dulcis serenus

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A week in review October 28, 2013

I didn’t get a chance to post this week due to some pretty large orders causing me to work 10+ hours almost every day and a three-day migraine making me want to go to bed the moment I got home each day. Here are a few picture of what I accomplished this week including a grand total of 27 dozen decorated sugar cookies and 100 more undecorated ones. Enjoy!

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Busy weekend October 19, 2013

Today started my super-busy weekend. After an eleven-and-a-half hour day, I completed 20 orders for a local school’s carnival’s cake walk, 250 mini cupcakes and cake for a Saturday-morning wedding, and prepped everything for tomorrow’s special orders and a 200 person catering event for Austin Tennis Academy. Here are a few pictures of today’s special orders:

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The weekend in review October 14, 2013

This weekend’s special orders (The princess and mermaid cake was designed by the birthday girl. Every time her family orders cakes, she brings me an elaborate drawing of what she wants. It’s super cute.)

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Adventures in Pastry School January 26, 2012

So, I’ve been slacking a bit on this whole blog thing, but I have a really good reason: last October I started pastry school!  I am currently enrolled in a six month program at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, and it is amazing.  I’m having so much fun and learning all sorts of new tricks.  There are days when I get frustrated with my abilities, or lack there of, but most days it’s a blast.  I can’t wait to go to class each day and see what I’m going to learn.  I don’t really have a lot of free time to write posts most days, so I’ve been saving up pictures of all of my finished products to share with you now.  Enjoy!

 

First Birthday Celebration October 20, 2011

The The Peanuts’ first birthday was last month and there mom has covered pretty much everything from the party onher blog, except for the cupcake recipes.  That was my job, and quite honestly, I’ve been slacking.  I posted right before the party about the Caramel Corn that I made, but never made it around to telling you about the amazing cupcakes.  We decided that we wanted to make three different cupcake toppers for the party: one with pictures of Ellisa, one with pictures of Hudson, and one with one of the first pictures taken of them together.  Since we were being so ambitious with the toppers, we decided that we needed three different cupcakes to go with them: Peanut Butter Cup with White Chocolate Peanut Butter frosting, a peanut butter cup tucked in the center, and chocolate jimmies on top; Double Chocolate with Cream Cheese Chocolate Ganache and white pearl sprinkles; and Orange with Cream Cheese frosting and circus peanuts.  The Double Chocolate and Orange are modified versions of my favorite cake recipe, but the Peanut Butter Cup was one that I tried for the first time, and I have to say that I was impressed.  It was like eating a giant peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup milk

18 full-sized peanut butter cups

frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Fill 18 paper-lined muffin cups about half  full.  Place one peanut butter cup on top of the batter, pressing it in slightly.  Cover with more batter filling the cups about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

frosting:

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl as you work.

Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Slowly add in the white chocolate.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

8 Tbls butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

8 oz milk chocolate chips

3 Tbls heavy cream

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry. Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

frosting:

In a double boiler, combine chocolate chips and cream.  Heat on medium heat until melted, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until evenly combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted chocolate.

Orange Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup orange juice

zest of two oranges

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

6 oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 Tbls butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and orange zest.  In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry. Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

frosting:

In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until evenly combined.

 

Bourbon Celebration May 26, 2011

When asked what baked good he wanted for his birthday, my friend CP replied, “A bottle of bourbon.”  I immediately thought, I can do that.   And I did.  In the form of a Chocolate Bourbon Cake decorated with Candied Bourbon Pecans and accompanied by Bourbon Ice Cream.  It was a bourbon dessert feast, and it was amazing.  I knew I wanted a cake that was rich without being too sweet with a dense, tight crumb.  So, I modified my favorite cake recipe by adding cocoa, vanilla pudding mix, and bourbon, of course.  The pudding mix might sound like an odd addition, but it is a great way to make cakes more dense similar to a torte.  I have to say that I’m not much of an alcohol in cake person.  I typically think that the alcohol can be overwhelming, but the bourbon in this cake gave the chocolate a warm spice flavor that was quite enjoyable.

Here’s what you need:

for the cake:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

zest of 2 clementines

1/4 cup bourbon

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

for the toppings

(glaze)

1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tbls bourbon

(candied pecans)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup milk

1 10 oz pkg pecan halves

2 Tbls vanilla

1 oz bourbon

Here’s what you do:

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare one round cake pan by spraying with non-stick spray and lining with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and clementine zest.  Stir in bourbon.

In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients.

Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry.

Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Glaze:

Once cake is cool, combine the powdered sugar and bourbon stirring until smooth and drizzle over the cake.

Candied Pecans:

In a medium sauce pan, combine salt, sugar, cinnamon, and milk.  Bring to boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.  Continue to boil the candy mixture until it reaches soft ball stage, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and bourbon, then pecans.

Immediately spread pecan mixture onto a wax paper lined surface and separate using two forks.  This makes more pecans than you will need for decorating, but you will be glad to have the extra.  They are a bit addictive.

Decorate the top of the cake with candied pecans and some additional clementine zest.

Serve with Homemade Bourbon Ice Cream.

 

Strawberry Upside Down Cake March 9, 2011

I realized yesterday that I completely missed the anniversary of this blog (I forget birthdays, too).  A year ago February 25 I wrote, and re-wrote, and edited, and obsessed over my first post discussing my obsession with baking.  Five people read that first post, now more than fifty check each new post and I even have some subscribers.  I’m amazed by that.  Quite honestly, I’m surprised that I have stuck with it.  I’m not always a completer; I start tons of projects that I never finish.  I think that is part of why I love baking.  Baking is something that I can see through to the end.  It makes me feel like I have accomplished something each time I take a cake, cookies, or pie out of the oven and that makes me happy.

It’s been a long year: I lost my teaching job (thanks, Kansas), had major surgery, moved to a new state, am still looking for a new job, and am contemplating a new career path.  But it has also been a great year: I moved to a great city with the man I love, I get to live with him and his amazing sister and her adorable dog, I got to miss Snowpocalypse 2011, I got to meet my friends’ two gorgeous babies H. and E., and (despite still getting carded for buying rated R movies) I turned 30.  All in all, I think it has been a rather successful year.

To celebrate my successful blogging year, yesterday I made Strawberry Upside Down Cake.  Now, I know most of you have probably had a pineapple upside down cake (my mother makes a great one), but I bet you are not familiar with using other fruit.  Neither was I until a local movie theater added it to their menu.  I haven’t gotten the chance to try theirs yet, but the description made my mouth water resulting in my decision to recreate it.  So, I gathered my ingredients, turned on some Mumford & Sons (because I started listening to them about this time last year), and began to experiment while singing along and dancing around my kitchen as the dog looked at me like I was crazy.  However, all of this craziness led to a wonderful vanilla-scented cake with a hint of lime covered with slightly tart strawberries enveloped in a sweet, brown sugar glaze.  It’s amazing.

Here’s what you need:

for the top

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

6 Tbls butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tbls lime juice

1 Tbls water

zest of one lime

for the cake

12 Tbls butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

zest of 2 limes

1/4 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp slat

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

3 extra large eggs or 3 large eggs plus one egg yolk

Here’s what you do:

Line two greased 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Arrange the hulled and halved strawberries in the bottom of both pans.  Remember that this will end up being the top of the cakes, so make them pretty.

In a sauce pan, melt 6 Tbls butter add brown sugar, 1 Tbls lime juice, water, and zest of one lime.  Stir until fully incorporated.  Pour over prepared strawberries.

In a large bowl, cream 12 Tbls butter, sugar, the zest of two limes, and 1/4 cup lime juice until light and fluffy.

In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.

In a two cup liquid measuring cup, combine milk, vanilla, and eggs.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans.  Make sure to completely seal in the topping mixture already in the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and a cake tester (toothpick) comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for five minutes, then turn out onto serving tray removing the parchment paper from the tops.  Serve warm.

 

 

 
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