Posts filed under: ‘Some like it Hot: Movie/ Book Reviews‘
I should be rolling Fondant for the 3 cakes sitting in my fridge..but I’ve found myself glued to the tv, because the big day is here! Prince William and Kate Middleton will wed in just an hour. How exciting! A big fairytale wedding , a dashing prince and a commoner.
I love the fact the call Kate a “commoner.” Meaning not of royal blood. I think thats what I like about this whole story. Yes its got an incredible cinderella factor, but Kate Middleton wasn’t exactly sulking by the cinders when Wills came along. Shes confident, smart, and chic. Captivating and charming– and they both look so happy.
And how dashing this young prince is! I’m loving the red Irish uniform not to mention Harry and his messy ginger hair! How could you not be excited? Its gooey-heart warming to see all the world watching and celebrating in a lovely little love story and a happy moment in history.
And the anticipation over the dress, I’m curious!! But lets talk cake. From what I know Fiona Cairns has designed a multi-tiered fruit cake decorated with flowers in keeping with the theme of their nuptials. But now as I watch Diane Sawyer, and all the other anchors are talking about how Kate Middleton’s brother James, is in charge of the cake. In fact Mum Middleton began an event planning business in which she has been very successful. James Middleton as well as some of the other Middleton clan all work in the family business and that also includes cakes. Kate Middleton, princess and cake decorator?! All roads lead to cake!!
If you’d like to try to make a fruit cake heres my recipe, though I bet the royal wedding cake will have royal icing and marzipan as is traditional style for a fruit cake.
How about a fun wedding cake? Well I’ve been experimenting with Cake Pops, after purchasing Bakerella’s Cake Pops. BakerELLA…hmm guess she beat me to that name, but all the same a good little book on how to make a fun little snack. I decided to try mini wedding cakes for my cake pops. Heres how I did it.
I baked a store bought box cake in a 13″x9″ pan. Once cooled I sliced it into quarters and began to crumple with my fingers until everything was tiny crumbs. As Bakerella suggests mix in 3/4 of a standard store bought frosting.
I then chilled the mixture in the fridge for easier handling. If you are making good ole cake pops you would roll into balls and chill, but this time I decided to roll it out to about an inch thickness.
I used a variety of Wilton circular cutters to make 3 different size mini tiers. The “dough” is a little sticky so stacking the tier was relatively easy. I chilled the assembled cakes in the fridge on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
I melted wilton candy melts in the microwave.
With lolli pop sticks I dipped the sticks in the melted chocolate and then carefully inserted the chocolate end in the base of the mini cakes. I then used a block of foam to balance the cakes as the chocolate set.
Place the cakes in the freezer to settle up. Then dip one by one. Getting the chocoalte smooth is difficult but I recommend shortening, Bakerella suggests vegetable oil too.
Tips: Make sure your cake pops are totally covered.
I used the left overs of the 3/4 of a can of icing to touch up the rather imperfect chocolate. I had fun piping rather sloppily little tiny decorations. These would be great at a bridal shower or even at a wedding reception.
Its now 6am and finally the dress has been revealed, tiara, train and all….GOREGEOUS!!!
Add a comment April 29, 2011
Finally its really starting to feel like spring, even though newscasters threatened there would be snow last week. Thankfully they were mistaken. The Museum of Natural History here in the city has a really cool live butterfly exhibit going on currently. I’m planning on getting over there soon, but from what I can see its alot like the Bronx Zoo’s year round exhibit which I had fun visiting not too long ago.
The Butterfly House in the Bronx Zoo is a really peaceful place to spend the day, especially in late fall or early spring when you don’t have to contend with crowds. I’d suggest not going on the weekend if you want a quiet day to yourself. Its a few bucks extra for admission for the Butterfly Hut, but worth the cash. Aside from the Flutterbies, there is a really beautiful pond filled with massive coy fish and even some birds that all reside in the small hut.
Inspired by these spring creatures heres simple way to make your own butterflies with royal icing. Though the technique is little more than tracing, it will take a number of days for the butterflies to dry.
First you need a recipe of Royal Icing. Royal icing was actually what my first post was about. Heres a different take on Royal.
I used 3 Tbsp mixed with 1/2 c of water. I whisked to help dissolve the egg and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
Start whipping and slowly add 2 c of powdered sugar.
Mix for 7-10 minutes. Separate into small bowls and color with food coloring. Thin some of your icing to thin consistency adding 1-2 tsp water per cup. The icing should not hold shape when its thinned– meaning it slowly settles to a smooth surface as you mix or pipe it but its still thick. Make sure when storing to seal tightly with plastic wrap as royal icing dries quickly.
You now need a template to trace. I sketched one of each wing on to tracing paper and folded it in half and retraced to get a carbon copy of the matching wing.
If this all sounds too complicated check out Peggy Porshen’s Pretty Party Cakes or Beautiful Cakes: Irresitable Cakes and Cookies. This project is included in both books though teaching the Wilton Method is what actually inspired me to make butterflies this way. Both Peggy’s books have wing tracing templates in the back of the books and her work is so beautiful you won’t be able to resist the ideas inspired by these publications.
Place your tracing paper on a cookie sheet, under a sheet of wax paper (not parchment– your work will stick if you use parchment and most likely break) With medium royal icing colored to your choosing, trace the out line of the wings. Fill in with thin royal icing. Set aside to dry– can take up to 3 days though it can go faster.
Once the wings are dry fold sheets of wax paper (2-3″ squares) and set inside folded index cards. Pipe a thick line of royal icing on crease of wax paper. Slide matching wings into line of icing, resting the wings on either side of the index card. Allow to dry balanced on a cookie sheet, or large cardboard egg carton.
Make sure butterflies are completely dry before removing from paper. Keep in a cool dry place out of light — as colors will fade. Butterflies will last for a couple months. Keep free from humidity– a.k.a don’t store in an air tight container as you may find your butterflies will melt if temperature becomes warm and humid.
1 comment April 4, 2011
Its cookie season. So I’m going to start off with my favorite recipe of all time. Chocolate Chip cookies from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.
First reason I love this bookis because the first copy I owned was given to me by my beloved grandmother, an avid and exceptional baker– when she was eulogized years ago, her banana cream pie was mentioned– thats the kind of reputation she had. My grandmother taught me to make all kinds of things: jam, cookies, pies. We also used to cook way inadvance and she would totally let me indulge by sneaking a few cookies here and there out of the freezer. I bought a used copy on Amazon.com for under $3. Sure its stained and a little dog-earred, but it looks just like the one I lost and as the seller stated, its worn appearance is a testament to the recipes inside.
Second reason to love this book: all the fabulous cooky (spelled that way on purpose) recipes illustrated in super saturated 1970’s photography. This book came about before food stylists really existed I assume, nonetheless fullbleed super saturdated color photos still keep you inspired.
Third reason to love this book: in the back they dedicate recipes for cookies based on the years they were most popular. For example the Chocolate Chip was the Best Cooky of 1935-1940. Some historical highlights mentioned in these years: 1936 Edward VIII abdicates the throne to marry the woman he loves. 1938 Gone with the Wind premiers to become one of the most popular movies of all time. And truthfullly I don’t think we are all that different then we were all these years later. Prince William and his lady Kate will be married this year, and the last of the Harry Potter books has made it to the theatres breaking records again. I doubt the Chocolate Chip Cooky will ever go out of style.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: I typically double this recipe as listed below.
2/3 c shortening*
(I generally despise shortening, but certain cooky recipes it helps to keep the cookies puffy instead of melting all over the pan. You can change the ratio of shortening to butter if you feel inclined.)
2/3 c butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar ( I used 1/3 light brown and 1/3 dark brown, either or both work. The more the molasses–dark brown will add a more chewy the cooky’s texture)
2 tsp pure vanilla
3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped walnuts
2 c (12 oz) chocolate chips
Cream butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. I suggest you cream the shortening, butter, and sugar first. The butter should be soft but still cool. Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before you use. After the fats and sugar are blended add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Combine dry ingredients. You can sift the flour, soda, and salt if you choose, honestly I’d rather not use the time.
Fold in the chips and walnuts. Nuts are of course optional, but I absolutely believe that walnuts are as apart of chocolate chip cookies, as the chips are. To each their own. I should also note that you should go lightly on the chips. 2 cups are only 12oz, so you shouldn’t use the whole of the 16oz bag,unless of course you are a choco-holic and in that case go for it!
I scoop the dough with a small ice cream scooper so that the cookies are uniform. Press the dough down in the center with your fingers. Make sure there is at least 2 inches between each as the dough rises and spreads.
Bake on parchment lined baking sheet. Do not use wax paper! Unless you want your cookies to taste like chocolate chip crayons. You can continue to reuse the same parchment sheet until its dark brown, then disguard and line with fresh sheet.
Cook for approximate 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out when the centers of the cookies are still pale, “lilly livered” as my grandmother used to say. The cookies continue to bake as they cool, so taking them out slightly underdone renders them perfect.
I’m hoping to do some other variations of the Chocolate Chip Cookie in the future, if you are looking for some GREAT insight I suggest you DVR Good Eats. Alton Brown does a number of recipes oc the cookie: Chewy, crispy, fluffy. Using bread flour, cake, flour, butter and/or shortening will give you a slightly different result. Missed it on TV? DVD sets of the show are now available and would make a great Christmas gift for your favorite foodie!
Add a comment December 7, 2010
Its a big week in the world of Cupcakes…Well in my humble opinion anyway. I will be leading a specialty project class at Michael’s this weekend or TODAY, from the book Hello Cupcake. I will also be giving this same class for a special troop of girl scouts! We will be making Turkey Cupcakes just in time for Thanksgiving!
In related news I have just found out I will once again be providing the cupcakes for our second annual Holiday party at the theatre. Last year I made 300 cupcakes, this year I’m aiming for 400, plus some truffles, and mini cheesecakes…I’m super excited!! Our theatre guests are in for a big treat when the show ends. For tickets: www.artscenter.org
And I attended a demonstration and book signing by the authors of –you guessed it Hello Cupcake. Turns out they have a second book arriving on store shelves this April called What’s New Cupcake. Can’t wait to pick it up and share some new ideas!!
Add a comment November 21, 2009
Just a quick little FYI, should you be inspired to bake a vegan cupcake, or fully indulge and purchase Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World or far better you already have the cookbook and its binding its beat because you bake your face off!! …
Beware these gals haven’t quite had their say with dessert.
Order your copy in advance (and save $5.) here.
Add a comment August 14, 2009
VEGAN CUPCAKES TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
This. Is. My. Favorite. Cookbook. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I kind of thought it was a joke 2 years ago when I got it for my birthday. My vegan friend Chrissy with her insatiable sweet tooth and not-so-hidden agenda: to make me a cruelty free baker. She also sent me a super awesome retro apron– Chrissy makes great birthday packages…
Now, years later, there is a large rubber band that holds the book together and you can see the various stickies. Its become such a staple, its a rare day that I bake cake that isn’t vegan. Thats right this book kicks the poor unknowing bum of every Joy-of-Cooking-Martha-Stewart-Paula-Dean-Betty-Crocker dessert cook book you can find me. So if in fact Vegan cupcakes were to stage a coup…I’m on their side.
TOP 5 Reasons this Book is Righteous:
1. AWESOME!! Every recipe I’ve tried has come out AWESOME. There are 75 recipes–including ganache, different glazes, frostings, let alone tons of cake. And you’d never know it was vegan if the cat wasn’t let out of the bag.
2. FO’ REAL! These recipes aren’t just a bunch of “replace the egg with applesauce” kinds of lists. Each cupcake was built from the ground up with super culinary prowess. Yes its possible to reinvent the cake, and no it doesn’t need eggs or butter. (psst!! Soymilk is cheaper than eggs and butter–so its economical too!!)
3. CAKE IS NOT PREDJUDICE. Vegan isn’t just for the strict vegetarians. Vegan baking is ideal for those who are lactose intolerant, have egg allergies-(its more common that you think) and this book offers some low-fat, low-sugar, and gluten-free varieties as well. In short this book proves EVERYONE can have cake and eat it too.
4. COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. This book will expand you’re culinary palate. Green tea matcha powder, non- hydrogenated shortening, rosewater, chocolate extract…Most of these were not on my radar till this book came along. Who knows what kind of great inspriration you’ll find using these flavorings!
5. PI? Every recipe works out to exactly 12 cupcakes–How did they do it??
Recipes to try in no particular order:
- Hazelnut Creme Cupcakes. Sooo good its unholy.
- Mucho Margarita Si! Its made with Tequila!
- Chocolate Stout. Tell any beer-enjoying gent you make cupcakes with Guiness in them, and he’ll be your main squeeze in no time…Just ask my boyfriend.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip is so good I want to dress up like one for Halloween.
- Apple Cider makes you wish Summer were over.
I could go on but I’d just continue to steal the thunder of this book. Get at any major bookseller or click here
3 comments August 12, 2009