Category Archives: Cakes

5 Secrets of Wedding Cake Success

wedding cake

The weddding cake!!! It’s the ULTIMATE cake- the cake that symbolizes a huge life choice, and look gorgeous in all the wedding photos. Yes, making the wedding cake is quite an important job.  Not only must it look beautiful (and satisfy all the bride’s ideas and color schemes) but it must taste good, and most importantly, not fall down!!!! If you are an accomplished cake maker and feel you are up to the next cake making challenge, please take note of 5 secrets to making a wedding cake.

1. Practice cutting cakes evenly and icing cakes smoothly.

This may seem like common sense but common sense is not always common knowledge. If you cut your cakes lopsided your wedding cake will be lopsided.  If your icing is not smooth and clean and crisp at the edges than your wedding cake will reflect that.  Basically, any small errors you make when icing or cutting a smaller cake, get magnified in a wedding cake so keep it clean!

2. Choose a stable cake base and filling

Should your cake taste delicious? Of course! But is it more important that the cake taste delicious or that it look beautiful?  Usually, I would say both components are important but for a wedding cake it is slightly more important that the cake be beautiful.  Test out cake bases and fillings ahead of time and make sure you choose cake that will hold up well and a filling that isn’t too moist.

3. Practice using dowel rods for stability.

Wedding cakes are edible architecture.  It is very important that you choose sturdy, hardware dowel rods that can support each layer.  Practice cutting the dowel rods so that they are level with the top of each tier.  Make sure you use just enough dowel rods to support the cake tiers without compromising the integrity or structure of the cake.  And ALWAYS save a long dowel rod to place down the center of the cake to prevent listing.

4. Talk to your bride about wedding cake expectations.

Brides have a million wedding details on their mind and are usually nervous about their big day.  Make sure you have plenty of conversations ahead of time about the look and taste of the cake.  Ensure that you are on the same page in regards to color scheme, flowers, ribbons, cake toppers, etc.  The bride usually provides the cake topper and the florist usually provides the flowers.  Make sure that the bride is aware of what things you are and aren’t responsible for.  If the bride is an unknown person, write a contract that stipulates what time you are to arrive and set up the cake.  And ALWAYS add a clause that once the cake is down it is the bride’s responsibility.  I have seen cakes get dropped later in the night and it is not the baker’s responsibility anymore!

5. Make a list and check it twice

Days before the wedding cake is due you will need to make a list about everything you need to bring onsite.  This includes things like dowel rods, tools, scissors, straws, spatulas, extra buttercream, piping tips, etc.  Ensure that you have reliable transport for your wedding cakes.  By the way, wedding cakes should always be transported un-stacked to the wedding site.  Put your dowel rods in ahead of time and stack the cake on site.  Once you get on site you have one chance to get the cake down perfectly without it falling. Make sure you are prepared so you set yourself up for success.

Finally, have fun!!! The wedding cake is one of the baker’s  happiest forms of self expression.  It is remembered for years to come by the bride, groom and wedding guests.  Plan ahead, make smart cake choices, and practice, practice, practice. You too can make a wedding cake!

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Donald Trump Cupcakes

I was walking through the mall the other day and I asked my friend “Who do you think is going to win the Republican primary?” She repsonded by saying that she disliked politics and couldn’t wait for the whole election to be over so that she didn’t have to hear about it on the news or see the Facebook wars over which candidate was better.  Hmmm, I thought- a similar sentiment for many Americans who decline to get involved in any level of political turmoil.

Almost immediately I asked her if she had seen the article about Donald Trump refusing to eat Oreos now that Mondalez, the company  that manufactures them, has moved the main manufacturing facility to Mexico. This decision was apparently made after executives learned it would be $46 million cheaper to move the plant to Mexico instead of leaving the production in Chicago where it currently resides.  Donald Trump actually loves Oreos by the way, so not eating them was a huge decision for him.

Hmmm, I thought again.  What better way to start a politically charged argument than to make the most politically charged cupcake I could think of- a Donald Trump cupcake.  And yes, I did decide to use Oreos for the eyes.  And yes, it is ironic. Enjoy the irony and the deliciousness that is, the Donald Trump cupcake.  Delicious cupcake recipe courtesy of The Cake Bible.  Delicious orange Trump hair and big eyes courtesy of Donald Trump- my favorite Republican candidate that we love to be astounded by (and yet secretly delight in all of the half truths he proclaims about America).  Your welcome Republican party for this extra publicity.

(Donald) Trump Your Cupcake!!!

Cupcake

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 10.5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Icing/Finishing

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • oreo halves
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and mix for 15 seconds.
  2. Add cream to dry ingredients and then add butter and beat for 2 minutes to aerate, scraping down sides occasionally. Add vanilla paste.
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time beating and scraping down between additions
  4. Fill a piping bag with the batter.
  5. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Pipe the batter evenly into the tin to fill all the cupcake liners.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. While cooling mix butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl at high speed to make icing.
  9. Take out about 1/4 cup icing and mix in food coloring.
  10. Fill piping bag with mahogany colored icing.
  11. Cut off top of cooled cupcake.  Spread icing on one edge of cupcake and then get two oreo halves (used for eyes) to prop up the lid of the cupcake. Wedge the other side of the lid into the cupcake so that it sticks.
  12. Pipe the orange icing on top of the cupcake for that signature “Trump” look.
  13. Voila, you have “trumped” your cupcake.  20150918_204917

 

Hazelnut Torte – Hazelnuts Never Tasted So Good!

hazelnuts hazelnuts

Celiac’s disease and gluten intolerance is now affecting thousands of people around the world.  But having Celiac’s, which makes one intolerant to wheat, barley, and rye should not inhibit a person from enjoying a great dessert.  Last week I made a hazelnut cake which is great for the gluten intolerant individual.  It is rich and tasty and has the toasty taste and aroma of hazelnuts.  But happily, it is gluten free! Below is the recipe for the cake, the hazelnut filling and the chocolate buttercream I used for decoration.  Bon appetit!

Hazelnut Cake (adapted from Viennese Desserts Made Easy by Georgina Gronner)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan.

2. Toast peeled hazelnuts in 350 degree oven until they are a light golden color. (About 7-10 minutes).

3. Whisk egg yolks, egg, and sugar together on high in a mixer until they are pale yellow and fluffy.  (about 5-6 minutes).

4. Fold in ground hazelnuts with rubber spatula.

5. In a separate bowl whik egg whites until they make a soft peak.  Be careful not to overwhip.

6. Stir 1/3 of egg whites into egg yolks to lighten the batter.  Gently fold in remaining egg whites and pour into prepared pan. Bake immediately.

7. Bake about 30 minutes until cake is golden brown and springs back.

Chocolate Hazelnut Filling (adapted from Viennese Desserts Made Easy by Georgina Gronner)

  • 2/3 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons rum

1. Cook hazelnuts and sugar over medium heat until hazelnuts and sugar are a light caramel color.  On low heat add egg yolks, milk and chocolate and cook until mixture thickens.  Cool hazelnut mixture.

2.  Whip butter until light and fluffy in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add hazelnut mixture and whip until filling is light and fluffy.

Chocolate buttercream (adapted from Culinary Institute of America Italian Buttercream recipe)

  • 4 oz egg whites
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 12 oz cold butter, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons rum

1. Prepare egg whites in mixing bowl with whisk attachment

2.  Measure sugar into heavy bottomed pot.  Add water to sugar until sugar is consistency of wet sand.  Wash down sides of pot with water so that NO SUGAR is on sides of pot.  Cook sugar until it reaches 240 degrees F.  When sugar is at 235 F start whipping egg whites.

3. Egg whites should be opaque and mixer should be on medium low speed.  Start streaming in hot sugar slowly.  After all sugar is incorporated turn mixer to high and whisk until the bowl feels body temperature.

4. Add butter slowly and whisk until the mixture emulsifies.  It should look satiny and taste smooth and creamy.

5. Melt chocolate and stream into buttercream when the chocolate is body temperature.  Add rum.

Cake Assembly

1. To assemble cake, slice cake into three layers.  Use hazelnut filling between 1st and 2nd and 2nd and third layer.  Use chocolate buttercream to ice and finish cake.  If desired, caramelized hazelnuts can be used for decoration. Enjoy a slice of this cake with Frangelico liqueur.  This hazelnut liqueur will pick up the hazelnut flavors in the cake quite nicely.

hazelnut cake