Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts

Friday, October 22, 2010

Carnish Culture: It's a.. Cake!

The Making of a lifesize Baby Cake for sculpted cake competition, Cake 2006 at NEC Birmingham, UK by Michelle Wibowo. Michelle Sugar Art

Monday, August 9, 2010

En Vitesse: A Florist's Sweet Tooth

My friend Brooke might be the most talented cake decorator.. ever. I've seen her create edible fondant Nike shoes, cassette tapes, sharks, crowns, vases, and even a woman's bust, but the 4-tiered cake she just finished for a friend's wedding is seriously one of the most tasteful and stunning works of art I've ever seen. Portland, take note! It doesn't get better than this.
Check out her food/craft blog Little Bird Big City and more cake art here

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gala Parfait: A Perfect Garden Party

It was a balmy summer day, and when I descended the steps -arms overflowing- to my friends' magical new residence in the Los Feliz hills, everything was already perfectly in place for the day's garden party. J. Marie arranged a lush bouquet of fresh-cut flowers in the open-air kitchen while Davey poured ice into a metal tub. Jasmine pinned flowers into her hair. You could hear the soft wind breathing through wild reeds growing alongside the veranda, overlooking the pool. I took a deep breath, wiped the sweat from my forehead, and released my panic about everything left to do. How could I be anxious in a setting not unlike a secret cliff side retreat in tropical Mexico?
In planning a daytime summer garden party, first thing's first - what are we drinking? White sangria, obviously. And sparkling wine. Lots of sparkling wine. I whipped up this sangria and modestly displayed it in a beverage fountain.
I don't follow strict recipes when I make sangria and punches, but to prepare this I first soaked sliced white peaches, apricots, and a sprig of fresh mint overnight in peach schnapps. In a saucepan over medium heat combine 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice with 3/4 cup water, a can of lemonade concentrate, and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved, pour through a sieve to remove zest and let cool. In a pitcher, large bowl, or fountain combine 3 bottles of dry white wine with the syrup and about half a bottle of peach schnapps. Stir to combine and finally add the soaked fruit. Garnish with sprigs of mint.
What made this garden party a little bit unique is that the hosts are vegan. Not all of the guests were, but since we were also celebrating a birthday (of one of the vegan folk), everyone did their best to have fun with it and provide a garden party dish all could enjoy.
I found the recipe for these gorgeous open-faced Cucumber Tea Sandwiches at Vegan Yum Yum, but added my own twist of chopped fresh sage mixed into the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese. A vegetable peeler made lovely thin strips of Cucumber to overlay. I garnished with Italian parsley, fresh cracked pepper and pink salt.
The always-fabulous Nicolette showed up with these stunning Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Tomato Jam(!). The recipe (from David Lebovitz) is not vegan but was easily adapted. Get it here!
I was impressed by all of the guest's contributions as they arrived, it was truly a gorgeous spread...
Marinated tofu caprese bites.
Awesome Mediterranean quinoa salad.
Deceptive delicious vegan potato salad.
Totally not vegan potato salad.
The most time-consuming of my endeavors for the day was this complex but tasty Watermelon Gazpacho. But such an intriguing and balanced flavor profile! Get the refreshing sweet/salty/spicy recipe here - from Jason Fox of Commonwealth in San Francisco (posted by Tasting Table).
After a swim in the rain (didn't see that coming!) and a lot of refined outdoor revelry, it was time for cake.
My favorite of the day, the Olive Oil Cake with Blackberries recipe came from Jennifer Shelbo of Maialino in NYC (thanks Food & Wine for publishing this amazing recipe)! Was also made vegan with a few substitutions, and honestly was the best cake I've eaten in years. J. Marie decided to reconfigure it as a layer cake, and used the tart olive oil and berry topping as a layer in the middle, then whipped up a simple icing, decorating with leftover blackberries and zest. Beautiful! A must try!
Last but not least, I broke in my brand new Cuisinart classic ice cream maker with a Lemon Basil Sorbet. Originally intended to be a "float" with sparkling wine, the sorbet ended up accompanying the cake, and was a fine herbal compliment. Get that recipe here.
(One thing about a lovely party, it can leave a pretty gorgeous mess).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Voyager Bien: Moto

I'm missing New York this week. Over the past few years a few Brooklyn joints have proven to be mainstays in my heart. One in particular is on my mind this blustery morning. Every visit, whether it's the first night in town or a quiet respite before heading back to the airport, Moto in Brooklyn is always on the agenda.
Nestled under the tracks of the JMZ train Hews stop, a hanging bicycle is nearly the only signage outside the narrow wedge-block corner café Moto. Entering through the curtain is like stepping into a Parisian-inspired 1930s speakeasy, a compacted jazz band often playing to one side, church pews and small marble tables lining the walls up to the tiny round bar. Candlelit crowds sip wine out of tumblers, snack on simple heartwarming plates like warm lentil salad, mussels, and pork ribs. But the real reason I continually return to Moto is for the last course. Armed with an espresso, glass of port, or a Black Velvet (Guinness and sparkling wine), I always order the famed date cake.
Visually akin to a giant cube of fresh gingerbread, the moist earthy cake is served warm anchored in a sticky pool of toffee caramel, topped with fresh whipped cream and a spring of mint. Even beside Moto's high scoring crème brulée (on record as my favorite dessert varietal) the date cake sparkles.
Don't be scared off by the occasional setback of a wait (and note: Moto is cash only), because once you get nestled into your seat and take your first bit of cake the pleasure of your night will be just beginning...

394 Broadway (between Hooper St & Keap St) South Williamsburg, NY; 718.599.6895
Moto on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 21, 2009

En Vitesse: Bring on the Beets!

Wow! I got my first photo from someone who recreated a Recettes Secrètes from Chocomeat! So cool! This is Kristin Smith's Beet Cake. Yum.. Those owls love it!
Send me your photos too, OK?!?

Photo by Kristin Smith

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Beet Cake!

I wanted to bake my best friend a special and unique cake for his birthday. When I heard about curious beet cake, I thought "I have no idea how that will turn out but YES that's IT!" I was not disappointed! For lovers of carrot cake and zuccini bread - but slightly more sublime, and accessible for straight cake-lovers and well. The beets add moisture and depth of flavor (though not the expected red hue - that bakes out into a mellow gold color). Beware: the orange zest flecked cream cheese frosting is good enough to eat with a spoon!

Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound beets (or 2 boxes of peeled baby beets from TJs)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, chilled
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, peel beets using a vegetable peeler. Grate beets, using the large holes of a grater (I used my food processor with grate blade), to measure 2 cups.
Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add beets; beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool cake completely on wire racks.To prepare frosting, beat orange rind, vanilla, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of cake if desired. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Beet Icing
(I whipped up a small batch of this for decorating)

1 cup powdered white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons beet juice (reserve from package, or grate one medium raw beet into coarse shreds and then squeeze out juice with your fist.)

Mix together the sugar, butter, and salt. Add the vanilla. Then beat in the beet juice, adding a little at a time, until desired color and consistency is reached.

Decorate, display and serve proudly!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

En Vitesse: Tasty Trompe-l'œil

So I've know for some years now that my good friend Brooke is a very very talented cake decorater and all-around taste maiven. But when I saw this recent 50-person-feeding chinese vase cake I literally lost my breath. Thank goodness she has her new blog littlebirdbigcity to document all her various creative projects. From knittery to marzipan, expect to be impressed, and learn a thing or two as well.