Archive for April 2010

So Sad

So I learned this week, as some of you might know that Brenda and Mary Maher owners of Cakegirls Chicago, featured on Amazing Wedding Cakes and many Food Network cake challenges, lost their bakery in a fire! Thankfully no one was hurt.  The fire broke out in an upstairs apartment early on March 29th.  The building was deemed a total loss later that day and was demolished.  From what I understand they lost just about everything!  Ohhh How devastating!!!

Mary and Brenda Maher

These Cakegirls do some awesome decorating and have been an inspiration to me not only artisitcally, but as business women.  Anyone who owns a small business knows the blood, sweat, and tears that go into gettting your name out there, and building a strong company.   Having to rebuild will certainly be a challenge for these very talented confectioners.

If you can go to  ther website and purchase a cake girls t-shirt, not only because you’ve always wanted one, but because the proceeds will go to help keep their staff members affloat while they regroup and rebuild.   Its good cake kharma.

4 comments April 10, 2010

Miracle on Ice

Lake Placid Olympic Arena

I spent this past weekend in Lake Placid, New York.  Famed for both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.   Lake Placid, population 2,800 would be a sleepy town if it weren’t for the Olympic training facilities, and Hockey Tournaments.  The mile high sky jumps can be seen towering over the winding highway as you make your way to the downtown strip of Mirror Lake (sister lake to Lake Placid).  There are tons of cute shops, restaurants and even if you aren’t a Hockey Fan you have to take a quick stroll through the famed “Miracle on Ice” hockey rink, otherwise known as the Herb Brooks Arena.

I find it funny that more than a few of my posts have to with sports because truth be told, I’m not athletic and I’m not someone you’ll tuned in to ESPN or any other sports channel for the most part, that is of course until it comes to hockey.

Love of hockey goes way back in my family to when my grandfather was a dashing young student in New York city.  He regularly went to see Rangers’ games at the Garden, for 25 cents, as he often bragged.  Whether or not you are a die hard sports fan, an occasional observer, or totally hate the fact that I’m tying yet another recipe to sports, everyone LOVES a good underdog story.

Herb Brooks Arena

Lake Placid was just the setting in 1980, when a young scrappy team of college hockey players took on the elite Soviet club on home ice.  If you haven’t seen the movie Miracle, I strongly suggest you Netflix it.  Its the perfect feel good flick.  Which brings me to the New York Rangers.  The big-hearted blue shirts, the team I love,  and for many seasons the underdogs…without the happy ending as of yet.  There were 54 long years between the last 2 Stanley Cups (1940, and 1994).  They have 4 total, which is embarassingly low for a talented team that is member of the Original Six.  (The Rangers, Blackhawks, Maple Leaves, Red Wings, Canadiens, and Bruins are the original 6 teams that started the NHL in 1926.)

The New York Rangers are currently in a tight race to make the playoffs.  As the weather outside gets warmer, the race on the rink, namely between the Boston Bruins and the Rangers gets hotter too.  One point could make the difference in who actually gets to contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The Rangers and Bruins won’t actually face each other again, as the season ends, but none the less the competition is fierce. I will state here and now that should the Rangers pull it out and knock Boston out of contention, AND go on to win the cup or even just make it through the second round of the playoffs, I will make a replica Stanley Cup cake.

So in the spirit of high hopes and miracles, heres a cup cake recipe.  CREAM BOSTON! cupcakes, I mean Boston Cream  Pie Cupcakes, courtesy of Martha Stewart, because I’m hoping the Rangers cream Boston.

No paper liners needed for Boston Cream Cupcakes!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes:

1 1/2 c Flour (plus more for pans)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c whole milk

6 TB unsalted butter softened (plus more for pans)

3 large eggs

1 c sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

(Filled with Vanilla Cream, and topped with Chocolate Ganache)

Butter and Flour your cupcake tins like you would for a cake.  You won’t be using capcake papers to bake with.  Combine Dry ingredients (flour, powder, and salt). Set aside.

Combine milk and butter in a sauce pan over low heat.

Beat  eggs and sugar for about five minutes.  Mixture should look pale and thick.  Add dry ingredients.  Bring milk and butter to a boil, then combine with batter using mixer on low. Add vanilla.

Fill baking tins half way ( I usually use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to keep my cupcakes uniform looking).  Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden.  Cool for 10 minutes, then slice in half horizontally.  Fill with Vanilla Cream.

Vanilla Cream, (If you have Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, she uses Pastry Cream to fill these cupcakes.  Its the same recipe roughly.  The Pastry Cream recipe  yields more.  You could just as easily make instant vanilla pudding, or really cheat and use pudding cups.  I suggest skipping the short cut at least once)

2 large egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 TB cornstach + 1/2 tsp

pinch of salt

1 c whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk yolks till smooth.  Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add milk in a slow steady stream and stir continually until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. (apprx 5 minutes)

Pour 1/3 of the milk into yolks mixing constantly and rapidly– this will temper the eggs without allowing them to coagulate– You don’t want the eggs to scramble in your pudding.  Stir in the remaining milk and return custard to saucepan cooking 2-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in vanilla.

Martha suggests pouring the cream through a sieve– this will remove any coagulated eggs. Cover with plastic wrap across surface of pudding and refridgerate until chilled.

The cupcakes are topped with Chocolate Ganache.

Melt 1 c semi sweet chocolate , and 1/2 c- 3/4 c heavy cream in microwave or double boiler.  Allow to cool slightly so that frosting is spreadable, but not runny.

Eat to your hearts content!  Here’s to Miracles on Ice!

Chocolate Ganache Frosting!

1 comment April 8, 2010

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The Cake Eccentric

Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets