Posts filed under: ‘Cake‘
This guy always steals my heart. This is the third birthday cake I’ve make for Braydon. He always challenges my skills with his requests. Raven from Teen Titans GO! this year and a peek back on the birthdays before. We’ll see what he thinks up in the years to come. Happy Birthday Braydon!
Add a comment January 26, 2015
This week has been crazy! Actually the last 2 weeks with multiple performances at the Symphony back to back.The last fortnight ended with a big birthday bash for a board member and extraordinary patron of the Arts who turned 95!!!
Check out the pics on TimesUnion.com. THATS MY CAKE!
And to come– a tutorial on how to make the white chocolate planks seen on the side of the cake.
Add a comment December 16, 2013
Anyone who follows this blog with any regularity can see some strange changes in terms of appearance. So I ask your patience in baring with me while I revamp The Cake Eccentric with new design and a better layout! Meanwhile if you live in the capital region and want to learn how to cake decorate with me sign up for my upcoming classes at Hobby Lobby in Latham! This month they are 55% off!
Tuesdays (starting August 6th) 6pm-8pm
Basic Cake Decorating
Wednesdays (start August 7th) 6pm-8pm
Flowers and Cake Design
Classes are 4 weeks long and meet once each week on their designated Day. Class supplies list given upon reciept of registration. Go to HobbyLobby.com for a full schedule of upcoming classes.
Ohh and here are some pics from a wedding cake this weekend:
Add a comment July 29, 2013
I’ve been dreaming about making French Macarons for over a year now. I get excited everytime I spot a picture of the colorful delicate sandwich cookie on pinterest or in one of my cookbooks, especially I Heart Macarons by Hisako Ogita.
Or when I got to work with the owner of Laduree at Jazz at Lincoln Center as we scrambled to find refridgerator space for the hundreds of Macaron filled gift boxes for a wedding. Or whenever I felt fancy enough to part with $15 or so dollars and saunter down to Bouchon at the Shops of Columbus Circle and and dive into 2 or more (their Macarons are huge) crunchy, gooey cookies.
I truly heart Macarons…except when it came to my prowess in executing them in my own kitchen. They delicate cookie can be an absolute Bear to make. Anyone whose made anything containing stiffened egg whites has probably had a few faux pas in the kitchen. I wasted and ruined more than a dozen egg whites and pounds of butter when I first endeavoured to make Swiss Merignue buttercream Frosting. And I won’t get back those hours of standing over a double boiler whipping egg whites and sugar to 200+ degrees only to find an hour later once 2 pounds of butter had been warmed to room temp and sliced and slowly incorporated that the thin and goopey syrup I rendered would never be the light whipped delicious frosting I’d intended. BUT I presevered and experimented and found that Italian Meringue Buttercream took slightly less time, less arm work and eventually I figured out just how to nail everytime.
Macarons apparently need the same finesse at least in my kitchen so after 3 attempts that resulted in the same milky goo and not a thick Macaronage (the proper name of perfectly mixed batter) I was PISSED!! Macarons are delicious beacause they are delicate with a smooth crunchy surface and a gooey center– not to mention the endless possiblities for filling, but the process is just a “delicate”. By that I mean Preparing them can be as finiky as working with a total diva celebrity even after I thought I could eye ball any meringue. So I poured over the internet on blog posts, youtube videos and tried to no avail to make the recipes in I heart Macarons work.
The anatomy of a macaron: domed, but not too rounded top, a smooth surface with a bit of sheen, no wrinkles or grease marks or cracks. The bottom of the cookie has a “pied” or foot. Its distinct and only perfectly made Macs have them. Heat, humidy and general weather conditions can mess your mac up big time…all that said they are worth the trouble.
After research heres the recipe I combined that ended up working for me:
3/4 c Almond flour– It cost like $12/ pound and you can make your own by grinding slivered (and peeled) almonds in a food processor
1 c powdered sugar– make sure its simply sugar, and does not contain corn starch– WHOLE FOODS powdered sugar does– there is just no reason for that
2 egg whites
5 tbsp granulated
2 tbsp water
First pre-heat your oven to 325. I like to get mine going early because it takes forever to adequately preheat. I’ve also met chefs who insist the success of macarons depends on the oven. Some people insist on preheating the oven for a full hour. Everyone’s oven is wildly different from the next so I’d say make sure its adequately preheated.
Sift almond Flour with a strainer Twice! Make sure to measure that you still have 3/4 cup! Sift powedered sugar– mostly to break up lumps, again measure your quantity after its sifted. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Begin to whip egg whites NOW: egg whites are “easier” to separate when they are cold. Most recipes I’ve read and researched insist the egg whites be 1. days old, and 2. room temperature.– Both conditions make for quick and easy whipping. I agree with all these statements but I let the eggs sit out for about 20-30 minutes before I started whipping and everything worked out just fine.
Heat granulated sugar and water to reach 235 degrees F. Soft ball stage. Typcially I do so in a pan on the stove but I opted this time to go for the microwave. Again everyone microwave is different if you go this route. I’d start with a minute and stir to make sure the water and sugar is combined. Then heat for 3-4 minutes. Check the temp and don’t over cook– once your sugar surpasses the soft ball stage a whole other chemical reaction will take place and letting it cool will not get the consistency back you are looking for.
Meanwhile start whipping your egg whites. When they reach a soft peak stage pour hot sugar in, in a slow steady stream. Continue to whip until the batter is cool and is at the stiff peak stage! It is essential the egg whites are properly whipped as if they are too soft they cannot support the almond flour. I find egg whites, espceially cool egg whites can take 8-10 minutes to reach the stiff glossy peaks. Older egg whites whip in about 4 minutes. If you choose to dye your cookies add the food coloring : gel or powder, right at the end.
Pour in about 1/2 of the flour mixture and delicately fold FOLD together. Folding means you preserve the air in the egg white and if you stir in a circular fashion all bets are off.
At this point I find that scooping the egg white mixture into the flour bowl and remaining flour is best because with only 2 egg whites whipping some of the sugar syrup sticks to the side of the bowl and you don’t want hardened sugar in the batter. Again delicately fold the mixture. I heart Macarons mentions Macaronage and Macaroner as methods of stirring intregal to making the perfect batter– but each time I interpretted the directions I always over mixed the batter and ended up with slop. Fold until just combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat non stick sheet. For the most round and uniform macarons scope the batter into a large 14″-16″ pastry bag. I find a large circular tip is great. for smaller macarons use a #12 tip. Pipe onto the baking sheet. A great tip is to actual stack 2 baking sheets on snuggly on top of the other. This prevents overcooking– it works for cake too! If you are worried your cake will burn on the bottom set it on a baking sheet. The extra insulation prevents burning.
Right before you place your macs in the oven turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. about 8 minutes in, spin the baking sheet around so that all cookies cook evenly. I also recommend placing your baking sheet in the bottom 3rd of your oven. After 12 -16 minutes they should be perfect. remove from the oven and Cool. eat as they are or fill with buttercream, ganache jam whatever tickles your fancy.
1 comment January 31, 2013
Read all about my trip to North Carolina for my firned Chrissy’s wedding, and the wedding cake I made for them, which will be hence for known as Cupcake Mountain.
Add a comment November 28, 2012
Yeah yeah Where the hell have I been!?!? Thats an interesting question. If you were to scour the hot and dirty streets of New York City..I’m reminded of Rent lyrics, I would not be found. Not in the mecca of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s halls or loading docks, not in the any of of 3000 starbucks stores or in a remote spot of Central Park, or dozing on the D train back to the Bronx. I have made my last exeunt New York City, at least as a resident.
As of April 9th I pack all of my cherish belongings and left for a place I called home long before, and returned to the Capital Region. I can’t say it was not difficult, mostly just to separate the part of my personality that loved saying “I live in New York” not having to say “City” because with my obvious arrogance I know that you know what I mean. But really most of us need to leave (home) to be able to return. And the home I escaped to proves now, in a global world– where I talk to my best friend in Texas, more than I talk to my own mom (who lives 5 minutes away)New York isn’t, or at least doesn’t have to be the only place you can make “art.” In fact the grind of New York proves so exhausting, I lift my glass to anyone who spends more time involved in there passion then they do at the restaurant or starbucks where they earn their (exhorbetant) rent money.
Once Phil and I started dating, even though we entertained the idea of living in the City, I knew it would never make sense and frankly I didn’t want it to. I’d dread having to make a long drive back to the City feeling the exhaustion overwhelm me, going back to “the grind” and emptiness coming back to my huge and lonely apartment. Its easy to come home from a long day at work if your family is there to meet you. I felt disected like a frog in High School Biology class. Working in New York, but “living” upstate and it was always Albany or Saratoga that I felt my energy return. So it was time.
I had an adventure my last night, working a final shift at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and returning to my car only to find I had no idea where my keys were (I STILL don’t). I ended up having to take the first bus back to Albany 2 hours late to my new job, having only gotten an hour or so of sleep on the Mega Bus. New York can SUCK!! in your first year it will beat the crap out of you– training you like a horse to understand the way it ebbs and flows, and when you try to leave it can stretch its grip…well if you choose to see it that way. Maybe I should just made a better point to put my keys in a zippered pocket of my purse.
ANYWAY in the last 5 months Life’s been GOOD! I’ve made a few cakes mostly for baby showers, attempted to unpack…though we’re still not 100% done, repainted many rooms in our apartment, and finally just finished building a (wait for it….wait for it) walk in closet, and I’ve been trying to chip in by walking the dog so that Phil is no longer the sole custodial parent. Between moving chaos, changing jobs twice, and unpacking and construction the blog fell to the wayside. I was actually having a craptastic day today, feeling uninspired, until I saw this:
Billy (kind of like my dog Billie) is the former poet laurate of the US, and spoke at my college graduation, I also got to work with him once at a reading earlier on in my careeer. And Billie my dog looks similiar to the animation, though she is a cartoon character of herself all on her own.
Which reminded me of :
The blog above is actually incredibly popular here in upstate, Matt Baumgartner being a kindred spirit, at least in my hopes and dreams of life. He own 3 highly successful restaurants with a 4th opening soon and lives in NYC part time, a lover of dogs and food and big city life he lives my dream! And his blog aint so bad either. And I just so happen to be running a fashion shoot this weekend for Metroland The alternative Newsweekly I work for, and we are featuring Matt’s new clothing line…Matt when do you sleep!?!
What else? Well Phil and I are starting to put some time into side projects– the projects we long daydreamed about over the phone hundred of miles apart. Heres some of Phil’s work
I’m loving pintrest lately– ESPECIALLY for weddding planning!
OH and one more thing!! for all you crafty lad and ladies out there I’m loving LOVING Craftsy.com for classes. I could spend my whole working day in front of a PC and still come home happily to spend a few minutes (or hours) gettin my learn ON. I’m currently watching/ and working on a “bombshell Dress” course with a “topsey turvey cake” course on the horizon!
AND I’ve been getting all sorts of hits her on my long ignored site, especially on Crock Pot French toast, so for eveyone who had a tough time with their “quick and easy” French toast , I will repost with answers to your questions!!!
Heres some of my most recent work:
More cakes and chat to come.
4 comments September 21, 2012
On one of out first dates, my “boyfriend” and I travelled to Little Italy in the Bronx, dining on eggplant parmigiana and cannolis. Years later one of the best date nights I have had with my “boyfriend” was the night we went to Babbo. An Italian restaurant on the lower East Side owned by Mr. Mario Batali.
After a night of grilled octupus, prosciutto, quail, and lamb chops, we finished with a delightful bevvy of desserts. And we nearly fell off our chairs when I tried to refill my own glass of wine… and the wait staff dove over to replenish. I guess we are are not as accustom to fine dining as I’d like to think. We spent a generous gift certificate on our dinner given to me by my dear friends Scott and Mel, an unexpected gift for the wedding cake I had made for them a year before.
Fitting…a wedding cake… as my “boyfriend” is no longer. Philip is now my fiance!!
On Christmas Day Phil, and I ventured from my parents house where we had spent a low key Christmas Eve having dinner with family, to his parents’ house 30 miles north. When my parents mentioned they’d be stopping up for dinner that night, I was a little suspicious. I know, after years of traveling all over upstate New York for the Holidays when I was a kid, nothing makes them happier than to staying home, vegging a little, and eating left overs on Christmas Day. I had even mentioned to my best friend from kindergarten that I had an inclination that an engagement was around the corner, perhaps days away. Sarah, is still my only witness that I knew it was about to happen.
At some point after dinner, my parents arrived. We dined –appropriately enough on ziti, italian sausages, mozzarella, and peppers. When, as I sat back down at the dinner table Phil, walked in with a huge wrapped box. He slid it across the floor when I notice there were a few purposeful holes punched in the top of the box. Considering both my cat and dog were wayward strays until we crossed paths– Phil and I are in need of another pet like a hole in the head. I was so caught off guard with the prospect of a puppy or kitten I completely forgot that I believed an engagement ring was in my future.
“What is this?!? There are holes in this box?!?!” I kept repeating. I opened the box to realize hanging beneath the top was a large printed sign “HERES YOUR PET ROCK!!” it said. Tied to the bottom of the sign was a diamond ring. His grandmother’s ring. In smaller letters, the sign read “Ella Kathleen Golding, Will You Marry Me?” When I realized what was written on the paper all the family and friends, his and mine disappeared, and suddenly there was only me and him. He was on his knee. “Will you? Will you Marry Me?”
I considered no other answer.
We went out for a drink that night to the only open bar we could find and started making a guest list and writing down our ideas. We’ve talked about our wedding a million times before, but now. Now it was real, in the present, happening. I couldn’t stop thinking of our engagment over and over for the next few days.
Since then we’ve set a date and booked a space and have started to venture toward the great test of –not get married, but surviving PLANNING a wedding!! hahaha!! and NO! I will not be making my own cake….BUT I’ll have plenty to say about shopping for one!
That was my big New Year’s news! And for me at least, BIG it was!! For my soon to be Italian (and Scottish) husband, Mario Batali’s Cannolis. In honor of our first dates and all the dates that will come.
From Mario Batali’s Cannolis from Food Network.com
So before making these I checked the reviews of the recipe. They weren’t so stellar–so I made a few suggested edits to the recipe, as notated and have to say these came out WONDERFULLY.
First things first you will need some type of cannoli mold. You can buy metal tubes, or like me cut an extra large cake dowel (approximately an inch in diameter) into 4″ pieces. I used this dowel as part of the legs of my last cake(pictures below), and as I’ve read using a broom handle is perfectly accetable for a cannoli mold. Wooden molds do have a shorter shelf life since they get so infused with oil in the frying process.
The next prep step is to drain your riccotta cheese using a cheese cloth. Its not listed in the directions but its a good idea based on the reviews. Wrap in 1 lb. Ricotta cheese in cheese cloth. I placed my cheese on a grease guard screen you’d place over a frying pan. This was suspended over a plate to catch the drippings. I placed another plate ontop and let it sit in the fridge. I actually put a 1/2 gallon of milk on top to help the cheese drain faster.
2 c flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp cold butter
6 tbsp marsala wine ( i ended up using 8 tbsp)
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, cut butter into dry ingredients using 2 knives…I used my pastry mixer like i would for a pie crust. Add marsala and mix to form dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate.
For the filling
1 lb ricotta cheese (I used part skim–cows milk, sheep’s milk was suggested)
1/2 c super fine sugar
4tbsp grated orange peel ( !!! Thats alot suggested!! I grated one whole orange and didn’t measure– it was plenty)
1/2c mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup lemon juice (!!!I used 1 tsp!!! 1/3 c will ruin your filling!)
Combine all ingredients for the filling thoroughly. If you don’t have super fine sugar (also called castor sugar) or don’t want to spend the cash on it, Take granulated sugar and grind it in your blender for a a few seconds–its the same as store bought.
1 egg white, lightly whisked for sealing the dough for frying
2 qt vegetable oil for frying
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Roll out dough to approximately 1/16 of an inch thin (my dough was definetly thicker). Cut with a 4″ circular cutter or with a knife. Wrap around cannoli mold and affix edges overlapping with egg white. Press firmly to ensure dough will not unwrap while frying.
Working in small batches carefullly set cannoli molds into a deep frying pan. Oil should be heated to 360 -375 degrees before cannolis are dropped in. When golden brown evenly, remove and let shells drain and dry. To Remove mold twist as you gently pull away from the shell.
Fill shells using a pastry bag with an open tip. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and Mange!!!
Heres to a very happy life with my sweetie!
2 comments February 2, 2012
I think one of the best phrases the Beatles ever came up with was “8 days a week.” Lately I feel that’s what my work schedule is– 8 days a week. And me being me, I can’t help but add to a completely chuck full plate and throw in another project– aka a cake. I’ll sleep when I’m dead as they say.
Around 4am on Sunday I left work feeling exhausted and accomplished. My overall highlight of the night? I saw Ricki Martin! Let me break it down and have a true confession here, for a minute. I loved Ricki Martin when I was in High School. I probably loved him more than was good for my already suffering drama-geek reputation. I loved him so much I went to see him in concert and I even had his spanish album Vuelve. I knew all the words en espanol and believed that we might actually make out someday…so much for dreams!
As Ricki’s career waned so did my love and I think about how gaga I was for him as a goofy teenage phase. On Saturday he arrived to Frederick P. Rose Hall in support of a friend Michael Cerveris, who was performing– they are both in an upcoming run of Evita on Broadway. As his 6’2″ frame smoothly strolled out of the theater, I got a long look at my teenage crush. His hair was dark and swept to the side and he wore black rimmed “dork” glasses– I wear them too, though he pulled off a Clark Kent kind of look, where the best I can do is be compared to Sarah Palin. As he passed me I heard him speaking in Spanish to his friends. And I’m still perplexed as I’ve never heard another dialect of Spanish with quite the same sultry quality.
For a minute I was that dorky 16 year old pining for the gorgeous Latin Sensation. Speaking of Dorky, heres my other weekend endeavor” Bot” from Umizoomi. Everytime I do a kids cake I am shocked at how out of the loop I am in terms of kids characters and TV shows. Hopefully you can see in the pictures that cake is actually suspended over dowels decorated to look like legs and feet.
A bit of a challenge more so than I anticipated, but I heard with was a hit at the party for a young Mr. Braydon. All in all a good week/ weekend. On one last dork note, I’m thinking about getting an iphone…any suggestions on model or memory??
Add a comment January 24, 2012
Hey everybody!!! Happy New Year!! I’m happy to be back!!! I decided to publish a quick post I’d written a few weeks ago as I get my barrings and hopefully get back in the swing of baking! I’ve also had some exciting changes happen this past holiday season, but in the interest of creating suspense I’ll go into my exciting news once I have a recipe to post with it.
Jazz at Lincoln Center has been keeping me BUSY, like 80-hour-work-weeks busy, so there is little time for me to be baking, photographing, and posting and believe me I’ve caught some flack from my co-workers for not using them as taste test dumbies.
Just a few weeks ago I was at work no later than 10am each day– most days at 7am and didn’t leave till midnight 2am or 3am each day!! I felt triumphant at the end of a very long week not only accomplishing all the shows and events but also completing a great cake for a colleague who was celebrating 7 blissful years of marriage with her husband… and then my worst nightmare.
Picture a beautiful, brisk, sunny Saturday and I’m on my way to the theater, cake in hand. I decide the subway is the best bet. Should I drive in I will hit all sorts of traffic and probably get stuck without a decent parking spot, not to mention the ING marathon was the next day and parking was at a minimum.
So the D train it is. I lumber down the blocks carefully toting my two tiered jem. I take a seat with my cake next to me and am relieved as the train remains relatively unpacked. I carefully deboard at 59th Street. I’m here. As I take my time up the steps I’m relieved to see the Jazz marquis infront of me. I’ve made it. Unscathed. Now I’ve made cakes, wedding cakes at that, and learned the hard way if your cake hasn’t gotten proper refridgeration, hasn’t settled for a decent amount of time and isn’t stacked right–dowels in all the right places you are doomed to find your top tier flipped to the bottom of the box. As I cross the second lane of the Broadway, the pedestrian sign counting down the seconds, my ankle rolls as I step onto a manhole and down I go, BITING it in the middle of Broadway cake and all on the street. “Somebody help that lady!!!” a woman shouts behind me. I could care less about the cabs lerching forward anticipating the light changing. I’ve made it so far: an hour ride, two tiered cake in hand on the NYC subway!
I’d apparently made enough mistakes to learn how to keep a cake standing even through a trip and toss across Broadway. There the box stood right side up cake in tact, not a fondant detail out of place. :sigh: of relief.
I can say less about the skinned knee and twisted ankle. It swelled hours later to the point where I was limping around the theater, but my cake barely shuttered.
P.S. Click “Gallery” or “Birthday” to see some new pics.
3 comments January 16, 2012
I’m about a week late in terms of discussing this, but how about New York passing gay marriage?!! I’m very proud all New Yorkers are included in the celebration of marriage. And as I joked with some friends… Its also good for business! ha! Its a perfect topic to touch on as I put up some pictures of a little cake I did for 2 friends last week.
Peter and Kikki are big cake fans, always giving me a challenge when it comes to their kids birthday cakes, and they recently held a birthday/ anniversary celebration. They are both share the same birthday–hows that for soulmates?! and had a little party which also included their 15th wedding anniversary. Turns out, being as non traditioanl as they are that they never in fact had a wedding cake. They opted for strawberry rhubarb pie instead.
I figured 15 years together definetly needs to be celebrated with a big old cake, so I choose to do a baby blue frosting– which was the color of Kikki’s wedding dress–I said “non traditional” and do a strawberry rhubarb filling to reflect their first day as man and wife. With yellow cake and Italian merignue frosting– it was out of this world delicious– and still pretty simple as far as flavor profiles goes.
2 comments July 1, 2011