each layer with the Chambord syrup and  I piped a buttercream border and then filled it in with the cream cheese filling and fresh raspberries.  I covered the cake in Italian Buttercream because I am boycotting the Wilton Buttercream because it is just not as good 🙂  I took the cake to class, covered it in fondant, decorated, took pictures, and then took the fondant off and decorated it all pretty in buttercream and raspberries.

I think the cake tasted great.  I am glad I didn’t add anymore sugar to the filling then the recipe called for because the buttercream made up for the sweetness.  The cake was awesome.  The only thing I would change is that I would have divided the top layer of cake into two layers to make it a four layer cake.  I think the top layer was just a little too thick.  It was actually the first cake that I baked that didn’t bake up high enough.

After

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Adventures in Wilton Cake Decorating Course 3 Class 2 January 16, 2009

100_1874This week we finally had the chance to play with fondant.  It wasn’t too bad.  Granted this was my first time covering a cake in fondant, I didn’t have too much trouble.  I had a stretch mark on two corners, but nothing a strategically placed flower couldn’t fix.  I did have some trouble with my black fondant.  Since I added cocoa powder to my black fondant before I added black coloring to it; it actually dried it out a little so I had to keep added shortening to it :/

Oh well, it ended up turning out okay.  For the class, I bought the Wilton fondant but it tastes extremely gross.  I have decided that for my final cake and any other I have to cover with fondant; that I am going to make my own.  Also, it will make it easier to make black fondant since I will just make chocolate fondant instead of white 🙂

In class we started to learn how to make fondant roses, but we ran out of time and only learned up to the rose bud.  It is actually pretty easy and very pretty.  I can’t wait to learn how to actually finish it.

The actually cake is the Berry Surprise Cake for Tuesdays with Dorie next week.  I am not going to write anything about the taste of the cake, but just remember this I took the fondant off the cake and redecorated it to make it look pretty.  It will look different when I post on Tuesday, but it is the same cake 🙂  The fondant came off perfectly it was awesome.

 

Buche de Noel aka Yule Log December 31, 2008

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After making the French Yule Log for the Daring Bakers’ December Challenge, I decided that I needed to make last Decembers Challenge too.  Which is the non frozen type of Yule Log.  I got all of my tools together and came up with a game plan.  I knew that this recipe was going to make a BIG log.  I decided to divide the log in half and ice one with Chocolate Buttercream and the other with the Coffee Buttercream that was recommended.  I filled both logs with a Chocolate Ganache that I lightened with Whipped Cream. (more…)