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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding Cake # 3

I have continued on the cake-making journey and recently completed my third wedding cake, made for my little sister's wedding.  Overall I will say I was very pleased with the finished product, well at least the inside which is the most important part if you ask me!

It was a chocolate cake brushed with a chambord (raspberry) syrup, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream and fresh raspberries and had vanilla meringue butter-cream icing.  This cake was a very good find and indeed the best chocolate cake I have ever made!  I found the recipe on another blog in which she raved about it being the best chocolate cake that stayed moist for days.  So, I gave it a shot and was very pleased to discover she was right! (The recipe is on Barefoot Contessa's site if you are interested - I think the trick was the buttermilk and cup of coffee.)

The pastry cream filling was one of my personal favorites which is basically just making vanilla bean custard on the stove-top and then adding lots of whipped cream to it.  I cut the raspberries in half and folded them into the cream mixture and spread that over the cake.  This cake was also the first time I have tried three cake layers rather than two, which I think helps keep the cake moist and gives a good taste of all the flavors. I was a little worried it might topple over but thankfully it held together with the help of the cake dowels!

I can't say I did an excellent job on the icing as I still need to get myself to an actual class so I can learn how to do this properly.  The fresh flowers helped it look a little better and hopefully by the time I do this again I will have some training under my belt!

At this stage my next cake order is not until March so I have a little more time to learn some tricks, although if you are in need of a cake just give me a call, it is of course my pleasure to give it a shot!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime brings Peaches!

I had completely forgotten how dreadfully hot and humid Virginia can get in the summer!  There is also a heat wave happening at the moment, so maybe that is why it is so unbearable. Not to mention the storms last week in which we lost our power...that is really I was really wishing I had a gas stove.

The good news about summertime is peaches and berries, two of my favorite kinds of fruit.  And a great combination to make some yummy desserts.  I have been working on trying to make the perfect peach-blueberry (or blackberry) cobbler, I just made one for the 4th of July and I was very pleased with the filling but I think the cobbler topping definitely could have been better.

The key to the filling was using dark brown sugar and a little lemon juice on the fruit, I let it sit at room temperature for a while before baking it.  The topping was a cornmeal/biscuit topping.  I think it needed more butter and maybe another tablespoon of sugar and I was not convinced about using cornmeal.  Next time I am going to go for a completely different approach and compare the two.

This summer I have also been endeavoring to make homemade ice-cream, which can be amazing if you get it right.  I don't think I have a really good recipe perfected yet, but am going to keep trying.  And homemade vanilla ice-cream and peach cobbler are a pretty darn good combination!