Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nostalgia Baking, the 'Hostess' Cupcake

Recreating childhood favorites is a fun little subset in the baking world right now, and what better place to start than the classic Hostess Cupcake.  Though these are that classic cupcake in appearance only--a scratch chocolate cake with American vanilla almond buttercream, dipped in Ghirardelli dark chocolate ganache and finished with a loop-de-loop white buttercream trim. The cakes being made with butter and not a hi-ratio, trans-fat laden shortening aren't as moist as the original, and the butter based frosting isn't as marshmallowly and airy either. But there is something just lovely about the design: looping and looping, like spinning circles on the lawn.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Plain Jane Carrot Cake

Let's start with apologies to Jane for the modest moniker, but those in the know, know that a simple carrot cake is nothing less than complex.  Well, make that a good carrot cake: extremely moist, spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a crumb just dense enough to hold together the tender carrots, raisins, and coconut. Top it all off with a fluffy cream cheese American buttercream.

Sunday night's carrot cake was frosted 'homestyle'-- on a plate and with a butter knife. And this one is just as lovely. Plain and simple.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Whoa... It's a Happy Birthday for Hannah

My best friend, Hannah gave herself a fabulous present for her 30th birthday: a 3 year old APHA filly.  Hannah I met at the barn where we were showing horses together nearly 10 years ago, but when she sold her last horse she also sold most all of her fancy tack. What I really would have loved to do was to give her a pretty new show saddle, but I settled on a tooled-saddle leather cake instead.

This cake is an 8" and a 10" sour cream coconut cake finished with buttercream and coconut filling.  A layer of white chocolate ganache gave a smooth base to the light-oil leather tinted marshmallow fondant. The "tooling" is royal icing applied with a stencil. Buttercream rope border and fresh flowers in posy picks complete the cake. (I had plans to make conchos and a trophy belt buckle of royal icing and paint in silver luster dust with "Happy Birthday 30th Hannah" on it, but being Mother's Day weekend a present of spending the morning at the spa won out and I ran out of caking time.)

I really love this cake and think this idea could be expanded into a stunning western wedding cake. Maybe add some gum paste red roses or yellow sunflowers...and silver conchos for sure. Next time.