Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Maple Pecan Tart

I decided to make some different things this year for Thanksgiving.  Instead of your typical pecan pie, I decided to make a maple pecan tart.  It was pretty similar to a pecan pie and just as tasty.

Pecan pie is not one of my favorites.  I like a very small piece, but it is just too sweet for me.  My mother in law makes an excellent pecan pie, and normally I use her recipe with my own crust.  I just did not feel like making pies this year, so I made all tarts.  I use a basic short dough crust which has to be very cold before it is baked.  Otherwise, the dough will just not hold up to the heat and basically melt.  I made my dough, rolled it out, and put it in the pan.  I then put it in the freezer for about a half hour before I filled it with the pecan filling.  I used real maple syrup and lots and lots of pecans.  It was very tasty but very, very sweet.  It was a big hit with the pecan pie lovers.

 Maple syrup is generally made from sap from the sugar maple, red maple or black maple.  These trees store starch during the winter in their trunks and roots.  The starch is converted to sugar and rises in the spring in the sap.  Maple syrup was first collected and used by indigenous people of North America.  Quebec is by far the largest producer of it and produces about three-quarters of the world's supply.  Vermont is the largest producer in the US.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cupcake Wedding

I recently did a wedding for a very nice couple who was having a very small wedding.  They had been together for 11 years and were getting married on 11.11.11.  They were super easy going about what they wanted from me.  We ended up with three dozen cupcakes and a small six inch cake for them to save for their first anniversary.

I did a tasting for the couple a few weeks before their wedding.  They decided to do a combination of lemon and red velvet cupcakes with two different kinds of icing, cream cheese and French buttercream.  The colors of the wedding were purple and black, so we just did a very simple purple icing with black cupcake papers and black sugar pearls.  The small 6 inch cake was decorated like their invitations.  Everything looked so pretty in the window of the Tin Front Cafe.

 A great way to please a large crowd when making cake is to make a variety of cupcakes with a variety of icings.  You do not necessarily always have to put cream cheese icing with red velvet.  You could make three different kinds of cake with three different kinds of icing.  Just mix it up as much as you want.  This gives a nice variety for lots of people.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Perry the Platypus Cake

I recently made a Perry the Platypus cake for a boy turning 9.  I had no idea who Perry the Platypus was, but of course looked him up and quickly found out that he is from Phineas and Ferb.  He was actually a pretty easy character to do.

I only had a quarter sheet cake to work with here, so I decided to just keep the design simple.  I sketched Perry by hand on a piece of paper.  I then used that template to make him out of fondant.  It took me a little while to get the colors right, but I think they were pretty close.  He sat atop a vanilla flavored cake iced with French buttercream.  I thought he turned out pretty cute!

People are always telling me that my cakes are very moist.  They always ask how to achieve this.  One of the best tips that I can give you is to find a recipe that uses oil instead of butter.  In my opinion, butter cakes are always much drier than oil based cakes.  There are lots of great sources online for recipes.  Just try a bunch and see which ones work best for you!