Friday, May 27, 2011

Red Chile Chocolate Cupcakes

The name says it all, yet doesn't even begin to describe it. Dark Chocolate cake laced with New Mexican red chile and cinnamon, topped with an equally enhanced dark chocolate buttercream. Finished with a pinch of chile powder, just for fair warning.

Tasting Cakes

It's time come clean with a crush I've been harboring for a while now. While some girls swoon over the big, flashy show stoppers, I have a real soft spot for these cute little guys. Whether you call them "centerpiece cakes", "counter cakes", or a "bottle-of-wine-and-a-tearjerker-movie-and-a-fork" kinda cakes: with 4-8 servings, these are just enough cake to celebrate either a night with friends or the sweet side of life for a few days. And they are also the perfect size to bake up and sample flavors.

White Almond Sour Cream with Red Raspberry Jam and Cream Cheese Buttercream

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Whipped Red Chile Chocolate Ganache filling and frosting. A blanket of Cream Cheese Buttercream drop flowers cover the ganache finish for a slight peek-a-boo effect.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Breakfast in Bed

Once in a while you hit it right on the nose! Ring the bell on the first swing! Loop the golden ring!  This is one of those times when the stars align, flavors merge, and you get to say, this one was all mine! (Like most modes of art--fine or culinary-- it seems that there are no new ideas, just new ways to say the same things. This I have to say wasn't informed, built upon, or borrowed from anyplace in my conscious mind. My subconscious? That's a different and altogether stranger story.) 

This is a fresh banana cupcake with cinnamon-sugar, velvet buttercream, topped with frosted flakes. Big surprise that you wouldn't have guessed from the night before. . . this breakfast is vegan. Though you wouldn't guess that considering this egg and dairy-free morsel is lacking any level of sinful goodness. The cake is moist and golden, bursting with fresh banana flavor and the velvet buttercream is silky and decidedly not too sweet--all the better to showcase the vibrant Vietnamese cinnamon. And crunchy frosted flakes? Well, who says vegan baked goods have to take themselves too seriously?  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Cool Blue Birthday Cake

Happy daisies and swirling scrolls combine to celebrate a double birthday treat. Cakes are a 9" and 5" white almond sour cream with milk chocolate buttercream between the layers. All American buttercream provide the smooth base for a garden's worth of purple and light blue fondant daisies. White on white buttercream scrolls and dots fill in the blanks, giving the design depth and movement. The birthday girls' names are incorporated into the scroll work on the top of the base tier. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coconut Times Two

It started with a coconut birthday cake ~ just a sweet little present for a best friend on her mid-week birthday (on a cute cake plate, too). The perfect size for a small party (or for hoarding away for yourself with out too much gluttonous guilt), this 6" cake is about as tall as it is wide done in three layers. I adapted the recipe from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Southern Manhattan Coconut Cake, a delicate white cake made with cake flour, egg whites, and thick coconut milk. 

The frosting is a fluffy, coconut buttercream with just a hint of cream cheese. The cream cheese keeps it from being two sweet, which when paired with the natural coconut flavor keeps it from putting the sweet glands on lockdown like some coconut candies sometimes do. The layers were first brushed with a coconut simple syrup then a generous layer of buttercream with extra flake coconut added. Keeping the focus on the cake itself, it is finished with subtle upward strokes that mimic the infill of flaked, sweetened coconut on the crown. An petite triple ruffle borders the bottom. 

Because 6" cakes don't just happen, and the smell of that delectable batter begged for immediate consumption, a dozen cupcakes came out of the mixing bowl.  They received the same treatment as the cake with a brush of coconut simple syrup before being topped with a generous dollop of coconut buttercream and a dip in flaked sweet coconut. They are the kind of delicious that makes me want to break up short sentences with periods: they. are. that. good.  If ever there were a time for scratch and sniff computer screens, this would be one. But for now, a picture will have to do. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Fairy that Almost Got Away

I had the wonderful opportunity to dip my toe in the Tinkerbell pool and make this adorable fairy cake for an even more adorable little girl's 5th birthday party.  Her favorite fairy from the Disney collection is Silvermist the water fairy. Silvermist's favorite hangout is by a babbling brook and she likes water lilies and to teach tadpoles to blow bubbles. Sounds like a fun party girl, indeed! 

This cake is a 6" over 8" dark chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream between the layers. It was finished in a coat of dark chocolate ganache then fondant. Silvermist is hand sculpted from fondant and gumpaste, then handpainted.  Her face is made from a gumpaste mold of an actual Silvermist doll, giving her the unique facial characteristics of the fairy (even though her body is a softer, rounder version of the original). She sits admits water lilies on lily pads and next to a cascading stream. The water is done with vertical strips of thinly rolled and ruffled fondant which was then painted with blue luster dust. The only non-edible part of the cake are the fairy wings, borrowed from the doll used to model for the face. 

(please don't say it...the photo is junk!  In the rush to get to this late morning party, I missed taking a photo with my Nikon D40 and then I forgot the camera at home.  This is an iphone photo that my husband has photoshopped to drop out the backlit background. I usually don't like to show heavily photoshopped cakes on my blog because I don't want to hide my abilities behind on-screen editing, but this was the only way to showcase this cake, which just like a fairy nearly disappeared without a record to show for it)