Friday, July 29, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Curls

I had an order for a red velvet cake. He wanted something really special for his dad's birthday, so he ordered a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate curls. Sounds delish!

I love when someone orders something from me that is different from the typical things that I make. Trust me, I love baking everything, but generally I am baking white or chocolate cake and one of my buttercream icings. It is nice to make some different things sometimes! I baked my red velvet cake when my kids were napping/resting during the day. I figured I would do the icing and chocolate curls after the kids were in bed for the night. Turned out that we had a storm and lost our power. So, I had to wait until almost 11 to start. Thank goodness I had already baked the cake! While the white chocolate was setting up, I made the icing and iced the cake. It looked pretty, and I definitely wanted to eat it! I think next time I need to make a cake for a special occasion, I will make this!

As you have probably heard, white chocolate is by definition not actually chocolate because it does not contain cocoa solids. Dark colored solids of the cacao bean are separated from the fatty content during the production of chocolate. With milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolates, these two items are later recombined. With white chocolate, they are not. In the US, white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk solids, and 3.5% milkfat, and not more than 55% sugar or other sweeteners.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wedding Shower

I had a last minute opportunity to make a wedding shower cake for last weekend. Of course I said yes! She basically wanted a miniature square wedding cake. I was happy with the results, but more importantly, my client was happy too :)

We needed a cake to serve 40 people, but we wanted it to be stacked like a wedding cake. I decided to do an 8 inch, 6 inch, and 4 inch cake. Each tier was 3 layers each, so it would easily feed 40 people. We did the biggest tier in chocolate and the other two in white almond, all of which were iced with French buttercream. I covered the cakes with fondant, but did the decorations with the buttercream and edible sugar pearls. When I arrived at the venue, we added some fresh flowers to it. I think the tiny wedding cake was simply adorable!

Don't have different size pans, but want to create a stacked cake? I did not use an 8 inch, 6 inch, and 4 inch pan for my cake. I simply baked half sheets and cut them into the sizes I needed. That saves a lot of money, time, and space in your kitchen!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carrot Cake

We had some friends over this past weekend for a little get together. We had cookout style food, but I was just baffled at what to make for dessert. I bought a large bag of organic carrots for salad, so I thought I would make carrot cake. I had not made carrot cake for years but thought it is relatively healthy, for a cake ;)

I love any kind of spicy cake with cream cheese icing, and carrot cake has some ingredients that are actually really good for you. I shredded my carrots, used crushed pineapple, and coconut in my cake. A lot of people add nuts and raisins, but I hate raisins, and I knew little kids would be eating the cake, so I left out the nuts. I used cinnamon and of course some freshly grated nutmeg. I also used vegetable oil in it which makes it incredibly moist. I felt like the cake was going to fall apart when I flipped it out of the pan because it was so tender, but it didn't. It held together nicely and stood up to the cream cheese icing as well. It was quite yummy, and the kids loved it :)

Carrots as a main ingredient in sweets dates back to the medieval period when sweeteners were not common and very expensive. Since carrots contain more sugar than most vegetables and were readily available, they were an obvious choice for sweet cakes. Carrot cake did not become available in the US until the 60s when it was a novelty dessert. However, people liked it so much that it became common dessert fare. In 2005 The Food Network listed carrot cake as #5 in the top 5 food fads of the 70s.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A&P Spanish Bar Cake

It was my dad's birthday a few weeks ago. He never wants us to buy anything for him, so I always try to bake him something special. He and my mom have been talking for years about something called A&P Spanish Bar Cake. My parents loved this cake that was once available at A&P stores. However, it is kinda difficult to recreate something that you have never tasted!

I decided to google A&P Spanish Bar Cake. Lo and behold, my parents are not the only ones who wish that they could eat this cake again. There are tons of postings about this cake online, along with many, many recipes. Since I didn't know what the cake tasted like, I just had to sort of pick and choose recipes. Apparently it was a very moist spice cake with raisins and a creamy white icing. The recipe that I chose for the cake had applesauce in it which made the cake extremely moist. Also, I soaked the raisins in water until they were plump before adding them to the batter. I have to say that the cake on its own was super yummy (minus the raisins) and very, very moist. I think that the cake would have been better with a cream cheese icing, but that's not what the original had. It was a pretty basic buttercream that I chose to use. My parents were very happy with it and said that it was almost exactly like the original, except that my icing was better :)

If you want to make a lower fat version of your cake, use applesauce instead of oil. It makes for a very moist cake and even lends a little bit of sweetness to your product. Be careful not to over do it though. Too much applesauce will make for a very dense, heavy cake. Start small by just substituting a small amount of applesauce