Archive for May 2010

Duff’s Stuff

Who doesn’t load up their DVR with the best of the cake decorating shows: The Cake Boss, Amazing Wedding Cakes, and those crazy cake challenges.  Well not only is Duff Goldberg bring culinary prowess into your living room, but now you can have his culinary tools in your kitchen.

Chef Duff

Chef Goldberg also known as the Ace of Cakes has recently come out with a line of frosting, fondant, and all sorts of baking pans, spatulas and other eccutraments that can be found in the aisles of your favorite craft store.  So heres the skinny ( in my humble opinion) of some of the new the products he recently debuted.


Its great to find large quantities of pre colored fondant available in a local store.   It can be frustrating to send away for Satin Ice or other professional Fondant.  Wilton is readily available in Michaels and other craft stores. Many people dislike the taste of the Wilton brand.  I won’t comment on the taste of Wilton (since I’m a Wilton Instructor and use it  daily) but I can say Duff’s Fondant has a mild flavor, and the availability of a 2 lbs container of say red or black Fondant is Great!  We all know how difficult it can be to dye your own fondant or frosting for that matter and actually achieve Red or black.  Also having it in a resealable/ reusable plastic container is very convienent.

I'm so happy this is available in large quantities and in local stores!

The elasticity of this fondant is EXCELLENT!!!!  I used the bright pink fondant on a cake just this past weekend.  Its important to roll your fondant out to 1/6- 1/8 of an inch thick to avoid tears.  I was convinced at one point I’d have a tear and have to start over, but Duff’s Fondant just kept stretching.  Stretch-ability is important to avoid tears and wrinkles and this Fondant has it!!

A birthday cake, featuring Duff's Fondant, for my god daughter

Cake Tattoos!

Super fun!  You can find all sorts of stencils and edible stickers to adhere to your fondant or frosting should you want to avoid handing painting or piping.   These cake tatoos have a Charm City spin with leopard print and Skull-n-Cross bones.  They include tracers for cupcake toppers.  Keep in mind that the photo you see on the packaging is exactly what you get– two  long stripes to go around the sides of your cake and a 4″ circle for the top.  If you have plans to use these decals on a bigger cake, make sure you get enough to do the job.


Not to sound like a total snob, but I make my own.  I accidentally purchase the frosting misreading the label– thinking it was a 5lbs. container of white buttercream fondant. I did however take advantage of my mistake and tast test the frosting and used it to cover a cake.  The texture is medium consistency– great most piping and frosting, and crusts quickly.  And the taste is great too.  It actually tastes like buttercream, not store bought, so if you are in a pinch I recommend this short cut.

Decorative wires

I thought this was a great idea to make available in stores. Lots of hobbiest/ amateur  decorators try to encorporate this design into their work but using wire and subsequently bending and twisting  wiring properly can be a challenge– and they don’t teach this in your average class.  Why not sell ’em cut and curled?

decorative curled wire

All in all Duff’s stuff is great quality and will definetly be found in my cabinets and on my cakes!

2 comments May 28, 2010

Butterfly Cupcakes

This Saturday at 3pm at Michael’s in Pelham Manor learn to make these:

Butterfly Cupcakes

Classes are $15 and you must sign up in advance.  A 10% discount offered to students on all class related supplies!!

Add a comment May 13, 2010

They Say its Your Birthday

So today happens to be my Birthday!  And I thought it only appropriate to carve some time out for a post. To celebrate this fancy new layout I thought I’d add some photos from the Annual Orchid Festival I went to a couple of weeks ago at the Bronx Botanical Garden.

I have one friend in particular who is the queen of birthday gifts and care packages (I’ve already recieved a great little gift in the mail from her!) and this recipe is inspired by her and the beautiful orchids I saw curated at this show.

Do It Yourself Vanilla Extract

Has it ever happened to you: You’re in the middle of a baking project. Folding together ingredients and you realize that you’re out of vanilla extract?  Might it also be 2 am on a Saturday night and that 24 hour grocery store just so happens NOT to be open 24 hours on Saturday night??

Pure vanilla extract isn’t something you should skimp on when you are baking.  Don’t buy the imitation vanilla and put it in your cookies or cake although imitation– particularly clear vanilla extract (not made from Orchids) has its own purposes in decorating).  I really suggest you go for the good stuff, made from the fruit of a particular species of orchid Vanilla Planifolia.  Orchids that produce vanilla are native to Mexico, and Madagascar, which is partially why its a little more pricey.

Making your own vanilla is really really simple, though it involves some waiting.  It can also make a great addition to a gift basket…for a birthday or just comes in handy when you think you’ve run out.  All you need are vanilla beans and vodka and a few jar to hold your sweet and fragrant elixir together.


3 Whole Vanilla Beans

1 c Vodka

Make sure your beans are plump and moist and shiney, not overly dried.  I’ve done some searching on the ratio of vanilla beans to vodka.  Some people say 1 bean to 1 cup of vodka.  Other people say three beans to 1 cup.  Both will make the vanilla extract you desire, the difference is how long you wait.

Split the vanilla bean down the center length wise.  Place into a mason jar, or other sealable glass jar. Glass is ideal this way you can see how the extract is progressing by checking the color.  Cover with vodka (make sure the beans are soaked)  and close.  The more beans per vodka you use the quicker the extracting process will happen.  The vanilla will be ready in about 2 months should you use 3 bean per cup, and can take up to 6 months to be fully prepared.

Using a funel you can package the prepared vanilla into smaller jars for gifts.  Leave part of the bean in the gift jar, this way your gift recieptients can add a little extra vodka when their supply gets low and within a few weeks they will have more vanilla ready to use.

3 comments May 6, 2010

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The Cake Eccentric

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